samedi 13 février 2016

CRAIG PADILLA: Heaven Condensed (2016)

“I was really seduced by the majestuous sound of Heaven Condensed. Great ambient moods plus great ambient beats only give the la creme de la creme of Padilla's repertoire”
1 Stonington Moon 9:24
2 Heaven Condensed 28:46
3 Across the Light 7:18
4 Heavenly Sails 28:31

Spotted Peccary ‎| SPM-1406 (CD/DDL 70:48) ****
(Pacific School)
A new album from Craig Padilla is always an event in the circles of EM. Playing marvelously on the esoteric borders of the ambient form of music and the delicate rhythms of the Berlin and of the Pacific School, the American synth magician likes to destabilize his public, who is always faithful to him, by flirting between these poles with the vision of an old wise person who knows all the cogs. Structured around 4 tracks with parallel identities which play marvelously on the borders of quiet music and the Berlin School model, “Heaven Condensed” transports us near a universe rich in sounds and in ambient rhythms where Craig Padilla, like a painter of tones, invents colors which challenge the imagination. It's the pinnacle of the Pacific School! You know these layers of voices and of cosmic breezes which escape from the Milky Way? And these sequences which glitter such as the reflections of a kaleidoscope dancing on a sea enlightened by the red moon? It's behind this pallet of tones and ambiences that wraps us with a fascinating anesthetic embrace that “Heaven Condensed” is taming the thousand apprehensions of those who avoid the ambient music. Welcome to Craig Padilla's nights of thousand magnetisms.
A long woosh coming from Orion caresses our ears already won by the sweet very airy approaches of
Craig Padilla. Corridors of prisms crumble down their particles while perfumed floating layers of absent voices and some slow dying pulsations provide the astral serenity of the moment. A small ringing coming from a strange tone pierces this dense cloud of contrasts at around the 2nd minute of "Stonington Moon". Answering to its echo, it attracts our sense of hearing which concentrates now on these organic pulsations which will forge the very Berlin School approach of "Stonington Moon". The rhythm is as jerky as these furtive steps which advance gropingly in twilights decorated of translucent particles. It's like these long hypnotic movements of the analog years with a mixture of sequences, pulsations and percussions which marks a slightly jerky structure. A very electronic structure rich in tones and in nuances of sounds, and of which the ambiences remain always very soaked with this touch of Pacific School, which is proud of its opaque wall filled by tones of a parallel universe and by synth layers to fathomless colors. The title-track entails us into the very ambient universe of “Heaven Condensed” where, like a painter of sounds, Craig Padilla decorates his intro of long passive lines to the colors of serenity. The start is very in the astral kind with lines of synth, waves of tones, which intertwine themselves slowly and waltz in oblivion. Lost chords are eventually ringing a little around the 10th minute, separating so the celestial bodies of “Heaven Condensed” which makes heavier its senses, and ours, with an immensely ambient phase which is filled of woosh and of these small ringings which sneak between buzzing lines. Tears of synth squeak with abundance, smothering the ambient melody of the ringings which seek to structure a figure of rhythm which will emerge discreetly towards the finale. That does very cosmic. But it's a bit too long! Two long structures and two short structures, “Heaven Condensed” is divided by the same orientations. Therefore "Across the Light" is traced on the Berliner model of "Stonington Moon" but with a structure of rhythm which is fed by more crystal clear elements and which is also more energetic. One would say a perpetual upward promenade with a sequence as much low than a breath of baritone which skips like a limping nomad. A cloud of sequences sparkles all over the movement which is accompanied by beautiful electronic effects, by a seraphic choir and by these breaths of synth which seem to come from celestial bodies. I would have give the 10 minutes of too much of the title track here because the music abounds of rage in its last miles. So is built "Across the Light", so is similar the very long "Heavenly Sails" to the ambiospherical structure of the title-track. Except that here is nesting a great structure of ambient rhythm which reminds me enormously the universe of Western Spaces from Roach, Braheny, Brennan and Burmer or still that of Alpha Wave Movement and even the magic of the cosmic nights of Michael Stearns. It's a very long hypnotic piece of EM with a slow and long structure of ambient and of circular rhythm. A structure which goes and comes, with brief moments which are more serene. The sound image which occurs me is the one of a quiet walk on a horseback who drinks in a magic oasis and each of its gulp makes moan the scarlet wavelets beneath a sky painted of the thousand reflections from some auroras borealis. This is very beautiful. We hear the stars to sparkle as we can hear the emptiness of the furrows that their celestial bodies create while there are flying. My ears still buzz, even if it's a quiet track. Showing of this immense wealth which captivates our sense of hearing as soon as the first seconds of "Stonington Moon" begin the nice crossing of “Heaven Condensed”.
Sylvain Lupari (February 13th, 2016) &
You will find this album or a link to order it on the Spotted Peccary webshop here

jeudi 11 février 2016

ANDREAS MEYER: Irrgarten (2015)

“Minimalist EM at its best, Irrgarten enchants with its long musical rivers adorned of a thousand nuances and subtilities, as in the tones, the moods and the ambient beats”
1 Das Labyrinth 25:42
2 Reflexionen 12:36
3 Der Spiegel 13:05

Andreas Meyer Music (DDL 51:23) ***½
(New Berlin School and minimalist EM)
There is a lot of EM created in the Kontinuum Productions studios. I hardly savored Elektronische Erinnerungen that I'm discovering this “Irrgarten”. And guess what? Irrgarten 2 already went out! Of course, that some of us will be very suspicious, me the first one, in front of a such avalanche of EM in so little time. Especially when we know how things work. How grant an artistic credibility to an artist who composes an electronic symphony in not even two months? It is thus with a lot of suspicion, skepticism, that I approach “Irrgarten”, written, recorded and released even not two months after the very seductive Elektronische Erinnerungen. What had charmed me in this album was the influences, extremely rare to our contemporary craftsmen, of Klaus Schulze's In Blue era. Sequences with tones of glass dipped in silver and these harmonies of a synth from which we quite don't distinguish the flute of an alto saxophone are always present in the long minimalist structures that Andreas Meyer likes to built with creativity as well as to dismantle them.
After the hum of some long whoosh flagellated of scarlet lines, "Das Labyrinth" spreads its arsenal of sequences with keys which pulse violently like a herd of fingers which bombard a table until crushing their nails. The minimalist signature of the sequences which point the sky and the ground at full speed over harmonies of a synth replete by the soft fragrance of Schulze in the In Blue years invades our ears of its hypnotic charms. Already the structure of the sequencer activates its keys which make kicks in their tones of crystal beneath the hot caresses of a synth and of its oniric harmonious solos. Solos which fill our ears with sweet nostalgic perfumes while that quite slowly "Das Labyrinth" develops its minimalist movement with the full of nuances in the tone of sequences and of a rhythm which fatten up its depth with sober percussions and a good line of bass. And the movement becomes richer, livelier, with good Tablas percussions and a drum more in the rock kind while the hyper nervous sequences and a pleasant synth with its airy solos keeps the cape of contemporary EM. This long movement splits its charms little after the 12th minute, leading "Das Labyrinth" towards a lighter structure where we are capable of seizing better all the work of
Andreas Meyer. The rhythm remains lively, although relieved of its heaviness. A heaviness which returns little by little, taking back here and there the bewitching elements of its first part. This is quite a track my friends! We always stay in the minimalist art with "Reflexionen" and its long structure of rhythm a bit spasmodic which seems to descend like an inexhaustible fall of sequences. The movement progresses quite slowly beneath the squeaking of synth and with sequences which untie some buzzing shadows. The organic tones enrich the ambiences which will turn subtly in a kind of Funky mood toward the end. Knocks of bass drum adorn the soporific approach of the movement which deviates delicately from its axis in order to propose a slightly zigzagging movement. The creativity of Andreas Meyer saves the day here with a synth which frees ghost harmonies whose twisted cooings frolic with effects of nightmarish voices. We may say that the movement repeats tirelessly that the work of seduction makes its work with its uncountable additions which make of Andreas Meyer's minimalist structures some beautiful small jewels of addiction. Our ears swallow this track without having nausea for redundancy. The same goes for "Der Spiegel" which, after an opening fed by radioactive vapors, offers a structure of rhythm of which the light gallop is swallowed by the multiple soporific effects of the synths. The metallic elytrons spit tsitt-tsitt, helping to amplify this perception of crescendo which wallows in the soft caresses of synths more anesthetic here. And even if these synths blow harmonies of ether of the Irrlicht years, the structure of "Der Spiegel" screws into our ears a feeling of already-heard with these knocks of bass percussions which don't accelerate the pace but maintain the music in its ambient mood with a synth which multiplies towards the end some sweet caresses enthralling for the sense of hearing. So thwarting the vapors of redundancy and of boredom which often feed the defects of those long minimalist structures.
Once again, even if we don't speak of a stroke of genius here, I was bewitched by the approaches of
Andreas Meyer. Very clever in the way he builds his serial movements which grow rich before we get bored, the Rumanian synthesist manages to maintain an interest with an EM which is very delicious in his clothes of Klaus Schulze. "Das Labyrinth" is a monument. The best title of “Irrgarten” and undoubtedly Andreas Meyer's business card for our ears.
Sylvain Lupari (February 10th, 2016) &
You will find this album on the Kontinuum Productions Bandcamp page here

mardi 9 février 2016

KONRAD KUCZ: Air (2015)

“Air is a quite a sound experience where Konrad Kucz shows its ease by bordering experimental paths along good cinematic moods and great juicy sequences a la Berlin School”
1 Air-First Movement 8:47
2 Silver Clouds 4:11
3 Towards the Sky 3:22
4 Soaring Angel 3:52
5 Air-Second Movement 6:23
6 Rising Sun 5:05
7 Let it Out 1:05
8 Daybreak 1:11
9 Long Distance 2:42
10 Under the Blue Sky 3:00  GEN CD 037 (CD 39:36) ****
(Cinematic, experimental, ambiospheric and sequencer-based styles)
It has been a long time since my ears met the music of Konrad Kucz. Since 2008 in fact with the very good Railroad Paths. Since then, the synthesist and big lover of Mellotron has diviated his vision towards a more symphonic music (The Four Seasons) or a more pop one (Kucz and Klake). “Air” is a kind of back to the roots. Except that aficionados of Berlin School, don't yell to victory too fast. This last Konrad Kucz's album is a kind of sonic portfolio where the Polish master of the Mellotron exposes10 paintings which if they are quite tinted with the essences of Berlin School are also the reflections of his immense versatility, demonstrating its ease as much in rhythms filled with juicy sequences as with atmospheres which flirt with the borders of a more filmic and sometimes even a more experimental music without cocking a snook at a more accessible music. Chronicle of an album which is going to destabilize the listener by its deep moments of ambiences atmospheres which touch the nightmare and by some beautiful movement of fat sequences which exploit electronic rhythms that we hear not anywhere else.
It's with an electronic dialect that "Air-First Movement" reveals its heavy woosh to our ears. 
Konrad Kucz reveals the colors of “Air” with a wide wave of Mellotron which floats as a vampiric shade on a track which will reveals frugally the essences of its collection. Cinematic atmospheres, cosmic violins, electronic chirping and dialects as well as vampiric rhythms weaved by a creative synthesizer merge in a long wall of ambiences that a line of sequences crosses with its keys which oscillate for short moment. The approach radiates a little the essences of a concrete music wrapped in the charms not always understood of Tomita. Theme music? Intimist music? One has to hear the harp of "Silver Clouds" nibbling our eardrums in order to seize the very elegiac hold of Konrad Kucz on the soundscapes of “Air”. An oboe and some weeping violins add even more to the melancholic impact of "Silver Clouds" which at times releases these perfumes of biblical movies. "Towards the Sky" offers a nice movement of sequences which dance such as agile ballerinas on a carpet of needles. The organic tones and the shadows of sequences decorate this spherical dance of charming elements to the ear. It's very good! "Soaring Angel", as well as "Rising Sun", although the latter is less dark, transport us in a universe of dark and lugubrious ambiences with the chants of a supernatural choir. A breath of terrified voice guides "Air-Second Movement" in a short ambiospherical introduction of the psychotronic years. After one minute to the meter, Konrad Kucz lays a great structure of sequences which forges figures of rotatory rhythms with nuances in tones and holes in the circles. A cloud of mist caresses these acrobatic kicks, which little by little accelerates a pace before dissolving in a bank of chthonian voices and of lost gaspings. That reminds me a little Clara Mondshine in Memorymetropolis, but less breathless. That's good Berlin School! After the uncountable rotary loops of "Let it Out", the short "Daybreak" entails us in dark ambiences with woosh and squeaking getting out from darkness. Always very short, "Long Distance" bases its nightmarish walk on layers of violins which go from an occult hole of hell towards the paths to heavens. We are in the cave of the very filmic music of Konrad Kucz here and "Under the Blue Sky" proves it by looping the loop with a beautiful electronic ballad to the soft orchestral perfumes of the 60's.
Air” is a quite a sound experience. We notice straight out that
Konrad Kucz is somewhere else in his reflection by offering an EM which always flirts on the borders of experimentation without ever venturing there too much, so keeping the listener in imbalance. Each track, even the shortest, is of an incredible wealth in tones and in movements. In brief, an album which infatuates our ears to every listening!
Sylvain Lupari (February 9th, 2016) &
You will find how to get this CD by visiting the Generator web site here

lundi 8 février 2016

ERIK WOLLO: Visions- A Collection of Music by... (2015)

“What a way to discover all the charms of Erik Wollo!”
1 Echotides No.4 7:22
2 Revealed in Time 7:00
3 Gateway 5:27
4 Visions 6:06
5 The Native Chant 5:16
6 Misty Blue 7:02
7 Within These Walls (Remix) 5:28
8 Airborne 2 5:31

Projekt Records PRO00325 (DDL/CD 49:17) ****½
(Ambien tribal with a zest of Electronica)
Is there softer and more electronic than the music of Erik Wollo? And “Visions-A Collection of Music by...” is exactly there to show it to you. I never was and still am not a fan, or a defendant, of compilations. I understand that in X-Mas commercial times, the labels try to refloat their safes with compilation albums. The pretext is ideal! The money suckers want to make discover the music of an artist by a collection of successful titles where hide 1 or 2 unreleased pieces of music. A little as here where “Visions-A Collection of Music by...” hides a brand new track, but what a track, and another one which was hidden on this very good compilation of the label Projekt, Possiblities of Circumstance released on autumn 2013. The only difference here is the real reach of this compilation which aims above all at making know the music of Erik Wollo. As prove its prices; $5 for the download version or $7 for a manufactured CD. Admit that at this price, there is no more reason now to not be tempted by this very nice sonic journey into lyrism.
The selection is divided well between a music bearer of dreams, as "Echotides No 4" and its structure which oscillates like a thousand streams under the sea breams of the sun, and good down-tempos where nests a beautiful ballad approach as in "Revealed in Time" from the solid 
Blue Radiance album. “Visions-A Collection of Music by...” makes an overview of the 5 solo albums, excluding some EP, that Erik Wollo produced on the Projekt label since he arrived in 2010 with the Gateway
 album from which the extract proposed here, the title-track, leads us towards a more tribal trance that an ethereal vision of Wollo. "Visions" from Timelines is doubtless the track which is the closest to the New Age nuances of the bard Scandinavian whereas "The Native", which is rather recent by the way, plunges us into his attraction for the ambient tribal moods. It's a powerful track with a good lively structure. Decorating the delights of Possiblities of Circumstance, the slide guitar of "Misty Blue" is as much bewitching as its melody forged in the ringings with a scent of Halloween. Here also the structure is heavy but very hypnotic. "Within These Walls", the only real newness of this compilation, is a remix of Black Tape for a Blue Girl song. Here, the Peter Murphy's Gothic genre is transposed into a more oniric approach with long woosh which make roll the loops, both riffs and crystal clear sequences, in a permutation of the woosh for astral voices. From oniric, the crystal clear tempo becomes heavy with good muted pulsations and percussions of false wood which resound shyly. Tears of guitars tears it up with ghostly harmonies which float among the resilient ringings of the crystal clear sequences. "Airborne 2" concludes this good compilation with a slightly spasmodic structure of rhythm. We hear a kind of panting from riffs and the sequences blowing over good sober percussions and bass pulsations. Structuring so a passive, but all the same, a nervous rhythm where the melody is assured by a minimalist approach of a piano which plays very well on its nuances. It's reflecting very well the contemporary universe of Erik Wollo who always floods us with his very airy solos. Solos which float with perfumes of bitterness.
Of course that I'm already that I am conquered to the universe of
Erik Wollo! The music of the Scandinavian bard possesses an identity that we don't hear anywhere else, conferring it a cachet which is more than unique seen its approach all the same rather intimist, otherwise very personal. Always flirting with the borders of New Age, Erik Wollo admirably knows how to play on these limits by diving into the tribal ambient and sometimes transic kinds while giving an electronic side into a music on which are always roaming harmonies that we imagine to whistle on ice floes of his Norway.
Sylvain Lupari (February 8th, 2016) &
You will find this album on the Projekt Bandcamp page here

samedi 6 février 2016

ALPHA WAVE MOVEMENT: Harmonic Currents (2015)

“This is a deep ambient album of which the music float between the somber phases of Roach's Immersion series and the charms of the splendid M'Ocean”
1 Harmonic Currents 30:08
2 Nautilus Dream 30:02

Alpha Wave Movement Music (CD/DDL 60:10) ***½
(Ambient music)
When Gregory Kyryluk sent me his last album, he took care of inform me that “Harmonic Currents” was going to be very different from what he is used to offer us. Usually, the music of Alpha Wave Movement passes in transit between rhythms and atmospheres which are very near an astral serenity. And if Gregory Kyryluk wants to make in the big cosmic rock, he reinvents his signature with the project Thought Guild. Otherwise, his music is made of silk and very enveloping. Thus, why I would be surprised at the listening of “Harmonic Currents”? Because it is hyper quiet! Inspired by the fathomless mysteries of the oceans and their depths as much fascinating as intimidating, as the borders of the cosmos, “Harmonic Currents” is an ode to this universe where the blue turns to black. Like the light of the eyes, like the threads of life. In a sonic adventure which reached the peak of lyricism such as in Michael Stearns' M'Ocean, Gregory Kyryluk plays one's cards right with two long structures where the sensation to be swallowed by the depths of the oceans is clearly tangible.
The introduction of the long title-track buries our thoughts with a multitude of waves which roll over the assizes of the serenity. Voices of mermaids float with slow hummings of which the fragile acuteness is submerged by darker tones. It's the fight between refulgence and its darkness that guides the first feelings of "Harmonic Currents". The grave vampiric waves are like threats which sneak between the multitude of the surges from where tinkle the scarlet colors of the deeps.
Alpha Wave Movement brings us in the depths of the harmonious eddies where the water and its vitriolic oxygen is the absolute master of our emotions with a threatening presence which is more stifling than ethereal. The suction towards the ocean bank continues its unstoppable voyage up until a more twinkling vision where the translucent reflections of the sun dance with our hypnagogic state. These oceanic depths have the same colors as those of M'Ocean and their reflections dance like a static cloud of aquatic fireflies of which the prism of their harmonies is absorbed by a choir of virginal sirens that try to calm our senses. Built around the same atmospheric pattern but less sibylline, and maybe even a little more musical, "Nautilus Dream" exploits always this weight of the oceanic waves which entail us this time towards some clearly more ethereal territories with a finale and its ambio-oceanic elements which gather in a fascinating symphony where the door of the cosmos seems to us so much connected with the depths of the oceans. It's undoubtedly the peak of “Harmonic Currents” with this 2nd part of "Nautilus Dream" which ends with a finale multicolored of movements and of groans of which the sonic luster reach a degree of intensity and of color of tones up to here unknown my ears. It's powerful, enveloping and even disturbing sometimes, with a strange soporific perfume as attractive than the Immersion Series from Steve Roach, but with an element of sound prism as much enchanter of that of Michael Stearns in M'Ocean. A skillful mixture which transports us literally close to our dreams. I know this, to have experiment it.
Sylvain Lupari (February 5th, 2016) &
You will find this album on the Alpha Wave Movement Bandcamp page here