dimanche 30 août 2015

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster VII (2015)

“I'm going to miss you, Edgar. Well, it already started”
CD 1: 70:09
Tamago Yaki 2015, Industrial Life, Diary of a Robbery,
Chilly Moons, Rotcaf Neila, Pilgrims to Elysium,
Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy, Gate of Saturn, Dnammoc Su (Neat Mix), Light Cone 2015

CD 2: 77:35
Parallel Worlds, Polar Radius, Heart Throb,
Matter of Time (Red Canyon Remix), Rim of Schiaparelli,
Barnabas the Messenger, Burning the Bad Seal, Silvery Ice Lake, Shadow and Sun, Morning Sun, Le Combat des Épées (Director's Cut)

Eastgate ‎| 072 CD (CD/DDL 147:46) ****
It's over! The end of an era! Here is the very last compilation of the Booster series. I always liked these compilations, even if at the beginning I questioned the artistic character of the project. Afterward I let myself charmed by the main idea behind these compilations which is to introduce the greenhorns to the music of Tangerine Dream while giving to the aficionados some rare, unreleased, remixed and new music. And throughout the seven volumes of this series, the goal aimed was always respected, even if sometimes the new tracks were not really new and even if the remixes had this knack of scratching my patience. And I don't know why, but here I find that this “Booster VII” is bloody better done.
It starts with a new version of "Tamago Yaki 2015", a track that we find on the Kyoto released in 2005. It's an album loaded with music forgotten in the vaults which was composed by
Edgar Froese and Johannes Schmoelling around 83. I had found this album good, nothing more. A little bit disappointing, considering the impact of Schmoelling's departure on the direction of Edgar's band. But no matter, here it sounds quite good. The arrangements make very Froese  of the Stuntman years, while the moods flirt with the era of The Keep. Always from the same album, "Industrial Life" is more dynamic, but leaves me a little bit cold. It's a lot of noises for not much. But surprisingly, after some listening (especially in my car) it flows pretty nice. "Chilly Moons" is a delicate ballad which is also the fruit of this collaboration. The wild race of "Diary of a Robbery" (oh do I hear the skeleton of Silver Scale here) comes from GTA5: The Cinematographic Score
 which is a strong album. "Bad Seal" is a good track also taken from this album where the play of sequences and the sequenced rhythms plunges us in the Franke/Froese years. I never liked Chandra: The Phatom Ferry, PartII, but inserted here the ambiospherical ballad that is "Rotcaf Neila" appeals me a little more. That's what makes the strength of the Booster series. Everything becomes different, as if by magic! And guess what? I also quite liked this surprising remix of "Dnammoc Su (Neat Mix)". The melody which roams in the background throw me a heck of an earworm for days after. "Pilgrims to Elysium" is a new composition and a very good one of which the peculiarity is to cross marvelously the bridge between the Schmoelling and Haslinger years. A little more dynamism and it would have given quite a whole result. The track grows ceaselessly but without ever overflowing really its minimalist road. The effect of violin on the other hand embraces the ethereal atmospheres of the more contemporary years. Afterward we are entitled to "Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy", pulled out from the Franz Kafka:The Castle album. It's a short intense track filled with strong atmospheres while "Barnabas the Messenger" is rather average. Let's say that there are far much better tracks on this album, making of this selection a debatable choice, except if it's for Edgar's six-strings solo.
"Gate of Saturn" doesn't need any more presentation. It's an inescapable track in the most recent years of the
Dream. "The Light Cone 2015" closes the first CD with a beautiful remix of this piece of music pulled from the very good Pinnacles, a wonderful album solo that Edgar signed in 83. This track is at its third version and the work is fine here. Its key point? It gives this taste to hear again this all time EM classic! We find "Parallel Worlds" in The Keep and its presence seems to serve much more a hidden introduction to the surprising "Polar Radius" which is a very interesting new track from Froese and Schmoelling. A track which plunges us back into the ambiences of Flashpoint and The Keep with a cheerful finale which throws us literally in the golden years of the Dream. This is as unexpected as very good. "Heart Throb" and "Shadow and Sun" are two tracks written by Edgar Froese and Ulrich Schnauss which let glimpse immense possibilities for the Quantum Years. It's a good mixture of e-rock where the EDM approach floats in structures which bicker constantly between ethereal phases and others more boiling ones. There are Jerome's perfumes in "Shadow and Sun", the best, according to my tastes, of these two tracks here. That's always pleasant to hear "Matter of Time (Red Canyon Remix)", and this no matter the flavor that we give to it. Its remix doesn't manage to destroy this delicate morphic lullaby which hesitates to lull and to perturb our idea of sleep. "Rim of Schiaparelli"? It's a powerful track pulled out of the brilliant Mars Polaris album; one of the very good albums of the TDI era.This I have to write about one of these days. "Silvery Ice Lake" is also a new track which wears the seal of the Sonic Poem Serie ambiences with very dark, very melancholic atmospheres, surrounding a rhythm which grows gradually without ever exploding. Other real newness, "Morning Sun" is a beautiful very gloomy ballad which follows an always aggressive tangent. That reminds me the kind of the Melrose years. But it fits very well here. In this big envelope of diversity which surrounds the 21 secrets of this Booster, it flows very well. "Le Combat des Épées (Director's Cut)", written by Thorsten Quaeschning was always my favorite of the Jeanne d'Arc album. This reorientation offers additional minutes but modifies not at all the structure of the music where  Picture Palace Music's aromas float all around it. It 's a good Electronic Post Rock, as Quaeschning  likes so well describing his music style.
Go get this without hesitation! This “Booster VII” is quite a sonic and a musical cream where all the flavors of
Tangerine Dream, periods 83 to13, float with this irresistible desire that the fans from the very beginning have to blubber as to cherish. Damn Edgar, I am going to miss you!
Sylvain Lupari (August 29th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

jeudi 27 août 2015

ARCANE: Landers (2015) E.P.

“This is yet another great sonic voyage through the analog equipments of Paul Lawler”

1 Viking-1 6:12
2 Lunar-9 5:30
3 Pathfinder 5:14
4 Venera-7 3:45
5 Philae 8:32

Paul Lawler Music (DDL 29:15) ****
(E-rock for picture minded)
"Viking 1" starts this new Arcane sonic adventure with a series of harmonious loops which roll on the jingles of the percussions adorn of crotale effects. Breezes of synth with a soft Hispanic lunar perfume (I hear Vangelis here) coo like electronic nightingales, revealing melancholic solos which make counterweight to the cheerful approach of the minimalist loops. From ambient and floating, the start of "Viking 1" switches for a beautiful electronic ballad with a suite of whistled solos which wave such as the harmonies of an ethereal waltz. Paul Lawler exploits completely the six minutes of "Viking 1" by binding his music with percussions of which the slow flow draws the lines of a good lunar down-tempo where stroboscopic sequences hiccup in parallel and a suite of lost chords arise from the limbos while the synth always manages to whistle its ghost harmonies. Ah.... The beautiful sonic universe and musical (I insist on this point) of Paul Lawler. All in contrasts and yet always so homogeneous. Even if his music is strongly inspired by the 80's era of Tangerine Dream, the prolific English musician/synthesist is before all a real precursor who likes experimenting his new equipments with an approach which is always so magnetizing. Composed after the last jets of Perihelion, “Landers” offers around thirty of EM which is nevertheless all its opposite.
"Lunar-9" plunges us into a cosmic film environment with the movement of a metronome which weaves a minimalist ambient beat. Sound effects, synth lushes a bit fluty and very relaxing as well as fragments of vampiric solos knit an atmosphere of loneliness and decorate an interstellar landscape where the time seems to be short of seconds. It's very ambiospherical. It's also very wrapping. "Pathfinder" inhales a few these ambiences while being very near the repertoire of
Tangerine Dream at the level of sequencing pattern. The sequenced keys skip in a shape of a spherical ballet with wide loops finely hatched where the synths spread tearful harmonies and layers as dreamy as melancholic. The percussions which fall weigh down the step and remodel the status of "Pathfinder" for a good slow dance-tempo hypnotic as we like them. "Venera-7" exploits also a series of melodies which coo in loops over a cascade of chords of which the tone resounds as that of an ancient harpsichord. The structure is magnificently attractive. Ambient and relaxing, the melody oscillates between our ears such as the wavelets which bicker on the surface of a lake filled by a crystal clear water. What strikes the most is this duality between the darkness and the brightness and of which the resultant offers a splendid ambient electronic ballad with a stylized approach which is reminiscent of the atmospheres of the Phantom of the Opera. This is a great track! And as very often, Paul Lawler keeps the best for the end by amassing all the principles of his first 20 minutes to condense them in a track which is going to nail us in our armchair. "Philae" begins with a lively rotary movement of the sequenced keys which encircle a wall of electronic tones of any kinds (I adore these effects of gas of spatial machineries). Little by little, these keys form a pattern of rhythm which challenges the parameters until then imposed on “Landers” by accelerating the pace. A very good bass line makes a first appearance here, propelling the rhythm of "Philae" towards a strong up-tempo of which the effects of contracted jerks weave a stroboscopic approach. This long onset of rhythm turns into a good and a more livened up phase which is adorned by these solos so ethereal which paint all the corners of “Landers”. And quietly, "Philae" will join this delicate metronomic structure of "Lunar-9", concluding so another chapter of Arcane which will never stop seducing us as amazing us.
Sylvain Lupari (August 27th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Paul Lawler Bandcamp page here

mardi 25 août 2015

KURTZ MINDFIELDS: Journey Through the Analog Adventure (2015)

All reviews about Kurtz Mindfields have been moved here


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This review has been moved to the new SynthSequences site

Journey Through

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lundi 24 août 2015

COSMIC GROUND: Cosmic Ground 2 (2015)

“This is a very strong suite to a first album which opens the cracks of originality of the vintage Berlin School in order to charm as much as in the 70's”
1 Sol 19:23
2 NGC 224 18:40
3 Organia 19:43
4 Altair 20:09

Cosmic Ground Music (CD/DDL 77:55) ****½
(Classical Berlin School)
It's always a little bit difficult to survive a first album which put you on the map, especially in a musical crenel where the traps of the pale imitations and, especially, those of the redundancy hide in every 60 seconds. Although always strongly inspired and filled of the influences of the vintage years of the MÉ of style Berlin School, Dirk Jan Müller plays the game very well with the suite to his eponym album appeared one year earlier. Yes, there is always this the classic sound. Yes, there are always these mystic and chthonian atmospheres. Yes, there are always these layers of Mellotron and of the Hammond organ. And yes, there are always these festivals of rhythms which break out in loops. And the big difference between the first sonic essay of Cosmic Ground and this one is exactly situated at the level of these rhythms. Set apart for the slow ambient procession of "Altair", “Cosmic Ground 2” offers an epidemic of hard driven running keys which weave a legion of sequenced rhythms where the immoderation gets amplified in each title.
"Sol" begins the exposure of the four long phases of this 2nd solo essay of Dirk Jan Müller under the name of
Cosmic Ground with the muted hummings of a long drone where from also escapes a slight iridescent line of mist. The long droning torsade is nibbling at our walls, forging the beginnings of an ambient rhythm which circulates like a slow effect of go and come inside our eardrums. Pulsations paw the ground with impatience just before the bar of three minutes is reached. It's the beginning of the festival of the electronic rhythms embroidered in an analog sequencer as furious as accurate. The loops of the rhythm scatter its variances, weaving a long hypnotic route knotted by fine upward effects where from sometimes appears another cycle of rhythmic turbulence doubled by a game of keyboard with chords as much agile than frivolous. The ambient hoops of the introduction come back to blow our ears with sensible inserts which decorate the minimalist effect of this structure of sequenced rhythm where a Mellotron covers by places of ethereal mist. We are also going to hear knockings and effects of psychedelic brilliances, kind of Phaedra, on this long railroad cargo of keys disruptive of hypnotic sleep of which the first peculiarity stays its originality. Indeed, set apart a vague resemblance with the analog rhythms of the Phaedra or Rubycon years, the rhythmic structure of "Sol" remains all the same rather unique due to its threadlike minimalist stamp which reaches almost the 15 minutes against 5 minutes of atmospheres. "NGC 224" is clearly more violent with flavors which put on the signature of Redshift. The introduction is very theatrical with loops of a synth full of John Carpenter charms and wide fog banks of black resonances static. While the machinery snores royally, the keys already begin to sow the disorder even before the point of three minutes. The rhythm which appears from it is simply furious. Much more furious than "Sol" with keys, their shadows and the shadows of their shadows, which skip and drum on the spot and whose pile has no other choices than forming a long train which hiccups and skips of everywhere. The sound decoration remains the same as in the first opus. Only the rhythm abounds in originality with effects of tremor and with more violent phases of ascent which are added here and there, thwarting the plans of the minimalism and of these effects of repetition.

It's awesome! "Organia" offers a much longer ambiospherical introduction. The atmospheres are nebulous and made up by layers of voice which float on a nest of reverberations of which the slow torsades sound like the breaths of the Devil. The layers and floating waves of the Mellotron are intrusive and move us closer a little more to the dark atmospheres of the first sonic chapter of Cosmic Ground. The pulsations burst a little after the point of five minutes. Here, the sound of the sequenced keys is more nuanced. It's closer to the dark zones of Méphistophélès with black shadows which breathe and skip in an intense waterfall of resonant pulsations which is rolling at a brisk pace. Still here, Dirk Jan Müller weaves of the genius by adding a plethora of related noises which is over sizing of all its charms. It's a beautiful violence of eight minutes before "Organia" goes back to explore again the disturbing zones of black atmospheres of its opening. After all this bath of rhythmic violence, Dirk Jan Müller decided to close the adventure of “Cosmic Ground 2” with a beautiful monument of ambiences. "Altair" offers a sonic procession which is simply intrusive. Weaved in comfortable moods where the ether exhales life and where the cosmos encroaches on the Earth zone, a slow structure of rhythm is born with smothered knockings a little before the 5th minute. These beatings become in fact tom-toms which drum like in an effect of passive trance under a thick cloud of reverberations painted by all of the interstellar colors. Knotted in the discord and in the excess of speed of certain of these beats, the movement becomes more fluid but stays relatively ambient. And yet again, D.J. Müller structures his rhythmic approach in the originality with additions of clashing and random elements which make of "Altair" an extremely mesmerizing piece of ambient music. Even when the keys and their shadows which beat are disappearing in the night-anesthetic pads of a magnificent mixture of organ and Mellotron which regains control over "Altair" just before the 12th minute. The patient ears will be rewarded because Cosmic Ground unwinds another lively and jerky structure of rhythm which hiccups in a heavy echo for the last 3 minutes of "Altair", concluding an album as attractive, I would say even more powerful, than the very first opus of Cosmic Ground with this “Cosmic Ground 2” where the retro kind Berlin School opens its cracks of originality to charm so much that in the 70's. An excellent discovery and one of the most solid albums of 2015.
Sylvain Lupari (August 24th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Cosmic Ground Bandcamp page here

vendredi 21 août 2015

COSMIC GROUND: Cosmic Ground (2014)

“Cosmic Ground is a true beauty which will entice for sure those who are lovers of these old analog moods of the 70's”
1 Legacy 14:07
2 Deadlock 16:25
3 Ground 33:24
4 The Plague 14:18
5 Decay 18:26

Cosmic Ground Music (DDL 96:42) ****
(Classical Berlin School)
I have mentioned recently that the EM of the analog moods knew a new lease on life among the young maker of new sounds who are in search of the pinnacle of the electronic virginity. The essays abound on YouTube and it's even transform into albums where the false from the real stays always difficult to encircle, unless we are clear and precise. Like here where Dirk Jan Müller enumerates his list of equipment by insisting on the fact that no MIDI technology or/and equipment and synth software are used. The result? An album warm in sounds and in emotions. Cosmic Ground is not inevitably a newcomer in the spheres of EM. It's the project of Dirk Jan Müller, founder and keyboard player of the famous German group of totally psychedelic Krautrock; Electric Orange which took root in the lands of the underground EM at the very beginning of the 90's. It's a return to basics that he makes with this impressive “Cosmic Ground”, because initially Dirk Jan Müller had begun his solo career with 3 albums, from 91 to 93, which were strongly inspired by Tangerine Dream's Baumann-Franke-Froese period. Proposed in a limited edition 500 copies, “Cosmic Ground” comes with 4 long tracks all built on the same vintage rules with mystic banks of mist and a lot of chthonian voices where the Mellotron is the king of a fauna vandalized by jumping keys which are also smiths of harmonious rhythms. The manufactured CD edition being totally sold out, this first album of Cosmic Ground is also offered in a quality download format on the Bandcamp page of the artist who also offers a track in bonus (Decay) stretching the album into a 2 CD-r full of EM where the expression "return to basics" is of the most appropriate here.
A dark shadow of a synth clears its interstellar sighs at the opening of "Legacy". Clouds of mist full of ether and layers of faded voices assail our ears, while some irresistible flavors of Phaedra revive our memories. The illusion is completed. Tears of synth and chords are strolling adrift in these mystic atmospheres fed by a splendid Mellotron, whereas a discreet pulsing line forges quietly the genesis of a rhythm which will hatch at around the 6th minute spot. At first dimmed, the pulsations are banging with strength and vigor. So much that the water which oozes on walls drip with the fear of being sprayed by this rhythmic train which emerges from the caves of "Legacy". The rhythm beats to the measure of an industrial machine on the edge of crashing down off the rails. Lively and fast, it is like a spring tense at its most which bombards until it breaks. Fine archs are relaxing the tension, curving a bit the linear movement where the shadows of the keys get loose in order to bite the back of those which are hanging around. Other keys get out of this wild race, modulating oscillating loops which give a more musical structure to the rhythm. But it is not finished! Our ears which hear the jingle of the drops will notice farther these industrial waves which go and come, forging the complementarily of a structure of rhythm of which the complexity fed itself of these keys which go into the race or which leave it, creating the illusion of revival in every cycle of a vintage electronic rhythm which runs away from the redundancy in spite of its deep minimalist flow. Down from its 14 minutes, "Legacy" weaves the main lines of “Cosmic Ground”, and by ricochet the music of Cosmic Ground.
And "Deadlock" is leaning on the same principle. A foggy introduction sustained by some dark and mesmerizing lines of old organ which lay down the bases of a chthonian start. Some rangy effects of reverberations decorate these abyssal ambiences which give the impression that we attend at a sound mass for little devils. Jumping keys are pounding around the 4th minute, weaving an undulatory rhythm, like a train crossing a valley loaded of small mountains, at which the jingles nibble delicately. The rhythm is peaceful, almost ambient, with good sound effects, like these hoops which go and come with more lucidity than in "Legacy" and whose episodic heaping up is sounding like a choir of zombies in trance. We are in the lands of
Tangerine Dream with a beautiful perfume of contemporaneousness. There is no preliminary with "Ground"! A heavy chord falls, scratching the ears with effects of reverberations which escape from it. Chords of keyboard nibble the first 2 minutes, just a bit before that a line of bass sequences forges a black rhythm which skips over the processions of mist. The keys untie their shadows which gallop in all directions with the swiftness of a wild race deserving of the best electronic rhythmic phases of Redshift and Radio Massacre International. On the other hand this movement of rhythm is brief because "Ground" is more a monument of glaucous atmospheres where the phases of rhythm fall to pieces, run out and go and come in approaches and different formats. We find them almost everywhere but it's more the landscapes of black ambiences which remain the heart of "Ground". It's a mixture between the atmospheres perfumed of ether from Klaus Schulze and those of the first steps of Tangerine Dream where there are a lot of intense moments which will throw tons of frightening discomfort in good horror movies. I found that a bit too long. Especially that "The Plague" continues on the same avenue with a music of black ambiences where the Mellotron is king and puts to sleep all of the jumping keys in its anesthetic coat of mystic mists. These keys will make a strong comeback after the slow and black intro of "Decay". Pulsations pierce an opaque cloud of mist and of chthonian voices near the 6 minutes, weaving a pulsatory rhythm which beats laconically in a dense magma flowing out from the lands of Mephistopheles. The beauties and the attractions of "Legacy" and "Deadlock" abound here, but in a different format where the subtle nuances remain the cradle of our surprise. Yes! Cosmic Ground is an artist worthy to be discovered if we look for the perfumes of the vintage years, and this eponym album is of this Grand Cru in EM. A discovery and an inescapable in 2014!
Sylvain Lupari (August 21st, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Cosmic Ground Bandcamp page here
There is a nice video of Legacy here

jeudi 20 août 2015

TANGERINE DREAM: Dead Solid Perfect (1990)

“A poor album which deserves few words”

Silva Screen ‎– SIL 5079·2 (CD 36:22) *
(Euh...)
22 tracks for 36 minutes? Think of it! Is there any place for originality? Any room for real musical search and elaboration? “Dead Solid Perfect” is the proof that even the big ones can crash with a lack of inspiration, of creativity. This third collaboration with Bobby Roth, the Dream had written the music of Heartbreakers and Tonight's The Night in 1989, the music of “Dead Solid Perfect” equals the poor visions of the director. Written in the same era as Three O'Clock High, this “Dead Solid Perfect” is in several aspects very near it with a lot of noises and beats without emotions and without souls. Thus, there is not a lot of room for big projects and for complex tracks loaded with new developments. The result is an empty album, as much in feelings as in creativity where the Dream seems to be bored to death on tracks falsely livened up by percussions, whether it's glockenspiel style, empty bottle sounds and sequenced riffs. Everything is far from being brilliant. It's a dreadful album where the structures seem similar with a total absence of imagination. There are some moments here and there where the gang of Edgar does in synth-pop with a lot of odd titles (A Whore In One, My name is bad Hair, Nice Shots), but it is so boring that it's ridiculous. Nothing worthy of a legendary name! TD even touches the New Age grass with the title-track and US Open, but it's done so badly that it's more than stupid. This is a easy money thing where the effort is not even there. What we will hear later is that Edgar took all he could in order to load his studio of new equipments. That was the main reason, from what I heard, that TD signed for so many movie scores in that time. To me, it's a poor album which deserves only a few words.
Sylvain Lupari (August 20, 2015)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

lundi 17 août 2015

REDSHIFT: Ether (1999)

“Surely one of the Top 25 of classical and dark EM, Ether is not to be missed”

1 A Midnight Clear 23:59
2 Bombers in the Desert 8:23
3 Static 5:13
4 Ether 27:29

Redshift Music (DDL 66:05) *****
(Classical Berlin School)
How to survive to a first opus when it marks a generation? The first album of Redshift answered a need; fill a gap that Tangerine Dream has created by going away from his dark moods and sequenced rides in the years of Rubycon and Phaedra. This era where the heavy sequencers and the Moog were king. This time where the slow movements got out of the limbos, on the back of huge ambient and heavy rhythms which progressed with hypnotic sequenced movements and which became little by little unchained on the dark mooings of Mellotron. Redshift had made a success of this mythical approach with a first opus fills of vague hopes. There was of course Node, but the group disappeared in a short time. Thus, “Ether” was expected with impatience. And nobody can be disappointed. Because from its first breezes we are assailed by the Redshift atmospheres. This unique atmosphere which allied slow and sinuous movements of which the fragrances had embalmed the first opus. Undulations of ether which float in a dark atmosphere where the knocks of a big sequencer, a Moog Modular, strike with strength and surprise. Even in concert, the British quartet manages to transposes his dark universe into the heavy steams of the 70's. And we have here the main lines of “Ether” where A Midnight Clear and the title-track were played and recorded at the famous Jodrell Bank Planetarium.
A big industrial humming intensifies the introduction of "A Midnight Clear" which adorns itself of luxurious iridescent synth lines. A chthonian choir embraces these dark breezes which glitter in a sibylline universe. This strange duet floats like spectres in search of a soul whereas the heavy hummings reappear, amplifying this abstruse climate. Delicate ringings emerge a little after the point of 6 minutes. They haven't stop irradiating like a childish singing that a line of lively sequences diverts this fragile approach to transform it into a solid line of rhythm which oscillates through dense fields of the mists of Mellotron. The loops of rhythm accelerate the pace and the and mists undulate like some Arabian caresses. We nod of the head and we make our fingers drumming. In this tumult where the synth pads and the guitar riffs try to take root, the evolution of "A Midnight Clear" goes by a brief ambiospherical phase and other phases of more or less ambient where only the sequences wave by doing lively cabrioles in a temperate silence. All the sonic arsenal of
Redshift is present; synth pads as harmonious as devilish, bass sequences, felted explosions, choruses of satanic monks and lines of flutes accompany the tearings of "A Midnight Clear" which gradually gives back its rhythmic weapons in order to embrace a more ambient mood. A powerful track! A sonic fresco which allies all the harmonization and the electronic voltage of an era that we considered gone. Following a misty intro, where the harmonies of darkness ooze sibylline breezes, a guitar and a synth are squabbling for the resonant hopping rhythm of "Bombers in the Desert". Beneath some suave lamentations of the electronic machines, the movement of sequences weave a heavy and fluid rhythm (one would say that it breathes) which keeps a good cadence under the bites of Rob Jenkins' six-strings. His solos waltz and cut through the ambiences fed by the lamentations of synths and beneath the eye eager of a sequencer ultra heavy which will blow up a wild and indomitable tempo. This is doubtless the first track in Redshift repertoire to have marked our ears of a more accessible approach. Rhythm, non rhythm, the English quartet likes playing with the paces and with the atmospheres without a warning. All in surprise, as in disappointment, similar to a coitus interruptus.
"Static" breathes as a starving animal which will never feed. It's a pool of pulsations eager for tones where revolve a thick cloud of heterogeneous tones as well as singings of spectres which will always stay in suspension. That's heavy, kind of threatening, and that remains ambient. After these two tracks recorded in studio, the long title-track brings us back to the ambiences of the Jodrell Bank concert. It's a totally delicious electronic movement, as much delicious as "A Midnight Clear", which starts with a heavy ambiosonic and ambiospheric intro polluted by an immense geyser of machines' rustlings. The synths and guitar fill a heavy ambient movement joined by a chthonian choir. Delicate ringings emerge a little after the point of 6 minutes (remember the structure of A Midnight Clear?), drawing an electronic melody soaked with a John Carpenter's devilish aura. This line of sequences swirls into nice spirals beneath the bites of a six-strings, which haunt the listening, as well as beneath the muffled implosions of a bass line. This is simply haunting and delicious. Big sequenced keys, resounding and full of juice, skip with heaviness (this legendary heaviness of the
Redshift movements), structuring the rhythmic thorn of "Ether" which continues its eternal sonic ascent beneath the caresses of synth solos and of its neighboring harmonies. The movement amplifies its heaviness, vitamins its growth with heavier and more incisive sequences, flooding on its passage all the sound decoration which accompanied it since the first steps. This is pure Redshift with its heavy and lively rhythm where thrones a multitude of electronic tones, which often are bringing out of hell, and guitar solos as enigmatic as vaporous. And while we imagine a long ambient finale, "Ether" surpasses our expectations with a more lively rhythm which will crash in superb chthonian singings where the six-strings spit heart-rending solos, where the Melltron continues to place its mystic mist and where the synths continue to decorate an ambiance deserving of Méphistophélès' passions. As I told you: this is big Redshift. It's among the best, my top 25 list, of classical EM. And those who missed this not that far era, you have plenty of time to catch it. After all, this is what I did!
Sylvain Lupari (August 17th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Redshift Bandcamp page here

jeudi 13 août 2015

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE ALLIER: Ephéméride (1996)

“A small rendezvous forgotten in time, Ephéméride is the reflection of the very contemporary approaches of the French EM movement”
1 Ephéméride 9:05
2 Angel Sex 7:19
3 Vision of the Heart 3:23
4 Wonderland 4:16
5 Planisphère 4:22
6 Rain Day 4:39
7 K.S. Motion 10:57
8 Country Land 2:39
9 Indian 3:32
10 Voyager 3:17
11 Catalipsys 5:38
12 Saint-Malo Dream 3:42

PWMDistrib (CD 63:00) ***½
(Melodic contemporary EM)
Peaceful and harmonious line of flute which float among the bongs of the astral gongs! Hum... That sounds New Age. Winds of Orion which blow and knock down  the drops of a metallic rain! That sounds like music of futuristic atmospheres. Longs metaphysical wiish of synth lines and discreet thunders! That sounds like dramatic theme music. Rolling of big symphonic drums and ringings of bells! That sounds definitively Vangelis. With all these electronic elements which bicker between a desire for futuristic melody and its ambiences, this long opening title-tack  from the album “Ephéméride” plunges us straight into the universes of Jean-Christophe Allier where everything is cut with the precision of a jeweler. Although this name is not quite familiar to us, Jean-Christophe Allier is a dominant, almost a legendary in the circle of initiated, character in this ascent of French EM which rebels so well against the rise of the various schools of thought since the end of the 80's. One of the founders of the Patch Work Music association, the electronic bard of Nîmes is also the most discreet at the level of the production as proves it his discography which counts only “Ephéméride”, released in the end of 96, and La Rosée, an album which was composed and released in tandem with the Swiss singer Rose Marie Doblies in 2009. On the other hand, he writes and produces a phenomenal quantity of music for movies and television. He also writes jingles for commercial or credits for TV programs and/or radio shows. We can also find him behind a studio console, assisting various personalities for the needs for their recordings. In brief, it's a man-of-all-work who is involved in all the artistic facets besides giving a lot of free concerts for various events in order to promote the beauty of EM. So! What is the music of Jean-Christophe Allier? Strongly inspired by the genius of Klaus Schulze, the musician/synthesist from Nîmes is more freely inspired by the style of Vangelis with a strongly melodic approach which is trapped in the contemporary structures which are clearly more omnipresent in its music. To say the least in “Ephéméride”!
Merged between some twinkling arpeggios and some breaths of suggestive voices, the ambiospherical procession of "Angel Sex" also leads us to this conclusion. It's a thing where the simplistic melody, embroidered in breaths of sexual voices, approaches our ears with ease. Our subliminal senses will seize later all the work at the level of the making of the ambient rhythm with arpeggios which are hammered with an effect of xylophone of brass band and the effects of percussions which click like cosmic gases, sculpting thus an envelope of rhythm which skips finely in an effect of jolts. It's a thing which sounds very Robert Schroeder. Parts of ambient melodies which knit themselves to the contemporary moods, the music of “Ephéméride” lets also fall some beautiful small jewels of tenderness which have an equal only
Bertrand Loreau's very melancholic side. "Vision of the Heart" and "Saint-Malo Dream" are delicate strummed lullabies which charm in those nice electronic ambiences, while that "Country Land" is a beautiful ballad perched on an acoustic guitar of which the notes sing with the birds. "Wonderland" is an ambient track loaded with sonic effects which remind me of these opening that Tangerine Dream used during their 86 European tour. Throughout his ambient structures, Jean-Christophe Allier strews fragments of melodies, so giving a depth to his more meditative structures. Molded in the same rules as "Wonderland", "Planisphere" is another nice example with its arpeggios which dance with the ambient and melodious synth lines. We are near meditative music here. Almost of cosmic New Age! "Rain Day" and "Voyager" are two dark pieces of music which bring us closer to the ambiospherical influences of Vangelis and of his futuristic vision of Blade Runner. "K.S. Motion" is a tribute track to Klaus Schulze. All in all, it's a nice amalgamation between the moods of ether from the German Master and his more contemporary tones. A small track with a spirit of Hindu dance, "Indian" sounds very out of tune with its joyful rhythm compared with the darker ambiences which surround the limpidity of the arpeggios which dance all over “Ephéméride”. It's pleasant and festive, while "Catalipsys" carries marvelously the atmospheres of its naming.
A small rendezvous forgotten in time, “Ephéméride” is the reflection of the very contemporary approaches of the French EM movement where the melancholy of the poets of the 1800' s breathes in every reverberation of the chords and the synth lines as well as their shadows. I like this very
Vangelis approach. But a Vangelis of the 70-80 years when his melodies was often weaved in electronic tragedy moods. This is mainly the backdrop of “Ephéméride”.
Sylvain Lupari (August 13th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Patch World Music page here