samedi 22 novembre 2014

HYPNOSPHERE: Within The Whirl (2003)

“Within the Whirl is worth listening. Especially if you are a fan of the Phaedra era and also of those cosmic moods of Jarre”
1 Isolation Process 19:37 
2 Sleepwalk 10:10 
3 Hypnotic Fields 15:51 
4 Anguish 14:41 
5 Trancelunar Drive 12:30
 
Spheric Music | SMCD 4003 (CD 72:59) ****
(Berlin School)

The more we go in the discovery of “Within the Whirl”, we have difficulty in believing that this opus is the fruit of individual and separate sessions of improvisations. The German duet shows an outstanding cohesion, both at the level of the structures and the ideas, to merge an opus livened up by the somber aromas of Alien Nature to the fluid sequenced movements of Lambert Ringlage. The result is surprising, even overturning, because “Within the Whirl” offers 5 tracks to some unexpected and strange dimensions in a structure free of constraints but nevertheless very coherent.
At both complex and harmonious, "Insulation Process" navigates between the dark age of
TD, the Phaedra era, and the first music of Neuronium due to its drifting lethal cosmic side. Not totally floating, this long movement bathes in a lugubrious mood up until that a light sequence ignites it at the middle point. The rhythm becomes then febrile by oscillating on a rotating and nervous sequencing pattern which is draped by the fluid ambient chords from a synth. The ambiances and the sonic pattern are rich in tones and electronic sounds effects while the solos abound in a synth flora to the mesmerizing meanders, not to say hypnotic. The rhythm becomes heavier and loud riffs monopolize this sequence in cascade which spins on ill-assorted sound effects. This is a great opening where subtle tribal aromas cogitate with anarchy, depicting so the strange sound universe which reigns all over this first album from Hypnosphere. "Sleepwalk" releases a sweet morphinic scent with a nice movement where the dream builds up itself on a soft sequenced hypnotic carousel. You see the kind? This is smooth, a bit of eerie, and totally enveloping. It's this kind of track which doesn't stop amazing with some great guitar parts and slow synth pads which revolve on a spiral sequencing pattern. Simply sublime! Following the introductory structures of each track in “Within the Whirl”, "Hypnotic Fields" grows in a dense cosmic mist. Quite heavy and enveloping, the ambience is filled of deaf clamors which widen their reverberations on the opaque and foggy synth layers. Magnetizing and slow percussions awaken this sleepiness, in order to create a slow sensual impulse which mutters beneath thunders and their stigmatised artifices, a little as we were in a dark cave with only a long tunnel within it. The hollow effect persists up until the intro of "Anguish" which surprises with a short sequence move a la Jarre around the 5th minute point. Loyal to its structure, "Anguish", just as "Trancelunar Drive", evolves on sequences and alternate paces wrapped by heavy synth lines filled by fragrances of dark moods.

Within the Whirl” is a sonic experience which sticks closely to those dark ambient atmospheres which furnished our somber dreams of these great vintage moments, back in the 70's. This is worth listening, discovering. Especially if you are a fan of the Phaedra era and also of those cosmic moods of Jarre. Two influences that we will remark all along this first album from this amazing collaboration between Wolfgang Barkowski and Lambert Ringlage. There is a rich mixture of sequences on an ambiospheric background wealthy in sound effects and creative in progressive cadences which redefined a more audacious Berlin School.
Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2007 and translate on November 22nd, 2014 gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

jeudi 20 novembre 2014

STEVE ORCHARD: Pilgrimage (2014)

“If you want smooth relaxing music this new album from Steve Orchard will suit your expectations”
1 Leaving the City Behind 5:45
2 Covered Wagons 5:01
3 Cat's Eyes 5:24
4 Just Sitting in a Field 4:50
5 On the Road 6:01
6 Open Spaces 2:18
7 Toll House 5:23
8 Cast a Long Shadow 5:21
9 Traveller's Rest 3:22
10 Changing Horizon 4:59
11 April Sunshine 5:26
12 Spiritual Destination 6:20

AD Music | AD137 CD-r (CD-r/DDL 60:16) (Soft e-rock, New Age)
A flute to the perfumes of jazz lost in the noises of a city whistles an evocative air which floats over the jerky echoes of a keyboard's chords. The introduction of "Leaving the City Behind" sticks then to the muffler noise of a motorcycle of which the start is guiding the track towards a soft and very melodious mid-tempo. The piano lets go some fragile harmonies which dance cheerfully in the breezes of the violins, always preserving so this romantic approach tinted of melancholy which characterizes the music of Steve Orchard. With “Pilgrimage”, Steve Orchard follows this tangent of the English label for a music of which the essences of the New Age cradle themselves over some rhythms a little more lively.
The bard of the
ADMusic label trades his acoustic clothes in order to electrify his romantic ambiences with more sustained rhythms. Giving so an album where a mix of down and mid tempos are still flirting with New Age. We are still far from the lands of the electronica, still very far from those of an EM of the Berlin or England School kinds, except that the music offered on “Pilgrimage” answers the needs to those who like a more Easy Listening genre. It's not made for me, but my sweet Lise likes it a lot. That's the perfect balance in a couple. So, “Pilgrimage” is a lot rhythmic than the previous offerings from Steve Orchard. The guitar leaves more space to the piano and keyboards. And the percussions shake a little more the romantic moods of Orchard. And all in all, that remains some nice music which furnishes the thread of the screens of our life. We feel a delicious tendency of jazz and blues on tracks like "Covered Wagons", the pleasant "Cat's Eyes" whom Lise has really fall for, and "Cast a Long Shadow". In order to avoid of mislaid too much his fans, Steve Orchard also offers these delicious guitar ballads which cut out our buried feelings. Romance tracks which would fill the end credits movies of watery tears, like the very beautiful "Just Sitting in a Field" where violins transport the tears of the piano and the very elegiac "April Sunshine". For the rest, Steve Orchard offers a lively and not too much complicated e-music. "On the Road" is a good balance between a mid-tempo and a down-tempo with yet nice orchestrations and a rich musical envelope perfumed of sweet harmonies a bit cosmic. It's a more electric track where the six-strings of Orchard discharges the piano of its harmonious responsibilities. The same goes for "Open Spaces" and "Traveller's Rest", although the violins are more present here, where the guitar expires mainly alone its harmonies of solitary bard. Steve Orchard plays a little more in the cinematographic music scents with a massive use of violins and orchestral arrangements of which the main purpose is to be melt the last bastions of resistance of any soul. I think among others to the oriental fragrances of "Toll House", where we can perceive David Wright's influences, and the very ambient, floating and wrapping "Changing Horizon" which moves slowly with a dreamy morphic tempo. A beautiful ballad which has also pleased to my Lise. "Spiritual Destination" concludes this album, which in the end is situated closer to New Age or even soft e-rock than electronica, with a more folk root approach. We hear there, through good orchestrations which cradle as much the rhythms as the ambiences, airs which haunt and which awaken souvenirs of an already heard music. If you want smooth relaxing music, even if lively here and there, this new album from Steve Orchard will suit your expectations.
Sylvain Lupari (November 20th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mardi 18 novembre 2014

JAVI CANOVAS: Axiom (2014)

“Axiom is an interesting collection of short tracks where the sequencing shines of its analog and digital fragrances”
1 Sima 4:07   2 Descent 5:57
3 Masker 3:52   4 Axiom 6:39
5 Invisible Symbol 5:21
6 Hydrometry 5:26   7 Crush 6:15
8 Forbidden Zone 3:53
9 Relapse 5:38   10 The Seeker 6:15
11 Transcription 4:06
12 Allegory 4:00
13 Almost Imperceptible 4:45
14 Heavy Colour 7:52

Bandcamp DDL (DDL 74:13) ***½
(Driven sequenced rhythms)
One of the most attractive seductions of the Berlin School is this possibility that have the authors and musicians to tie a crowd of rhythms and melodies through some long structures fed by cosmic or simply ethereal ambiences. Get out these elements of this crenel is like to eat a filet mignon without accompaniments. Some people will like, others will miss the sauce, the potatoes or the vegetables. “Axiom” is this filet mignon. It's an album which aims the fans of meat. To the fans of sequenced rhythms braided, excepted for the very ambient "Heavy Colour" which is nearer of the nomadic moods of Cracks in the Air (2013), into jumping keys which bloom and scatter in all directions in order to create a brochette of rhythms rather diversified. For this last album, Javi Canovas wanted to try something different with a series of short tracks which shine in movements of sequences to the tones more alive than ever. If every piece of music possesses its unique cachet, the synth wizard of Spain makes a sense of honor to merge analog tones to the colors of the digital era, giving an album which unites marvellously the tones of bass to others more crystalline into patterns of rhythms charmingly acrobatic.
"Sima" begins with a storm of sequenced keys. Tones of bass, others crystal clear ones and some others more sizzling are parading in a mess of rhythmic lines which rise, come down and crisscross each others like tightrope walkers on a bicycle rolling on wires shaken by ample oscillations. The rhythm is heavy and lively. It spins with elytron of metal and electronic percussions of which the splinters draw a thick cloud of birds which pecks at a texture as well cosmic than very Teutonic. The sound textures are appreciably the same, except that 
Canovas has, this time, a clear tendency for more lunar atmospheres. And every track, in spite of certain resemblances here and there, offers a structure of rhythm of its own which sticks well enough to the visions of his author. So "Descent" offers a more sneaky movement with lines of rhythms which either crawl or tumble down a slope on the brakes. The track catches the hearing rather quickly because of its perfume which releases the ambiences of Tangerine Dream's Flashpoint. After the jerked and colored rhythm of "Masker", the title-track plunges us into a structure of rhythm braided by multiple loops where the keys spin with violence in breezes to the colors of the nostalgia. The rhythm is static and violent and I challenge you to drumming it with your fingers and follow its pace. This is a great Berlin School, perfumed of cosmic breezes a la Jarre, with keys which try desperately to extricate themselves from these uncountable loops which enclose it. I don't know why, but that reminds me the violence of Steve Roach's static rhythms on Empetus. Idem with "Transcription" and its stubborn rhythm which climbs a brief oscillating curve with a thick cloud of keys in tints and timbres which mix delightfully the contrasts of the analogue and the digital. "Relapse" also breathes of these static rhythmic fragrances of this period. "Invisible Symbol" sounds so out of tune in all this universe of splendid rhythms. It's a nice ballad with a beautiful piano and it allows our ears to breathe a little. And that restarts with the deep oscillatory rhythm of "Hydrometry". The sequences buzz like a swarm in fury, while the curve of the winds breathes an ethereal approach which drowns itself literally in front of these massifs hummings and these solos which whistle braids over this mass of feverish agitation. "Crush" presents a more Cartesian approach. The movement is minimalist. Keys, always so furious, are skipping in the shadow of the rather nervous jingles of electronic percussions while the more the movement progresses, the more it frees other keys in juicier tones which glide in crisscrossed figures over a structure which weighs down constantly its heat. That looks like a Deep House, but without the bass pulsations. A little of tranquility? Just to rest the ears! Javi Canovas offers then another small quieter movement in "Forbidden Zone" with a stream of sequences which spin and chirp, with a fascinating organic harmony, in suave morphic veils. "Almost Imperceptible" feeds itself of the same ambiguities. Its rhythm is more or less ambient and snores in cosmic corridors. There also I like these organic tones sequences which make tremble the ambient texture and which enhance the quality of the twisted, and rather discreet moreover, solos. "The Seeker" offers a very good heavy rhythm with a more resonant line and a series of winged keys which crisscrosses it of a spheroidal line. The rhythm splits in a structure with gaps where the jumping keys are bouncing in the shadow of other ones, in order to peck at the line of the main rhythm. Adding so these colors and sound flavors which bicker constantly between the analog and the digital tones. "Allegory" is in the same vein, whereas "Heavy Colour" ends “Axiom” with an ambient approach which is very near of Steve Roach's aboriginal soundscapes. After all, it's necessary good in an album where the jumping and flying keys devour our ears as much as the ambiences and the melodies, which are literally in background, on this surprising pallet of rhythms in so lively colors that alone the fathomless territories of EM can draw.
Sylvain Lupari (November 18th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

lundi 17 novembre 2014

LORD OF THE ANTS: Firebird (2014)

“If one like diversity and musical structures which take completely unexpected bends in a meshing of rhythms which touch almost everything in the spheres of electronica, this is for you”
1 Firebird 3:38    2 Ruby 3:22
3 A Dedicated Man 3:43
4 Expectate Veni 7:05
5 Dr Dee 4:35    6 Impossible Sky 5:11
7 East at Least 5:02    8 Neuronaut 4:13
9 Secrets of the Days 4:55
10 Keep Off the Grass 4:35
11 1218 4:25    12 Orlando Girl 5:13

 AD Music | AD139 CD-r (CD-r 55:57) ***
(Electronica dips in New Age)
Having walked on the paths of New Age, ADMusic explores the avenues of an EM which mixes firmer rhythms to orchestrations where rather catchy melodies, certain stamped by the New Age seal, float in envelope musical which knot the cinematographic approaches to electronica. Hydrosphere, from Divine Matrix and Of Moon and Stars, from Iotronica are two good examples of this new direction from the English label. “Firebird” distances itself from those, but just a bit, with a more punchy music which gets closer to the very interesting Transfer of my Affections from The Pels Syndicate. This Lord of the Ants' 2nd album, the other one being Quantum Voodoo which was released in 2009, offers a dozen of short musical pieces, set apart for one track, which move enormously inside their minutes and which touch lightly the big themes of electronica without ever taking root really in a genre in particular.
The title-track opens with a series of arpeggios shivering like pieces of wood which collide in some big Siberian winds. The approach is nervous, but fast covered up by pads of Gregorian voices which infuse a perfume of Enigma on a structure of rhythm which livens up on a meshing of linear percussions and bass sequences. That gives a kind of semi techno interrupted of passages as ethereal as the sections of melodies and the orchestrations which decorate it. This kind of rhythm with nervous static shocks finds also its niche on "Dr Dee", which sounds very 
TD with its guitar, and "Orlando" which lurches more into a kind of Ambient Chill. More cinematographic and very relaxing, with its delicate arpeggios which shiver in the winds of orchestrations and air voices, "Ruby" eventually offers a beautiful down-tempo with a tone of guitar, rather nasal, which cries on a slow tempo. If we are into a more ballad mood, "Secrets of the Days" offer an interesting folk approach with an acoustic guitar which scatters its notes on a rather slow rhythm. The voices and violins offer a rather poignant texture. The same goes for "East at Least", which is quite good. An electronic rock, kind of very TD from the 220 Volts years, intertwined in a kind of Deep House approach, "A Dedicated Man" is transiting by several kinds in a little less than 4 minutes, while "Neuronaut" is a pure Deep House. The diversity abounds on this Christopher Westcott's 2nd album, the one-man band behind Lord of the Ants. Besides finding an interesting, and completely unexpected, reggae in "Keep Off the Grass", "Expectate Veni" entails us in a long progressive structure which gathers more or less all the styles which we find on “Firebird”. The rhythm is rather slow, from time to time a bit jerky, with sound effects well putted in a rather tribal musical approach. Only drawback! The sound seems to have its limits. There are distortions here and there. Is it the sought effect? That would be possible because that adds an effect of apocalyptic science fiction on a more or less film structure. At this level, and although clearly quieter, "1218" is closer of a screen with orchestrations a bit dramatic and percussions which roll like military thunders on the tears of violins. A good track filled with emotionalism! "Impossible Sky" is a music piece which a little breaks ranks with a more acoustic approach which struggles under thunders of percussions and rests on perfumes of saxophone. At times one would say a kind of lounge, jazz and blues with a guitar which grumbles in the interlinks of several musical styles, just as a lot of tracks on “Firebird” by the way. "East at Least" begins with an ambient approach where sizzling winds and ochred synth lines float like radioactive clouds. The track eventually falls under the charms of a good mid-tempo, interrupted by jerks and by ambient movements, with fascinating hoarse breezes adorned of Didgeridoo perfumes, and some beautiful orchestrations as well as a sweet seraphic voice. I know that it sounds like a New Age a la Enigma, but I like that! And if we like diversity and musical structures which take completely unexpected bends in a meshing of rhythms which touch almost everything in the spheres of electronica, this “Firebird” is completely drawn for your tastes.
Sylvain Lupari (November 17th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

dimanche 16 novembre 2014

HYPNOSPHERE: Timedrift (2014)

“Fan of retro progressive Berlin School, you're gonna love this one”

1 Trancenter 18:38
2 Sperical Movement 6:41
3 Escape from Dissonance 12:40
4 Ardent Drive 13: 22
5 Emphasis 11:03
6 Time Drift 13:26

Spheric Music |SMCD4005 (CD 73:00) ****½
(Vintage Berlin School)
After a silence of 7 years, the duet Hypnosphere comes back caressing our ears with a pure marvel of EM from the analog years. Establishing marvellously the limits and the evolutions of an album which passes in transit between a rather ambient and psychedelic cosmic rock of the beautiful vintages years, the duet Lambert Ringlage, owner of the label Spheric Music, and Wolfgang Barkowski presents in “Timedrift” an album that we savour like a complex work with surprises which abound where we expect the least. And you are going to adore! One listens to absently, I always begin in this way in order to cajole an album, by reading a book or by trying a beddy-byes. And we have the vague sensation to hear Tangerine Dream out of the Encore years. The foggy atmospheres, the soft and ambient rhythms which just skip just by the tip of their sequences, as well as these duels of guitar and synth which torment the psychedelic-progressive moods make of “Timedrift” one of the beautiful surprises, in the shelf of the unexpected, of 2014.
The beginning of "Trancenter" projects us in a forest decorated by peaceful chirping of birds which are courting a lazy flow of river. The singings of insects, the same as certain serenades of the four legs inhabitants, are as for them courted by a dreamy guitar which spreads its solitary notes over an increasing carpet of mist. One would believe to hear the ambient introductions of Pink Floyd. A line of bass sequences structures a rhythm to the peaceful oscillations. Little by little the magic of the Mellotron and of its mystic fluty breezes are making our ears sensitive to a more attentive listening. Although very ambient, "Trancenter" is waving quietly like a river which tumbles down a light slope by a beautiful sunny Sunday. A river which gilds its serenity under the hot beams of Mellotron and which shakes its delicate race towards clouds with light jolts and static eddies, plunging "Trancenter" into a false debate between the ambient and the meditative rhythm. Lambert Ringlage's guitar is magnificently restful. Freeing riffs and lyrical notes, it sings beautiful solos, sometimes tormented, which split into thick cloud of mist, releasing a strange perfume of
AshRa over the idle rhythms of the Encore years. The intro of "Sperical Movement" is dark. The guitar brightens it up with a series of notes with hybrid harmonies which sing, cry and swirl in a slow maelstrom weighs down by a cosmic mist. The moods win in intensity, in particular with some nice orchestrations coated of fog, but we are always in the ambient phases of “Timedrift” which feeds mostly its first minutes with the incantations of a dreamy guitar. And then "Escape from Dissonance" falls in our ears. Its intro rests on nomadic breezes which collect rippling singings to the slightly alarming aromas. Comes then a Mellotron hymn which frees a rhythm that we find in those rhythmic boxes of those old organs. It's a galactic rumba a la Jarre with clouds of mist which tighten the innocent pace. A storm of jumping keys turns up. They are several. They pound and skip fervently in contradictory tints and tones. The beauty is that they also bear a superb synth solo which spreads out more harmonies than floating thoughts. The rhythm of "Escape from Dissonance" gives way to a furious attack of sequenced keys which always peck at the suspicious pace of the cosmic rumba, while the synth solos harmonize their acuteness with the stormy flow of other sequences with more buzzing resonant tones. This is a great cosmic cacophonous rock as we hear too rarely of nowadays.
Although being more static, "Emphasis" stays in the field of quite lively electronic rhythms. It structures its rhythmic approach with sequences which pierce the contemplative clouds in order to pound in a rather static linear mode. The synth lines to the orchestral perfumes are divine and surround a rhythm which makes waltzing its movements of sequences with juice in tones and with jolts imprint of finesse which caracole beneath some languishing synth solos. The rhythm is progressive and changes subtly its skin in front of the repeated attacks of those long twisted solos. It lowers the cadence around the 6 minutes with a thick cloud of jumping keys which plot on a conveyor fed by a mist filled of suspicious voices before returning heavier below solos of synth which click such as lassoes in a sky blackens of cosmic sea spray. "Ardent Drive" adopts a bit the same model, but in a more ethereal approach. The finale is simply superb while the title goes adrift downright in the ambiences of
Encore, but with a more contemporary tone. The guitar solos are as much scathing than the synth solos on "Escape from Dissonance", while the movement of the jumping keys is more compact and heavier. Once again, it's a solid electronic rock. After an ambient intro, eaten away by an acidified guitar which spits riffs and twisted harmonies, the title-track releases a beautiful movement of fluid sequences which reminds Peter Baumann's harmonious rhythms. Except that "Time Drift" is conceived in the dissonance. In the disharmony which had unified the evolutionary and removable rhythms of the previous three tracks where the kicks of sequences have establishing a harmonious structure constantly decried by evasive synth solos and by sharp synth solos. But the result remains rather blazing. Like these great electronic rocks of the psychedelic years with a sonic crossroads which meets the unchained harmonies by AshRa, the oscillatory rhythms of Tangerine Dream and the cosmic moods of Jean Michel Jarre. Admit that you are going to adore this superb sonic journey in the heart of the years which began this wonderful story of contemporary EM. I did! Superb and it's even better with the ears released from headphones! Because the sound travels…travels…travels.
Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca