vendredi 30 mai 2014

DeeperNET: Impossible Landscape (2014)

“A bit less dynamic than One, Impossible Landscape remains a very good enthralling album where IDM gets closer to the borders of New Berlin School”
1 Aether 7:19
2 Fractal Dimension 8:03
3 Fluid in Blue 5:15
4 Planum 3:44
5 Movements 7:35
6 Illuminated by Ultraviolet 6:32
7 Thought Drop 4:14
8 Falling Through 6:03
9 Astral Body 8:35
10 Aphelion 3:20
11 Quantum Teleportation 10:00

Spotted Peccary| SPM-2202 (CD Pack 71:05) ***½
(Techno and IDM breached by ambient phases)
The first note which falls is resounding and skipping from an ear to another, revealing in its jerky tumult a delicious melodious approach which reminds Jerome Froese's style. Ambient and swirling slightly in some lunar waves of synth, the rhythm feeds on slamming percussions. The melody, always fragile, throws its seraphic charm while quite slowly "Aether" dives into a static whirlwind where everything becomes in suspension. Rhythm and melody fall in a sound slump. A kind of break-beat eaten away from everywhere by jerky stroboscopic lines where elements stutter in a phase of morphic dance, which little by little stabilizes and returns to its banging and lively pace as well as its melody slowly magnetizing. After a first album which had seduced the scene of IDM, techno, trance and Goa (The album One-SPM 2201) last year, DeeperNET comes back on the tracks again with a clearly less rebel album. With a collection of 11 music pieces which lulls between rhythms bordering to soft techno and a kind of synth-pop à la Jerome Froese into moods a bit more ethereal, “Impossible Landscape” aims to be an album of compromise which can reunite through its 71 minutes the fans of IDM to those who like that when things are a little more romantic, when the rhythms are a little lighter.
There are always rhythms of fire which are at times broken by meditative ambiences like on "Fractal Dimension" which, after an intro fed by hoops which glide in ethereal frames of mind, offers a techno as ambient as organic with crisscrossed sequences and gurgling keys which lean on sober pulsations and technoïd percussions. The melody is spheroidal and swirls in concert with fat sequences while the music is eventually diving into a very floating cosmic passage. I call this a vertical techno. Intelligent techno? This is not really violent and we skip on the spot such as zombies which smell the flesh through every sonic pulsation. After two solid opening acts, Andrew Miles offers a more ethereal, amore poetic musical vision with the delicate voice of Zefora which floats on a nice ballad rocked by somber, a bit howling, synth layers and notes of an acoustic guitar forged in the interstices of the Virus T1. The rhythm is slow. As slow as the percussions which knock it out and drives the track towards beautiful smooth zones as mystic as angelic. I think it's a good intelligent synth-pop like the very pleasant "Illuminated by Ultraviolet"; one of the good tracks here strongly filled by the influences of
Jerome Froese. Moreover, the parallel with Froese son is completely indicated to explain better this last album of DeeperNET. On “Impossible LandscapeAndrew Miles concocts a beautiful cocktail of rhythms to the diapasons of any instinct and of melodies carrier of earworms that enchants in a universe of percussions and very attractive drummed chords; the skeleton of "Illuminated by Ultraviolet" and also "Movements" which clean out our ears with a techno (I'm always hearing Jerome Froese) with fat sequencing chords which spits a resonant sonic poison. The rhythm divides itself between its muffled hammerings, its technoïd pulsations, its percussions which sound like register cash money and its crisscrossed sequences which intertwine with lines of melodies floating such as spectres hermits of their wandering. "Planum", just like "Thought Drop" and the very melancholic "Aphelion", propose us a more ambient version of DeeperNET while that "Falling Through" plunges us into a fascinating universe of tribal meditation with thunders of Japanese percussions which bear the delicate voice of Zefora and the layers of synth which waltz in some very ethereal horizons. "Astral Body" distances itself with an approach which mixes synth-pop and psybient. The rhythm is solid with good percussions and the melody finds refuge in a kind of talk-box which gets loose in a stroboscopic spheroidal movement. The ambiences are forged in an electronic approach as cybernetic as organic. It's something that we have already heard (Shpongle?) which remains really effective. The album ends with a very IDM approach where percussions hammer a galloping hypnotic rhythm and lines of sequences swirl in a jerky way. Flavored by organic sonic effects and by stroboscopic sequences, "Quantum Teleportation" is a very DJ kind of track. A work of dance music embalmed by effects and by cosmic electronic pads. We have our ears as full of tones as our feet filled of blood.DeeperNET is undoubtedly a good find of the Spotted Peccary label and its more invigorating division O3E. Andrew Miles is the architect of an album much more serene than One. An album which gets closer a little more of this new orientation than we observe now with a kind of IDM closer the roots of New Berlin School than the trance or the Goa styles. Although I savoured the rhythms of fire of One, I did enjoy this relative serenity, this little more poetic approach which floats in ambiences which are very near the psychedelic borders, otherwise psychotronic ones, of “Impossible Landscape
Sylvain Lupari (May 30th, 2014)
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=17115

mardi 27 mai 2014

E-MUSIKGRUPPE LUX OHR: Spiralo (2014)

“Audacious, intelligent and well done, Spiralo is a superb blend of AshRa an early Schulze”
1 Spiralo: Seite A (Teilen I - III) 19:10
Teil I (4:16)
Teil II (12:04)
Teil III (2:50)
2 Spiralo: Seite B (Teilen IV - VI) 19:10
Teil IV (4:56)
Teil V (8:49)
Teil VI (5:25)

Svart Records LP (DDL 38:20) ****
(Vintage psy/prog EM)

More than a sonic journey in cosmos; the image, the artistic etiquette and the music of E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr is a real journey in the time when the Krautrock merged with an EM still dipped into the uncertainty of its movements. In the time when the vinyl was a king. In the time when our ears had the same curiosity as our eyes. In the time when the music transcended its vocation. After very striking Kometenbahn; one of the best, if not the best, album of 2013, the Finnish quartet comes back to blurring the spheres of contemporary EM with an album which dips us back into the soft euphoria of the 70's. The illusion is complete. “Spiralo” is offered in limited edition of 500 vinyls with 200 of red color. And like in the time, the album is built around two long tracks of 20 minutes which decorated every face of a bewitching perfume of psychedelic. And like those years, we are riveted to our ears in order to seize well and fully a wonderful sonic flora fed by peculiarities as organic as cosmic.
It's thus with an overflowing of organicosmic lavas, which invades our earphones from the first seconds, that "Spiralo: Seite A" gets loose from the silence. The introduction is very ambiosonic, very ambiospherical and plunges a listener, starving for sonic symphonies without borders, in the interstices of ambient rhythms braided in the analog years and caramelized by flavors of metal of these years vintages. Rangy synth lines filled of corrosive resonances and dissonances, I hear some phases of
Schulze in Picture Music, float like spectres on a structure of rhythm which is developed by jerks with drumming as secret as the bass notes, some hatched metallic bangings and riffs of guitar which regurgitate its wha-wha under the forms of loops. The universe becomes a delicious mixture of psychedelic and psychotronic with beautiful flights of Mellotron which also release scents of ether, as well as fluty voices, which caress of their ectoplasmic singings a rhythm fed by knocks of cymbal wings. From parasitic noises to white noises, "Spiralo: Seite A" is fading little by little in the meanders of the organicosmic sounds of its opening. Built on the same bases, but a little more lively, "Spiralo: Seite B" sets the tone straight out with modular loops which espouse the structure of the loopy jerks of "Spiralo: Seite A". The movement is of ambiences and ambient, before diving gradually into the undulations of a rhythm which lifts its gravity like a snake floating on a rockery. The sound charms of E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr
 abound with effects of loops which go and come such as long sonic lassoes on a rhythm which little by little is biting the ear with a beautiful violence contained in its fine spiral movements. We hear beautiful solos, guitar and synth, sing on a rhythm divided between its jerks and its fine moderate oscillations which are abundantly sprayed by cosmic sound effects.
Spiralo”, just like
Kometenbahn
 by the way (although more electronic, more cosmic) is an album which aims at a public which is fond of the psychedelic movements of the vintage years. If that can help, it's a kind of crossing between the jerky rhythms, even if less violent, of AshRa to the ambiences filled by ether from Klaus Schulze. It's audacious, intelligent and well done. And it's especially a wind of freshness for a style of music which sometimes refuses to become soaked again with the perfumes of its roots.
Sylvain Lupari (May 27th, 2014)

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=17114

lundi 26 mai 2014

ASHRA: New Age of Earth (1976)

“In this wonderful world of EM, New Age of Earth is an inescapable work which mixes soft jerky beats and wonderful ethereal melodies”
1 Sunrain 7:26
2 Ocean of Tenderness 12:36
3 Deep Distance 5:46
4 Nightdust 21:52
Virgin Vaults CDV 2080 (47:55) *****

(Vintage Berlin School)

It's been a while since I'm talking on this Blog about AshRa Temple and/or about Manuel Gottsching. And the reason is simple; both names are open doors to the wonderful world of an EM which still had its paths in the Krautrock movement back in the end of the 70's. And I have to start with “New Age of Earth”. This 6th album from AshRa Temple follows a very turbulent era of the Temple where Manuel Gottsching leads the ship by both hands after producing his very first solo album; Inventions for Electric Guitar which has still its imprints on this new album. Being alone on this new phase of AshRa Temple, Manuel Gottsching played all the instruments which were mainly electronic. Making so of “New Age of Earth” the most electronic album from AshRa Temple.
Nervous on a rhythm knotted into jerks which roll in loops, "Sunrain" spreads all the magic of the artificial rhythms of “New Age of Earth”. Here, no percussions. Only synth layers finely cut which, stuck together, form a staccato style rhythm of which the very hatched flow is used as rhythmic bed to a soft melody which haunts and haunts and which sings in a drizzle of a celestial fog. The riffs and notes from the Gottsching's Gibson are dripping of intensity on a crystal clear tone and on fine modulations which clean any morphic attempts. We stay wide awake and we catch unmistakably the beat on the strata of synth which transport ethereal melodies and jerky rhythms. At times, a cloud of mist comes to comfort this duel of rhythm and harmony by transposing it towards another level of emotionalism. Without percussions and equipped of an analog synth, Manuel Gottsching maintains a rhythm supported by the genius and his way of modulating an artificial beat shaped by jerked breezes of synth rolling in the air. This is a powerful track of which the skeleton will hold the whole structure of "Deep Distance" which is less heavy but where the loops form a crystalline serpentine of a surrealist transparency. "Ocean of Tenderness" is my Stairway to Heaven of EM. An ode to tenderness with beautiful analog sound effects on a sea of sensibility, of tears, of sorrow. Wonderful, the guitar is crying and makes cry such as a lost soul which suffers from the abandonment, from the bitterness of a past formerly filled with promises. May I say that there were a lot of tears pour and lost in this "Ocean of Tenderness"? An ocean floating on a synth and on its ghostly breezes which espouses the very ambient modulations rocked by a lonely bass line in a sonic sky filled by Manuel Gottsching's guitar laments which is worth any kind of analog synth. This is simply enchanting and magical. An essential track in the EM sphere which is carved on my iPod since years. After "Deep Distance" which is more cosmic than "Sunrain", "Nightdust" drags us into the entrails of an ambient and psychedelic Berlin School very near the roots of
Klaus Schulze. Manuel Gottsching multiplies analog modulations and frequencies of a very cosmic and smoothing movement. Whistling, the synth shouts spectral forms of sonic striations which are at the same time scheming and mesmerizing. In this ice-cold blackness, the founder of AshRa mixes some vampiric strata in clothing of drama from an intrusive Mellotron which float and converge towards his finely hatched structures of rhythms build around a fusion of synth / guitar whose soft tears are rolling in the lost loops of a jerky structure. This rhythm pulls the darkness in the half of "Nightdust" and is charmingly wrapped in the floating shadows of an ethereal movement which seems to contain a slightly lower fury at the pace of "Deep Distance". A fury which overflows with a cosmic thick cloud of elements before melting up with the tenderness of a kind of a psychedelic Eden where birds chirp in the singings of a synth and some lines of an organ condemned to celestial harmonies. Like a new age of earth.
New Age of Earth” is a classic of the analog EM movement where everything is build from ideas torn away to the unfaithful horizons of hard drugs. Following the rules of hopping rhythms and ambiences with the perfumes of ether that we find on Inventions for Electric Guitar, Manuel Gottsching matures and emerges from his shell by offering us an album which mixes marvellously the chaotic rhythms and ethereal melodies in clearly less mathematical ambiences. He succeeds more than everything in creating a very intimist universe where we feel really alone to listen to his compositions. "Ocean of Tenderness" has to be the most sensitive and emotive track that I heard in my life and was also my open door to all this universe where the music of AshRa and Gottsching was going to become a link between techno and the psychedelic EM. “New Age of Earth” is an inescapable, while that "Ocean of Tenderness" is a necessity to all those who missed it.
Sylvain Lupari (May 26th, 2014)

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TANGERINE DREAM: Melrose (1990)

“Melrose is not that bad, possibly the best of the worst out of TD's American charm tour... But hey! I just forgot 220 Volts here”
1 Melrose 5:44
2 Three Bikes in the Sky 5:58
3 Dolls in the Shadow 5:10
4 Yucatan 5:16
5 Electric Lion 8:13
6 Rolling Down Cahuenga 6:43
7 Art of Vision 5:30
8 Desert Train 10:17
9 Cool at Heart 6:09

Private CD | 2078-2-P (CD 59:00) ***
(Pinky synth pop and soft e-rock)
It's with “Melrose” that Jerome Froese joins his old man to be so a member of Tangerine Dream. On the ricochet, it will also be the last album of the short association Froese/Haslinger. The latter wants to continue his career on the American West coast. The history shows that each new album of the Dream on Private Music opens a new direction towards a more oriented rock structure. It's somewhat as if TD was looking for itself in this new commercial virage. Like if Edgar was constantly looking for the miracle solution to make a lot of cash. And one has to admit that with “Melrose” this goal was nearly reached, as a lot of its music was aired on various radio shows and on MTV. It's doubtless the most ear-catching, the wildest and the most convincing album of the new Dream in its gigantesque appetite for money in the US soil. And the global result of this album belongs to the fan who has to exorcise his previous devils and understand that the Dream, era Franke, Froese and Baumann or Schmoelling is something which belongs to the past now and will never return. According to this base we can then admit that “Melrose” is the best of the worst with 9 tracks of an average 7 minutes time which are clearly more inspired than on Lily on the Beach.
The title-track is a very FM melody style with an ethereal opening where soft chords dance in dreaming on a gentle pattern of bongo percussions of which the inanimate strikings float in the pads of a synth soaked by astral mist. Rocking between its delicate harmonious envelope and its light rhythms, "Melrose" escapes with a fierce rhythm which is stupidly sprayed by Hubert Waldner's saxophone. The usual fans still don't it but bongo drums, saxophone and cold choruses without souls were going to become the angular stones of Edgar's new sense of writing and the purpose was to resolutely charm a new generation of fans. Elements that will never attract me, because I prefer a thousand times synths with symphonic and audacious sonic elements which are much richer than a sax and this, whatever who is playing it. A sax belongs to jazzy, moody music. Not synth pop or e-rock music. Those are my humble feelings. "Melrose" is a pure FM track which became the first video of
Tangerine Dream that I saw at Much Music, the Canadian version of MTV. "Three Bikes in the Sky" tempers a little my disappointment with a nice beautiful melody built on a bed of very dramatic emotions which shelters beautiful guitar solos. It's hyper melodious and Edgar rages with his guitar. Nervous sequences which are champing at the bit in winds of dismays, the structure of "Dolls in the Shadow" is rather interesting, except in what regarding a pattern of sequences which drum weakly some dry skins while that some electronic percussions plough another rhythmic direction. The approach would have been more interesting if these sequences had not the skins of bongo drum percussions. This is good but it sounds so much like Yanni. In fact “Melrose” is built on the ease. On false percussions which slam without spirit, easy melodic samplings here and there, very timid synths, too many tribal sequences patterns, sober orchestrations and cold professional studio work, “Melrose” seems to have forgot its emotions at the cloakroom of imagination. Each track let hear an inconsistent journey on structures which search to catch the hearing fast and easy for a brief moment of glory on FM. And it works. There are easy catchy passages, as on this "Dolls in the Shadow" and "Yucatán" with an empty tribal rhythm and inanimate bass lines. On the other hand I liked "Electric Lion" and its wild change of directions, as well as "Desert Train" and its indomitable structure which reminds that Edgar still has some juice in him. Quite at the opposite "Rolling Down Cahuenga" and "Art Vision" suffer from the same deficiency of the redundant rhythms and easy melodies in search of glorious glimpse of feats in order to charm MTV and all. But I got to say that I liked the 2nd part "Art Vision" which walks on the steps of Cat Scan. "Cool at Heart"? A rather melancholic track with a soft nostalgia painted on piano. Paul Haslinger's last memory?
Once again, I was very severe towards a work of
Tangerine Dream on Peter Baumann's Private Music label. At that time I hoped always and always a return to basics from Edgar. With hindsight, I learnt to listen again to these works of which the only source of motivation was the conquest of the West American Coast and the easy money. This vision turns out to be a failure even if 220 Volts turns out to be the wildest e-rock anthem. At the end, “Melrose” is not that bad. It has some very acceptable tracks on it, vestiges of a great band which could easily find back its means. It's nice, simple-minded and very catchy. In the same way as the first 2 albums from Yanni on Private Music which are clearly more inspired. But we speak of Tangerine Dream here! A beautiful album without soul, except for "Three Bikes in the Sky", which encloses the 20th century in a rather disappointing way.
Sylvain Lupari (March 2007 and translated on May 24th, 2014)

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vendredi 23 mai 2014

LOREN NERELL: Tree of Life (2014)

“The music of Tree of Life is like a seed of life which inexorably makes its path up to the cradle of our needs of contemplativity”
1 Wacah Chan 19:56
2 Cintamani 8:09
3 Yggdrasil 12:43
4 Kayon 14:10
5 Acacia 8:05
6 Arbor Vitae 10:52

Projekt | PRO 00299 (73:59) ****
(Ambient tribal EM)
There are some who like that, other don't. There are some who float and meditate profoundly, others remain totally indifferent. The ambient music. Music of ambiences. Those who are familiar with the rather introspective universe of Loren Nerell know how much the synthesist and the musician disciple of the Balinese Gamelans (Indonesian traditional musical instruments) likes to plunge into the esoteric zones of a music immersive as abstract as very spiritual. The adventure can turn out to be difficult for somebody who seeks more for rhythms than for latent hypnotic structures. Because beyond the ambient music, “Tree of Life” remains a solid monument of soft hypnotic trance on a musical pattern strongly filled by a meditative music at times rather dark but always very near a kind of postcard poetry. For his last album, and to better paint his soundscapes of a charming color, the American musician asked Mark Seelig to play his famous Jawbone style flute which inevitably is going to make lift up the hair of your back bone. Music of ambiences? Of course it is and it's not that bad, far from it. Just needs to give ourselves the time to be carried away by some very suave ethereal moments of “Tree of Life”.
"Wacah Chan" begins this
Loren Nerell's 10th opus with long incantatory shamanic breaths which float on a discreet organic sound fauna. Lines of synth draw grey clouds, uniting a musical peace of mind with timbres of voices from which the hoarse breaths seem to give birth to whispers of wizards hidden in the shadow. And Loren Nerell unveils little by little his sonic arsenal with bells which ring in a  disordered way, sounding the awakening of flutes and percussions. On a deep structure of ambiences; flutes, percussions and bells sow a wind of discord which alters not at all the placidity of the spiritual singings. "Wacah Chan" continues to look deep into the passive dark territories, forging so a black ambient music which quietly unties our soul from our body. The experience remains rather fascinating. It's like to listen some Dead Can Dance in its most abstract forms without the singings of Lisa Gerrard. Singings which are replaced here by the very beautiful flute of Mark Seelig from which the intonations are the charm of this very long prelude that is "Wacah Chan". Slowly, and I have to say a little long by moments, we go adrift towards the splendid "Cintamani" and its soft rhythm which structures an attractive morphic dance. The percussions are of a surprising seduction and the flute of Seelig floats as by magic on strikes which forge a slow hypnotic rhythm. I hooked straight from the first listening. "Yggdrasil" escapes with the violent winds that were roaring on the rhythmic structure of "Cintamani" and of its mesmerizing clanic percussions. We are literally in the heart of the rhythmic storm of “Tree of Life” which seduces from minute till minute. The winds roar with a mixture of frightened voices and the percussions thunder a rhythm of war against the elements of nature. The effect is striking and the moods are magic. One would say a big psychedelic ambient rock which is hiding its violence in a passive, suggestive rhythm. And these winds … They sing as much than they roar. These two tracks are of an incredible auditive efficiency. "Kayon"! It's the calm after the storm. It's an immersion in the Tibetan plains with young girls' choruses who adore a strange concert of carillons. These bells, of which the multicolored ringings criss-cross their harmonies, are shaping subtly an upward rhythm, a little as a procession with blazing colors which climb some celestial mounts in a mesmerizing symphony of carillons. I liked it and if we listen carefully we hear quite well a melody forged a subliminal air that still haunts the ears many hours later. On a structure a little more contemplative, one would imagine to be on the top of a mountain observing a sunset while thinking of a 1001 souvenirs, "Acacia" floats and cries of its Chinese violin tears which are as much intense as melancholic. A track quite poignant at times that leads us to the sweeter tears of Mark Seelig's flutes which sing over the micro-organic fauna of "Arbor Vitae".
As each times that
Sam Rosenthal sends me albums of his ambient / meditative / tribal collection, I look at those with a slight feeling of resentment in the ears. And as each times, I eventually fall for it. I eventually get even subjugated. Like with this last album from Loren Nerell. In a superb digipack artwork and a very worked musical production, the music of “Tree of Life” is as a seed of life which inexorably makes its path up to the cradle of our needs of contemplativity. Am I a victim of the syndrome: “the more we listen to, the more we become used and the more we eventually liked”? I don't think so, because I fell rather fast with the portion of "Cintamani", "Yggdrasil" and "Kayon". The rest gets grafted quite slowly. A little as when we are bewildered by the magical beauties of the immense landscapes filled with oriental mysticism.
Sylvain Lupari (May 23rd, 2014)

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jeudi 22 mai 2014

FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER (Featuring Lutz Graf-Ulbrich): Analog Overdose 5 (2014)

“The strength of AO 5 lies in this very good meshing of the styles which flow like a sonic documentary about the various evolutionary phases of the German EM scene”
1 Ringbahn 7:42
2 Schöneberg 5:00
3 Geisterbahnhof 11:40
4 Wannsee 5:09
5 West-Tangente 8:09
6 Zentralflughafen 5:45
7 Wintergarten 5:13
8 Funkturm 5:59
9 Frankfurter Allee 22:36

Manikin ‎| MRCD 7100 (CD 77:14) ****
(New Berlin School with a zest of Electronica)

The very first Analog Overdose (MRCD 7060) had let glimpse the great diversity of the Fanger & Schönwälder duo in order to exploit the various forms of the contemporary EM. Always very influenced by the retrograde style of the Berlin School, Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder had also exploited the phases of the German progressive rock with the guitarist Lutz Graf-Ulbrich, an iconic figure of Krautrock and a member of the group Agitation Free, as well as an EM more centred on the electronica movement with light movements of groove. About 13 years later, Lutz Graf-Ulbrich comes back and lends his magical six-strings to the famous duo who thus takes the opportunity to make literally an incursion in musical genres that we considered as buried.
Shyly, "Ringbahn" starts the “Analog Overdose 5” adventure with an undulatory rhythm which gallops with fragility under a shower of metallic lamentations. Some tears of guitar are scratching this rhythm a bit minimalist which decorates its hypnotic membrane with a great sequencing pattern of which the criss-crossed jerks dance with sober electronic percussions. The ambiences are weaved in the charm with smooth scattered and incomplete melodies, blown by a delicate artificial flute, and these riffs of Lutz Graf-Ulbrich's guitar which roll in a loop like in the nice time of the Teutonic techno from Ashra Temple. We love it? We shall love then the very audacious "Geisterbahnhof" which also has this fidget's techno zombie style with a very good percussions play. The mood is more ethereal on the other hand, because of this beautiful flute with the bewitching psychedelic perfumes. "Schöneberg" oscillates between violence and sweetness by offering a heavier rhythm. It's a kind of crossing between funk and hip-hop which skips in the strength of the percussions and of their strong jerky flows and finely stroboscopic sequences. The sonic envelope is always dense with synths and guitar which throw electronic threats while that a delicate keyboard throws some nice dreamy airs. "Wannsee" is a beautiful down-tempo, rather slow and very melodious, while that "West-Tangente" is a good Berlin School track with a motionless rhythm forged into some nervous oscillating sequences which flicker under a sonic sky painted of blue breaths. Fans of
Tangerine Dream will be on familiar ground here. Leaden rhythm, agile sequences and ethereal melodies, "Zentralflughafen" enchants the ears from the first listening. This is more hammering than "Ringbahn" and the guitar play of Lutz Graf-Ulbrich brings us back unmistakably in the stylized singings of Manuel Gottsching. After the very ambient "Wintergarten", "Funkturm" sets in stage again the play of Graf-Ulbrich in an approach even more pounding and funky than "Schöneberg". This is good electronica with a huge zest of Berlin School. Written on the fly, during a car travel towards Berlin, "Frankfurter Allee" points all the technological possibilities of creating EM from iPads. This is a fascinating 22 minutes of minimalist music that plunges in the heart of the Ashra years. The rhythm is vertical. It's a kind of cosmic techno where sequences and percussions forge a sober rhythm which is deliciously spiced by Lutz Graf-Ulbrich's Gibson SG whose dexterity manages to harmonize solos and riffs accurately scattered under synth layers to the very ethereal aromas. It's already ended that we wonder where it has past.
Analog Overdose 5” is simply magic!
Fanger & Schönwälder succeed yet to charm even if their music stays in a crenel déjà-heard. The strength of this last work lies in this very good meshing of the styles which flow like in a sonic documentary on the various evolutionary phases of the German EM scene. And, needs to say it, Lutz Graf-Ulbrich brings us to the country of an Ashra Temple who plays on both progressive and cosmic dance structures. Very good! But can we expect anything else from Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder?
Sylvain Lupari (May 21st, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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mardi 20 mai 2014

MICHAEL BRÜCKNER & DETLEV EVERLING: Sparrows (2014)

“Sparrows is a superb find where the the Brückner/Everling duo draws a surprising sonic journey into the land of modern EM and electronica”
1 The Sparrow (Vocal Version) 13:26
2 Trees and Wires 4:08
3 Crossing the Bridge 9:38
4 Gathering 6:32
5 On a Quiet Night 12:22
6 Flying North 8:41
7 The Sparrow (Ambient Version) 10:30
8 The Sparrow (Instrumental Version) 13:20

SynGate/Luna | CD-r MBDE 01 (CD-r 78:39) ****½ 
(Mix of ambient and electronica)
Quietly, Michael Bruckner is building a very enviable reputation in the circles of an EM of a more progressive kind. His last find is a rather eclectic collaboration with Detlev Everling, a player of French horn and a synthesist who also likes using plug-ins that sound just like his wind instrument. And the result is rather surprising. Even if “Sparrows” appears on the rather ambiospherical division of the SynGate label (Luna), the Brückner/Everling duet, with the complicity of Cäcilia Brückner on voices, offers an album which caresses all the spheres of a modern EM with a lively music, sometimes very near the IDM and electronica with just what it needs of ambiences to draw some fascinating cinematographic faces. A surprising sonic journey that will leave you more than perplex.
Grey colors reverberations shake the void of a skeud which little by little is biting the music with whispers which fade in breaths of French horns. From its extremely attractive sonic envelope, "The Sparrow (Vocal Version)" unfolds a magnanimous sinister veil where the breaths of horns are melting easily to those more vitriolic of the synths. The moods are ethereal. There is like a scent of astral meditation with synth lines, rich in Gothic mist, which float like threats on a field covered of foam and of morning carillons shivering of worry under the breezes of the French horns and of the synthesized similarities by Detlev Everling whose fascinating fusion spreads a pleasant perfume of medieval discomfort. And suddenly, there is as a blow of crossbow which splits the ambiences. We are in the 5th minute and quietly "The Sparrow (Vocal Version)" reveals its fascinating rhythmic phase with a heavy mantle of anxiety which covers a thick cloud of these knocks of crossbows. This passage is simply brilliant. This phase of abstract rhythm is transformed into an attractive morphic down-tempo that the delicate and bewitching voice of Cräcilia Brückner wraps of singings and ethereal breaths. A splendid duel between French horn and a synth, with the aromas delicately close, introduces a beautiful musicality which melt admirably well to the elvish singings of Cäcilia Bruckner and especially with a rhythm became lascivious, suggestive. Very good and rather surprising for an album of the Luna division! These strange knocks of crossbows, which we can easily be confuse with the flight of a hundred sparrows, get back haunting the fragile black moods of "Trees and Wires". Where synths and wind instruments sow the confusion with an ambiosonic painting fertile in sculptures of anxiety. Although a little less strange and sinister than "Trees and Wires", "Gathering" offers a stifling ambience where the synth breaths become as multi-colors as their forms which haunt like some ectoplasmic frenzies a 6 minutes cut to measure for American Horror Story. "Flying North" is in the same style, the same shape but in more experimental, in a more psychotronic way if I may add.
"Crossing the Bridge" will be your first real crush on “Sparrows”. The eclectic duet offers a kind of soft techno trance with a vertical rhythm molded in some pulsations as much sober as smothered. The charm is this fascinating vocal approach where we hear a kind of didgeridoo blowing its hoarse breaths on a rhythm which fattens its finery with a charming concert of carillons and of pulsations become freer, more oscillating. The synths are closer of the usual electronic territories with undulatory twists which float like clouds of ether with sibylline harmonies. I hook on the first listening and I always find that as much good on the 5th. It's in my iPod, section lively music. Having soaked our ears of a thick fog filled with sibylline drizzle, "On a Quite Night" fleet between two atmospheres before melting into a delicate down-tempo which oscillates like a slow equestrian walk. A little as in "The Sparrow (Vocal Version)" the rhythm is soft, to the limit lascivious, with a sonic fauna which scatters some ethereal chords in abstruse moods. "The Sparrow (Ambient Version)" is centered on a duel of French horns, as real as synthesized, with hollow breaths which float like ghost threats in a very ambient structure.
"The Sparrow (Instrumental Version)" begins with a more cacophonous approach, like incomplete orchestra which tries to adjust its instruments. These instruments are French horns and synths, with layers filled by aromas almost philharmonic, as well as percussions which seek for a beat. And it's in the soft envelope of a down-tempo with a variable rhythm that the transformation from ambient to rhythm is going. And the Brückner/Everling duo has nothing to envy to the searchers of contemporary rhythms who flood their finds in a scarlet sonic fauna with a docile rhythm which skips in the meshes of delicious sequences, lines of piano and under the caresses of a French horn filled by so melancholic breezes. It's rather unique.
Rather unique! That's what comes in mind to describe better this Detlev Everling and
Michael Bruckner's “Sparrows”. The syncretic duet succeeds marvellously in uniting some antipodes of EM in an audacious album which leaves unmistakably these traces to the bottom of our eardrums. Whether it's with suave rhythms or ambiences to make twist a crazy spectre, this impressive sonic duel between the acoustics of a French horn and two synthesizers which bicker the imitation, while dropping some smooth dark phases, is one of beautiful finds of the SynGate label which doesn't stop to amaze with an audacious artists' catalogue who are dedicated to the evolution of contemporary EM. Very good! I don't see how I can't recommend such an audacious and musical opus.
Sylvain Lupari (May19h, 2014)

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=17070

samedi 17 mai 2014

M.O.B.S.: Aus dem Nichts (2014)

“Wow! Aus dem Nichts is something that is worth. A wonderful and truly ode to vintage Berlin School”
1 Anfang 20:20
2 Mitte 21:00
3 Ende 21:44

SynGate | CD-r MOBS (CD-r 63:04) *****
(Vintage Berlin School)
In Germany, there is Geheimdienst and IBSSTF; Intelligentsia Berlin School Secret Talk Force. A very secret project introduced in the shade of an EM festival held in Germany with the complicity of the SynGate label, M.O.B.S. (Man Of Berlin School) is a real incursion in the golden age of the analog and the vintage years EM. An amazing journey through time where everything sounds just like in those splendid days. According to the rumour, “Aus dem Nichts” would be a work of a very well known artist who has a big crush for the Berlin School kind of EM. The idea came out of nowhere, from where “Aus dem Nichts” which means out of nothing, and would have grows until this festival where this artist met Kilian CabGuy, the head management of SynGate Records. The result? Beyond my waits! From the very first seconds of “Aus dem Nichts” we are plunged in those sweet musical perfumes of our soft adolescence time where EM inhaled its first breaths.
And it's by hollow winds, of which the strength raises some electronic chirping, that opens "Anfang". Already, the listener used to the sound fragrances of Berlin School can identify some recollections of
Klaus Schulze and his Totem moods album. Particles of iodine are crackling and pounding in clouds of ether while that a strange cloud of radioactivity floats between two morphic spheres and that a line of sequences makes its keys oscillate in archaic tints and forms. The rhythm is cosmic with keyboard keys whose rough drafts harmonies sizzle in an oscillatory movement pierced by fine imperfections which draw a long finely stroboscopic sonic snake. This ambient rhythm passes from an ear to another, from loudspeaker to another, challenging a musical gravity which amasses its small jewels here and there. The ambiences are as much meditative as psychotronics with clouds and mists filled by nasal electronic gurglings which, at times, slow down the growth of a rhythm always anesthetic. A rhythm which eventually found refuge beneath splendid solos with those delicious analog perfumes. Solos which swirl and swirl, sing and sing all the decorum of the beautiful ambient works of the vintage years. Deliciously magnetizing! The ambiences of "Anfang" are of use as background to “Aus dem Nichts”. They feed its 63 minutes with perfumes and oddities of the analog years and are the cradle of the superb "Mitte" which begins with an ambient rhythm weaved in notes of a guitar whose floating harmonies crisscross their singings on beats which overflow in a random way. Here the guitar is master. It makes roll its simple notes which turn in loops in vapors of ether. Jingles of cymbals forge the basis of a minimalist rhythm which skips meagrely in an ambiosonic sphere flooded of blue gas and psychotronic gurglings. A very Teutonic drum chews up this spasmodic rhythm which loosens a stroboscopic strand, rolling up "Mitte" in a rhythmic structure braided by sober percussions, spheroidal sequences and gurgling beats. The guitar sets free a little after 8 minutes (I cannot refrain from thinking of Max "Maxxess" Schiefele here), unwinding some superb incisive solos of which the twists coil up under the strikes of a drum freed of its robotics yoke. It's very good. Possibly the best Berlin School music piece I heard from a very long time. One would believe to hear some Gottsching on the jerky minimalist axes of Pyramid Peak. The introduction of "Ende" plunges us into the ambient and psychedelic spheres of Klaus Schulze and Pink Floyd with a monstrous organ pad which unfolds a heavy dark coat. Cosmic sound elements a la Jarre overfly this tetanising mood. Chthonian choirs float over a puddle of electronic gurglings that a synth line caresses of its tearful agony. As unbelievable as it may sound, this hallucinatory sonic setting is somehow moving. We feel a sorrow, a kind of disarray. As we can also hear these synth pads a la Pink Floyd (in the 7th minute, I dive into Wish You Where Here) moan in the aggressive curves of a bass line which remains all in all rather passive. And a rhythm hatches out. A rhythm, tinted of an appearance as much innocent as devilish, makes waddle its keys with delicate floating steps which criss-cross with tones as grave as of glass into some hypnotizing ethereal mists. And like that, this rhythm becomes harmonious. It weaves a silky earworm of which the reminiscences go as far as John Carpenter in Halloween and Mark Shreeve in Legion. This rhythm so docile becomes trapped in a rotatory storm and swirls in dark choruses and electronic chirpings, creating a confusion to a listener dumbfounded by the form of "Ende" and of its finale which rests in the solitary harmonies of a keyboard and an acoustic guitar. A little as if we wanted to point out us that  Robert Schroeder also marked the very beautiful hatching of EM in its vintage years. It's exhilarating and catchy. And while we still want more of it, we notice that “Aus dem Nichts” has just shelled its last seconds. But there is a track in bonus which is roaming somewhere on the Web (yes, yet). This track (Danach-Zukunft) is available only on the first 42 CD sold of “Aus dem Nichts”. Adorned that this title is going to come to haunt the interstices of the Net very soon and that the bonzes of SynGate will have understood that a work of this size deserves an enormous visibility. I really believed that I was in the 70s! Brilliant. Superb. Magnificent! The best album so far in 2014!
Sylvain Lupari (May 16th, 2014)

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=17053

mercredi 14 mai 2014

EMMENS & HEIJ: Signs (2014)

“Signs is a soundtrack of lunar moods flooded by ambiences which are at the diapason of a slowly subversive madness”
1 First Light 17:03
2 Signs 7:28
3 From Beyond 15:13
4 Deceptive Silence 22:59
5 Void 10:31

Emmens/Heij | EH-008 (CD 72:43) ***½
(Ambient cosmic EM)
A mini concerto of very discreet carillons spreads the resonances of bells into synth lines among which the lazy twists are floating such as some suspended metallic singings by dark chorus. Notes of piano come to ring more hardly than the bells, weaving a somber melody dislocated in a dense thick cloud of synth breezes and singings. "First Light" raises proudly its naming with a day invasion on night ashes. There are 10 minutes past to the meter and always "First Light" floats as a threat with translucent lines which avoid all harmony with the notes of a piano always mislaid in an opaque sibylline canvas. But where are the sequences? The percussions? We hear here and there small drumming, more of trampling, but "First Light" remains ambient. Very ambient. Just like the whole of “Signs”. This last album of the duet  Emmens/Heij is an intrusion in the world of dark and ominous ambient music. Both accomplices abandon sequences and percussions to concentrate on the art to modulate abstract sonic landscapes flooded by ambiences which are at the diapason of a slowly subversive madness. The Dutch duet doesn't do things by halves. “Signs” is an immersive album where the listener is plunged in full lunar darkness in search of the slightest thread of rhythm. But there is no rhythm here. Only atmospheres. But twisted atmospheres and of a rare sinister wealth where is linked a multitude of anfractuous lines and where the discomfort roams in every plot of luminosity.
Fine starred particles sparkle in the very cosmic breaths of the title-track. Breaths, or slow dying digression, which cover themselves of a hoarse tone of didgeridoo float like the shadows of space shuttles which left tracks ghosts. We are literally in the heart of a cosmic darkness with some black breaths which suck up our subconscious and the only sign of life is blown by very pensive harmonies scattered here and there by the vestiges of piano or guitar. Here, and in the little more musical "Void", it's a guitar and its solitary riffs which drag a melancholy in an astral space while "From Beyond", just like "First Light", scatters 4 minimalist notes of a very meditative piano which loses its tears in forgetting. The first part offers a sonic landscape of the most disturbing with slow synth waves which disturb the delicate harmonies of a piano mislaid in these so many breaths, breezes and voices as soporific than gloomy. The approach is as much dark and disturbing as in "First Light", even if both tracks are enormously alike. "Deceptive Silence" is a very dark, at some times uncomfortable, music piece with these strange pulsations which beat under a thick cloud of streaks to the aromas of howling metal. The introduction is very psychotronic with tones which forge an unreal life while that quietly the track loses its weak life line in a storm of lugubrious breezes which roar like winds eating empty holes. This long title plunges the listener into a sonic black hole where all the abstract forms take life to come undone as other tones, always very abstract, shape the imperceptible. There are more ethereal passages where the calm exposes a relative tranquillity with synth waves which waltz and sing like some kind of cosmic whales, but always "Deceptive Silence" is eaten away from the inside by a rich sonic fauna with deep lunarscapes eroded by infertility. An adornment taken back by "Void" and its 4 notes of guitar as meditative as the piano of "From Beyond". Adornment as much fascinating as disturbing and which makes quite all the charms of “Signs”; a soundtrack of lunar moods.
Sylvain Lupari (May 13th, 2014)

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=17052