dimanche 28 juin 2015

OTARION: Monument (2015)

“Melodious, intense and rather pompous; Monument surfs on the deep emotions of Genius and goes in a solid Electronica phases then returns to the essences of Otarion's music”
1 Movement 8:37
2 Touch the Sky (Pt.1) 5:18
3 Stardriver 7:24
4 Hidden Place 5:07
5 The Prophecy 7:35
6 The Discovery 6:49
7 Touch The Sky (Pt.2) 3:53
8 The Monument 14:45
9 Lost Past 4:17
10 Upstairs 8:31

MellowJet Records |CD-r OT1501 (CD-r/DDL 72:14) ***½
(Cinematographic, New Berlin School and Electronica)
I quite fell under the charms of Otarion with the music of Genius. I know! We are far, even very far, from the long sound rivers of Berlin School where eclectic ambiences are linked to rhythms in constants fusion and division. But we are always in the realm of EM with a Rainer Klein very philosopher who looks for all the recipes in order to give us goose bumps. Melodious, intense and rather pompous; “Monument” surfs on the deep emotions of Genius, then goes in a phase of Electronica where the Enigma and Era genre is pumping oil on furious rhythms to finally end in structures a little bit closer of progressive music with, and always, a very strong attraction for the Vangelis arrangements. Chronicle of an album that we taste phase by phase.
Some very melancholic notes of piano pierce an iridescent veil and walk shyly in the echoes of clogs' bangings. The movement is soft. Clouds mutter in background, giving to "Movement" this dramatic film style so much desired by Rainer Klein. We surf on the ashes of Genius. Clouds tremble in the 2nd minute, igniting the fire of "Movement". The rhythm then is heavy. A good nervous mid-tempo, it quavers in perfumes of Électronica with brief technoïd lassoes which go and come in the shivers of a good structure of bass among which the palpitations which get tangling in an interesting game of percussions a la
Jarre are weavers of a creative and alive rhythm of which we forget that it carries good nasal harmonies blown by a synth a bit Arabian. The rhythm loses a little of its eagerness and binds its finale to the intro of "Touch the Sky (Pt.1)" which is a more ethereal piece of music with metallic elytrons which spin into the tears of synth/guitar and in the breezes of angelic voices. Pulsations make vibrate, and the ears, the walls and the souls, letting to a wonderful and soft piano to lay down a too beautiful melody that would make cry the most sensitive of the nostalgic. "Touch the Sky ( Pt.2)" is even more poignant, but not as much than the beginning of "Stardriver" and its superb voice of an Elf woman that could make the trees to cry. The piano which scrolls its agile note afterward guides us towards an intense phase where a strange and very foggy melody floats in the echoes of percussions which flutter as in Chariots of Fire. "Stardriver" tumbles afterward into a structure animated by elements of dance and Électronica where this voice of a semi-god roams as the vestiges of Enigma on a rhythm which ends to be eventually pompous. "Hidden Place" is a pretty nice melody, kind of very ethereal ballad, which uses the perfume of Vangelis with a superb intro strummed in tenderness where sing some beautiful synth solos which sail on a soft rhythm.
Afterward, we enter in the Electronica phase of “Monument”. Boom-boom, tsitt-tsitt, thin lines of stroboscopic sequences, palpitations and structures of nervous percussions as well as wrapping floating and dancing violins; "The Prophecy" and "The Discovery" remind me of The Bronski Beat or still Frankie Goes to Hollywood but with an even more energetic tempo and some even more pompous arrangements. The voice has no words, but breaths of oracles which can tickle as much the senses as much as it can annoy them. It's according to tastes. It's lively. The arrangements are very good, even creative, but it's not really my cup of tea. After the very beautiful "Touch the Sky ( Pt.2)", I know I am a romantic, "The Monument" brings us to another level in the repertoire of
Otarion. A delicate melody, hammered in a carillon, opens the path. A threatening fog rises above this ritornello a bit devilish, bringing a dramatic phase where very beautiful solos whistle around the sequences which flicker on a kind of funeral march. And like a cocoon which would have several metamorphoses before hatching, "The Monument" will change structures as well as roles passing from good electronic rock to some good progressive themes while sniffing at more furious rhythms of Electronica. It's a good, a solid track filled with deep ambiospherical passages where the guitar spit dreamy solos, where the choirs murmur morphic melodies and the synth embalm the ambiences of dreamlike solos floating in beautiful arrangements. "Lost Past" is as much poignant as the Touch the Sky saga with a piano which loses its very melancholic notes in cosmic mists. That reminds me of Rick Wright's evasive sweetnesses. The guitar makes nothing to decrease this sensation that we are hearing a bit of Pink Floyd here with delicate floating layers which are perfumed by David Gilmour's delicacies. This is a good ambiospherical track. "Upstairs" ends my second rendezvous with the music of Otarion by a muddled approach. The melody is ambient and very ethereal with fluty voices which murmur in the reverberant rays from some sonic hoops. Layers of sequences glitter there without really structuring a rhythmic approach which hatches more from the echoes of hoops to adopt a delicate mid-tempo perfumed of very airy pads from a synth or/and a guitar.
I quite liked “Monument”. They are great moments here. Rainer Klein shows that he is not afraid of going out of his comfort zone by bringing other kind of wealth to his structures which always remain soaked of dramatic elements always within the reach of these shivers which tickle us the thorn in strong cinematographic moments. It's a very nice mosaic of styles where we find a little of everything, but especially this touch of
Otarion who always manages to shake our inside.
Sylvain Lupari (June 28th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the MellowJet Records shop here

vendredi 26 juin 2015

ARCANE: Perihelion E.P. (2015)

“Perihelion has to be among the best music of this Berlin School analog vibe that has seduced me so much over the years”
Perihelion-1 14:26
Perihelion-2 5:08
Perihelion-3 3:26
Perihelion-4 5:05

Paul Lawler Music (DDL/E.P. 28:05) *****
(Classic Berlin School)
Absolutely! To use the words of one of his fans; Paul Lawler doesn't stop to amaze. And this even in a crenel that several have snubbed because they believe that the genre is cleaned since moons. A magnificent composer and musician/synthesist who invests time and money to acquire the best of these equipments sculptors of sound magic, Paul Lawler shapes sounds, rhythms, atmospheres and harmonies which are at the pinnacle of our most extravagant visions. “Perihelion” is the 2nd E.P. that Arcane whispers in our ears since the beginning of 2015. Both are not far from being one full length album. I guess we could say an album in two parts, because if Aphelion surfed clearly on the moods of the said  Blue Years period of Tangerine Dream, “Perihelion” sets fire in our ears with a hotter, a warmer music where the magic of the analog transports us in the heart of the dark years of EM, such as imagined by albums as solid as Stratosfear, Sorcerer and the Encore tour. And honestly!? This “Perihelion” has to be among  the best album or E.P. of this Berlin School analog vibe that has seduced me so much over the years.
The strength of
Arcane, set apart the forging of its sequenced keys, is to know how to graft melodies to ambiences which are sometimes totally supernatural. Let's analyze "Perihelion-1"! Noises, lapping, hooting of owl, faded voices and pulsations; the intro of "Perihelion-1" plunges us into a swamp where reigns an atmosphere of zone misted of radioactive dusts. A superb Mellotron line tears away from these atmospheres and lets float a melodic embryo, like a cloud weakened by winds, that the strings of a cello are scraping of a slow movement of perversion. What jumps to ears it's the ambiences. We leaving aside the last 40 years and we would swear that the planet Music didn't change. We really are in the edges of the 77 year but with a touch of modernity which is very perceptible to the ear. The sound decoration is extremely rich. That would take a full page to describe it. There is nothing of excess and each detail seems well calculated. A pulsing line makes skip a chord whereas a Mellotron releases a heady perfume of flute. Quietly, "Perihelion-1" takes shape. A nasal wave accompanies this kind of funeral march from which the melody seems bound to a folk litany. Bangings, some people will say felted gases, escape and divert our ear from a line of sequences which makes its keys zigzagging in the background. Chthonian choruses embrace the procession and other percussions resound in the absolute discretion while the rhythm escapes with more swiftness. We are not in any TD era, we are in Arcane's. Pads of organ crunch the rhythm which undulates in the violence of the flutterings of the keys and the pattern of sequences of which the chords roll and castigate the rhythm like bursts of machine-gun fire. "Perihelion-1" does not explode. It takes refuge into an ambient phase where a synth cries in banks of iridescent mist which smell so much Rick Wright's perfumes. Far off, we hear this pond of prism sparkling like the mirages of the floating sequences of the 76/77 years. A big black and resonant line falls then between our ears, extirpating the best of our souvenirs of the Dream, while "Perihelion-1" flies away with long strides in good oscillating loops as much heavy as lively. Loops which rise and fall in the violence of the pulsations of a line of bass percussion among which the bangings and the hammerings have difficulty in resisting to this wild approach of dance floors.
The heavy, lively and aggressive rhythm of "Perihelion-2" owes to be considered as the next hymn of electronic rock. The rhythm is cut in the mess of sequences which wave such as starving butterflies, a bass line as stoic and devastating as well as solid percussions. The melodic portion is assumed by another disordered decoration where sirens, vampiric waves and guitar solos filled of spectral harmonies go and come without ever taming the wild approach of "Perihelion-2". It's my favorite track, while several swear only by "Perihelion-1". But both are very different and any comparison of favoritism seems to me inequitable. "Perihelion-3" offer an undecided approach, a bit sneaky should I add. It's the closest music to
Tangerine Dream here. The rhythm pounds with furtive beatings. They stop and restart as so curtly in the ashes of mocking melodies while another line of sequences plays the castanet with its keys which zigzag constantly in a sound setting that we can easily identified as a hot desert where the scorpions make the dance of seduction. "Perihelion-4" is as virulent as 2, but also more fluid with a structure of rhythm knotted in deep oscillations which wave in a soundscape where the ambiences and the melodies look at each other and merge in perfumes which have already adorned the sonic settings of Phaedra. This is also very good. In fact, “Perihelion” is more than very good. It's a superb E.P. which proves that Arcane, due to Paul Lawler's magic, will not stop to amaze and this even in a crenel from which several stay away or still look of scornfully because they believe, wrongly, that the pond is dried up. Me!? I challenge you to try “Perihelion” and to still bear the same call...
Sylvain Lupari (June 25th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Paul Lawler Bandcamp page here

mardi 23 juin 2015

REALTIME: Magnificent Imaginations (2015)

“Floating rhythms and wrapping cosmic moods; Magnificent Imaginations puts down the roots that we have about Real Time as being the worthy successor of this 85/86 era of Software”
1 Dancing Electrons 8:02
2 Explorations on Strange Planets 12:02
3 Magical Moments Around 11:12
4 Ode to Space 17:26
5 Ethnic Moods 7:07
6 Magnificent Imaginations 13:48

SynGate | CD-r RT05 (CD-r/DDL 69:37) ****
(Ambient and cosmic EM)
In the course of the last years, Realtime has built an enviable place and a solid reputation in the kingdom of an EM perfumed of a strong zest of cosmic moods. The fans of the genre, quite particularly those who are fond of the Software's Electronic Universe I and Chip Meditation year (1985), have fell pretty quick in love for the multiple charms of Thomas Bock and Norbert Hensellek. Just like his project, Thomas Bock is very present on the social networks and on the Berlin scene of EM, pricking the curiosity of new fans and stabilizing his current troop with extracts of concerts or still with some sketches of his music to come. And it's without his usual accomplice that he presents here a new studio album which walks literally on the paths of Solar Walk; the album which put Realtime on the chessboard of EM in 2013. “Magnificent Imaginations” offers 6 structures of mild rhythms, sometimes floppy, which come out from very intersidereal electronic panoramas where astral voices, interstellar breezes, sound effects and dusts of stars float in the eternal caresses and the slow sighs of arrangements coming from tears of violins which sometimes are transformed into ethereal murmurs. It's that path that Software should have taken after Syn-Code.
Woosh of meteorites and hisses of intergalactic snakes decorates the disorder and the heavy dark winds of Orion. The cosmic universe of "Dancing Electrons" hatches out in synth pads a la Rick Wright which flood the cosmos while establishing a climate of peace of mind. We go adrift between two universes. Only the flutes are missing and we would be in Fluting Electronic Universe's embryo. A rhythm, always so very delicate, extricates itself from the winds of Orion. It swirls in its morphic envelope by spreading keys which skip finely and try to climb the imaginary mounts of a universe where the voices and the murmurs turn into winds and into harmonies murmured by a synth full of metallic fog. The keys untie their shadows which chirp of metallic tones, forging an ambient stroboscopic filet which parades very slowly in a dense intergalactic setting. "Dancing Electrons" is the matrix of “Magnificent Imaginations”. The 5 next  structures will be all soaked, in few nuances near, of its fragrances and of its very hypnotic spherical rhythms. After a slow ambiospherical intro, "Explorations on Strange Planets" offers a smothered rhythm with very discreet pulsations and of which the beatings allied to the jingles of the metallic elytrons, forge a sneaky but fluid rhythm. A rhythm which is also deafens by a great lunar soundscape, as dense as intense for a structure so sluggish, well adorned by hissing stars, astral voices and tears of synth which float in mists and breezes of Orion. "Magical Moments Around" is the track to which we stick right away in “Magnificent Imaginations”. The structure of the rhythm is more energetic with a series of pulsations and sequences which skip and chatter in the shadows of their forerunners. It's at both heavy, for the resonances of the pulsing line, and soft, for the spherical approach a bit stroboscopic. The rhythm skips of its fine vibrations and echoes in a minimalist pattern which bumps below a thick cloud of sound serpentines. The latter unwind some nice psychedelic horizons which are very convenient to the dialogues of synths, but also to the solos as so discreet as strangely very harmonious. That reminds me some times of
Klaus Schulze.
Cosmic dipped into ether, "Ode to Space" is a long ambient track with a first phase, the first 8 minutes, very ambiospherical. We could almost say that we go adrift in a cosmic storm with its effects of weightlessness. A delicate, I would say even morphic, line of bass extricates itself from the mooing of the sands from the interstellar dunes in order to offer a soft rhythm which invades and calms our two hemispheres. It 's a very ambient rhythm which pounds weakly in the sweetnesses of good orchestral arrangements, a little as if a concert of violin is calming the apprehensions of the unknown. This is very
Software and very relaxing. And as every detail counts in the universe of Realtime, Thomas Bock adds beatings and organic sequences among which the pulsations and the chirping add another layer of seduction to a good cosmic morphic track. We let oneself be seduced rather easily. "Ethnic Moods" starts rather fast with beautiful floating pads filled of cosmic tones. Voices of Elf whisper a kind of poem written in the ink of mist while quite slowly tribal percussions liven up the slow but deliciously lively rhythm of "Ethnic Moods". If the percussions seduce, the luxuriant synth pads are not outdone by this infusion of voice which hum in the brief fluty harmonies and sonic parchments steamed up by dusts of stars. That does very Software, Digital Dance, but in a more electronic cosmic pattern. The title-track is a big shambles of synth pads filled of hollow breaths which moo with black's tints. We hear sequences emerging from this opacity to waddle soberly with organic fineries. The rhythm remains very ambient. A soft rhythm, which shows a little more vitality toward the end, smothered by a thick layer of magma from where shine some hummings, a choir with a timbre as hollow as the winds as well as a shower of electronic Perséides which whistles in a cosmic panorama where the esthetics for stifling atmospheres dominates over the swiftness of the sequences. Let's say that it's a finale a bit pale for an album which finds the way to seduce in a crenel that we imagine constantly dried up.
Sylvain Lupari (June 22nd, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the SynGate Bandcamp page here

lundi 22 juin 2015

ROBERT SCOTT THOMPSON: Palimpsest (2015)

“You are looking for sounds, lot of sounds switching shapes? Palimpsest is the place to hear those”
1 Rock Garden 6:29
2 Resonant Drift 2:20
3 Embellished Serenade 3:10
4 Palimpsest 12:12
5 Ritual Space 2:26
6 Enamelled in Bell Gold 2:19
7 Moodus Noises 11:58
8 Chanson 6:22
9 Epilog Linea 10:34

Robert Scott Thompson Music (CD/DDL 57:53)
(Experimental and ambient)
I remember it as if it was yesterday. My old friend Bernard tried, vainly at that time, to take me in his strange kingdom of EM. He had just received an album of a transparent white where the dissonance of sounds was, to his ears, synonym for symphony of noises. The album in question was Cords from Synergy. There is no parallel to be made between this classic and this last album of Robert Scott Thompson, except that my friend of always saw in the cacophony of sounds and the turbulence of the ambiences an abstract dawn serenade of which the only purpose was to satisfy the curiosity of the ears. And here I am, something like 40 years later, speaking to you about an album where some other kind of noises and turbulences of ambiences are carriers of a fascinating charm which finds actually refuge in the greediness of ears always in search of an art which constantly pushes back the limits of the probability. We say about Robert Scott Thompson that he is an alchemist of sounds. And “Palimpsest” makes nothing to contradict this etiquette a bit conceited but indeed fits him very well.
With its handful of pebbles which roll, tumble and re-fly by metamorphosing into drops of water, "Rock Garden" instigates as much the curiosity of the ears as the suspicion of our interest towards a work of sounds and atmospheres. Wandering voices come from what seems to be nowhere, while that some hisses, lappings and guttural winds bring us to the core of a cave where always resound, but in a scattered way, these pebbles and their strange metamorphoses. "Resonant Drift" follows with its small concert of carillons and its sound waves which finish to reveal the charms of a strange meditative musicality. "Embellished Serenade" runs away with the echoes and the ambiences of "Resonant Drift" to offer us a fascinating spectral melody which seems to get out of the groans of tortured souls. Here are two well titles which sound like nothing but in the end shape an interesting moment of ambience which fits with horror movies. The title-track besieges our ears with a concerto of carillons. Still there, the shadows which go out of there are forming strange droplets of which the flow forges a melody broken and dissipated through a dialogue of mocking birds. From pastoral moods to flights of strange noises, "Palimpsest" navigates between two universes of which the contrasts remain intimately bound. The short tracks, such as "Ritual Space" and "Enamelled in Bell Gold", are welded in one with ambiences and sounds as ill-assorted as fascinating, becoming even objects of charade for the ears. "Moodus Noises" is a long ambient track and is fed of drones and of the reverberations of silent bells. It's the most musical piece of music, and the most meditative, of “Palimpsest”. It leads us to the very spectral "Chanson" where we have the impression to invade the world of darkness and their ectoplasmic hosts. "Epilog Linea" is the track that I like the most on this last album of
Robert Scott Thompson. The ambiences here are so soft, delicate. And even if the turbulence of the sounds are covering our ears from time to time with an enveloping veil of discomfort, the tears of synth which cry as souls imprisoned into a endless cave cheer up our ears with sinister airs of redemption.
I won't play you, nor shall tell untruths, “Palimpsest” is an album which is going to sound so unbearable for those who are in search of a music a bit more musical than experimental. But those who look for a kind of thing which comes of nowhere, for a symphony of dissonant noises and among which the shadows and the residues eventually molded a thing which haunts the ears as well as sticks to your walls, well I would say that you came just at the right place with
Robert Scott Thompson and his “Palimpsest” album. This is abstract music for sure but strangely not divested of life!
Sylvain Lupari (June 21st, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on Robert Scott Thompson Bandcamp page here

dimanche 21 juin 2015

VON HALLGATH: Easterfield (2015)

“Easterfield is a solid E.P. whose only defect is that it's too short and where Von Hallgath walks us in every corner of an electronic universe that some have abandoned too hastily”
1 Engine 6:32
2 Sublimation 9:05
3 Night Stretch 6:11
4 Dichotomy 6:38

Von Hallgath Music (DDL/E.P. 28:28) ****½
(Teutonic Cosmic Rock)
You doubtless remember how I was so flabbergasted when I had discovered the music of EFSS with the brilliant album Night on Ouddorp? Well Von Hallgath is a parallel project to this German quartet and stages the music of Jörg Erren and Jochen Schöttler. The music is as much dark, heavy and sequenced but embraces however a more Teutonic model. A little as if Kraftwerk was on Speed or would want to correct the boiling firing of the trance music such as seen by Juno Reactor. So here is “Easterfield”! A solid E.P., whose only defect is that it's too short, where Von Hallgath walks us in every corner of an electronic universe that some have abandoned too hastily.
And that begins with some pulsations which fall like drops of sounds and which bounce in the gleamings of an aurora borealis. These drops scatter in reverberating sound waves where are in hiding a myriad of electronic tones borrowed to cosmos. And subtly, and especially very ingenious, these drops assemble and accumulate to form a rangy line of riffs of which the effect forges the movement of a heavy train with movements knotted by jerks. The rhythm is solid and sustained. "Engine" runs at high speed beneath a sky covered of twisted tones and of sound graffiti which kiss a cosmic universe tinted with some slight psychedelic perfumes that which we can easily associate with the futuristic world of Kraftwerk. What a start! And especially what a huge sonic setting which will spread its charms and its fascinating patterns of rhythm weaved in the fertile imaginary of Jörg Erren and Jochen Schöttler throughout the next 20 minutes of “Easterfield”. White noises, interstellar beeps, very enveloping synth layers and pulsations which escape from astral waves; "Sublimation" offers a very peaceful cosmic introduction. Von Hallgath plunges us literally in the time when EM was the den of the sound experiments at the quest of a distant interstellar horizon. The nice time of
Klaus Schulze! The rhythm is less violent than that of "Engine" but remains just as much thematic with a fluid movement. A movement delicately drummed where the sweet bass oscillations are cooing in a universe painted of cosmic effects and of synth pads to the visions as much astral as very seraphic. Then we pass at another level with a black, heavy and constantly hopping rhythm. "Night Stretch" brings us in the territories of Electronica with bass pulsations which hammer a beat for zombies marinated in LSD who watch endlessly the comings and goings of the serpentines of sequences to swirl over their head. The percussions, one would say muted bongo drums, and the bass line shape a kind of cosmic funk. A sensation which little by little dissipates when we catch ourself thinking of Juno Reactor. Let's say that it's a track that will keep us awake for most of the evening! Dressed in the fineries of the first three tracks, "Dichotomy" offers a more fluid and a more jerky structure with electronic elements which get dressed as sequences of rhythm. This is a brisk rhythm makes in the hard way which flows with more sweetness than violence.
I like this generation of newcomers who dare to move ashes of the past by remodeling them of a contemporary face. Von Hallgath, just like
EFSSE-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, M.O.B.S., Pharamond, BySenses and recently Owann as well as Skoulaman, are part of this generation of new artists who remodel the past with a very current vision. The mixture of both boldness give results as intoxicating as those of the former days, as shown by this magnificent E.P. which is “Easterfield”. A magnificent boldness and an astonishing result!
Sylvain Lupari (June 20th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Von Hallgath Bandcamp page here