mercredi 17 décembre 2014

TM SOLVER: Polymorph (2014)

Polymorph will please undoubtedly the fans of TM Solver as well as those aficionados who are in search of the warm charms of the analog scents

1 Rhythmikon 13:12
2 Echo-Line 16:45
3 House-Reflections 7:43
4 Dream Voices 14:15
5 Amound 12:30
6 Analog Shaping 13:23

SynGate | CD-r TM07 (CD-r 77:48) ****
(New Berlin School with a zest of analog tones)
The percussions sparkle delicately. Their jingles are melting into a line of bass sequences which shapes a ghost rhythm. A discreet rhythm which spreads its keys of which the warm tones get join to the muffled pulsations which redirect the ambient rhythm of "Rhythmikon" towards a kind of lunar techno decorated with prismic mist and with soft electronic chirpings. Tears of synth take shape in order to widen nasal and dreamy solos, while the finely jerky rhythm of "Rhythmikon" shows a more aggressive approach that will awaken memories when Robert Schroeder had redirected the axes of New Berlin School with a more funk, a more groove approach. Although recollections of Tangerine Dream, the 81 tour, fill our souvenirs, in particular with these crystalline sequences which dance gently from time to time among the symmetric pulsations, "Rhythmikon" wears the seal of TM Solver with this delicate balance between the rhythm and its fineries where the astral voices and the opal mists remain the nannies of these deliciously hypnotic structures. In fact, a rendezvous with the music of TM Solver is an event that we cannot just refuse. Simplistic, minimalist and very Teutonic, but decorated of subtleties which seduce as much as captivate, the music of Thomas Meier is one of the most delicious to get out of the SynGate label. And each new album reveals a little something that haunts the ear up to the next one. And “Polymorph” does not deceive at this point.
This time it's "Echo-Line". Superbly bewitching, like an upright carousel which swirls in weightlessness, "Echo-Line" offers a very beautiful ambient rhythm. A rhythm which accumulates its charms with fine movements of jerks anchored on sober, repetitive but really effective pulsations. A rhythm decorated with ingenious percussions filled with jingling and with tones which ring as objects of rarity and sometimes change the path of a rhythm which remains nevertheless quiet. Everything is in the ear and its perception. Add to that some harmonious sequences, clouds of opal mist from where are hiding stellar voices, a synth with nasal harmonies and nasal dialogues; we have a small jewel which sticks to the very intrusive charms of 
Pyramid Peak's best moments. It's very good and it lands in my iPod; section best tracks of 2014! "House-Reflections" follows with a more fluid rhythm. Here it is the synth which prevails with good electronic effects but especially with good solos which overfly a starving structure of rhythm which wants to bite our eardrums with a meshing of sequences and percussions which cuts it with curt hits. This is a good New Berlin School track whose only weakness is to precede the first 30 minutes of “Polymorph”, especially that "Dream Voices" follows quickly with a structure which adopt this lively and fluid rhythm. A rhythm which is bogged down in the fineries of "Echo-Line". On the other hand the seductive part is this approach which seems to me more an ethnic genre from the Middle East with effects of organic sequences and notes of a cosmic harp a la Indra. "Amound" is more ambient. Although its steps are heavy and resonant, the rhythm swirls stealthily in intergalactic mists soaked of metallic white noises, of spectral voices and their chants buried in the forgetting and of jerks fill by cracklings before gaining a soft swiftness which comes along with sequences to quavering jingling tones. "Analog Shaping" also presents a soft rhythm which is drummed delicately by sequences, charmingly dressed of percussion tones, which melt into  bass line as idle as lunar. It's mesmerizing and it ends a very beautiful album where the polymorphic rhythms sail in unctuous morphic ambiences. “Polymorph” will please undoubtedly the fans of TM Solver as well as those aficionados who are in search of the warm charms of the analog scents. Again this is another beautiful release which nests on the SynGate label which is downright the cradle of the Berlin School style and of its derivatives.
Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2014)

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lundi 15 décembre 2014

CSILLAGKÖD: Silent World (2014)

“Silent World is a deep ambient album where are sparkling jewels here and there whose reflections in the absolute dark you will find very seducing”

1 The Communication System between the Civilizations of the Universe 8:58
2 Empty Galaxies 5:03
3 The Birth of the Solar System 2:36
4 Water from another Planet 4:41
5 Kettoscsillag 3:57
6 Nap 4:20
7 Silent World 8:21
8 Az Univerzum Széle Felé 5:17

Spotted Peccary – SPM-2701 (CD 41:26) ***½
(Deep, dark ambient music)
Csillagköd (Oliver Dombi) is the last find of the American label Spotted Peccary. This artist from Transylvania, Romania, is into deep, dark and hollow ambient music, favoring synth lines which overlap into slow aerosonic patterns clouded rather often of metallic drones. Initially issued at the beginning of 2013, “Silent World” is a first album painted by these nuances with sibylline approaches which are tinted of radiance and decorated with carillons of which the prismic singings and dialects transcend this feeling of total darkness that glides throughout this quiet attractive album, if we are into ambient shapes, where nothing is more contrasting than the reflections of the silence.
"The Communication System between the Civilizations of the Universe" (what a title!) break ranks with a total immersion in the core of opacity. Here, there are no melodies, even the absent ones! An ectoplasmic shape rises out of nowhere to shiver in the abyssal wells of a black hole where seems to be form a big ball of sound magma. The ambiences are black and sieved of long dying drones of which the outlines irradiate a bewitching sonic show. We can hear the cracklings expiring some glaucous groans and doors of metal resounding. The creakings of the hinges are switching into big bells of which the ringings get lost in the somber impulses of a slow movement which feeds of its implosions. It's dark, deeply ambient  but fascinating. And if the first listening kisses the indifference, the subsequent listening reveals a fascinating soundscape spice up of delicious hyaline shades. And there is darker, more ambient with the very linear and without appeal "Empty Galaxies", where the apostles of the transparency have difficulty to make mumbling their distant spectral harmonies. Subtly, we attend to an attractive fight between the obscurity and the luminosity. A fight which finally irradiates all the charms of “Silent World”. And it's even more tangible with "The Birth of the Solar System" and its harmonious carillons which are letting the main melody be lulled by a lineage of black breaths. This is a track, just as "Kettoscsillag", which distances itself easily and hooks the hearing more straightforwardly by the opalescent approach of their carillons. A little as "Water from another Planet" where prisms are metamorphosing into crystalline rocks in order to shape a delicate melody of which the charms of glass are dancing weakly in some drones peppered by the slow implosions of a lazy and finely musical bass line, a bit like in the sound universe of Patrick O'Hearn. This is a nice ambient track we have here and quietly we are getting into the luminous part of Csillagköd's first album. The sibylline singings are legion here. You have to be attentive because often they are humming in the shadows of the synth waves which spread those vampiric veils of blackness. On "Nap", they radiate weakly before losing their luster in the chant of the carillons and their effects of prismic cascade. Contrary to the title-track where the same carillons are soaked of black. Our ears are filled by huge rumblings whose slow impulses make us imagine the noises of the reactors of a big space shuttle. The delicate arpeggios, painted of darkness, are just sparkling enough in this dark soundscape to shine with an almost absent melody which makes a good contrast with these enormous and intense hummings. "Az Univerzum Széle Felé" concludes “Silent World” with a superb ambient melody molded in the core of these carillons which made themselves so discreet since the first breezes of "The Birth of the Solar System". Delicate, the arpeggios fall like snowflakes and spread their crystal arabesques on a bed of tin where attractive finches are the witnesses of this duality, this intestinal fight between the brightness and the darkness of which the main winner is this listener who is always amazed by the charms of “Silent World”. Without reinventing the genre, even if he brings a subtle melodic touch with these prisms which sparkle here and there in sweet melodic pattern, Csillagköd reveals us a good insight of a form of music which justly needs more brightness from times to times. But you have to listen to hear the glow!
Sylvain Lupari (December 15th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

samedi 13 décembre 2014

AES DANA & MIKTEK: Cut E.P. (2014)

“Fans of U-R label, sharpen your ears cause this Cut is a good symbiosis between two styles which blend into a uniquely smooth psybient”

1 Evenfall 7:24
2 6AM 7:00
3 Cut 5:52

Ultimate Records | INRE072 (DDL 20:16) ****½
(Psybient)
Throbbing pulsations, where every knock resounds in a metallic acoustics aura and of which the rubberized charms infiltrate our ears like a dance of octopus' suckers on amphetamines, droning on a background spattered of acid rains and white noises,  but adorned also of a subtle spectral melody, "Evenfall" explains by itself all the charms of “Cut”, and by ricochet all the boldness's of this delicious label that is Ultimae Records. No wonders why I fell in love with the productions of this label, even if the musical genre is at light years of what brought me to like the Berlin School style. The muffled knocks of the introduction are lively, even brutals. We hear the hoops of metal  quivering, as well as these absent voices humming, and hesitating arpeggios which form arabesques and whose luminous outlines seem to be freezing in a sonic environment waterproofed of an industrial aura. The rhythm is crashing on a suave and sensual down-tempo where chips of metal crushed in a dryer, cracklings from an outer-world and snap of the fingers from an invertebrate animal are the nest of a mesmerizing bass line and of its deep pulsations which are hypnotized by this melody of which the airs go and come, like a soul roaming between luminosity and t darkness, between here and a there that escapes our perception. The percussions slam and resound, perturbing the delicate balance of "Evenfall" with some scattered abrupt knocks and biting a scarlet beat which will take refuge in a soporific ambient finale. What a starter! What a way to start this first collaboration between Aes Dana and Miktek where two others E.P. are schedule at the agenda of the Lyon based label. After this finale for the least restful, "6 AM" hangs on to our eardrums with exuberant pulsations which revitalize each of its knocks in this puddle of interference tones from which the fryings decorate the industrial glitter fineries of “Cut”. Here the rhythm is fragmented. Limping between an up-tempo and a tempo floppier than soft, it does stop'n'go in an eclectic envelope where the ambient style is questioning the acid-house genre, before shutting itself away in another ambient finale. The title-track reminds me a little the climate of schizophrenia which decorates the series theme tune of American Horror Story. The bass pulsations shape a kind of morbid techno. A flabby dance for zombies where the rain falls straight from the floor and the balls crackle and bump into each other on the ceiling. The wealth of tones and sounds is delicious while the music, and its subtleties which abound in bright ideas, incites to the paranoia. A beautiful line of melody, very near the mouth of madness, roams like the Malevolent who is trying to invite us in a delicious banquet where the sonic lust overflows of one thousand temptations.
Fragmented and broken rhythms which dissolve into phases of futuristic ambiences and mend in molecular tumults, “Cut” is a good symbiosis between two artists whose antipodes are melting together in all the respect for their respective styles. We find the dreamy touch of
Miktek who resists to the very acid bites of Aes Dana, who is second to none to breathe life into his ambiences and his rhythms some subtle elements that bring us to the dormers of another dimension. This is the first part of a collaboration which promises us two other E.P. I'm already looking forward for volume two. In fact, I always look forward to hearing the delights of the Lyon label...
Sylvain Lupari (December 13th, 2014)

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vendredi 12 décembre 2014

F/R-F: Structures of Paradise (2014)

“This is a striking album. One of the beautiful finds of 2014 where EM goes from ambient to lunar techno then e-rock and finally into a powerful EM prog rock”

1 Creation of Paradise 19:32
2 Paradise Consumed 21:20
3 Paradise Lost 21:22

Independant / Bandcamp (DDL 62:14) ****
(Mosaic of EM styles)
A long drone breeze unfolds a somber aura where float cosmic gases and soft lamentations painted of orchestral mist. And the percussions come crashing down. They roll madly, like some angelic thunders, in the layers of a synth to the  fragrances of an old apocalyptic organ. It's the creation of the Paradise, such as seen, as imagined by Neil Fellowes. Neil Followes!? F/R-F is the fruit of a collaboration between Neil ''Geigertek'' Followes and his son, then 14-year-old, Callum Raeburn-Fellowes. The duet father-son offered a live performance during the Awakenings Evening of Ambient and Electronic Music event, held in Branston in July 2013. But to be completely honest, and not just to make you too much languish, “Structures of Paradise” is everything but ambient. It's a long structure which feed its 62 minutes with a fascinating, an obsessive crescendo towards a furious electronic progressive rock which is going to rock you up and down.
The first 20 minutes of “Structures of Paradise” are the equivalence of a passage obliged in the sibylline corridors of the purgatory with astral voices and a divine flute which float with a feeling of purity in a skillful mixture of silky orchestrations and the cosmic elements, but also in the heavy resonances and the nebulous lamentations of a synth and of its ambient coat. The approach is as serene than threatening with this mixture of clarity and dark which pulls "Creation of Paradise" through the meanders of a somber and hollow ambient New Age with artifices of serenity and spirituality which remind the great Kitaro. Heavy echoing beatings, a little as the resonances of an ultrasound, are putting to sleep the heavy ambiences subdued of white noises which cover the introduction of "Paradise Consumed" of an annoying sound pallet. Somber buzzings, mixed up with supersonic noises, are dragging enormous parasitic furrows which moo in the knocks of percussions fragiles like wet woods crackling. The first 9 minutes are as black than carbonized coal. The crackling and the sound implosions draw a kind of noisy aura of radioactivity where everything seems unreal, like an end of times. The percussions, that I considered harmless, eventually awaken a very good structure of rhythm which is very near the roots of New Berlin School. Ambient!? Not really! The sequences hiccup and unroll some lines of jolts where the keys are feeding a lively and steady rhythm which swirls in the asymmetric beatings of the percussions which, at times, overflow a little of their repetitive frame. It's a good lunar, a morphic techno. A little like the good moments of 
Robert Schroeder's electronic beats. Because if rhythm there is, it makes more waddle of the head or clap the fingertips than feet. It's effective, lively and it's constantly expanding. And the synths remind us the real charms of EM with great solos, as well as a beautiful father and son duel, whose harmonious approaches will make us whistling certain airs some minutes later. After a short more or less ambient phase, "Paradise Consumed" starts again its phase of rhythm with twisted solos which bicker constantly, reviving the beautiful years of EM with very omnipresent synths. Narrations of a robot kind of voice and shouts of sirens remind us that the paradise is really consuming itself in a beautiful electronic approach where orchestrations and fine fluty lost melodies still remind us the charms of Kitaro.
A brief moment of respite and a voice, with a drive as a seller in a fair, guide us towards the totally unleashing "Paradise Lost". And hold your hat! This time the pace is livelier, heavier with a pulsating approach that will give you the dizziness. Sequences and percussions, very techno genre, are beating a mad pace which resists to the charms of the synths and to the veils of mist. And "Paradise Lost" falls in a furious electronic rock with what sounds like guitar solos that will make turn pale
Jerome Froese's rhythms of his Guitartronica. A cavalry of riffs and twisted solos rain down on a powerful structure of rhythm which oscillates in countercurrent in the envelopes of deep padded orchestrations. Between techno and rock, "Paradise Lost" floods our ears with a heavy rhythm which hangs onto the orchestral impulses and to the voices of angels of which the rustles have difficulty in piercing this wall of rhythm. It's infernal and totally furious. This is classical e-rock! Little by little, this rhythm lower its guard and scatters its wrath in a kind of drum solo whose lively knocks are rolling within the notes of a woolly bass. The rhythm shines even more now with an organ which perfumes itself of the fragrances of a wild Deep Purple. In reality, F/R-F has lost his Paradise. In fact, if we count the last minutes of "Paradise Consumed", it's beyond 20 furious minutes that the duet Fellowes piles up in our ears. And this Paradise tries to reborn with slow orchestrations, cosmic gases and whistlings of celestial bodies which come from all sides in the charms of seraphic voices. Do Neil and Callum Fellowes found their Paradise? Maybe! Except that our ears still buzz , as much as our walls ooze of these wild riffs which stuck to it, from this huge electronic rock which transcends for sure the frames of a festival of ambient music. I loved that thing! “Structures of Paradise” is undoubtedly one of the beautiful finds of 2014. All the phases of EM find their places, their roles on this opus that will unscrew you ears. Guaranteed! Available only on BandCamp, here is a work which deserves certainly a better fate.
Sylvain Lupari (December 10th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mercredi 10 décembre 2014

AUGENSTERN: Skydancing (1987/2014)

“Very peaceful, Skydancing is a beautiful opus of ambient music of which the New Age approach seduces of its progressive fineries”
1 Introduction 5:35
2 Chakra Pt. I 19:30
3 Chakra Pt. II 4:42
4 Chakra Pt. III 6:42
5 Chakra Pt. IV 3:26
6 Breathing Sky 3:17
7 Floating Water 7:14

Ricochet Dream | RD032 (CD 50:00) ***½
(Ambient and meditative music)
The fans of Tangerine Dream will be familiar with the name Steve Schroyder who was one of the first musicians to board the wonderful adventure of the Dream, as a replacement of Conrad Schnitzlrer, for the Alpha Centauri and Zeit albums back in 1971 and 1972. After his brief association with AshRa Temple (Seven Up in 1973), he concentrated his career in the field of organ  builder while also participating to several projects that will stay under the radar. He formed in 1980 a duet with Gene Gross whom the initial name of Oxo was going to change for Augenstern in 1985. Only 3 recordings, all in cassette format, was going to be realized between 1986 and 1987, besides a compilation, this time on CD, in 1991. Even if certain sites allege that the music of Augenstern flirts with that of Tangerine Dream, there is nothing more inaccurate. It's rather New Age, a music of meditation well adorned by luxurious synth waves to the colors of serenity. And for several connoisseurs in the genre; “Skydancing” would be one of very beautiful realizations in the domain. And I have to admit that I was fairly seduced by this work lost on the corridors of time on which the Ricochet Dream label has decided to rejuvenate. The limitations of the recording sources are very present and can bother the pure audiophiles, but the main part of the work glitters even better than on cassette.
The introduction reminds me the soft peace of mind that we find on
Mind Over Matter's La Vie. The German narration adds an exotic touch to an enveloping music where the buzzing lines spread ample winged movements which bring us near the doors of our perception. Here, there is no frills nor of artifices which serve to trivialize the music with mushy approaches of which the purpose is to give goose pimples with a profusion of insipid orchestrations. Exception made of the short "Chakra Pt. IV", but it is so beautiful. The general idea of “Skydancing” rests on the Tantrism culture, from where Margot Anand's presence which murmurs her dreamlike whispers. Although very relaxing, the music remains thus very intense with slow and dense synth, or organ, waves which coil-up and contort as the mistresses of music in a wraparound moment of spiritual ecstasy. This sound magma is decorated with fine shimmered ligaments which sparkle and tickle the ambiences of light chaste kisses in, what I could call, a totally wrapping movement of serenity. The dark shadows draw monuments of contrasts with the breath of voices and twinkling watermarks which melt into the mesmerizing layers of organ. In spite of its deep meditative vocation, "Chakra Pt. I" diverts at times in hallucinatory phases with Tantrism incantations which are the witnesses of an ambient work closer to the paths of progressive music than of New Age. "Chakra Pt. II" opened side B of the cassette with a sibylline approach and a rather dark side while that "Chakra Pt. III" offers a comfort by some delicate fragments of harmonies that an Elvish voice blows over the murmurs of the carillons. The basis remains somber with fine modulations in the movement which amplify not at all its thirst of ambient rhythms. After the very peaceful "Breathing Sky" and its long soporific wings, "Floating Water" ends this peaceful immersive journey with an approach of slow tears which come out of the synth layers floating between our two hemispheres. The movement can be as well sad as serene and lets exude more crystal clear chords which ring with fragments of harmonies of which the sanctuary is not really too much far from Steve Schroyder's origins, making of “Skydancing” a beautiful opus of ambient music of which the New Age approach seduces of its progressive fineries.
Sylvain Lupari (December 9th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca