mercredi 1 octobre 2014

DAN POUND: Life Giving (2014)

“Deeply ambiospherical, Life Giving is certainly one of the most seducing cosmic and sonic universe that I heard recently”
1 Life Giving 7:41
2 Age of Innocence 3:41
3 In Suspension 9:50
4 Only One 6:22
5 Passing Through Time 16:17
6 Taken by the Dream 12:39
7 Life Pulse 11:10
8 What Matters Most 5:56

Dan Pound Music (CD/DDL 73:40) ***½
(Deep cosmic soundscapes)
You should not really rely on the ambient noises and the monstrous organic tones which open "Life Giving" to judge this last album of Dan Pound. The delicate arpeggios which come down, like ashes of Vesuvius, will charm your ears and the muffled impulses which propel them, and eventually swallow them, will plunge you into an atmosphere of cosmic darkness. I quite liked this first contact with the music of Dan Pound. This prolific multi-instrumentalist from California presents an audacious approach by making travel a rather experimental ambient music in the corridors of Dark New Age and especially in the borders of cosmos with soundscapes drawn in a wide range of quirky tones. A sonic pallet to the colors of a rather audacious imagination and which can find anchoring in many ears, if we like an experience which is more sonic than musical. But the music, and its harmonies, is never too much far from these moods to the thousand paradoxes which stuff this impressive ambient fresco. And the title-track is a rather good indication of what our ears will go throughout the 74 minutes of “Life Giving” where synth lines and waves, as harmonious as ambient, float and shimmer in a sound universe where the serenity is next to storms of static ambient elements.
"Age of Innocence" is a beautiful small jewel of meditation where dreamy arpeggios float in beautiful synth lines to the soft perfumes of contemplativity. Longer and that would have been even more beautiful! The descent of joyful serpentines which liven up the introduction of "In Suspension" feeds all the paradoxes which surround the music of Dan Pound. Melodic and very charming, these serpentines wear an invigorating tone which challenges the soporific axes of an impenetrable cosmic music. And the parameters, as well as the depth, of the cosmic approach from “Life Giving” are doubtless among the most beautiful and the most complete that I heard. Here, the amorphous breezes of synth draw black horizons from where slender translucent filets leak out, whereas these small serpentines are unwinding a bright effect of weightlessness which sticks us on our earphones. This is very immersive and rather realistic of the visions from its author. The symphony of breaths from the long didgeridoos gives a rather tribal / ambient side to "Only One". The sampling of multilayer synth lines, as well as the didge breezes, amplifies the black vibes that even the delicate notes of guitar cannot uproot of its catatonic envelope. Didge burps are also opening the twilights of "Passing through Time" which mixes marvellously the heat of synths to the hoarse breaths of deserts' trumpets and of their jerky echoes. Some discreet sequences dance around this uncommon meshing, giving an appearance of rhythm to a long track which is a real sonic mishmash, both at the level of the elements and of this perpetual duel between rising rhythm and these atmospheres which in the end become very seraphic. "Taken by the Dream" is my crush on “Life Giving”. The structure is always soaked with this sonic confrontation between the serenity and the ambiospherical agitation. What is charming even more is this superb down-tempo, coming out of nowhere, which shakes the elements and which gives an unsuspected relief to an odyssey of sounds and distorted vibes which strews all the parameters of this surprising album of Dan Pound. This slow rhythm has a break in the middle of 12 minutes, making room to splendid arpeggios which draw a magnificent ambient glass musing. This is very beautiful, with a subtle dramatic crescendo, and every second which passes is overfed by a sonic fauna of which the wealth is such as it is impossible to discover it in full in a single listening. The music fades in the barriers of the nothingness of "Life Pulse". There where the life breathes weakly behind a heavy curtain of black vibes and stirs into organic gurglings and shamanic percussions which draw hypnotic lines. This mixture of cosmic music and spiritual witchcraft lets filter an armada of implosive impulses which forge the very ambiocosmic beat of "Life Pulse" which floats and floats like a long spaceship at adrift. "What Matters Most" concludes with a very meditative piano, among which the notes which pearl in a dense cosmic envelope awaken in me memories of Vangelis. And this, even if this small duel between these organic impulses and these waves of serenity which torment the ambiences to the nuances tinted with paradoxes of “Life Giving” can as well one day enchant and one evening tear the peace of mind of the listening of an album which plunges us literally into a sonic universe without borders.
Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca  

lundi 29 septembre 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Josephine the Mouse Singer (2014)

“Josephine the Mouse Singer follows the main line of the last works from the Dream, in particular the Sonic Poem Series”
1 The Four White Wooden Horses 6:08
2 The Bleeding Angel 4:00
3 Center of Now 6:33
4 Josephine the Mouse Singer 8:28
5 Arcangelo Corelli's La Folia 7:39

Eastgate 069CD (Cup-Disc 32:48) ****
(Theatrical e-rock)
Exit the  Eastgate years! Long live to the Quantum years! Unless a situational turnaround, “Josephine the Mouse Singer” should be the very last thing to pop out of these famous years when the income of Tangerine Dream will never have mopped the expenses. And this in spite of all those re-editions, the live albums, the so best-of, Booster and finally the Cup-DiscsVoices in the Net establishes that this “Josephine the Mouse Singer” is the 7th C-D of this edition. I counted 10, but I am rather going to come round to this excellent reference site on Tangerine Dream. We speak, we chatter! But of what returns the music of this last Cup-Disc? Distributed in limited edition (there is still some left in the Eastgate factories) “Josephine the Mouse Singer” was initially offered during the European Phaedra Farewell Tour 2014 and follows at the same time the main line of the last works from the Dream, in particular the Sonic Poem Series, being another poem of Franz Kafka.
"The Four White Wooden Horses" establishes a mood of darkness deliciously tamed with an obsessing slightly chaotic rhythm. A rhythm which merges its erratic jolts into the tails of unbridled movements of sequences as well as ones with organic tones. Just as well mesmerizing, the melodic membrane leaves all the room to the rhythm and frees delicate evasive chords while that a kind of African voice is singing some delicate tribal hymns of which the certain charms are merging to absent voices and very nostalgic synth breezes. This voice returns on the title-track which presents an ambient intro with synth lines which seem to draw a horizon to the colors of our imagination and which are clubbed by good percussions. Gradually the rhythm of "Josephine the Mouse Singer" is structuring itself around notes of a very pensive acoustic guitar. This rhythm stamped of melancholy adopts gradually the approach of a gallop from a solitary cowboy where we see the rider of deserts fading at the horizon. A little bit as the ending of a western movie where the credits unfold before our dreamy eyes. I quite enjoyed these two tracks, just as "The Bleeding Angel" which is a beautiful and very melodious down-tempo with a wrapping veil of melancholy. The effect of crescendo assures that our feelings follow the very poignant curve of this beautiful black ballad. We stay in the line of ballads with "Center of Now". A kind of ambient ballad, even morphic, which offers a rather nebulous approach and a structure which is complicated enough. There is too much in it to highlight anything that sounds appealing. It's like having too much to eat and not having something great to gulp. I do believe that one has to like the intense and black classical moods to appreciate to its full measure
Edgar Froese's arrangements on "Arcangelo Corelli's La Folia", which is a music written by Arcangelo Corelli. I cannot really pronounce, absolutely not knowing classical, but I found the arrangements, as well as these sequences which revolve and flicker all around this subtle movement of crescendo, as incisive as a descent in an alienation.
We can't find anything wrong on this new (last?)
Cup-Disc, which would easily have been able to be of use as springboard to this continuity of Franz Kafka's works put on music in Tangerine Dream's Sonic Poem Series. And I am fascinated by this doggedness, this perseverance of Edgar Froese to continue his work of creation. If it's true that we can criticize the orientations which he imposed to this cult band, we cannot deny that he has a great deal of talent and that his impact is as much necessary than it was essential in the development of EM. In fact Edgar, I would just want to tell you thank you... And long life to these years Quantum!
Sylvain Lupari (September 29th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca   

dimanche 28 septembre 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Grand Auto Theft 5 (2013)

“GAT 5 is a good album which releases a delicate sonic perfume borrowed in both poles of TD's luxurious years”
1 Place of Conclusions 5:15
2 Streets of Fortune 4:54
3 Mission Possible 4:15
4 Downtown Los Santos 5:06
5 Blaine County Sunrise 5:26
6 Burning the Bad Seal 5:17
7 Beyond the Weakest Point 6:09
8 Sadness, Grief and Hope 4:38
9 Diary of a Robbery 5:36
10 Draw the Last Line Somewhere 6:13
11 The Dangerous Mile 5:42
12 Living on a Razor Edge 5:17

Eastgate 066 CD (CD 63:48) **** (Based sequences electronic Pop Rock)
A sinuous curve pierces the horizon. A mislaid chord falls. A fluid movement of bass sequences is slightly galloping and draws a soft and warm undulatory rhythm. All this, marinated to riffs and electronic spirals falling into electronic gas, leads us back to the nice time of Tangerine Dream. Only the fragile harmonies and the artificial voices annoy the ear and return us to the more contemporary years of Edgar Froese's works. The 5 minutes of "Place of Conclusions", to a few exceptions, dig up the rhythms, the atmospheres and the harmonies of this Edgar Dream's new album. An album which literally set ablaze the fans and scribbled the social media networks of laudatory remarks, while putting bootleggers to work, because “Grand Auto Theft 5” is available only in 2000 copies and only at the electronic shop of Eastgate. A whole version, with a gigantic amount of music and moods inherent to the famous video game, is also available. One can find it if we search minutely on the Net or on specialized sites (I heard it and I was not really crazy about it). At the beginning, I was rather sceptical. It is when I saw the game in action that I made the link. And when I took time to hear “Grand Auto Theft 5” closely, I came to the conclusion that Edgar is still very creative and that he still has some very good music in him.
"Streets of Fortune" offers a structure of sequences with a diversity of tones and strikes which forge an ambitious pattern of stable electronic rhythm. It is the harmonies which lug around this rhythm among which the interweavings and the disordered jumps of sequences, and percussions, revisit the ambiences of the
Flashpoint era with a light tint of modernity. If the harmonies of “Grand Auto Theft 5” inhale at times the lightness and smell the colors of honey, the movements of Edgar's sequences are striking and have nothing to envy to his former accomplices (I know; the technology is not the same here). You just have to hear the very wriggling "Burning the Bad Seal" or yet the stunning "Diary of a Robbery" which has downright ate up a huge part of Silver Scale. Very good! "Mission Possible", as "Draw the Last Line Somewhere" and the very good "The Dangerous Mile" are closer to the contemporary TD with moods and sneaky rhythms which would have been able to find a place on the Sonic Poem Series  saga or still  on Edgar's solo works. "Downtown Los Santos" offers a mixture of electronic percussions, kind of Iris Camaa bongo drums style, sequences and riffs out of Edgar's six-strings over two interposed structures of rhythms that left me of ice. This is a repetitive electronic rock without flavors nor colors, contrary to "Sadness, Grief and Hope" which sprinkles its redundancy of subtle nuances. "Blaine County Sunrise" is a sweet electronic ballad, dark with beautiful arrangements and which follows a light crescendo with harmonies charming subtly in aquatic tints. The same goes for "Beyond the Weakest Point", halieutic effects in less, where the bongo drums percussions erase not at all this delicate dreamlike approach introduced by a delicious Mellotron and its Arabian flutes. When I say that Edgar still has some good music in him... "Living on a Razor Edge" is another dark ballad which unifies marvellously both poles of Tangerine Dream. The somber rhythm, which climbs the curves of a relatively slow tempo, gives all the latitude to Edgar to let stroll the vibes and the harmonies of a very nostalgic six-strings and of its very evasive solos.
Some will say that
Tangerine Froese has dived into the ease. That “Grand Auto Theft 5” was made from old recipes skillfully updated in Edgar's workshops without regard for any originality. This just shows that no matter what the old fox makes, he always has the spectres of Baumann, Franke and Schmoelling on the shoulders. I am of those who think of the opposite. “Grand Auto Theft 5” is a good album which releases a delicate sonic perfume borrowed both in the old TD and the one more contemporary and closer to the great moods of the Sonic Poem Series. This is some great Froese that lands between our two ears. The old fox uses his wisdom and his experience to well measure his ambiences. To play with and annex them to rhythms and to melodies which follow skillfully all the nuances which make the strength of solid cinematographic music. Yep, “GAT 5” is definitively up to what we can expect from one of the big pioneers of the contemporary music. Hat to you Mister Froese!
Sylvain Lupari (September 28th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca 

samedi 27 septembre 2014

DARSHA AMBIENT: Songs from the Deep Field (2014)

“Soft, poetic, melodic and intensely touching, the music of this Darshan Ambient last album is a great mix of O'Hearn, Oldfield and Vangelis”
1 Star Born 5:11
2 Cluster 4:09
3 The Deep Field 7:52
4 Blue Lotus 5:43
5 Heaven in a Wildflower 5:09
6 You Will Never be Alone 8:37
7 Microlife 4:29
8 Grey Sea 4:54
9 Hidden Stars 7:35
10 Tears to Rain 4:06
11 Sleepers Awake! 4:32

Spotted Peccary | SPM-2402 (CD 62:17) ****½
(Electronic rock&folk)
Ah... the music of Michael Allison! I know, it is not really based sequence style EM, even less ambiospherical, although this last album brushes a bit the corridors of cosmos, but Darshan Ambient succeeds his audacious bet to make sing a music without words by mixing skillfully his synths and guitars into a musical texture of his own. And each time, I say to myself that his last one is his best. This one, with some splendid orchestrations, does not make an exception. It's by the very beautiful images took by the Hubble Space Telescope, those known under Hubble Deep Field, that Darshan Ambient drawn his reflections to concoct “Songs from the Deep Field”. The guitarist/synthesist of San Francisco may aim stars, cosmos and his infinite possibilities that his music always remains so mellifluously dreamlike. Rocking between rhythms charmingly activated by ritornellos in staccato and deliciously ambient melodies, Darshan Ambient delivers another strong album where the music stays at the heart of everything, even when he tries a leap in the dark.
A breath of astral breezes initiates the nervous and convulsive movement of "Star Born". Wriggling on elytrons of metal and on agitated percussions, the rhythm hiccups like a keen up-tempo. Its brief jerks are nevertheless taken in the whirlwinds of a melody murmured by indefinable winds and by the charms of a magnetizing guitar of which the minimalist notes swirl in panting orchestrations. Doubtless the liveliest track of
Darshan Ambient repertoire, "Star Born" gives the kick-off to a much diversified album where the poetry of the man in black is breathing behind every note, behind every tune. "Cluster" lands in our ears with the elegiac breezes so characteristic to the universe of DA. Some lazy bass notes are dragging a somber melancholy in a Patrick O'Hearn style whereas parasitic noises forge a rainy appearance. Percussions fall with the same nonchalance as the bass while that very slowly "Cluster" is livening up to a tribal rhythm which reminds me of Mike Oldfield's festivities in The Songs of Distant Earth. Lively and circular, the introductory rhythm of "The Deep Field" is gracefully forged in jerky orchestrations whereas sober percussions beat a countermeasure, blurring a kind of down-tempo which spins lasciviously in the velocity of the arrangements. The track is abundantly sprayed of dreamy notes of a guitar, as well as by O'Hearn's bass lines style, and gets lost quietly in more ambient spheres. There where sit the very ambient "Blue Lotus" and its mixture of synth/guitar strata which push the pensive harmonies from a meditative piano. "Heaven in a Wildflower" is also feeding of the curt knocks of bows, displaying so a ritornello with a very Aboriginal flavor. The movement is very lively, but rest of ambiances with other staccato orchestrations and a weeping violin which root the track in moods as dramatic than celestial. "You Will Never be Alone" is the open door of some very deep ambient phases of “Songs from the Deep Field”. The movement is slow and offers the sweetness of pious voices which caress the soft harmony of a rather nostalgic piano. It's like seeing a sorrow by the back door of a mirror. And the angelic voice is bringing me closer to the ambiences of the Atomic Seasons saga by Tangerine Dream. It's rather poignant at times and we eventually find it very personal. "Microlife" shakes the ambiences with a good structure of rhythm that we can identify as an electronic ballad but with a more accentuated pace. It's sound like a kind of electronic country-rock. All the ingredients are there to capture the ear: good percussions, rustles of angels, other great orchestrations but especially this very beautiful guitar of which the sober play is reaching our soul. This is very good. "Grey Sea" is as dark, quiet and melancholic as "Blue Lotus", while "Hidden Stars" is THE track on “Songs from the Deep Field”. A mixture of Mike Oldfield , Sensitive Chaos and David Wright, "Hidden Stars" offers a subtly tribal rhythm with a cheerful approach and where the guitar snatches our tears from the heart, but not as much as the crescendo which lives throughout this paradisiacal movement. This is the kind of music where we stop everything in order to listen it. Superb! It's kind of difficult to follow such a great track and that's why "Tears to Rain" adopts the ambient forms of "Grey Sea" but in a clearly more lunar, more cosmic envelope. "Sleepers Awake!" is another beautiful ballad, slower and more surrounding than "Microlife", which ends another great album from Darshan Ambient who always manages to reach the dens of my memories.
Sylvain Lupari (September 27th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca 

jeudi 25 septembre 2014

JOHN CHRISTIAN: Dark Matters (2014)

“Lovers of deep and surrounding dark ambient music; you are going to love this one”
1 Domino 9:52
2 Blackwater 12:04
3 Collision 10:04
4 Halo Tenebrous 6:04
5 Shudder 9:12

Christian's Bandcamp (DDL 47:16) ***½
The fans of Airsculpture are cherished recently. Graveyard Shift, Hairsculpture and now this last John Christian's album. Except that there is a whole world of difference between these two works from Airsculpture and this “Dark Matters”. And even more between Christian's last solo album, Susbarbatus released in 2009, and this universe of cabalistic meditation that is “Dark Matters”. This very dark ambient opus breathes entirely by the impulses drones and reverberations, as well as some strange frictions which drum some vague and completely non-existent structures of rhythms, of which the pushes weave tenebrous ambiospherical patterns as much black as the infinity without its stars. Lovers of deep and surrounding dark ambient music; you are going to love this one.
"Domino" unfolds its black breezes with parsimony. The matter takes time to take shape and to generate its magnetic field which draws its strength throughout the multiple reverberations and of its impulses which feed these tremulous hoops to form the axes of the somber ambient melody of "Domino". We are really in the dark. In the limits between the cosmos, because of the heavy effect of weightlessness, and the abysses, because of the disturbing atmospheres bordering the darkness. I mention this because this impression to embrace the darkness is strongly present throughout “Dark Matters”. Let's take "Blackwater"! A wide wall of impulses from black shadows, and their Mephistophelian breaths, draws a slow floating movement where are well sitting reverberations and noises, all tinted of black, which are caressed by a delicate sibylline singing. This mass of dark lines amplifies the density of the movement, while the spectral singing stands out with a refulgence which is near the darkened lyric. Disturbing and not very relaxing for two cents, "Collision" is clearly more ectoplasmic with a symphony of singings from spectres whose howlings shape an ambient movement which lives through these profound ghostly voices. In all this frenzy of howling metal, the structure of "Collision" digs a bit in the dark nuances of "Domino". After an intro stuffed of rippling synth waves to the colors of enigmatic, "Halo Tenebrous" brings the only pulsating flow of “Dark Matters”. Under forms of beatings rather accelerated, this pulse pounds with a surprising greediness for its survival in a dense cumulus laminated of acrylic lines. Traced in this pond of rippling lines which inspires the black ambiences of “Dark Matters” and which wave weakly in intersidereal winds, "Shudder" offers the most serene moments on this last
John Christian's album which is a pure ode to a solitude tortured by its dark thoughts.
Sylvain Lupari (September 25th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca