1 Abandoned 8:00
2 Before the Fall 7:16
3 Lonely 4:17
4 Sand Spice 5:48
5 Hashima 6:45
6 Ghostly 4:37
7 Barcode 5:59
8 Spaceport 4:26
9 Under the Ice 7:24
MellowJet Records | CD-r AH1401 (CD-r/DDL 54:31) ***½
(Industrial electronica, ambient and cinematographic EM)
For several of us the name of Andreas Hack does not mean much. But mention his name in the circle of German progressive music and the looks will be illuminated. Discussions will ignite. Keyboard player and main composer within the Frequency Drift band, Andreas Hack knew how to impose his style which is strongly inspired by contemporary cinema and works of science fiction. Allied to the attractive voice of Katja Huebner, the music of the Bayreuth band is a source of fascination which aims at feeding the imagination of these ears risky and avid to hear something unique. And it's exactly of what is made this first solo work of Andreas Hack who transposes now his style into the corridors of EM where the possibilities of creating these film and the sci-fi ambiences are more infinite. In this surrealist decor, “Pieces” offers a range of genres which are in all time split up by the cleaver of the industrial atmospheres and the heaviness of their metallic particles which radiate as much into our ears as in every nook and cranny of this first solo album from Andreas Hack. The result is something very unique that you have to discover with a sense of boldness. Something between Vangelis, the Electronica of Ultimae Records and Univers Zero.
Hollow woosh which entail particles of prism and which on their turn get change into imaginary murmurs. The noisy, one would say a wave of residues out from a disaster, and passive opening of "Abandoned" plunges us into the very sinister universe of “Pièces”. A universe where the atmospheres stay in suspension and where the rhythms, as the melodies, get articulate by unfinished pieces. A dark piano scatters the crumbs of a melody which gets lost in corridors filled with the tones of a parallel universe. Is this psybient? Not really, but we are not that far! A synth line steals the airs of a solitary saxophone, which takes back its electronic airs, dragging the soft ballad of the lost souls which is "Abandoned" towards a superb and unexpected down-tempo which drags its carcass with difficulty in a hallucinating sound decor. And as for every structure of “Pieces”, the rhythm, the melody and the atmospheres get lost to roam in dark places that we easily imagine to be a door to a catastrophic parallel world or a door to stars, to darkness. But no matter! Everything comes back and restarts, arousing so a hearing curiosity which will find its rewards here and there on “Pièces”. "Before the Fall" follows with its herd of percussions which thunders and rages among Chinese bells and chords. The rhythm is static. Sometimes ambient and sometimes violent. A feminine voice, weaved in the magic of the samplings and the synth, speaks through a megaphone which has difficulty in restoring its right sounds in this very filmic ambiance that some voice-over amplify even more. Every track is linked here, weaving an apocalyptic cloth which fascinates those who are fond of sounds, but which can annoy the music lovers. It's in this context that "Lonely" goes out of our loudspeakers. It's a nice ambient ballad, with tears of synth to the perfumes of the Martenot waves caressing some very soft arpeggios, that rots under a dense veil of white noises and of its strange shudders. To date the sonic journey of Andreas Hack brings us in a universe where the noises become objects of fascination while the rest becomes obsession. A little as in "Sand Spice" where the percussions forge an obsessive spiritual trance constantly curbed by the opacity of the synth lines. The rhythm goes out from its shell for a brief moment, making us even rock the trunk, while the percussions plough a passive up-beat transported by slow synth waves with floating orchestral arrangements. Winds and particles of a lost civilization are blowing on the introduction of "Hashima" where a delicate and melancholic piano calms down our concerns. A very beautiful synth voice chases away these breaths, pulling us in a corner of our soul where it feels good to dream. This is very good and reminds me the most beautiful moments of tenderness which nest on The Glimmer Room's wonderful I Remain. These ambiences continue on "Ghostly" which develops an intense dramatic veil with a meshing of lines and voices to very metallic tones, a little as distorted chants coming from a Minaret which lost its acoustics. Here, the structure of rhythm is splendid, but too short, with two lines which faces the heaviness of one with the violence of the other one. Always divided between rhythms and atmospheres, "Barcode" and "Spaceport" go from funk to ambient and to progressive rock always coated by an almost psychedelic sonic cloth, while "Under the Ice" starts where "Abandoned" had abandoned us.
More experimental than musical, more dipped into industrial ambiences than ethereal and definitively more impenetrable than accessible; “Pieces” stays not less a work as fascinating as disturbing. I admit that the first listening can leave us rather very perplexed, except that we become rather quickly attracted by all this confusion which in the end takes the attractive shape of a thing which obsesses without really knowing why. Available on MellowJet Records label which amazes with a music selection as eclectic as audacious.
Sylvain Lupari (April 8th, 2015)
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