lundi 30 décembre 2013

ALIEN NATURE: The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius (2013)

“The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius is at the grandeur of Alien Nature who was never afraid of going out of his comfort zone”
1 Things to Come 6:56
2 Star Billard 5:26
3 The Motionless Bird 6:54
4 Malvina 5:59
5 Arm Jourth 5:46
6 The Archer 2:31
7 The Tall Building 5:18
8 Room No 6 7:36
9 The Intermediate Zone 8:02
10 Megalithic City 11:28
11 Altered Reality 6:53
12 Room No 9 6:58

SynGate | CD-r AN07 (CD-r 79:47) **** (Hard and heavy e-rock)
Agile sequences are having some sudden starts and shape deep oscillations in a sonic corridor stuffed of creaking doors and by tremulous rustles of fears. And bang! Shy percussions gather up the intro of "Things to Come" to propel it in a universe of electronic hard rock where the heavy lines of bass are teaming up with hatched guitar riffs and sequences which roll at full speed. While the synth throws its harmonies, which are transformed into very musical solos, the rhythm breathes more freely and allies its fury to some quieter passages which float on the foggy wings of a very inspiring Mellotron. It's a whole shock wave that invades our ears with this new musical madness of Alien Nature. “The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius” is an album of pure electronic rock, nibbled by  brief ambiospherical interludes, built around a sci-fi novel written by Jean Giraud (Moebius) in the late 70's for the French-Belgian magazine; Metal Hurlant. And as much tell it to you straightaway; the music is as so totally mad as Jerry Cornelius' improbable weird stories.
Everything is well tied up around this sonic novel. The ambiences are rich and Wolfgang Barkowski succeeds to put in music Jean Giraud's very adventurous visions through a symphony of synth solos which sing the adventures of the dark hero on musical themes which stick marvellously with the unrealities of this cult BD. So "Star Billard" unfolds its intense black intro with strata of violin which notch the drama. If the movement is slow, it's also very heavy. Drafts of a viral Mellotron transports it in a sublime lento that riffs and percussions are splitting up by lively and subtle attacks. Soft on heavy which ends by hurtle down the slopes of a rhythm now galloping at a brisk pace on the sinuous vapors of the solos from a synth and its very harmonious cooings. Riffs! Always these riffs out of Thomas Droste's guitar which feed a fury sustained by unbridled percussions of which the discretion of the rollings condenses the rhythm in a morphic envelope too heavy to make us sleep. "The Motionless Bird" offers the first real ambient moments of “The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius” with Martin Rohleder's dreamy guitar which makes his solos stroll on a structure which is developing quietly in order to dive insidiously into a kind of mid-tempo flooded by an electronic aura of mystery and anxiety. It's like hearing 
Jarre on Manfred Mann's Earth Band's structures of Solar Fire. This is very good and rather contagious. And it's at the image of “The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius” which makes parade its 12 tracks into a long sonic fresco of 80 minutes.
Whether it is with "Malvina" and its rhythm skipping like an intersidereal gallop, the heavy and Babylonian "Arm Jourth" with its powerful percussions, the black and Dantesque "The Archer" or still the dynamic and lively rhythms like on "The Tall Building" and "The Intermediate Zone", this last work of
Alien Nature combines marvellously its sonic arrangements in a story embellished by images on fragile melodies and steady rhythms, sometimes to the limits of the fury. There are also a couple of tracks which breathe of this complexity very inherent to the EM of Wolfgang Barkowski. I think among others of "Room No 6" and its fusional rhythm where the loud stabbing heavy rock is flooded in ethereal mists and riffs of a guitar which shares its tearings between its solos and those of a very vindictive synth. I hear Tool, just as much in the very curt and sharp edged "Altered Reality", orchestrations less, fed in riffs like a way of fattening a turkey for the Christmas Eve. "Megalithic City" presents also a more complex structure where the rhythm, sometimes organic, evolves in structures as so unpredictable as the ghostly solos which overfly it, while "Room No 9" concludes this Jerry Cornelius' great sonic adventure on an evolutionary structure of rhythm where the ambient is slyly captured by a galloping melodic rhythm.
With its intersidereal ambiences so disturbing as imaginative, “The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius” is to EM what Music for Jilted Generation from The Prodigy was to electro-punk. It's a strong album to the dimension of
Alien Nature who was never afraid of going out of his comfort zone with the aim of offering works as attractive as unexpected (remember Anna?) and where the soundscapes of EM play effectively the card of ambiences, letting Wolfgang Barkowski's imagination building pure and hard rhythms with synths which braid solos and very catchy harmonies in envelopes of rhythms sometimes explosive and sometimes melodious. In brief, what you have here is a powerful, striking album where the rock and EM merges in a perfect harmony.

Sylvain Lupari (December 30th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=16591 

samedi 28 décembre 2013

KLAUS SCHULZE: Miditerranean Pads (1990/2005)

“Still controversial for some of us, Miditerranean Pads is the album of excess with its huge percussions which strike on constantly deep and dense samplings of orchestrations”
1 Decent Changes 32:35
2 Miditerranean Pads 14:12
3 Percussion Planante 25:01
Brain 841 864-2 (1989) ****½
SPV 085-304142 CD - REV 018 (CD 72:01)
****½

(Hypnotic, minimalist orchestral New Berlin School)

Contrary to many fans of Klaus Schulze's digital era, I hooked straightaway on the mood of "Percussion Planante"; doubtless one of his best track, to my taste, from his era of intensive orchestral samplings. It’s also one of the music pieces to play on my Walkman and especially in my car in the 90's. Klaus Schulze pursues his quest for the samplings of tortured choruses on “Miditerranean Pads”. A quest that he begun with En=Trance. So we find these fragments of opera and these bursts of classical music diluted in some dense ghostly orchestrations as well as these slow movements of cellos and invisible quartets which feed the musical frescoes of Schulze since Audentity. It is moreover on this album that I appreciated for the first time the sampling extravaganzas of Mr. Schulze and his segmented orchestrations in staccato. Except that “Miditerranean Pads” distances itself by the play of percussions, as real as virtual, imagined by a Klaus Schulze sometimes dreamy, "Decent Change", sometimes melancholic, the title-track, and sometimes rebel, "Percussion Planante". We could say that Klaus Schulze exorcises his devils of former days with the technology of today. The effect is monstrous and multiplies the surprises on a titanic work. On this twelfth reissue from Revisited Records, only 2 to 3 additional minutes of music were added on the opening track. The original one being already near the time limit with nearly 70 minutes.
Delicate kind of Tablas percussions open the first measures of the long and very linear "Decent Change". The rhythm is as softer as furtive and binds itself to a bass line which crawls under the strikings of percussions which are now divided with a real drum and the manual percussions. A solitary piano scatters its notes by clusters. Notes which draw a fascinating ethereal melody that choirs caress of their absent humming. There are not alone to caress this long funambulist introduction. The strings arrive around the 7th minute. And their movements are slow and sinuous, just as much as the first 12 minutes of "Decent Change" which espouses afterward a strange cosmico-progressive structure of funk with a heavy line of bass and the Arabian clan percussions which drum under a skillful meshing of voice samplings and stringed instruments. The play of percussions is harmonized with the bouncy bass line, giving a rhythmic structure skilfully developed which sleeps under these dark choruses and these orchestral arrangements of which the slow ethereal movements float such as tormented wings. We are literally in
En=Trance as the percussions lost of its strength, giving its hypnotic tempo to these violins, these enveloping strata, these fluty breaths and these notes of piano which forge the peaceful harmonious dynasty of "Decent Change". All in all it's a good track which would have been greater if shortened, even if it means stretching up the two other tracks which follow, particularly "Miditerranean Pads" which is a very intense ambient work and of which the vocals are the samplings of Efli Schulze's, the wife of Klaus. On a delicious piano with heartbreaking notes, the voice is blowing sighs of life, love, expectations and despairs on a lyrical movement built around diverse subtle intonations. This is a wonderful angelic soundscape track and a sublime interlude where the sensualism, do I love this sax which cries at night, is harmonized to sensibility. A very good taciturn, secret but divine Schulze with a great dexterity with his samplings of classical music. To listen on an evening of sorrow of love. We burst of tears!
Ah … "Percussion Planante". What I call an ode to percussions. We take the portion two of "Decent Change", for its heavy line of bass, and we stick it on here, in a measure amplified by four, that gives "Percussion Planante". In a perfect fusion where all the percussions are squeezing up the beatings, as hard-hitting as harmonious, with a line of bass which supports an agile rhythm, as much as the grave notes of a black piano, "Percussion Planante" flutters in the wings of its orchestral arrangements. But the rhythm refuses the obedience and it's rebelling constantly in a fascinating mosaic of percussions. Everything is well measured. The tears of violins are as dark as their silky jolts. The choruses are as much penetrating in their envelopes of discretion. These voices are the privileged witnesses of a movement from a piano which snakes and undulates its notes into some superb melodious passages. And the piano which tries its harmonic breakthroughs crumbles its poetry on the back of a rhythm which dissociates itself from the bursts of the scattered symphonic movements. This is cacophony reinvented. At around the 20th minute, the percussions are alone on a modulation movement which brings more symphonic, more orchestral lines on strikings as clear as hard-hitting. Brilliant and intense!
Although awarded in certain countries, as in the Netherlands, “Miditerranean Pads” always was a controversial work. The full excess of percussions and of convoluted rhythms, sometimes clanic and too often cacophonous, as well as its tortuous and dark orchestrations, without forgetting the so divine and black incantation of its title-track, make of it an album which goes out of a comfort zone that the fans had eventually ended by nested since the changes begun in
Dig It. In fact, it can appear like a difficult album to approach because of its propensity to the delirious cacophony by moment. But if I guaranteed you beauty, would you believe in it? And nevertheless, it's a little the bad luck of Klaus Schulze's 21th album. Faithful to his habit, Schulze avoids the ease to dig even more his taste for orchestrations and also grope around the melodic frenzy. Quietly, he incorporates subliminal beauties in his works (Klaustrophony, Freeze or FM Delight). And his works he wants them rebel, more intimist than never and rightly a little more difficult to access. But beyond all this, when that the creative genius lives in us, should we rather use it with all the disconcerting ease which will kill its passion?

Sylvain Lupari (December 28th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
(Firstly written in French on January 22nd, 2007)
Cette chronique est également 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=9319 

jeudi 26 décembre 2013

TANGERINE DREAM: Lily on the Beach (1989)

“Lilly on the Beach is a disappointing album which includes some good small tracks to be hum but which will remain always empty of sense”
1 Too Hot for my Chinchilla 3:51
2 Lily on the Beach 4:16
3 Alaskan Summer 3:33
4 Desert Drive 3:47
5 Mount Shasta 4:26
6 Crystal Curfew 4:57
7 Paradise Cove 3:45
8 Twenty-Nine Palms 3:19
9 Valley of the Kings 5:05
10 Radio City 4:04
11 Blue Mango Cafe 4:12
12 Gecko 3:33
13 Long Island Sunset 7:11
Private Music | CD 260 103 (CD 55:59)
**½ (E-pinky rock)

Phew that I was severe! I reread my chronicle (Guts of Darkness 9557) and I have the feeling of being an old grump who goes to war against an icon. Notice that I didn't change idea! “Lilly on the Beach” is still an album which sucks. A very average one! Well, with time and another listening for a review, this time on the synthsequences.blogspot.ca, I found that I hit hard on Edgar. And for a good reason! Today it is known, but in that time we still dreamed. “Lilly on the Beach” remains the album which divided the fans and especially an era. We dreamed about a possible comeback, but Edgar had decided otherwise. From now on, his Dream would go towards a more Americanized, more accessible and a more melodious EM. Kind of Peter Bardens or Yanni. It was the era of the digital technology and of the singing synths. Thus finished solos! The sequencing and its unpredictable effect of rhythm? Its role has now turned into a second one. The electronic sticks percussions and their bongo drum soundings had the preference. The result, let's be honest, is a rather drab album filled with electronic beats and synth melodies without real souls which exude much more some approaches of movie synth-pops as well as an electronic pinky kind of rock. The kind of flat EM that was made by ton of unknown bands in the 80's.
"Too Hot for my Chinchilla" starts “Lilly on the Beach” on the right foot. The rhythm is nervous. Interrupted by harmonious threads, it beats of its electronic drum sticks which stamp like a typist with some crystalline hits and with its sequences of glass which clink more in a harmonic mode than a rhythmic one. It's lively, near rock and we eventually end by liking it. These lively, ebullient, rhythms are more numerous as usual on “Lilly on the Beach” and that doesn't mean that they are inevitably any vouchers. Set apart the opening g track, I like the ardour and the nervousness of "Paradise Cove" as well as the good solos of the old
Edgar. On the other hand, titles like "Desert Drive", "Radio City" (this first appearance of Jerome had left me of ice) and the insipid "Gecko" always remain to me of some total ineptitudes. We are in the 80's. The pinky rock is the new tendency with a lot of movies for teenagers, thus the EM of TD follows this tangent with many synth-pop ballads. That begins with the title-track and its bursts of dramatic percussions. That continues with "Alaskan Summer", "Crystal Curfew" which I like, the very beautiful "Valley of the Kings" and its Arabian fragrances, and the very so/so "Blue Mango Cafe". On level of the beautiful small jewels of ambiences there is "Mount Shasta", the romantic "Twenty-Nine Palms" and its melancholic piano, as well as "Long Island Sunset" with a first saxophone presence which will become an instrument of accompaniment for synths in the future years of the Dream.
In spite of some beautiful small music pieces, which could have come from any new band quite hampered to demonstrate a more experimental character, “Lilly on the Beach” remains a very disappointing album where the tandem of
Froese -Haslinger shows no boldness, favoring a certain ease. The rhythms are defended by very ordinary structures of bass, beat boxes without souls and virtual bongo drums which will soon be an integral part of TD's world, relegating the sequencers to a phony role and to beat machines without punch nor imagination. There is also the apparition of a first saxophone on a Tangerine Dream track. Sax, wind instruments and manual percussions will have from now on their special place in the universe of the Dream. It's a whole world which topples over and I believe that Edgar Froese should have changed the name of his group. But that's another debate. But the old fox ran head first in order to fetch a new generation of fans and in time reunite certain old ones in his new artistic vision. But if we listen closely the new music of his Dream, we notice that there is a scent of Peter Baumann but in a much colder and a less imaginative way. Whatever and all in all, “Lilly on the Beach” is a disappointing album which includes some good small tracks to be hum but which will remain always empty of sense.

Sylvain Lupari (December 26th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=9557 

mardi 24 décembre 2013

VANDERSON & PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ: Remote Sessions (2013)

“The Polish duo offers in Remote Sessions a very beautiful album which navigates between its cosmic ambiences, its lunar paintings and its dancing rhythms”

1 Journey to the Northern Land 18:06
2 Leaving the Earth 7:06
3 Far Away from Here 8:19
4 Lonely Dot 11:27
5 Sounds of Scattered Waves 5:52

Generator.pl| GEN CD 031 (CD 50:53) ****(Cosmic E-Rock)
When one sees the names of Vanderson and Przemyslaw Rudz on a CD artwork, and what a nice one it is, we have both our ears on the watch. And it's comprehensible. These 2 Polish artists are iconic figures of the Poland School movement such as showed with strong albums that they have realized over the years. And when one sees both names on the same artwork, the curiosity goes growing. Like on “Remote Sessions” where the unexpected duo presents a concept album about the spatial journeys with 5 tracks which interlace in a long musical act of 51 minutes and which embrace the soft analog perfumes of the cosmic music.
After a brief ambiospherical intro where all the sonic elements are set up, a sequence of rhythm begins a delicate movement of kicks, from which the minimalist jumps will serve as basis to the next 17 minutes of "Journey to the Northern Land". The approach is simply magnetizing. The synth lines which are dawdling around in this rhythmic panorama, such as lassos prisoners of a circular wind, add the harmonious portion of this dodecaphonic sonic fight, while that somber whispers decorate a first part of an aura of paranoia. The structure makes heavier its pace and its ambiences with bangings and mist of Mellotron, setting ablaze some fine nuances in an approach which looks constantly for the ornaments of its imposing presence. Some superb and creative solos spin in all directions above this electronic dance of kicks, bringing an analog touch to a very contemporary rhythm. The approach can be as much striking than ethereal, and we do not see, nor hears the whole 18 minutes. It is a beautiful minimalist electronic hymn which ends in a storm when the solos are going off the rails with huge and grave distortions from an e-guitar. It's then the take-off of "Leaving the Earth" which assumes its 7 minutes with an experimental ambiosonic approach where are sparkling some brief movements of sequenced percussions which flutter in the heavy eddies of twisted reverberations. The whispers come back haunting our perception, uniting "Leaving the Earth" to "Far Away from Here" which slides into cosmos with superb lunar breezes. Arpeggios of glass sing and their resonances forge a delicate spiraled structure of rhythm which serves as basis to another line of sequences in formation. This one shakes the keys with more restlessness. They skip in a rhythmic figure still harmonic, setting the tone to a heavy rhythm of which the jerks espouse this fascinating hypnotic rhythmic symbiosis which skips merrily in a mist of ether. The acuteness of the synth solos transforms "Far Away from Here" into a beautiful cosmic ballad of which the harmonies get closer of the romantic French School. This is as much beautiful, and especially very catchy, as unexpected. "Lonely Dot", what an appropriate naming, is the most relaxing piece of music in “Remote Sessions” with its isolated points of sequences which try to pierce a rhythm in dense eddies and strong magnetic countercurrents. We literally swim in cosmos when some sequences swirl in the waltzing winds of Orion. They sparkle and bounce in a fascinating dislocated choreography, suspending so a rhythmic approach which implodes with a heavy line of bass and by percussions with delicate moderate bangings. Grumbling solos stand up over this circular rhythm where sequences resound as knocks of glass ball on a Bolo of steel, while that a surprising rhythmic spiral strengthens the agitated rhythm of "Sounds of Scattered Waves" which swirls with the same ferocity as its solos.
Vanderson and Przemyslaw Rudz honor their reputations by offering a very beautiful album with ambiences which are splendidly widened between wild electronic rhythms. I like this fusion of the of the retro Berlin School and the cosmic French School styles which surrounds the 51 minutes of “Remote Sessions”; an album which navigates between its cosmic ambiences, its lunar paintings and its dancing rhythms.

Sylvain Lupari (December 24th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=16592 

lundi 23 décembre 2013

STEVE SMITH & THE TYLAS CYNDROME: Pools of Diversity (2013)

“Pools of Diversity is a great album which combines the rock, the progressive and the electronic music to sculpture an album where the borders interlace without ever denying the harmonious bouquets”

1 Ghost Ship 11:22
2 Orbit 12:38
3 Requiem 8:03
4 Interstellar Highway 12:17
5 Trilian Suns 10:03
6 The Main Event 8:05

Groove | GR-204 (CD 62:30) **** (Progressive melodious e-rock)
The first album of Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome, Phoenix Arising, had left a pleasant sound imprint in my ears which, from time to time, asked for more of it. It is thus with a great deal of haste that I put myself on the road of “Pools of Diversity”. Hey that I was not disappointed!
"Ghost Ship" introduces us straight out into the charming world of
Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome with a veil of mystery falling out of the nothingness. Noises of rustling of metals, as well as electronic distortions, float in a bottomless gap where absent choruses have difficulties in humming a musical air. Fine arpeggios are clinking of a crystalline tone and forge an abstract melody which waltzes innocently in an intriguing ambiosonic intro which evaporates at around the 4th minute. And the melody takes shape. In the shade of muffled pulsations and demonic breaths, it swirls as a devilish bed song, which reminds me of the Machiavellian universe of Mark Shreeve and his Legion album, before being harpooned by solid percussions. Already intense, "Ghost Ship" becomes heavy. A spheroidal heavy rhythm from where appear ghosts' hootings who are mocking around the lamentations of a guitar to harmonies which rage with ebullient solos. The synth solos are decorating this melody where the innocence and the diabolism quarrel the favors of a rhythm which is proud of its invasive heaviness, making even an audacious wink to the somber harmonies of a ghost of the opera new genre, before dashing off in an inflammatory fury. And always these innocent carillons which come back this time to put asleep the finale. Great stuff! It's a strong electronic rock adorned by a fascinating melodic approach. "Orbit" adopts a little the same structure as "Ghost Ship" with an intro ambiospherical fed by sonic twists which wave in the sighs of vaporous synth layers of which the slow evasive harmonies are waltzing with a meshing of cosmic tones. An acoustic guitar, as delicious as unexpected, comes to caress this morphic dance of senses, while that percussions and bass sequences weave the pieces of a linear rhythm which begins to galloping beneath harmonious synth breezes with cooings weavers of earworm. Heavy and lascivious, the evolving rhythm of "Orbit" drags in its furrow some beautiful arpeggios of glasses, as well as their glittering harmonies, which congeal the neurons of pleasure. Always so present, Alan Ford's acoustic guitar is delicately romantic. It makes sing its notes pinched in an ambivalent structure where the rhythm and the ambiences are alternately charmed by suave solos, as much from the synth as the guitar, and the notes of a dreamy guitar from which the solitary harmonies sing with these delicate crystalline arpeggios. After a somber intro where a choir hums airs for absent friends in the veils of a penetrating organ and the ringings of big churches bells, "Requiem" slides towards a fascinating classico-folk approach before giving way to a heavy rhythmic eruption headed up by a tearful violin. Difficult to ask better for arrangements!
"Interstellar Highway" starts with an intriguing intro where are floating tortuous synth lines beneath a sonic sky multicolored of crystalline shooting stars and threatening tints. This is the highway of cosmos and horns have definitively a stellar tone. Bass pulsations wake up and forge a chaotic heavy rhythm with dark keys which spin in all directions in a highway cut out by the speed of comets. The sober percussions of Les Sims support these black keys which also receive the support of another of sequences, this time more melodious with crystal clear jumping ions. And, such as on a double bridge crossing the galaxies, the rhythm shows two cadences which overlap in a structure all the same harmonious with these lines of sounds which travel faster than the hearing. I like this approach delicately jazzy which is hatching in second part. It's quite unusual in a structure of rhythm where the shadows of
Redshift are skipping in an approach which reminds me that of Axel Stupplich or yet Pyramid Peak. The comparison with the Peak takes more its sonic mordant, exception made of the guitar, in "Trilian Suns" which, after a minimalist intro where a furtive rhythm crosses the melodious approach of another one, sets ablaze a beautiful eurhythmic rhythmic ride. Sequences are as well agile as fragile. They float like the waves of a brook manhandled by the winds, revitalising their strengths by the arms of Les Sims who hammers a ceaselessly implosive pace. Espousing a structure of a very accessible progressive electronic rock with more ethereal and more harmonious passages, the rhythm of "Trilian Suns" hiccups of its race and its kicks under some superb and shrill synth solos and is also resting in the tears of a dreamy guitar and of its nostalgic solos (I'm hearing Mark Knopfler). After an intro which spits its gaily-coloured gurglings, "The Main Event" ends “Pools of Diversity” with a furious heavy and spheroidal e-rock. It takes two minutes, but when it starts, it starts. Some nice bluish sequences are fluttering of their crystal clear tones and are knocked down by sound gusts which let guess a next explosion. A heavy and slow bass line draws an extremely lively circular rhythm; one would say a slow magnetizing heavy metal, where are shining and sparkling these sequences of glass and where are striking, resounding the tightened drum skins of Les Sims while the keyboard sings of an organic voice. Every second justifies the synthesis between Steve Smith, Les Sims and Alan Ford who sound the charge of a powerful electronic hymn with mordant riffs, shrill solos and a rhythmic section which explodes with superb arrangements. This is great. Just great! As it ends, we want to listen to it again.
Evolving in the plans of progressive EM which fed the wealth of their first opus,
Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome delivers a very strong second act, which is also a little more accessible, in “Pools of Diversity”. These evolutionary rhythms which criss-cross and juxtapose themselves in their musical structures in perpetual opposition, as well as their contiguous harmonies, are in the heart of a vast musical mosaic where the rock, the progressive and the electronic music forms unite their points of difference in order to sculpture an album where the borders interlace without ever denying the harmonious bouquets which seduce all along a great album.

Sylvain Lupari (December 23rd, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=16591 

samedi 21 décembre 2013

BOUVETOYA: Subtractivate (2013)

“Subtractivate is very good retro Berlin School EM where Bouvetoya seduces with an approach that we know but of which we are always amazed that there are still bits of freshness”
1 Kraterisen 9:23
2 Apophenia 5:14
3 Pulse Negative 12:55
4 Acheron 12:48
5 When Isolation Sparkles 17:17
6 Subtractivate 8:54

SynGate | CD-r MJ01 (CD-r 66:33) ***½
(Great retro Berlin School)
The debate persists after all these years; does the old Berlin School of the years vintages have forgotten some music on the paths of decades? The opinions are divided, as much as certain followers would eat it all the time. And it's mainly to them that addresses this small jewel signed by a mysterious Irish group (a new Arcane?) of which the name is inspired after a distant Norwegian island. “Subtractivate” presents nearly 70 minutes of EM with long intros perfumed mystic mists which give birth to always evolving rhythms wrapped up in dense ochred clouds, black choruses and ethereal flute singings. It's an album where the references to Tangerine Dream, Rubycon and Phaedra era, abound throughout a first very promising album from the band Bouvetoya. A name that we should keep in memory.
An oblong synth layer perfumed of mist is winding up around the introduction of "Kraterisen", throwing an impressive dark veil which floats with a mixture of voice, breezes of Farfisa and sound subtleties deserving of the
Rubycon years. Bass pulsations are stirring in a tempestuous gallop where circulate these black drafts infiltrated by chthonian choruses. After a three minutes of Mephistophelian ambiences, the rhythm of "Kraterisen" becomes as furious as black. Heavy, it bursts of another line of more rebellious sequences which pulse in a crazy oscillating race of which each knock resounds and challenges the wings of a static rhythm constantly tortured by chthonian choirs, by pads with scents of ether and also nibbled by riffs of synth to echoing bites. We are into the abyss of Tangerine Dream with strong perfumes of analog where the black rhythms go up and down, surrounded with these dark ambiences which quarrel the heat of our ears. Offering a black ambient rhythm, "Apophenia" goes beyond of a vaporous introduction in order to offer some agile sequences which pulse stubbornly in sonic corridors disguised of synth lines eroded by its nuances and by plenty of electronic tones. Then some tortuous lines of reverberations open the somber ambiospherical paths of "Pulse Denial" which wallows in a luxurious bed of Mellotron mists. The lines spit an organic poison, while the moods get harden and present a delicate carillon of sequences which swirl like an enchanted musical box. The rhythm takes itself in the stitches of these sequences. Beating of its bass keys, it by-passes the transparency of the sonic pearls which zigzag with resonance in the vapors of flutes and finally stumble in some ambiosonic lines to tones of Ohm. The moment of break is short because "Pulse Denial", just as "Acheron" and his banks of mist which surf with disturbing synth lines to the deformed resonances, continues its rhythmic transfer mutation by drawing awkward circles by which the intensity increases to the measure of its static spins which swirl in the vapors of  Arabian nasal flutes and mystic Mellotron.
"When Isolation Sparkles" spreads also a slow and long ambiospherical intro before offering a structure of rhythm, a little after the 7th minute, with sequences which pace up and down symmetric dunes. Elytrons of steel accompany this furtive sonic walking decorated with fine nuances, whereas we perceive a little more vigour in a rhythm which gets dressed subtly of black. The rhythm is static, but always in movement and in permutation. Only its harmonious tints modify the appearance while it increases appreciably the pace in order to play with another line of sequences, always so sober, which swirls in these clouds of Mellotron. Mists, flutes and chthonian choruses which make all the charm of the somber atmospheres of “Subtractivate” and of its title-track which, after a heavy ambiospherical intro, offers a beautiful movement of a wave-like rhythm which is reminiscent of Chris Franke's ambient rhythms.
Sailing in a full ocean of analog tones with structures of rhythms which evolve in ambiospheric beds of wadding, “Subtractivate” maintains constantly the interest by presenting fine nuances which catch the hearing. It's an album where the rhythms are as well ambient as the ambiences can be dark and a very good retro Berlin School where Bouvetoya seduces with an approach that we know but of which we are always amazed that there is still other bits of freshness left.

Sylvain Lupari (December 21st, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=16582

vendredi 20 décembre 2013

OLIVIER BRIAND: Light Memories (2013)

“There are a lot of winks to Vangelis behind Light Memories of whic the sonic evolution creates a lot of melodies which bind themselves in imaginative rhythms”

Light Memories Part I –XV 72:59
PWM Distribution (CD-r 72:59) ***½
(Experimental and melodic Vangelis style EM)

The influence of Vangelis on Olivier Briand's musical development and experimental orientations is at the heart of his evolution and of his open mind on the art of the EM. Conceived in the interstices of the epic tones of Yamaha CS80, “Light Memories” wants to be an interlude in the career of the Nantes synthesist where he pays a sound tribute to Vangelis. Flanked of the Fender Rhodes Mark II piano, Olivier Briand develops 15 tracks which are inspired by oriental melodies from which the aromas flee the musical panoramas of Blade Runner and beyond.
"Light Memories Part I" begins the opening of “Light Memories” with an ambiospherical approach. Scattered notes, sounding like a mixture of an acoustic guitar and a Japanese koto, ring in industrial mists which remind the black universe of
Blade Runner. At first evasive, the part gives birth to a beautiful melodious approach which flows like stars whistling in a black sky. Each of the 15 parts of “Light Memories” is knotted by a delicate sonic thread which makes the link between the various styles of this commemorative symphony in respect of the Yamaha CS80 such as toyed by the Greek self-taught musician. "Light Memories Part II" follows the lunar sweetnesses of "Part I" before stirring of some symphonic jolts which recall the period of China. "Part III" follows with pulsating keys which jump up with their resonances under prismic clouds soaked with cosmic chirping. The rhythm is slow and pulses stubbornly in the benches of nasal lines, while another line of synth vocalizes an electronic dialect. The rhythm gets loose from its morphic influence with other sequences which sparkle and skip freely, braiding a figure of static rhythm which swirls in a more electronic structure where sings this synth and its fascinating robotics vocalizes. Then comes the very beautiful "Part IV" and its Fender Rhodes piano which makes sing its forsaken notes in the mists of melancholy. It's a beautiful light track which floats in our brain with a lot of melancholy. "Part V" moves on with a cosmic electronic march where are pulsing some enormous organic suckers of which the noise of suctions spreads its magic towards the tones of silky elytrons. The synth embroiders a litany of cosmic serenity which sounds out of tune in this static rhythm closer to the din and of sonic explorations. "Part VI" is a very beautiful melody where the sequences flicker in circles and the synth sings freedom. "Light Memories Part VII" loops the loop of the first half of “Light Memories” with a very beautiful electronic serenade filled by an absolute tenderness. Adopting a little the approach of the slow pulsing rhythm of Chariots of Fire, "Part VIII" eventually embraces a beat of lounge with synth solos which borrow the smells of nasal trumpets. The Rhodes spreads syllables with a fine harmonious prose deserving of improvisations that we can hear on evenings of free-jazz. Very light, "Part IX" shows its celestial singings of which the breaths of Pan bind themselves into the cosmic dusts of the very tearful "Part X"."Part XI" finds its inspiration in the Asian prose of "Part II" but with a more steady rhythm. "Part XII" is another beautiful lunar serenade which whistles on the edge of solitude. Delicate and very beautiful, its melancholy plunges into the surprising down-tempo, which sounds strangely like a soft jazz, which is "Part XIII" and of its surprising line of bass. There is almost an Arabian perfume on this track. We move forward towards the finale and to do it, Olivier Briand offers us his jewel in "Light Memories Part XIV" whose magnificent ballad gets lost in the souvenirs of Direct, a more contemporary album from Vangelis. This is very good and we never heard it coming. "Light Memories Part XV" encloses this sonic fantasia with an immersion of oddities and analog/digital heterogeneous noises which remind all the work of accuracy which surrounded those great electronic works.
Light Memories” is a more personal album to
Olivier Briand who indulges himself by working with the instruments of one of his main sources of inspiration. There are a lot of winks to the works of Vangelis behind this fascinating electronic dawn serenade where the noises and the strange atmospheres assemble to create a multitude of melodies which bind themselves in imaginative rhythms. And even in the sound experimentation, Olivier Briand always manages to embroider melodies which make the ears smile. Mainly for the fans of Vangelis, “Light Memories” remains a fascinating album for those who want to understand the progressions of electronic structures.

Sylvain Lupari (December 19th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=16581

jeudi 19 décembre 2013

STEVE ORCHARD: Late on Christmas Eve (2013)

“Late on Christmas Eve is a nice collection of Christmas hymns beautifully arranged by a very cheerful Steve Orchard”
1 We Three Kings 4:07
2 In the Bleak Midwinter 4:42
3 Away in a Manger 4:32
4 The First Nowell 5:09
5 Hark the Herald Angels Sing 3:25
6 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 3:23
7 When the Snow Lay Round About 4:34
8 Once in Royal David's City 4:39
9 O'Come All Ye Faithful 3:32
10 Embers: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear 4:44

ADMusic | AD136 (DDL/CD-r 43:08) ***
(Christmas on New Age)
Here is an album that totally bewitched the visit during the Seasons Holidays. “Late on Christmas Eve” is a delicious Christmas album splendidly arranged by a Steve Orchard at the top of his romantism. The English musician chose 10 traditional Christmas carols to make of them some very beautiful new interpretations which ally cheerfulness hymns, like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", to more contemplative ones like "When the Snow Lay Round About" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" or still the very austere "O' Come All Ye Faithful" which, here, plays on its cathedralish approach and its pious melody. Whether it is with his piano or his guitar, Steve Orchard does silky arrangements which bring a very New Age touch to familiar X-Mas tunes. I enjoyed, and so did my guesses, the soft and very poetic "We Three Kings", "Away in a Manger" and the intrusive "Embers: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"."In the Bleak Midwinter" turns into a beautiful snowy ballad and takes here quite a new dimension. And what is to say about the jazzy mood of "The First Nowell" and the bluesy tint of "Once in Royal David's City"? Amazing of freshness.
In brief, what we have here is a nice collection of Christmas hymns beautifully arranged with just what a soft dosage of orchestration which doesn't fall into pitiful odes from which the only purpose is to make you cry. The harpsichords, the flutes and the carillons are sensitively well inserted and add a dimension not too deep so that we won't lose our sight from the happiness of these moments.

Sylvain Lupari (December 19th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mercredi 18 décembre 2013

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Remnants (2013)

“Remnants is a wonderful musical odyssey where this duality between the rhythms and its atmospheres engenders so much delicacy as so much fury”
1 Portal Touch Stone Overture 3:41
2 Neolithic Spring Water Fall 2:18
3 Circular Earth Banking Security 1:15
4 The Rising Dolmen 2:38
5 The Gretchen Tragedy 4:41
6 Night Initiation 5:08
7 Farewell Moon and New Suns 6:24
8 Moon Dial 14:31
9 Blue Hour Glass 10:40
10 Giant's Dance on Air 4:46
11 Walking the Burial Mounds 4:25

Groove NL | GR-205 (CD 60:27) ****½
(Cinematographic EM with a zest of Berlin and Dutch School)
I always believed that the artistic approach of Thorsten Quaeschning had influenced Tangerine Dream, in particular in the superb Sonic Poem Series. And as strangely as fabulously, it's a kind of a return of favor that we witness with this Picture Palace Music's last album which drinks literally of the nebulous ambiospheric and rhythmic paintings of Tangerine Dream at the top of its mysticism. “Remnants” is the last audacious sonic adventure of Thorsten Quaeschning's band. Audacious because the Q gang has to put in music a fascinating visual odyssey, and totally dumb, on the history of the ascent and the fall of the Neolithic civilization of Great Britain, such as puts in images by the film-maker Grant Wakefield. Navigating on a slow structure, where all 11tracks get tangled up in a long symphony filled by Gothic and druidism aromas, of 60 minutes which incubate its rhythms and its atmospheres in a box bubbling constantly of black emotions, “Remnants” offers all the magnificence of a group which is superbly at ease in its mandates which avoid the ease.
It's with a silence which scolds that "Portal Touch Stone Overture" pierces the blank grooves of
PPM's last thin slivery CD. Ethereal voices are floating there, as well as some rippling synth lines which make the bridge between the vaporous atmospheres of a black introduction and the fine line of sequences which makes its keys bounce in their shadows, stamping on a somber and delicately jerked rhythm that breezes from flutes of glass and absent choirs caress of their Mephistophelian charms. Subtly, the rhythm of "Portal Touch Stone Overture" passes of its delicate hatched gait towards wavelets of sequenced prisms which tap in the morphic sweetness of "Neolithic Spring Water Fall". The musical setting is well thought. And already we feel the level of emotionalism stepping up a notch. Riffs of keyboard à la TD fall and spread their Vangelis resonances which crystallize the harmonies ghosts roaming as lost spirits. The rhythm, sometimes absent and sometimes discreet, shows up the tip of its sequences with black oscillations which plunge “Remnants” into its first phase of sound frenzy with the short "Circular Earth Banking Security" where we hear some strange rustles collided on the ramparts of heavy sequences which spin in dense foggy pads. Memories of the neurotic Curriculum Vitae 1
 are feeding our desire to go farther. And bang! We fall into a universe of static rhythms à la Gert Emmens with "The Rising Dolmen". The rhythm is as well lugubrious as heavy. It floats with nice musical oscillations in the filets of sequences which flicker like dozens of fireflies trapped in a small jar for six, while the singings and the solos of synths are as suave as these long cosmic poetries from the Dutch bard. The transitions between every track are the strength of this album which sounds like a long track of 60 minutes. So the lapping of sequences comes back to rock the soft reveries of "The Gretchen Tragedy" and its flute which sings like a lost soul on a twinkling rivulet of sequences. "Night Initiation" is the meeting point between the beginning and the ending of “Remnants”. It's an interlude of ambiences with ethereal voices which hums in the winds of prism, a little as a somber mass of winds and voices blowing in a plain pierced by dolmens.
The fragile structures of "Neolithic Spring Water Fall" come back haunting the very meditative "Farewell Moon and New Suns" which frees a snake of sequences from which the keys skip with transparency under a dense veil of ochred mist. Scattered percussions support the oscillations of this snake charmer of rhythms, while that quite slowly the contemplative melody does the job by conquering our hearing. Although ambient, the structure of "Farewell Moon and New Suns" is striking with its intense coat of mysticism where winds sing with the night elves. And we enter the sublimity with the heavy pulsating rhythm of "Moon Dial". Once again, the movement of the motionless sequences is as attractive as Gert Emmens' lunar rhythms. Except that the madness
PPM surrounds these sequences which spit the blackness with paranoiac rustles and filets of ethereal voices. The movement negotiates subtly the redundancy with a fine rhythmic modulation which makes "Moon Dial" swirls on itself while other sequences flicker and hijack the rhythm towards a latent implosion where will roar very vindictive synth solos and solos of a rebel guitar. The rhythmic battle gets intensify and "Moon Dial" fires a phase of electronic progressive rock where the structure of sequences, the electronic percussions and the bites of guitars remind me the fury of Tangerine Dream in Near Dark. This is candy for ears! It's in the breathlessness of the tumults that the first notes of piano light the melancholy of "Blue Hour Glass". These notes dance in a strange harmonious choreography eroded by tremors, while other more evasive and more melodious notes give me the taste to listen again the magnificent and demonic Añoranza. It's dark and melancholic while being as well beautiful as intriguing. "Giant's Dance on Air" cuts out the vapors of serenity with guitar riffs which fail on the stampings of sequences pawing the ground of disorder and of a desire to shake the radiance atmospheres of "Blue Hour Glass". These sequences forge the structures of a lascivious rhythm which swirls in the wavelets of static prisms and the spirals of emotionalism where voices and arrangements embroider an intense dramatic painting and where the intensity explodes with strong percussions which bring “Remnants” to its rhythmic climax. And "Walking the Burial Mounds" to close this last Picture Palace Music's work with winds and voices which float such as vestiges ghosts of a civilization which has set alight so many stories.
When the images take the shapes of music, it gives
Picture Palace Music. It gives “Remnants”; a wonderful musical odyssey where this duality between the rhythms and its atmospheres engenders so much delicacy as so much fury and where the poetry as well as the dramatic prose of PPM are of use as background to a movie which takes place as much in front of our eyes as in our head. And honestly; what of better than the very theatrical music (do you remember of the splendid Natatorium
?) of Picture Palace Music to put better into cerebral dialogue the images of Grant Wakefield? Splendid! This is some great Picture Palace Music, poetic and theatrical which revisits its own roots.
Sylvain Lupari (December 18th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également 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=16580