lundi 27 février 2017

MOONBOOTER VS OTARION: Live Munster 2016 (2016)

“My thoughts are always torn when my ears are deafened by the hummings of Boom-Boom, but all in all this Live Münster 2016 remains a nice Intelligent Cosmic Dance Music album...”
1 Follow the Thread 5:58
2 Drop 5:58
3 Inspired 8:22
4 Simply Ethereal 7:08
5 The Mysterious 8:12
6 The Greatest Mystery 6:59
7 Reverberation 7:46
8 Earth Two 7:26
9 Unpublished 3:22
10 Like Angels 5:43

MellowJet Records ‎| cdr-mo1601 (CD-r 66:52) ****
(Intelligent Cosmic Dance Music with Berlin School moods)

For the 2nd consecutive year, Moonbooter participates at the Cosmic Night Event, which takes place at the Münster Planetarium in Germany, together with an artist of his own label MellowJet Records. Otarion succeeds Wellenfeld for this event by interpreting 4 titles of his last album while that Moonbooter goes also for 4 selections of his latest album Cosmoharmonics. And a fact to underline, both artists propose also an unedited title for the encores.
The whole thing starts with the intense "Follow the Thread" from the German artist Otarion. Ambivalent structure of rhythm where the abrupt phases and others more static, with effects which will remind of the Techno new wave approach of Orchestral Maneuver in the Dark, which go in and go out in a delicate harmonic shroud, this title from the Constellations and the Red Thread album is a pretty good appetizer to this mini festival of Cosmic Dance Music where the first 58 minutes follow in line as if it was from the same artist. So the jumpy beat, the swirling sequences and the vocoder of "Drop", from Moonbooter, seem surprisingly bound to "Follow the Thread". The 2 artists are exchanging the lead following each tracks. If 2 first ones fit marvelously, it’s just as much for the solid "Inspired", amputee of 4 minutes here, and the hypnotic trance spiral which is "Simply Ethereal". And in spite of the very Dance techno approach, the music of Moonbooter and Otarion inhales of lightness by sitting down more on the hymns than on a full excess of effects and pastiches artifices which are too strongly used by the designers of the kind. Both keep also this small floating side of cosmic EM with "The Mysterious" which does very Vangelis and futurist too. The danceable and heavy approach of "The Greatest Mystery", one of the most solid titles of Cosmoharmonics, is more than opportune at this moment of the show. And bound to the explosive, everything is relative in electronic cosmic music, "Reverberation" as well as in the very slow, dense and orchestral "Earth Two", a very good title a la Jarre from Moonbooter; We enter in the pinnacle of this show. And now the presents! The unedited music pieces... "Unpublished", by Otarion, respects in every aspect the very Teutonic approach of the Düsseldorf School that Rainer Klein has groped around in his last album. However, the short duration of the title makes so that Otarion seems to have the hands tied, him who excels at the art to weave harmonies tinted of melancholy on his hymns of Germanic dance. But Moonbooter is capable of making burn a dance floor with his capacity to incorporate the acrid vapors of Berlin School in his rhythms of lead, like in "Like Angels". Let's say that with these 2 unpublished titles, the spectators had to have feet on fire due to skipping relentlessly.
Half in earnest, half in jest, my thoughts are always torn when my ears are deafened by the hummings of the pulsations (boom-boom) of the inexhaustible rhythms of dance. If the recipe worked very well the past year with
Moonbooter vs Wellenfeld, she is going to take off even more with this last version of this Cosmic Night Event because the music of Constellations and the Red Thread fits more to this event than that of the albums The Wave and Elements from Wellenfeld, highlighting the visions and the complicity of Moonbooter and Otarion. At the end of the day, I had a pretty nice time listening to this “Moonbooter vs Otarion Live Muenster 2016” which ends to be a is a good album of Intelligent Cosmic Dance Music without those perpetual sterile subtleties that makes of it something so useless from times to times!

Sylvain Lupari (February 27th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the MellowJet Records shop here

samedi 25 février 2017

FORREST FANG: Following the Ether Sun (2017)

“Another strong opus which blends the dark sides of Roach and Rich in a fascinating duel between Asian moods and world percussions”
1 On the Edge of a Moment 7:38
2 Midnight Rain 7:58
3 Chiaroscuro 7:36
4 The Last Technicolor Dream 10:23
5 Hinterlands 5:12
6 Receding Pool 5:11
7 A River in Retrograde 11:37
8 Left of the Sky 17:11

Projekt Records | PRO337 (72:54) ****
(Mix of ambient and tribal moods)
Do not enter Forrest Fang's universe who wants! A little of curiosity and tenacity are necessary to discover some beautiful pearls hidden behind a wall of soundscapes and of decorations of foggy atmospheres which wrap a tribal approach of the most syncretic. After an incursion in the mythical depths of the oceans with The Sleepwalker's Ocean, the Sino-American sculptor of atmospheres proposes this time a heavy journey in the morphic DNA of the Sun in “Following the Ether Sun”. Wrapped in a digipack size artwork, and the very beautiful illustration of which depicts marvelously the madness, as well as the complexity of the textures of atmospheres of the album, “Following the Ether Sun” is also poetic as its inspiration, either a quotation of Sir Francis Bacon; In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present
Molded in a heavy curtain of anesthetic mist, "
On the Edge of a Moment" has difficulty in making its drums and world percussions heard which dance in synth lines perfumed of a flavor of trumpet, and/or saxophone so much the laments stretch out. The duel between the percussions and the intense esoteric strata obliges the listener to open his ears so much the mass of sound becomes impressive. At times one would say Mark Isham lost in a luciferin jungle where he meets Steve Roach in one finale as dark as his Immersion Series. The impact in a music room is rather intense and addicting. The framework of dark moods remains omnipresent all around “Following the Ether Sun” and it’s necessary to dive in order to hear those good moments here and there which glitter. Like these delicate carillons and this secret melody which pours throughout the meditative ambiguities of "Midnight Rain" where clink some fascinating aboriginal percussions. "Chiaroscuro", just like "Receding Pool" and "Left of the Sky", are passages of ambiospherical delicacy which hide soft passages of split up melodies and as so secret as in "Midnight Rain". I like "Chiaroscuro" which gets closer for me of the Steve Roach's soporific universe. After this delicacy weaved in the atmospheric stitches of "Chiaroscuro", "The Last Technicolor Dream" wakes up in a bed of effects to propose a structure of rather suggestive ambient rhythm with a beautiful and vicious bass line of which the fat undulations are rippling below a thick cloud of percussions and of aboriginal jingles. Winds, and their absent voices, surround this fascinating dance which dives into a short phase of absenteeism before being reborn with all of its charms. A very beautiful title lost in a universe which will know how to charm the risky and insistent ears. "Hinterlands" is a little bit in the same style, but with more luminosity and more Asian flavors in the movement, in particular with the Kushtar, the Japanese harp and the Chinese violins. The introduction of "A River in Retrograde" espouses the slowness of "Receding Pool" but with more luminosity in the ambiences. An ambient rhythm, as intense but less festive than "The Last Technicolor Dream", infiltrates our ears after the door of 3 minutes. Tribal and exotic, the percussions are the bed of charms of this title where shine lines of synth which float such as multicolored clouds. "Left of the Sky" ends this last musical episode of Forrest Fang with a symphony of breezes and hollow winds of which the slow harmonies converge on an intense meditative phase. A documentary music on the drought of the oceans would not be more suited than here where get lost fragments of percussions over an arid universe.
The curious ears will be filled and pleased by this sound diversity, the list of instruments used by Forrest Fang is as much impressive as the music result, of “
Following the Ether Sun”. Influenced by the ambiences and the quiet rhythms of Steve Roach and Robert Rich, Forrest Fang pushes his reflexion even farther by proposing some fascinating secret melodies and rhythms of fires which forge this absolutely magic sound decoration of “Following the Ether Sun”. By far the album by which it’s necessary to attack in order to be charmed by Forrest Fang's unique universe. Still there, a little of curiosity and opening are necessary but the music is more facilitating to its discovery.Sylvain Lupari (February 25th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Projekt Bandcamp page here

jeudi 23 février 2017

SENSITIVE CHAOS: Live at the Mudlark Public Theater (2016)

“There is some pretty good unedited music on Live at the Mudlark Public Theater! And I just wish that someday Jim Combs will bring it in studio...”
1 Ghosts of Arabi 7:37
2 Best Bank Second Line 4:10
3 Blues Right Quick 7:45
4 Band Introductions 0:38
5 Android Cat Watches Birds 3:52
6 Groove Static 6:52

SubSequent Records | SR007-02 (CD 30:54) ***½
(Mix of Ambient tribal music, Neo Folk and Berlin School)
Recorded during a concert at Mudlark Public Theater in New Orleans on December 2016, this last opus of Sensitive Chaos, simply entitled “Live at the Mudlark Public Theater”, is a mini album of 30 minutes where the band of Jim Combs interprets 6 unedited titles while waiting to a consecration for the album March of the Timeshifters being chosen the best album of EM by Zone Music Reporter.
"
Ghosts of Arabi" presents to us the dark side of Sensitive Chaos with Josie Quick's very tearful violin which tears a dark soundscape plunged into vapors of ether. Thus it’s with a very introspective ambient music, where the curt movements of the violin strings are dancing on its tranquility proposed previously and now resumed by the charms of the synth, that Sensitive Chaos celebrates March of the Timeshifters. The Arabian flavors of "Ghosts of Arabi" are pouring in the introduction knotted of pulsations which shake the very Middle East tribal approach of "Best Bank Second Line". The rhythm is hectic with a skillful mixture between American folk and the Arabian ballads tinted by a lascivious Baladi dance where the hips espouse the slow and idle movement of the violin. Josie Quick's violin remains just as much dominant in "Blues Right Quick" which does not really need a description. That’s Blues, rather lunar and very intimate, that we listen to around a fire which illuminates a night in the desert. Carillons and light tones, "Android Cat Watches Birds" is a very good ballad of Sensitive Chaos’ repertoire. We find there here sound flavors of March of the Timeshifters and of the very seductive Amerisynthecana; one of the very beautiful surprises of 2013. The best is for the end with "Groove Static" which lays down a structure of a very lively minimalist rhythm near to our ears. Hopping and lively, the meshing between percussions and its tsitt-tsitt, as well as the heavy hummings of the pulsations, condemn our feet to follow the drumming of our fingers in very vaporous atmospheres a la Schulze in his years of Picture Music. It's of good old Berlin School where we would have never thought of finding on an album of Sensitive Chaos.
With a musical register which transcends the traditional American electronic folk style, “
Live at the Mudlark Public Theater”, is a beautiful intrusion in the parallel universe of Sensitive Chaos. The music is very good! She overflies a beautiful pallet of styles, which always made the strength of this rather eclectic group, with an audacious emphasis in the tribal kind of the Middle East and the paths gazified of ether of the old model of Berlin School. On the other hand, this music also suffers from a small lack of relief because the group became an evening trio. I hardly dare to imagine all the depth which would get free of it if Jim Combs brought it in studio with his 6 musicians who make of the Sensitive Chaos universe something rather unique. But the music of “Live at the Mudlark Public Theater” will stay a collector's item for the fans of the group who were not able to have the opportunity to go this very convivial concert of Sensitive Chaos.

Sylvain Lupari (February 23rd, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Sensitive Chaos web page here

dimanche 12 février 2017

ROBERT SCHROEDER: SphereWare (2007)

“SphereWare might be the true comeback album from Robert”
1 Access to Dream 7:35
2 A Quarter of an Hour 15:00
3 Data Stream 6:27
4 Solar Panels 8:24
5 Illuminated Signs 5:35
6 100% Synthetic 9:24
7 Dancing Clouds 6:27
8 Flying Saucers 6:31
9 Sphereware 10:44

Spheric Music SMCD2016 (CD 76:00) ***½
(Upbeat, ambient & Électronica with a zest of vintage)
This Robert Schroeder's new CD risks to please much more than his mellifluous comeback album Brainchips which was released 2 years ago. “SphereWare” is forged with the new synth/sequencer Synthis which reflects the moods of the analog tones even if it’s a digital instrument. And from the first breaths of "Access to Dream", we notice the efficiency of this new software for synths. A floating intro with resounding pulsations propel sound arches, a little like a finger multiplies the waves of a quiet water, at the borders of nice cosmic ambiences. Having skillfully learnt from Klaus Schulze, our friend Robert amplifies his tones on a cozy spatial passage where the pulsations turn into random dance steps over some soft perfumes of Mellotron violins. The fans from the very beginning will appreciate this passage and will for sure make a link between the misty atmospheres of Galaxy Cygnus-A and this intro to “SphereWare” as well as on "Illuminated Signs".
"
A Quarter of an Hour" offers an approach which is very close to the one we find in the music of Double Fantasy with a groovy movement and its floating tone of guitar. This is a very nice track which has plunged me in the reminiscences of albums such as Computer Voice and Brain Voyager, just like the honeyed "Dancing Clouds". It seems to me that Robert Schroeder wants to go back to his roots of the 80’s with flexible and great melodious electronic rhythms which have followed his ambient era and his Berlin School moods with 9 compositions sat on heterogeneous tempos but all the same rather steady like "Data Stream", one of the good tracks on this cd, and "Solar Panels". Two very contemporary tracks of which the sound effects go quite along with electronic and metallic pulsations of rhythmic structures while sneaking through the soft fluty airs of the Mellotron. Regarding this, "100% Synthetic" is rather delicious with a floating intro which goes adrift on a calm rhythm in order to plunge into a soft techno sat on languishing movements. Stuffed of sound effects, it’s an irresistible title which sticks to our ears from its first vapors. "Flying Saucers" proposes a spatial approach with a choir coming from a Mellotron in mode charmer of senses and from a synth fill of fluid and juicy cosmic solos. The percussions resound with a structured shower and shape a very effective antithesis. The title-track goes for a rather similar structure, but the rhythm is more convincing with cadenced percussions which drum in a moderate techno mode. Once again, the sound effects are multiple and joyous to hear while bringing this need of sound curiosity to our ears willing to hear more of that. One of the most beautiful aspects of EM!
Those who thought that
Brainchips would have be Robert Schroeder's swan song will have to eat their heart on! “SphereWare” is a very interesting and a gigantic work compared to his comeback album in 2005. It’s an album filled of rich atmospheres where the rhythms abound with rather different approaches but not too much so to not break this homogeneity which reigns all the same in this mishmash of the genres. The sound effects? Delicious and have become a godsend for a researcher in sounds who will fill our ears to the top during his long career. But as usual, the music of Schroeder has to be tamed in order to lick the senses…and the genres. It’s an EM updated where each listening is a token of new hearing surprises to be assimilated, testifying of an impressive work which increases its charms as we discover them.

Sylvain Lupari (September 2nd, 2007. Translated and updated on February 12th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Spheric Webshop here

samedi 11 février 2017

ROBERT RICH: Vestiges (2016)

“A lot quieter, Vestiges follows the path of WWLB in moods and visions which reflect this battle of human being against forgotten”
1 The Fading Shore of Memory 6:20
2 Night Seas Luminesce 6:59
3 Spectre of Lost Light 15:16
4 Obscured by Leaf Shadows 5:27
5 Equipoise and Dissolution 8:49
6 Reborn in Brackish Pools 3:40
7 Anchorless on Quiet Tide 16:00

Soundscape | SP029 (CD&DDL 62:31) ***¾
(Dark and meditative ambient music)
Metallic jingles, buzzing shadows and hits of hammers! Then an appearance of peaceful life with songs of birds and children's shouts which get lost in these floating strata of a lap-steel guitar which stole to the synth all of its spectral airs. "The Fading Shore of Memory" sets the tone to a suite (awaited?) to What We Left Behind. The atmospheres are gloomy with a dive in the effects of fiercely enveloping drones, effects of rustles that we hear in the form of a metallic rain as well as these lengthened lamentations skillfully structured with in the union of the lap-steel and the synth. Certainly, there are some movements of rhythms, as in the opening of "Night Seas Luminesce". But that remains very shy and a piano absorbs these scattered knockings with an incredible delicacy for moods so black. In fact, everything is very ambient in “Vestiges”. Except that Robert Rich handles pretty good the art to seize our attention by plunging us literally into his very post-apocalyptic territories of “Vestiges” with skeletons of melodies modulated by a piano which mislaid fragments almost everywhere around "Night Seas Luminesce" in order to drive us to the pinnacle of the 1st part of this last Robert Rich's album with the fall of the angels which rages around the first minutes of the very intense "Spectre of Lost Light". The atmospheres are deeply hollows with a heavy nimbus of drones and of celestial voices. Voices which little by little reduce the scale of these buzzing drones raging since the transfer for a form of sibylline layers which made obstacle to the memories in "The Fading Shore of Memory". These voices are like a sound mirage after a tormented night in the labyrinths of hell. They bewitch us and calm these obituary atmospheres which passed by surrounding walls of its introduction. The last minutes of "Spectre of Lost Light" transports us towards a fascinating duel between these voices and these drones which bicker in an ambience to make raise our goose bump up until the oblivion absorbs them. Very intense for a finale!
The second part of “Vestiges” begins with a symphony of hollow winds and of sibylline voices of "Obscured by Leaf Shadows". Like the bass line, the piano crumbles a repressed thought while some effects add to the Mephistophelian dimension which takes "Obscured by Leaf Shadows" in order to bind itself to the dark "Equipoise and Dissolution". In a void, the carillons ring in the breaths of a bass, which little by little wakes up as a threatening volcano, and in some beautiful fluty layers. "Reborn in Brackish Pools" sounds and looks so out of place in the very dark universe of “Vestiges” with a leak of more translucent layers which overfly and watch a rower who escapes towards "Anchorless on Quiet Tide" and of its very sad piano which extricates itself from the depths of an introduction sewn of black silk. These notes shine as fruits of a carillon in a very meditative structure and forge a melody which frees its vapors in this shroud of smothered voices and of ethereal layers of which the peace of mind suits so well to this nostalgic piano. And quietly the slow ballet of drones resurfaces, as well as these chirping which fed a part of the misty memories of "The Fading Shore of Memory". The loop is thus looped!
Between the fear of forgetting and the torture of remember, “
Vestiges” is a purely meditative journey in the fertile imaginative soundlands of Robert Rich who succeeds very well to put in music the reliefs of his post-apocalyptic vision of a universe on the edge of recreate itself out of its memories. It’s a fight between the end of a man whose life is torn between the oblivion and its memoirs. And if we approach it in this way, in fact it’s the only one, we understand quite the dimension of this uneven fight. For fans of dark atmospheres!

Sylvain Lupari (February 11th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find a way to get this album on Robert Rich's web shop here