mardi 26 février 2013

JAVI CANOVAS: Desert Dawn (2013)

“Desert Dawn is a lively exotic album where the percussions enchant in their roles prevailing on sequences, shaping rhythms of wild local dances”
1 Atlas 7:52
2 River Luccus 7:34
3 Thar 14:10
4 Blue Desert 5:28
5 Fez 5:53
6 Nouadibhou 12:47

Independant Release (DDL 53:43) ****
(World EM)

Fans of a progressive EM style like Berlin School or/and its derivatives have sometimes tepid ears. We like these long structures which perspire the improvisations all along rhythms unstitched by intuitive sequences which cross the ambiences of bluish ether that lead us near transitory dreams. Thus, when we learn that one of the true values wants to bring us to the borders of World Music, we have the ears which grimace. And nevertheless we shouldn't. “Desert Dawn” from Javi Canovas is an album of delicate Berber musical incantations where the clanic rhythms are swirling in the echoes of tom-toms and of their extremely tightened skins. Rhythms of silk which don't pour into techno nor brush it, giving an exotic musicality which sings through layers of synths and of their hybrid whistles to the charms of the warm Arabian nights.
"Atlas" invites us in the new musical fragrances of Javi Canovas with delicate arpeggios daydreaming on a rhythmic embryo livened up by an uncertain bass line and percussions Tablas. Very harmonious, the intro floats in oniric vapors before being collided by strong percussions, struck with bedazzled hands, and by a bass line with throbbing chords. This combination structures a mesmerizing Arabian hip-hop where enchants a synth and its breaths of snake charmers. Blazing, "Atlas" offers a good mixture of percussions to eclectic tones which reminds me a little of Jean Michel Jarre's rhythmic moods on his famous Egyptian night with more slamming percussions and a slightly stroboscopic structure which bites some more ethereal clanic atmospheres. "River Luccus" fills our ears with an almighty rhythm of West Indian folklore which swirls with exhilaration on the breaths of synth singing the charms of the Gobi Desert. This fusion of “Desert Dawn”'s World Music reaches its peak on "River Luccus" with a wild polka which sets our feet on fire, stamping on the harmonies which sing against the current. Delicious and very lively! "Thar" proposes then a very meditative intro with notes of a fanciful harp which roam in some musical winds carried by the heat of the deserts of Magreb. We hear well those clanic tom-toms trying to awaken the rhythm, but the dense synth layers are masking the pale rhythmic reflections. And it's bit by bit that "Thar" embraces the curves of a lascivious tribal dance with tom-toms more fed and notes of sitar which are flavoring a Bedouin dance wrapped in a suave heat of a synth to in melodious Arabian breaths which cannot contain the rhythmic heaviness that hugs "Thar" a little after its 10th minute.
"Blue Desert" begins the 2nd portion of Javi Canovas' intrusion in the rhythms of the world with a lighter approach. Shimmering notes and Tablas percussions are ringing in harmonies, weaving a rhythm finely embroidered in intertwined filets that Arabian flutes caress of their soft tribal harmonies. I like "Fes", while that initially it left me of ice. Its rhythm structure is heavy and rumbling, like on "Atlas", but with an airier harmonious envelope where a piano is running there and dances of its xylophone keys under the breaths of the flutes which didn't leave the quiet ambiences of the title-track. It's quite nice and light. And the orchestrations save the day of a track that would be flat without them. "Nouadibhou" is what that it's closer to the territories of conventional EM with its delicate poetic intro where dusts of stars float in cosmic winds of ether. The synth layers are undulating lazily there, freeing fluty breezes on a cinematographic dune where are dragging some beatings of mislaid percussions and a chain of abrasive sequences which lose all sense of rhythm in these intense vapors of iodine. The rhythm wakes up at around the 5th minute. Arched on percussions to hollow timbres and graffiti of xylophone to tones of anvil, it swings its furtive tempo like a leg hanging in space, making sing the flutes of Babylon. This rhythm, at first sight furtive, espouses a clearly noisier tangent with an avalanche of clanic percussions which make resound their shimmering skins in a languishing approach of tribal waltz, there where are always singing these flutes charmer of snakes.
Like what that one can be different and remain good! That's what comes to mind while listening to this last effort of Javi Canovas whose surprising intrusion in the Arabian spheres listens to with a disconcerting ease. Without kissing the paths of a techno to the disturbing rhythms of Turkey, “Desert Dawn” is a lively exotic album where the percussions enchant in their roles prevailing on sequences, shaping rhythms of wild local dances. Synths are discreet, certainly! They weave Berber harmonies where the Arabic flutes are whipping the cosmic breezes and the dusts of dunes, creating the ideal balance for an album with the charms of the 1001 Arabian nights.

Sylvain Lupari (February 26th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15902   

lundi 25 février 2013

ALIEN NATURE & TMA: Hydra (2010)

“Navigating between its astral structures and its progressive cosmic rhythms of rock, Hydra manages to weave the missing link between these two universes of which the antipodes are constantly feeding their ambiguities”

1 Hydra 15:50
2 Eclipse 10:14
3 Reflections 10:15
4 Outland 14:22
5 Diorama 19:25

SynGate | CD-R AT02 (CDR 70:05) ****
(Progressive sequence based Berlin School)

Hydra” starts where TMA had abandoned on Sequentrips. Although written with Wolfgang Barkowski (Alien Nature), “Hydra”, which is rather different than the poetic and lunar Medusa, is a work which inhales much more the fragrances of Torsten M. Abel's heavy cosmic progressive rock than of Alien Nature's astral poetries. The electronic drum is solid, the keyboard and synth riffs are curt and hatched and Martin Rohleder's guitar, presents on "Reflections", although discreet, and "Outland" adds some more from weight to those heavy and powerful tracks which seem to be taken out Sequentrips' sessions.
The intro of the title-track is pushed by the distant winds of Orion which blow on cosmic dunes, lifting crystalline dusts and cloud of sequenced ions which swirl awkwardly in hoops to eroded outlines. These sequences to tones grave are swirling like a lasso which is lacking velocity, shaping its imperfect rotations in the strikings of percussions which have difficulty in ingesting this strange stroboscopic structure. And the rhythm is taking shape. At first uncertain, it increases the cadence with a good play game of percussions of which the symmetric knocks awake the wrapping waves of a synth manhandled by these black sequences which swirl of imperfect harmonious spheres all around the opening track and the album. Between its dishevelled and quiet phases, "Hydra" takes its rhythmic assertiveness with impressive synth solos which imprison these sequences of which the hatched hoops are harpooned by powerful percussions, plunging "Hydra" into the webs of a powerful progressive space rock. First jewel of ambience in “Hydra”, "Eclipse" offers a delicate ambiospherical intro with silvery breezes which float in the echoes of smothered percussions. The synth sculptures some wonderful solos which spread their musical veils like songs of vampires while a movement of sequences draws a rhythmic line which swirls in long eroded circles. The synth is magical. Drawing breathes and solos which sound so much like Adelbert Von Deyen on Sternzeit, it lays its spectral harmonies on a structure which shakes its melancholy with percussions which beat a rhythmic measure amplified by a swirling string of sequences. In spite of this spherical rhythmic approach, "Eclipse" preserves its oniric nobility, clocking its cosmic and twisted solos in a mist of which the ample morphic movements chloroform an electronic samba that can only fold the spinal column in front of so much astral beauty. It's very but very beautiful! Hollow breaths a bit frightening open "Reflections" whose intro is similar to a cosmic journey disrupted by a fall of meteorites. A line with sequences zigzagging of a troubled drunkenness starts a rhythm in spiral with ions which hesitate to dance. The percussions are falling and the jumping ions are pounding on the spot. They draw rotatory movements to the hatched curves while the percussions become more hammered, plunging "Reflections" in a heavy space rock with synths to tones of analog organs which whistle as on "Eclipse" and riffs of a discreet guitar which leaves all the room to the beauty of the synths.
After an ambiospherical intro, the rhythm of "Outland" runs with fine pulsations in the strata and solos of a lunar guitar. The rhythm is increasing and takes a second wind that is more nervous with spasmodic sequences which quiver frantically under a beautiful duel guitar/synths from which the undulatory solos caress a rhythmic shape became intense. Another line of sequences pounds this stubborn gallop which drinks of percussions which roll with noise and pulsations banging fervently while that Martin Rohleder's guitar whips this unbridled race of loopy solos. "Diorama" appears at our ears with an intergalactic intro à la Jarre. The synth layers which coo in cosmic breezes are appealing. They awake slowly a first rhythmic phase which spins of its circular movement beneath the riffs of synth which recall the harmonious universe of Tangerine Dream. This shy rhythm amplifies its pace with a spiral approach that the strikings of electronic drum and other sequences with their prismic reflections bring to the doors of solos from a languishing synth which hums in the mists of ether of a poetic cosmos. At the dawn of its 10 minutes, "Diorama" embraces a more lunar phase where some violent shrill winds mask the carillons of musical dusts which rain down on harmonious arpeggios, concealing a shy rhythm which pulses with insecurity in this cosmic oasis multicolored of percussions with so asymmetric hits as the cosmic wanderings can allow. And little by little, "Diorama" drifts towards its 3rd phase with a more spasmodic approach where the rhythm remains fuzzy, even if very present, concretizing the world of ambiguity which revolves throughout this long cosmic watercolor that are the 3 acts of "Diorama".
Navigating between its astral structures and its progressive cosmic rhythms of rock, “Hydra” manages to weave the missing link between these two universes of which the antipodes are constantly feeding their ambiguities. It's some big cosmic rock where the percussions have the upper hand over sequences and with just what it needs not to frighten the purists who will find their accounts in the very beautiful "Eclipse" and the enigmatic "Diorama".

Sylvain Lupari (February 25th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15901

vendredi 22 février 2013

THORSTEN M ABEL: Sequentrips (2009)

“More musical and less experimental than SynthsOrganics, Sequentrips is build around circular movements which blow on the ashes of Ashra, Software and Mind Over Matter”

1 Circular Movement 8:05
2 Garden of B 10:19
3 Beautiful Moments 6:39
4 Andhere Jangala 11:44
5 Iceland Slither 8:50
6 Tangling in the Modules 8:04
7 Audible Forces 10:09
8 Deja Vu 3:39

SynGate | CD-R TA-02 (CDR 67:29) ***¾ (Progressive sequence based Berlin School)

Sequentrips” is Torsten M. Abel's 2nd solo album. It's an intimist album where he does a flying over his last two years and all the things that happened during those months. Intimist but not melancholic, because TMA serves us these ambiences which had seduced on SynthsOrganics, to be release the next year, where the spiral rhythms of an approach of hypnotic Berlin School revolve in atmospheres which are at the diapason of a style always versatile and avant-gardism of the German synthesist. “Sequentrips” is mainly an album of sequences. Keys which are charmer of rhythms and which parade in some lunar whirlwinds with tempos divided by electronic percussions and their ways to forge paces of a prog electronic rock unique to Torsten M. Abel's style who, by ricochet, has retain the services of Martin Rohleder on guitars among which the style and dexterity bring us in territories formerly cleared out by Ashra and Mind Over Matter.
"Circular Movement" starts the slow sequenced voyage of “Sequentrips” with jumping ions which oscillate like two intertwined lines passively following electronic percussions. The rhythm is smooth. Multiplying these ions, weavers of rhythmic harmonies, in a minimalist pattern fed by a fusion between a bass line and arrhythmic pulsations, Torsten M. Abel spreads its keyboard keys which roam, pensive, on a finely jerked structure where are whistling some solos from a dreamy synth. "Garden of B" is a track of ambience which has a delicious procession. If at the beginning the track is without rhythm and bustling of an organic fauna where lie cawing and other heterogeneous and suspicious rustles, an embryonic rhythm takes shape with chords of a xylophone of glass which sparkle and ring in this universe in suspension. This ballet of chimed arpeggios resounds and forges a harmonious line which sparkles in the black breezes of a synth and of its cosmic waves when that the void seizes of our ears and that a sequenced approach offers its jumping ions a little after the 4th minute, drawing a limping rhythm which hangs onto the fall of heavy percussions in order to lead "Garden of B" into a heavy electronic rock structure where e- guitar and synth are exchanging solos in the mists of silvery ether. After an intro filled of cosmic wanderings, "Beautiful Moments" take roots on synth chords which dream in the forgetting. The approach reminds me Rick Wright from Pink Floyd when "Beautiful Moments" is waking up slowly with a pulsating line which draws sequenced circles in the fragrances of these chords to lunar harmonies. The track kisses then a fine synth-pop tangent with delicate percussions of which the slamming resound on a rhythm slightly stroboscopic where arpeggios of glass sing and hiccup in the airs of a beautiful electronic melody. A beautiful crossing between Ashra Temple and Mind Over Matter, "Andhere Jangala" plunges us into a universe of spiritual trance. The intro presents a smooth pulsation which beats of a slow hypnotic pulse in a tropical Eden for multicolored birds. A celestial voice lulls to sleep the cradle of our imagination which is chiselled by Martin Rohleder's floating solos. Quietly, a circular and hatched rhythmic shape takes root in the shadow of keyboard riffs and loops of guitar which harmonize their tones in a slightly increasing stream, livening up a psychedelicosmic structure which inhales the green smoke of a dreamlike synth and of a guitar with its sharp-edged solos squeaking on the crystal clear and sharp knocks of clanic tom-toms.
The hoarse breaths of "Iceland Slither" sweep an intro fed by fine spasmodic kicks which oscillate occasionally in lunar mists. These synth layers impose a calm strength and blow a morphic mood on a rhythm which of gradually explodes at the dawn of its 3 minutes with the fall of electronic percussions. The rhythm is soft. Hopping of a meshing percussions/oscillations, it gets a hold on the rotations of a line of sequences and of its jerky keys which swirl and waltz in this mystic universe where synths are singing the soft sweetness of the morphic fogs. Recorded live at the Happy Knobbing - Modular Synthesizer Meeting, "Tangling in the Modules" made swirl its sequences of which the variable speeds gets interlacing in a superb astral ballet worthy of Software's most beautiful intergalactic impulses. Synths solos are weeping and they travel in stereo on top of this delicate stroboscopic approach and these finely jerky sequences which swirl lasciviously in a beautiful lunar approach. The rhythms in spiral and finely hatched are in the heart of the hypnotic sequenced trips in “Sequentrips” and "Audible Force" is not outdone with these sequences which draw a quiet spiral ascent. The percussions fall and bring out the intro of its spherical cocoon with a rhythm rather near the kind of electronic rock where charming synth solos go tangling all over this hypnotic sequenced tendril. And Martin Rohleder's guitar beats down on this chaotic twisted movement, freeing riffs and solos as much smothered than incisive on a structure which divides marvellously its envelope of sequences to hybrid tones which skip such as echoing riffs trapped in a musical magma which flows back to front. "Deja Vu" contrasts in this universe of rhythms embroidered in spiral with a very melancholic approach where Torsten M. Abel speaks to us through his piano about these events which profoundly affected him during these two years which preceded “Sequentrips”. It's soft and gloomy but at the same time unmistakably beautiful.
More musical and less experimental than SynthsOrganics, “Sequentrips” is a very good album from Torsten M. Abel who likes to thrill the listener with spirals of sequences to the hallucinatory rhythms. Rhythms which waltz with mixed velocity in order to adapt themselves to these ambiances sometimes lunar and sometimes explosive of an album which blows on the ashes of Ashra, Software and Mind Over Matter. Highly recommended to fans of progressive Berlin School.

Sylvain Lupari (February 22nd, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15900

jeudi 21 février 2013

MICHAEL STEARNS: Plunge (1986)

“Of course Plunge is totally different! But we have to go over our prejudices and let ourselves charm by this amazing sonic journey”
1 Splash 3:34
2 Two Memories 3:26
3 Penguins on Mars 4:35
4 Dark Passage 4:38
5 Space Grass 4:19
6 Tickle 1:46
7 Entry 4:00
8 Plunge 5:21
9 Whoosh! 7:15
10 Bell Tear 1:50
11 Exit 2:20
12 Loose Ends 0:59

Groove | GR-037 1999 (CD 44:03) **** (Eclectic rhythmic EM)
More direct and more accessible to ears unused to long cosmic musical reflections, “Plunge” is a little treat that Michael Stearns offered himself. It's a tulip in his garden of roses. It's nice but it's also clashing. It's the album of the diversity for the synthman of Tucson, Arizona, who abandons the musical ambiospherical frescoes such as Chronos and M'Ocean to caress an eclectic musical universe where funky jazz, country-grass, blues and electronic melodies cross themselves in a musical puzzle which, if the first listening makes flee, is not that bad as our astounded ears want to let us believe.
"Splash" kicks things off for this musical diversity with an explosion which leads the track towards a lively and jerky rhythm with a scent of funky jazz. Keyboard keys are nervous. Hopping on-the-spot, they drum a sweet line of melody which is sometimes linear and sometimes circular that some sax harpoon of their hoarse and musical airs on a rebel structure which offers an interesting duel synth/saxophone. "Two Memories" is a beautiful lunar lullaby stamped with a nostalgia which kisses a delicate joy of life in its 2nd half. This is one of the tracks, the others being "Entry", "Dark Passage" and "Bell Tear", which breathes the most of Michael Stearns' ethereal ambiences on “Plunge”. We listen to "Penguins on Mars" and we cannot find of a better naming to designate this ballet of gleaming arpeggios which roam in an awkward way. The track is brilliant of freshness and we really feel this wintry mood with a very visual sonic approach where arpeggios ring such as prismic ice cubes tumbling down over abrupt dunes of snow. Intense and black, "Dark Passage" plunges us into the somber cosmic atmospheres of Stearns with a slow procession which inhales the fragrances forgotten of Chronos. "Space Grass" leads us towards another register with a very EM country music mood. It's rhythm of funfair dance with a nervous guitar which harmonizes its riffs and chords in the bluish reflections of the synth lines of which the arrangements make flowering the harmonious laments of a violin hidden in this surprising electronic Hillbilly boogie which overflows beyond the borders of "Tickle"
After a first portion which calls back the cosmic wanderings of Chronos, "Entry" embraces an upward rhythmic structure with clanic tom-toms thundering over an ambiguous melodic pattern where groans of sax, smooth guitar riffs and breezes of synth crystallized in forgetting are interlacing in a crazy race against its four minutes. The title-track is one of ambience with a bass line which shells its meditation in the pensive harmonies of a violin with Arabian tears and the thousand twinkling melancholic reflections of a synth and a saxophone. Furious, "Whoosh!" shakes our passivity with a carousel of arpeggios which swirl such as snips of scissors in the wind. One would say a pace cut out in curt knocks on a glass anvil that a heavy bass line slowed down to scatter a tempo which cherishes all the sound and rhythmic trickeries of “Plunge”. "Exit" is the perfect example to describe the gradual bewitchment which seizes our ears while listening to this much diversified album from Michael Stearns. The heavy tom-toms which drum a trance of Hopis' manitou are suspending time whereas that the guitar chords walking on this linear rhythm add a Western style touch which harmonizes its clanic cachet with the breaths of glass from synth fed by despair. It's a great track which goes unnoticed when listen to it without paying much attention but which ends to forges a bewitching musical itch when we listen to it deeply. And I would say that it applies to two-thirds of “Plunge”. "Loose Ends" ends this misunderstood album of Stearns with a short intrusion in the atmospheres of jazz and blues of the American cabarets in the 50's.
Twelve tracks for 44 minutes! We have to admit that there is something to question about. But it's necessary to go over our prejudices and to throw a very attentive ear to each of 12 tracks in “Plunge” in order to seize all of its nuances and charms. I remember very well my first listening. I hadn't gone up to face B, after "Tickle" I had enough and put the vinyl into its sleeve! But the big advantage of reviewing musical works is to dive completely in it to write an objective chronicle. And that's how I fell under the charms of “Plunge”. Michael Stearns amazes with a rhythmic and melodic approach embroidered in the shadow of his keyboards and synths where the ambiences of an American folklore are returned with so correctness that we cannot go ears pale. Even short, each track is carefully elaborated, demonstrating a surprising control of Stearns for structures more concise than hiss frescoes with perfumes of cosmic improvisations.

Sylvain Lupari (February 20th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15899

mardi 19 février 2013

RON BOOTS: Backgrounds (1994)

“Backgrounds is a great way to discover the early works of this great EM wizard whom is Ron Boots”
1 Khazad-Dum 6:55
2 Northwind Leaves Fall 9:07
3 Path's of Death 9:05
4 Springbirds 6:32
5 Cosmos 5:33
6 Summerwind 6:11
7 Goodbye 5:38
8 Meadow 8:16
9 Ambersage 7:43
10 April Breeze 4:55

Cue Records |CUE-1111 (CD 70:46) ****

Ron Boots became over the years a sure thing in the world of EM. Each work coming from the Dutch synthman is surprising us with versatile rhythms which rock unsuspected melodious approaches for a musical universe weaved in the somber mathematics meanders. But before kissing this fame, Ron Boots began his career with a series of cassettes produced between 1987 and 1990. “Backgrounds” is a compilation of 4 of these works (Bookworks, Wind in the Trees, Moments and Hydrythmix) released between 1988 and Dreamscape. A compilation which reveals a musical minimalist universe seasoned of fine variances, preventing the thoughtfulness of a passive listening which becomes inevitably absent-minded. Inspired by the literary works of Tolkien and Stephen King, “Backgrounds” offers a suite of 10 compositions, remixed and reworked which inhale the atmospheric influences of the Californian deserts that Tangerine Dream has sculptured in the 70's on a surprising sequenced approach unique to Ron Boots.
"Khazad-Dum", from Bookworks, introduces us to the other hillside of Boots' universe with a clanic approach of an aboriginal kind embroidered on a meshing of sequences and pulsations with keys which fidget in an aura of controlled trance. The rhythm is intense and livened up, dislocating its linear spasms under the caresses of a lyrical synth and its fluty harmonies. One can recognize there a Dreamish influence (No Man's Land) on this minimalist approach of which the variances espouse the harmonious tangents which breathe under a dense ethereal pattern. "Northwind Leaves Fall" is a small jewel on the art of sequencing the rhythms. The melody is sculptured in a ballet of sequences of which the multiplication of the keys forges a suave musical cannon. At both fluid and jerky, the harmonious rhythm spreads its shroud of prismic tones sequences which cavort unconcernedly on an enchanter minimalist movement embellishes of its fine harmonious nuances. It's very good and very beautiful. The enchanting effect of rhythmic melodic cannon is also present on the tenebrous "Springbirds" and on the very joyful "April Breeze" (both also pulled out from Wind in the Trees) which combines its rhythm in cascade with synths as much musical as those on "Khazad-Dum"."Path's of Death", also from Bookworks, wears very well the blackness of its naming with a slow and black rhythm, to the limit clanic, embroidered on echoing pulsations and crystal clear sequences of which the alternating keys resound in the nuances of a synth and its somber fluty harmonies. "Cosmos" is the only track coming out of the Moments cassette and it's a lunar mood track with a slow rhythm which pounds of its bass line beneath some diverse approaches of percussions of which the kicks and the mislaid effects of surprises cogitate in the black mist of a dark synth and of its fleeting reedy harmonies.
It's a track which does a heavy contrast to the boiling "Summerwind", from Wind in the Trees, and of its furious ions pounding in all directions in a static dance of which the minimalist evolution passes by the heavy pulsations of a bass-drum, the strikings mislaid percussions and other ions rolling such as ball bearings which coordinate their rhythmic symbiosis in the funky harmonies coming from a synth and its languishing twisted solo and mystic mist. "Goodbye" is black and oniric, like a goodbye as we know to be a farewell. The slow modulations of the synths draw some poignant passages that church bells amplify in this funeral track where are humming dark and sad choirs. Bookworks continues to illustrate its heavy and stormy structures with "Meadow" and its heavy resonant pulsations which are throbbing in a world filled of eclectic tones. Choirs, strange robotic moans and melodious falls of chords fly over this heavy threatening approach which clears up little by little with the arrival of sequenced ions which sparkle in their harmonious trails, drawing these enchanting melodious approaches sculptured in sequences in cascade which cover the sonic world of “Backgrounds”. "Ambersage" floats with its clanic tom-toms which drum under a musical sky to clouds of ether. A synth is whistling there while that jumping ions gradually catch the beats of tom-toms, hijacking a rhythm which oscillates between its gregarious ambience and its passive modulations
No needs to be a fan of Ron Boots to appreciate this compilation. If we feel an influence of the Dream, we cannot ignore the one of Steve Roach in this fascinating approach of crisscrossed rhythmic patterns that the Californian synthesist offered in his beginning of career (Now and Traveller, even Structures from Silence). “Backgrounds” breathes of originality for a compilation which goes out of the beginning of the 90's. The design of the rhythms in the shape of echoing canons and their harmonious movements are among these sonic elements which make that EM is a kind of unique art where the beauty explodes in the smallest ringing of chords to arabesques unreal. What a great way to discover the early works from this great EM wizard!

Sylvain Lupari (February 18th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15898

lundi 18 février 2013

PATCHWORK: Connect (2007/2012)

“Connect is a fair EM opus with a great sequencing mood which is not without recalling the harmonic rhythms of Tangerine Dream”

1 Enter Now 9:51
2 Connect 5:54
3 Dawn 12:02
4 Orbit 6:49
5 High Clouds 8:10
6 Out of the Dark 7:45
7 Flyby Wire 10:18
8 Final Approach 8:07

Syngate | CD-R PW02 (CDR 69:12) ***½
(Melodious rhythmic new Berlin School)

There is not much information on Patchwork except that it's a Dutch duet consisted of Rene Jansen and Ruud Heij. If one, Rene Jansen, is strongly inspired by the music of Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis, the other one, Ruud Heij, is very influenced by the sequenced movements of Berlin School as it proves his membership in groups such as Kubusschnitt and Free System Projekt as well as his duet with Gert Emmens. Except that Patchwork is more a project than a band. It's the result of recordings sessions in the studio of Ruud Heij in the summer 1994, for a first eponym album released on Quantum Records in 1999, and in the 95's summer with Udo Scheyka which was going to give the album “Connect” which was available on line since 2007. Always in its quest to resuscitate interesting albums, invalidated by time and by lack of promotion, the Syngate label presents to fans of EM, especially those who like harmonious Berlin School, this fascinating recording session which has quite the appearances of being taken out of Tangerine Dream studios.
Arched on a sinister approach, with its threatening synth waves floating such as gases of ether, "Enter Now" presents a docile rhythmic approach which makes its flock of sequenced ions cavort in the trails of electronic percussions of which the passive rhythmic patterns remind us constantly that we are effectively listening to scalable studio recordings sessions. Smooth and floating, this rhythm awakens harmonic ions which gather in the docile harmonies of discreet synths. The title-track plunges us straight into
Tangerine Dream's Logos era, and this even if the intro and its vocoder awakens recollections of Neuronium, with crystal clear sequences which alternate their delicate knocks over the charms of soft and musical synths, allying solos and harmonies under a delicate rhythm. "Dawn" is a wonderful track which plunges us into our musical memories of Peter Baumann and his excellent Trans Harmonic Nights. The rhythm is always forged in this duel of percussions slamming like electronic whips, of these muffled pulsations and of these sequenced ions which skip in a symmetric anarchy, while that another fascinating melodious approach rests this time on synths and keyboards which divide and scatter their harmonious solos and Mellotron breezes under a quiet rhythmic magma. Minimalist, the track offers delicate variations as rhythmic as melodic which go up beyond "Orbit".
"High Clouds" is a monument of hypnotism with its heavy upward sequences which have difficulty in swirling in an intense synthesized mist where melodious solos tear the nostalgia with old Moog's tones. Sneaky the rhythm of "Out of the Dark" avoids the hearing captivity with ample sinuous movements which by-pass the torrents of a synth river filled by fragrances which are very near Edgar Froese's soils. If the first part is elusive, the second one accepts the offering of a fascinated listening with a beautiful approach which slightly brushes the beautiful electronic ballads of the
Dream. It's the 2nd sturdy track on “Connect” which keeps going on its seducing path with "Flyby Wire" and its chords with hybrid tones which zigzag in indecision before borrowing a more stoical pattern where electronic percussions and pulsing sequences are exchanging the cadenced airs on a rhythmic structure with the in outlines as much indefinite as the mists and the fleeting harmonies of the discreet synths. "Final Approach" ends “Connect” with this cocktail of ions and sequenced pulsations which pound with heaviness on the delicate harmonies of synth always so diffident, concluding thus a musical universe which is more centred on sequences and their rhythmic embryos to latent tortuous evolutions than melodies and ambiences of synths which are make more than discreet in this ode to Tangerine Dream's sequenced works.

Sylvain Lupari (February 17th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15877

samedi 16 février 2013

ROBERT SCHROEDER: TimeWaves (1987)

“Behind a sumptuous sound fauna TimeWaves presents a diversified pallet of EM styles where Robert Schroeder presents his 2 faces, his 2 visions of his musical universe”

1 The Turn of a Dream 7:51
2 Waveshape Attack 3:23
3 Waveshape 7:43
4 Waveshape Decay 3:02
5 Love and Emotion 10:49
6 The Message 12:23
7 The Message Part II 5:44
8 Imagine 4:19
9 Flowmotion 4:55

CDR NEWS-CDR .12.008 2009 (CD-R 60:12) ****
(New Berlin School)

For quite a few fans and critics of EM, “TimeWaves” is the transition album in Robert Schroëder's career. An album where the aromas of a fascinating and ear-catching Berlin School are slightly brushing an approach more commercial in a form of synth-pop a bit funky. If the result may surprise and at the limit disappoints some of his fans, a more deepen listening will reveal that this 8th opus of Schroëder hides 2 wonderful jewels which gnaw more than the half of 60 minutes of this last edition of “TimeWaves” that Robert Schroëder offers with a more detailed and enhanced sound quality, giving justice to an album where the ambiences and the rhythms are carefully coated from this electronic fauna of thousand astral contrasts.
An artless harmonious line with a light reedy bouquet opens the innocent approach of "The Turn of a Dream". A lascivious bass line unfolds its rumbling chords which wave hypocritically on a carpet of ethereal choirs while that some other lost synth chords come to stroll and ring, adding so an additional harmonious touch on a track which negotiates its ambience and its rhythm between the sweetness of its synths and the backfiring of electronic bongo style percussions. "Waveshape Attack" is a track of ambience with synth lines floating adrift in the between the numerous interwoven lines of synth's wandering choruses and percussions to undisciplined strikings. It's an electro-organic prelude to the synth-pop "Waveshape" and its virginal melody which hums on a pulsating minimalist rhythm which scatters its funky chords and its robotics strikings in a harmonious universe sculptured in fluty breezes. Like "Waveshape Attack", "Waveshape Decay" spreads a cloud of electronic mood with synth waves crossing a storm of percussions knocks. Then comes the magical and wonderful "Love and Emotion". During more than 10 minutes, Robert Schroëder unrolls the pattern of a splendid down-tempo of which the slow and suggestive rhythm leans on the slow and echoing strikings of percussions. If the rhythm is floating, the harmonies are oniric. The breaths of the dreamy flutes float such as sensual singings on a lascivious rhythm, copulating with chords to tones of guitar which roam between the filets of breaths as much musical as vocal. This is simply a wonderful track which at that time ended the face A of an album where the electronic art and its technologies were still in the service of the harmonious creativity.
Voted as 87 best track of EM, "The Message" is in the purest tradition of Robert Schroëder's romantic works in a higher rhythmic scale. The intro presents these chords with tones of barking dogs so dear to the electronic universe of the synth-wizard from Aachen. They bark of their jerky timbers in some ochred mists while that the pulsations draw the plan of a hypnotic rhythm which debauches a multitude of sequenced circles which swirl in the mists of wandering choirs and in the sharp laments of a synth and its harmonious solos. The rhythm is swirling. Merging its crisscrossed pulsations to electronic percussions, it turns and turns around in the furrows of a synth with its aromas of intergalactic saxophone. The track then kisses a short ambiospherical phase with choirs humming in silvered breezes and over fragmented pieces of rhythms while that the knocks of interlocked sequences are alternating with an increasing velocity to redirect "The Message" towards its initial rhythmic approach. A rhythm smith of a tremendous rhythmic musical itch where hollow tones percussions and sequences with perverse oscillations rage in this intense vocalized mist which constantly haunts the ethereal approaches of Robert Schroëder. It really has what it takes to be voted as the best EM track in 1987. "The Message Part II" gets undress of its loud rhythm to espouse a spiral structure which strides along of its heavy chords the ascent of a dreamlike mountain where ring fine tinkled arpeggios. And "Imagine" pursuing on this arabesque tangent to ends with a heavier and more musical circular rhythm, so completing gallantly the onset of "The Message". The bonus track out of this last edition of “TimeWaves”, "Flowmotion", respects the spirit behind Schroëder's 8th opus with a musical rhythm where rotations of percussions and gleaming arpeggios forge the beautiful symbiosis of a minimalist synth-pop, a little like on "The Turn of a Dream" and "Waveshape".
Robert Schroëder always refused to stigmatize his creativity behind a single musical style. And “TimeWaves”, is only confirming his desire, undertaken on Paradise, to want to tame all the technological breakthrough of EM equipments through a skillful fusion of synth-pop rhythms and hypnotic progressive Berlin School structures. It's a very beautiful album which is underestimated where tracks like "Love and Emotion" and the saga of "The Message" bring us in spaces that only Schroëder knows how to sculpture for most great pleasure of our ears.

Sylvain Lupari (February 15th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15876

jeudi 14 février 2013

ROBERT SCHROEDER: Brain Voyager (1985)

“Digging in the melancholic approaches of Harmonic Ascendant, Brain Voyager is an opus tinted of an unequalled romanticism”
1 Brain Voyager 5:19
2 Lost Humanity 4:06
3 Frozen Breath of Life 4:26
4 Invisible Danger 6:24
5 Glücksgedanken 5:06
6 Love Symphonie 2:41
7 Slaves of Civilization 5:40
8 The Inside of Feelings 4:30

NewsMusic | CDR-12.001 (CDR 38:02) **** (Melodic and ethereal New Berlin School)

Brain Voyager” is a music which accompanies a movie 3D project pulled out from a Ludwig Tieck's novel; Lebens Überfluss. To do it, Robert Schroeder used a technology called Aachen-Art-Head which consists in installing a microphone in the head of a dummy, giving thus a claustrophobic sound endowed of a surprising transparency. The result is surprising! Digging in the melancholic approaches of Harmonic Ascendant, Robert Schroeder delivers an opus tinted of an unequalled romanticism. This album, that the Hi-Fi magazine voted as the best audio reference in 1986, is a pure delight for audiophiles as well as fans of the Aachens synth wizard.
The title-track opens with a beautiful ballad where an acoustic guitar courts the pensive notes of an elegant piano. We are in full Harmonic Ascendant lands with an approach full of sadness that we listen the eyes riveted on a window by a rainy day. Discreet, the synths add a musical dress just and sober which breathes into "Brain Voyager" a sad melodious approach which will resurface in "Glücksgedanken", that a soft celestial voice caresses of an infinity tenderness. "Lost Humanity" moves on with keys which collide finely in a heavy reverberating fog. The track is static with an absent rhythm which flows under various corresponding tones. It's an ambient track which wears well its naming. With its chiming chords which ringing such as a devilish lullaby, "Frozen Breath of Life" is bursting of authenticity. The strings of lead which come to bite this delicate bed song for schizophrenics add a dimension as much nightmarish as musical in a track which brushes the anxiety at its pure state. The heavy, corrosive and incisive strings which tear the bipolar atmospheres of “Brain Voyager” add a sinister depth to a work which bursts out of an incredible tone fauna. They weave a carousel of fear on "Invisible Danger" which turns around like a madness mislaid in its labyrinth. The effect is captivating and striking. "Love Symphonie" is an abstract melody in suspension, quite as the whimsical "The Inside of Feelings", while that "Slaves of Civilization" hides its tune in the acerbic strings bites of a devilish cello. The ambience is torn between white, especially with the fine melody escaping at mid-point, and black, illustrating the world of paradox which surrounds this Lebens Überfluss' story. We are in a full dream and possibly in a head of somebody else.
Brain Voyager” and I! It's an old love story. I always found that this Robert Schroeder's album had a deep romantic approach where are dragging some beautiful melodies marked by nostalgia. If some people think that we are in full New Age, I shall make reference to the first works of Vangelis (Sex Power and Fais que ton Rêve soit plus Long que la Nuit). Although the eras are quite different, we find similarities between these works where contradictory feelings are on the lookout for the slightest melodic parcel in order to be hiding within there. Through his sound experimentations, Robert Schroeder  has known how to give room to melodious approaches which espouse all the cerebral forms of a brain which looks for itself. Soft, ethereal and oniric, “Brain Voyager” is an inescapable in the career of Schroeder . An album which is still available via his website in an enhance sound technology.

Sylvain Lupari (February 3rd, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15875

lundi 4 février 2013

KLAUS SCHULZE: Dziekuje Poland (1983)

“Dziekuje Poland is to the newborn era of Digital EM what ...Live... is for the analog one”
CD 1 (75:53)
1 Katowice 26:22
2 Warsaw 24:16
3 The Midas Hip Hop Touch 25:15 (Bonus Track)
CD 2 (78:34)
1 Lodz 20:59
2 Gdansk 15:45
3 Dziekuje 5:52
4 Dzien dobry! 35:58 (Bonus Track)

Innovative Communication | KS 80.040/41 (1983)
Revisited Records | SPV 304972 DCD - REV 047 (2005)
(2 CD 154:27) ****½ (Minimalist and orcehstral Berlin School EM)

Recorded during the Polish tour that followed the release of Audentity, “Dziekuje Poland” is to the newborn era of Digital EM what ...Live... is for the analog one. Masterly, Klaus Schulze restores the main lines of his last studio album with staggering versions of Spielglocken and Cellistica while diving into his immortal X with an interpretation of Ludwig II von Bayern. Powerful and puzzling, with some violent orchestral intrusions which change abruptly the course of long musical frescoes interpreted with a surprising cohesion, “Dziekuje Poland” is an inescapable in the career of Klaus Schulze. And Revisited Records continues to cheat in the vaults of the German virtuoso by offering a reworked version which includes another surprising version of "Katowice".
A soft synth floats in a mood with slow evolutions that a strong blow of orchestral sampling à la Schulze strikes quite hard, releasing Rainer Bloss' delicate piano which cavorts on a light and harmonious air. Another slicing symphonic warning shot! And the movement becomes dizzier, jerky on a tempo alienated by undisciplined segments. The calm returns on a hyper melodious piano which lulls its last notes up to the implementation of a brisk and twitchy sequential movement. The tempo is furious and beats an unbridled measure around the roaring of primates which switch into acuteness solos hissing on a nervous and minimalist rhythm. A rhythm that we know to have heard it on Audentity in the shape of Spielglocken. This puzzling spiral fresco changes its intonations on the knocks of samplings which parade all along the track, opening the corridors on hard-hitting synth solos and beautiful orchestrations where cello and violin are melting themselves into these luxurious samplings. And this wonderful movement of rhythmic alienation that is "Katowice" is dying in a little restful finale where some violent cacophonous bows and other more pleasant ones caressing the paradoxes of an ending to the instincts of Audentity. In great shape, Klaus is serving us a splendid interpretation of Audentity's Spielglocken. "Warsaw" is my preferred track on “Dziekuje Poland”. Nervous and pulsating, the rhythm settles down straight with a piano rolling on nervous keys, and where the incisive orchestral arrangements let off steam in the waiting of another rhythmic direction. And the rhythm becomes fluid. "Warsaw" (Cellistica) flows with a held frenzy around the metallic percussions, banging like iron tubes colliding, on a heavy but flowing movement. A frenzied minimalist movement which crosses the barrier of time through superb synths solos. Wild synth which adjusts their long kermises on great permutable structures, shaped by intense whirlwinds, which modify the rhythmic axes to filter some tunes that stick into the eardrums, thanks to an incredible play of synth. This synth is quite audacious and gobbles up all of the electronic marvels that shook my ears since a very long time. The layout of the metallic percussions is beyond any imagination. This is great art with a soul that could only come from an artist as Klaus Schulze and the 11th minute always strikes me quite hard. "The Midas Hip hop Touch" is the first bonus track of this Revisited Records edition. It's a track that we can also find on the Jubilee Edition with a five minutes in plus. This has a very supple frenzy on tribal conga drums that gives the impression of being at a clanic incantation. I do believe that it shouldn't be there because it doesn't fit within the mood of the wild rhythms of “Dziekuje Poland”. It's a loud track which spoils the fiesta begun with "Katowice" and "Warsaw".
CD 2 begins with "Lodz". Klaus Schulze talks to the crowd and announces that he is going to make an interpretation of Ludwig II Von Bayern from the timeless X. And a huge wave of dark organ opens this movement which aims towards a more crystal clear tone; the big strings section which amplified the original version being absent. But, believe me, that remains a very beautiful live rendition with all the nuances in it and the whole subtlety in Ludwig's phases. It's a little bit like hearing an acoustic interpretation of it, except that the orchestral are denser and more intense, respecting thus the foundations of this structure incredibly fluid that is Ludwig II Von Bayern. After this classical, Klaus Schulze and Rainer Bloss let hear us their knowledge by delivering a mini jam which sometimes touches slightly the indifference while that in certain place the coherence reaches its target. I was never able to stand "Gdansk" and "Dziekuje". To me, they are two noisy whirlwind of fillers where Schulze ends by thanking everyone ("Dziekuje"), except Rainer Bloss...or I simply missed it! This portion isn't necessary at all and spoils a true masterpiece without it. But Klaus being Klaus!
The bonus track is worthily. It's a more complete and less random interpretation of Katowice that began this double cd set live album. More fluid it maintains all of its beauty of its avant-gardism.
The magic behind “Dziekuje Poland” is Klaus Schulze. We feel a Schulze inspired by the events of Poland (the Solidarność movement) who displays all of his dexterity and understanding of the country by merging his solos, sometimes totally outside this world, in his rhythms to thousand abrupt turnovers. And Rainer Bloss (the hidden card behind “Dziekuje Poland”) accompanies Klaus Schulze marvelously, giving the depth necessary to this great live performance. And “Dziekuje Poland
 is a must and an inescapable in Schulze long and surprising career, build around so many outcomes, and a unique live performance that you will never hear somewhere else. And once again Revisited Records throws at us a reedition that hits its target. Offered in a nice digipack presentation and a beautiful booklet containing interesting notes about this tour, it also contains a music with a very good sound restoration (not a remastering) and a capture which is much softness than the original that I find a bit colder. But the most important thing is that it's wraps a unique concert which takes a sublime outcome with "Dzien Dobry!". If you don't own it, go grab it. Either this reedition or a use copy on the Net, this concert is a necessity. And if you have the IC version, I'm still convinced that the sound on Revisited Records seems slightly warmer.
Sylvain Lupari (February 16th, 2007 and translated on February 1st, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=9436