samedi 20 septembre 2014

BOUVETOYA: Interstellarphonic (2014)

“Bouvetoya reaches a peak with an album and a musical pattern to which we grant that very few chances to surprise”
1 The Dawn of the Interplanetary Nation 9:38
2 26 Prosperina 16:08
3 Radio Jupiter 22:2 MHz 12:14
4 The Pillars of Star Creation 15:18
5 Heart of the Magnetar 7:56

SynGate | CD-r MJ02 (CD-r 61:14) ****
(Mix of vintage and new Berlin School)
It's in the intersidereal sweetnesses that begin this 2nd album of Bouvetoya. Foggy synth pads and ambient choirs stretch an astral tune with delicate intonations which break a possible dullness. Chords roam in these cosmic mists, reminding The Dark Side of the Moog IX, from the Namlook/Schulze tandem, which gets lost in the ambient fogs of Pink Floyd and of its Wish You Were Here. Other chords are grafted. They waddle stealthily and their ricochets dance with their shadows. The rhythm of "The Dawn of the Interplanetary Nation" is silhouetted with the most beautiful assets of the minimalist movements. The keys are walking faster and agglutinate in a jerky movement which is growing beneath synth riffs a la TD and twisted synth solos a la Pyramid Peak. Following a delicious evolution, and gather together here and there all the ingredients which built its charm, the beat of "The Dawn of the Interplanetary Nation" increases the cadence, modifying subtly its intonations, to adopt a rhythmic ride of which the pace, more and more accentuated and more and more jerky, runs beneath a salvo of solos and its curves as much coiled up as its ectoplasmic chants. Contrary to Subtractivate, the 60 minutes of “Interstellarphonic” is balancing between the mesmerizing charm of retro Berlin School and the most hypnotic one of New Berlin School. We are at a sonic crossroads where Schulze  nd TD are meeting the more hypnotic moods of Software and Pyramid Peak, but in a morphic envelope which calls back Neuronium's moments of ether. It's what jumps to ears with "26 Prosperina" and its long sleep-inducing intro adorned of cosmic choruses and of dusts of prism. Some fine intonations modify the colors of this slow ambient procession which quietly derives towards a more interstellar phase where a mix of cosmic chirpings and black reverberations converge on heavy synth pads to the tones of old organ. These first 10 minutes pass rather well. The sound wealth of this intro is such as that our ears remain captive. And it's doubtless for that reason that the heavy movement of waddling sequences seems not that far. Rather simplistic, but very catchy, this portion of rhythm in "26 Prosperina" is waving like the walking of a big goblin. A magician of heavy steps who moves his keys with grace and suppleness, while taking good care to amass here and there pearls which make noise in pads and solos with the flavors as well vintages as contemporaries. It's black and heavy, as if we would mix Tangerine Dream to Arc.
"Radio Jupiter 22:2 MHz" presents a more chthonian intro with dark choruses and their passive monasterial singings which float in the mysticism of the rippling synth waves. Beautiful airs of flutes invite themselves in this intro where a fascinating effect of echo adds a depth to a track which leaves the abyss in order to inhale a more cosmic
Jarre approach. Lines of rhythms emerge. Their sequences are champing at the bit. Their bass tones run in all directions. In a figure of static rhythm disordered and rocked by astral synth waves and pecked by cosmic sound effects. The rhythm gets free, bite by bite, of its cocoon of ether, accelerating a cadence which displays big zigzags which are always trapped in a heavy cosmic vibe and of its sometimes very quirky sound charms. "The Pillars of Star Creation" follows the philosophy of ambiences versus rhythms which enriched the first 3 tracks of “Interstellarphonic”. Darker and noisier, the intro always abounds of these synth pads and chthonian choirs which float among those still twisted solos as well as in chirpings and glaucous pulsations. The rhythm, more delicate, turns up at around the 9th minute. It precedes a delicious moment of meditation with beautiful organ tones pads and follows the lunar curves of those exhilarant movements of Klaus Schulze on Body Love. This is very beautiful. "Heart of the Magnetar" ends Bouvetoya's second album with another delicate morphic intro where hot breezes are singing charming spectral airs. Heavy reverberations eat up this delicate phase of serenity, plunging "Heart of the Magnetar" into a sordid sonic universe where the strength of the movement lies in its intensity. An intensity fed by pulsations and by impulses and whose meshing is drawing a fascinating and powerful ambient rhythm.
No, Subtractivate was not a hitch, nor a stroke of luck! This small project of EM out of the Norway lands mixes talent and creativity in a musical pattern to which we grant that very few chances to surprise. Yes vintage Berlin School will always seduce, but to surprise? This is not still obvious. And nevertheless,
Bouvetoya reaches it. “Interstellarphonic” distinguish itself with a delicious crossing between these two kinds of which the antipodes live with moods a little more progressive and where the Gothic and the cosmic are allies to set ablaze rhythms in the forms and the tones each time different, each time very attractive.
Sylvain Lupari (September 20th, 2014) &

jeudi 18 septembre 2014

IOTRONICA: Of Moons and Stars (2014)

“Iotronica is a newcomer who makes revive the great forgotten moments of spacey orchestral EM”
1 Destination Io 6:38
2 Watching Lava Plumes on Io 9:43
3 As We Leave Europa 9:28
4 Dreaming of Oceans on Ganymede 7:03
5 Secrets of Callisto 9:48
6 Drifting Towards Antares 6:55
7 Shadow of the Eclipse 8:22
8 Supermoon 7:32

AD133CD (CD 65:29) ***½
(Ambient poetic symphonic EM)
The recipe may be dated as far as the first stammerings of synthesizers, Walter Carlos' Switched-On Bach or still Tomita's Snowflakes are Dancing, the orchestral EM always has the art to seduce. Certainly the model was worn and become outdated over the years. The fact remains that these tunes of astral violins and cellos which float in a cosmos encircled by heart-rending film moods were always popular, when done well. The Americans seized the model in the 80's, with as leaders of the artists who really left their imprints (Kevin Braheny, Constance Demby and Michael Stearns), while at the world level artists, such as Vangelis and Hans Zimmer, reinvented the genre with a clearly more lyrical and filmic vision. And if I dared, I would say that Iotronica is the child of these big names. Amanda Byrne is the soul behind this character, or this name, with a very intersidereal reach. Influenced by artists with styles as varied as Kraftwerk, Can, Wendy CarlosJean Michel Jarre and even Kate Bush, the synthesist of Cornwall, small coastal village of England, offers a first work which is inspired by one of the moons of Jupiter; Io.
Of Moons And Stars” shows the hybrid style of Iotronica with a kind of Space techno which beats slowly in the beginning. "Destination Io" and "Watching Lava Plumes on Io" present two patterns of static rhythm where lines of sequences oscillate, wave and make their keys flicker in some dense orchestral pads. In fact, the rhythms follow much more the curves of the violin winds than those of more or less quiet sequences. Although stormy, the movements are slow and describe big circles of seething keys. The best analogy would be to imagine millipedes, with clogs of soft wood, trying to sprint in a pond of Jell-O. It is rather what surrounds these sequences that make all the charms. We float easily in the memories of
Software, period Electronic-Universe, with these violins and cellos which draw veils of melancholy, skillfully nuanced by choirs which do not take too much room and caressed too briefly by discreet synth solos. Those who love the cosmic symphonic approach of Software and  Peter Mergener are going to adore this opus. These first two titles will be most livened up of “Of Moons And Stars”. "As We Leave Europa" offers a bit dramatic structure with sci-fi sound elements which get lost in the waltzes of strings instruments. The orchestral arrangements are sublime and forge elements of suspense with a pleasant staccato movement and Greco-Roman choruses. That feels a good perfume of Vangelis. "Dreaming of Oceans on Ganymede" and "Secrets of Callisto" have a more scent of cinema with choruses which are grafted to the laments of synth strings fanciful instruments. It's poignant and I hear here these dense philarmonicosmic of Tomita. And we continue to drift in an esoteric universe with the violin pads of "Drifting Towards Antares". Its shy melody is crumbled by a piano so miserly of its notes that we are losing it in the shoals of astral voices. Except that it's too beautiful to disappear totally. Its airs come back in order to be melted in a seraphic setting misted by waves with drizzle drunk of pensive voices. It's very beautiful. Meditative, but very beautiful! We have a tear hanging in the soul? It's nothing! We did not hear yet the titanic "Shadow of the Eclipse" and its rustles which get lost in an intense, but intense I insist, orchestration. Honestly? I don't remember having heard a piece of music so powerfully orchestral in electronic. It's ambient, but it's strong! And "Supermoon" doesn't calm things down! More filmic, one would say hearing Hans Zimmer on a sci-fi theme filled by Arabic scents, this last title of  “Of Moons And Stars” concludes an album which is going to make dream more than one.
Sylvain Lupari (September 18th, 2014) &

mardi 16 septembre 2014

ALPHA LYRA & MOONSATELLITE: Live in Nancy 2013 (2014)

“Two styles in one 2 CD boxset; Live in Nancy 2013 is a great album of EM French School with 2 artists at their zeniths”
CD 1 (ALPHA LYRA) 69:36
1 From Berlin to Nancy 69:36

1 Emergence Part I 14:58
2 Sequenzer Part I 19:16
3 Patched People 8:42
4 Sequenzer Part IV 5:00
5 Low Life Part II 8:08
6 Missing Time Part I 20:34

PWM Distrib (2 CD 146:12) ****
(Cosmic e-rock a la French School style)
The French movement of EM continues to go out quite softly out of its borders. And this is a great news for the lovers of EM because the modern French School is as striking as the movement of the Dutch School. Alpha Lyra and MoonSatellite were invited to perform on the very famous E-Day Festival, held justly in the Netherlands on May 10th 2014. It's during this event that both rising stars of EM from France launched a double album, soberly entitled “Live in Nancy 2013”, which is an audio witness of two concerts given in Nancy on March 9th and 10th 2013. For those who are familiar with the music of Christian Piednoir, the man behind  Alpha Lyra, the latter presented the first sketches of his very good From Berlin to Paris, while MoonSatellite took his music from his magnificent sound saga which is Sequenzer as well as Missing Time and his brand new album Low Life which had just hardly landed in the stores.
It's with the bells of the Saint-Epvre Basilica that "From Berlin to Nancy" rings between our four walls. The intro is as much intense as noisy and gradually gives way to an astral choir which sings the peaceful harmonies of Midnight in Paris from the album
From Berlin to Paris. In fact, "From Berlin to Nancy" draws the main part of his 70 minutes from the bases of Alpha Lyra's last album. The rhythms are less heavy, less incisive and stay in a very ethereal approach of a concert where the influences of Bernd Kistenmacher, for the orchestrations, and Vangelis, for the very celestial approaches of synth movements filled of paradoxes, highlights marvellously the seraphic sweetnesses of From Berlin to Paris. The first minutes are more floating with a concerto for celestial choruses of which the singings become more emphasized or a bit eased at the wills of splendid orchestrations or some more cosmic movements. We hear the arpeggios of Beaubourg 16 pm sparkling with more vigour, while the choir pads are clearly more heavenly and more surrounding. Alpha Lyra multiplies the synth lines which move and float slowly like some shoals of clouds pushed by hot winds. The cosmic approach remains so very present, especially at the 25th minute where a delicate morphic melody invades our senses with a movement of sequences which shapes a mesmerizing ritornello in the shape of an astral cannon. A movement which is very typical to Christian Piednoir, although Michael Stearnsinfluences are very detectable here. It's from then that Alpha Lyra plays with the moods of "From Berlin to Nancy" by permuting its celestial ambiences and its delicate cosmic rhythms. After a rather static cosmic storm, pierced by some howling and superb twisted solos, we reach the nirvana of "From Berlin to Nancy" at around the 37th minute with a superb, but a superb, a sequenced melody even more poignant than the previous one. Constantly split between delicate rhythms and rich moods, "From Berlin to Nancy" continues to charm on the genesis of From Berlin to Paris but with many nuances, so much in the rhythms, harmonies and atmospheres. If the beginning of the show is rather slow, when Alpha Lyra borrows the paths of the rhythms he constantly returns to drink of it after brief ambiospherical passages, making of "From Berlin to Nancy" an unexpected complementary work to From Berlin to Paris. And the finale is grand. This is some great Alpha Lyra we have here!
The concert of
MoonSatellite is clearly more livened up. The French synthesist, of which the influences go from Jean Michel Jarre to Klaus Schulze, is unfolding a delicious cosmic setting with astral synth waves which will roll in the narrow corridors of a cosmos multicolored of thousand intersidereal tones. A very French School pattern that will bind the 6 tracks and the 77 minutes of this concert which begins with a track until then unknown to my ears, "Emergence Part I". The music is no surprise and still magically great. The intro is luxuriant with a dense cosmic fauna which carries the weight of sinuous synth waves which stroll while humming cosmic airs to the delicate lyrical distortions. This is a very rich ambient cosmic mood which quietly takes life with resounding pulsations; the birth of cosmic and loud rhythm. A movement of sequences gets loose. It makes scintillate its keys which dance with a subtle movement of harmonious undulation in the shadows of some other jumping sequencer keys. The movement accelerates. Tsitt-tsitt and bass sequences stir up a rhythm which widens its dimension with pulsations of bass sequences and Teutonic percussions, while the melody is dispersing its airs with a delicate subtlety in its detachment. This is huge cosmic rock at its best and MoonSatellite dazzled even more our ears with synth solos which always inhale this influence of Klaus Schulze. And these influences of Schulze will came to caress our ears throughout the splendid "Sequenzer Part I"; one of the great retro Berlin School music piece signed by Lone Wolf. The music may have come from different eras or from different themes that it pours harmoniously throughout this concert. "Patched People" inhales the rhythms and ambiences of "Emergence Part I" but with more relief and dynamism. After the very ambiospherical "Sequenzer Part IV", MoonSatellite offers us the very dynamic "Low Life Part II", as well as "Missing Time Part I" where the duels rhythms and ambiences are of pure magic and amongst the best of an electronic cosmic rock filled by a lot of soft interstellar madnesses. Sweetnesses which make me dream and which are the privilege of this very good double album; “Live in Nancy 2013”.
Sylvain Lupari (September 16th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 15 septembre 2014

AMONGST MYSELVES: The Past Is Another Country (2014)

“This album of dark ambient is deliciously filled by a subtle spirit of electronic folk music”
1 The Past is Another Country 6:03
2 Dark Places, Winter Shadows 11:19
3 He Who Bathes in the Black Sun 8:18
4 Cave of the Swimmers 6:43
5 The Day the Crickets Listened 7:39
6 Campfires of the Night Sky 6:19
7 In My Depths, All Treasures Dwell 12:49

SG17 (CD 59:40) *** ½ (Dark ambient music)
Long and slender synth lines, to the colors of melancholy, are floating and caressing waves which, sometimes, let hear a subtle sibylline singing. Profoundly meditative, "The Past is Another Country" transcends the borders of the dark ambient music with a very esoteric approach tinted by some fine dramatic nuances which isolates the listener in his thoughts. There are airs of Michael Stearns and Juta Takahashi on this title-track where the brightness illuminates the shadows with a delicate meshing of idle lines which seem to suffer as much that they seem to sing in an intense contemplative shroud. An envelope where the white is nibbled at its purity by fangs all black and which encircles our somber feelings up until the singings of discreet birds, meaning frankly that the past is actually another country.
Amongst Myselves is an interesting musical project of Steve Robert who is undoubtedly going to please those who love black and meditative ambient music, well for this one in any case. With 7 albums to his credit, albums a little bit closer of the celestial airs, the Australian synthesist takes another step by abandoning his usual style, which flirted with a more New Age kind, to switch for a more Dark Ambient music. And “The Past is Another Country” reaches this height of a dark music where Amongst Myselves doesn't deny entirely his rustic roots by flooding his structures of elements of an Australian nature which floods our ears of an absolute charm. Moreover this very last album presents the bound of this transition by mixing darker and serene vibes, even rather black, with sound effects where the sweetness of the nature crosses the sourness of the insanity. The chirping of birds may cheer up our ears that "Dark place, Winter Shadows" plunges, in spite of the soft caresses of a nature always charming, into gaps blacks. The surrounding noises establish a climate of worry, even of fright, with dark winds which hoot the distress. It's a little as when that Frodon Sacquet, and his good friend Sam, left the prosperous countered to enter into the lands of Mordor. There are growls which speak and reign over a fauna to thousand whispers. It's very enveloping as it's enigmatic but also very fascinating, like on the moods a little more musical over "The Day the Crickets Listened" where a timid guitar sings the romance to some very twisted reverberations. As darker as "Dark place, Winter Shadows", "He Who Bathes in the Black Sun" is clearly less threatening. Except for brief period, toward the end, with a mass of translucent lines from which we distinguish vaguely the singings of breezes. "Cave of the Swimmers" leads us to another level of intensity with synth lines to the colors of silver shouts which squeak over an indefinable nature. We perceive some unclear riffs of guitar and resonant chords trying a rhythmic breakthrough but the absolute void is swallowing "Cave of the Swimmers" into an ambiospherical and ambiosonic pattern which depicts quite well this tortuous glaucous universe of “The Past is Another Country”. "Campfires of the Night Sky" is undoubtedly the softest moment on this rather dark album with beautiful synth lines, to the colors of the romantic dreams, which float in an approach as poetic as ethereal. It's a good moment which catches up the lyrical bases of the title-track, while the very somber and penetrating "In My Depths, All Treasures Dwell" reveals a captivating symphony of hollow winds of which the somber atmospheres, fed by a thick cloud of sound drones, are titillated by scattered ringings of bells. These winds, at times tinted of refulgence, flood the ambiences of an album which sounds with fascination like some purely electronic ambient folk. Very immersive! And the fans of black ambiences will be extremely charmed.
Sylvain Lupari (September 15th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 13 septembre 2014

DIGIALSIMPLYWORLD: Essence of the Sequences (2014)

“This opus makes the apology of the sequencing art in a context where the imagination replaces guitars and voices in order to create above all a fascinating music”
1 Event Horizon of Sequences 11:46
2 Orbiter 6:43
3 Metal Heart 10:02
4 Sequential Glimmer 8:17

DSW Bandcamp (DDL 36:50) ***½
(Based sequences EM)
The universe of DigitalSimplyWorld feeds on his heterogeneity! After a film work which revisited the abysses of Blade Runner and an ambient work where everything becomes subtly music, the mysterious Polish synthesist comes back with an album where the sequences return to the cradles of the art of the sequenced rhythms. And beyond! “Essence of the Sequences” presents 4 minimalist movements where the sequences dress on forms as different as the rhythms. The music waves essentially towards rhythms but also towards melodies where the keys ring like strummed anvils, giving quite another vision that we could have about the role of sequences in the universe of EM.
And it is in the impetuous movements of
Steve Roach's Empetus and Stormwarning periods that the unbridled rhythm of "Event Horizon of Sequences" polishes our ears and makes us dance of the head. The structure leans on series of sequences which run at a brisk pace, entailing their shadows in a swirling rhythmic maze where roam attractive and soothing layers of a rather esoteric synth. The rhythm is hard and pure. No subtlety! Even when the sonic storm calms down, the agitators of ambiences and jumping keys are raging and kicking in cascade in a still pattern which leaves more charms to these synth pads filled so much with the aromas of Roach. This is a great track and one of the best in 2014! "Orbiter" proposes another kind of rhythmic structure with an intro which resounds like a majestic irascible piano. The rhythm turns around a brief cyclic ritornello with a repetitive movement which amasses some spectral harmonies forgotten in the sufferings of the anvils. One would say a prisoner who jogs in a cell too small for his ambitions. The movement becomes even more bouncy with the addition of other sequences which agglutinate and walk faster for a short period of time before that "Orbiter" finds again the paths of its obsessing sonic walk, but this time with fat chords to big resonant oscillations. The kind of oscillations which we also find on the very heavy and powerful "Metal Heart", by whom the cyclic beat is restricted just as much but which gets dressed of an attractive heaviness. A headache is to be planned if we put the volume too loud! And I have to inform you that I made heard this track to 2 of my friends and they find it very aggressive. I think they are right! The intro of "Sequential Glimmer" is a mixture between the moods of The City Dark Synth and the strummed rhythm, more furtive this time, of "Orbiter". Quietly everything is taking shape. The crackling of fire and the drumming of sequences converge on a pale and nervous structure of rhythm of which the shivers flounder under oscillations which have a very subtle sound of didge. There is a fine dramatic gradation in the moods which perspire a little those of Flashpoint or the Californian Deserts School with an attractive crescendo, as rhythmic as sonic. A crescendo which crashes in an intriguing ambient moment before retying with a little disordered finale.
Who says 
DigitalSimplyWorld, says EM which transcends the usual patterns with a clearly less commercial and resolutely more instructive approach. “Essence of the Sequences” quite means. It's an album which makes the apology of the movement of sequences, their airs as much as their rhythms, in a context where the imagination, the boldness and the resourcefulness replace guitars and voices in a music which aims to be so as well free as totally fascinating. This is why it is necessary to greet the creativity, without any commercial bounds, of the artists such as DigitalSimplyWorld. And needs to say that "Event Horizon of Sequences" is quite a great piece of EM!
Sylvain Lupari (September 13th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: