samedi 21 janvier 2017

PIOTR CIESLIK: Journey into the Unknown (2016)

“Mixing striking melodies to solid e-rock fed of misty moods is not at the reach of anyone and Piotr Cieślik has succeeded admirably in his first album Journey into the Unknown”
1 Ocean's Loneliness 9:56
2 Journey into the Unknown 6:49
3 Power Crystal 8:38
4 Call of the Ancestors 5:23
5 Comet's Fate 7:28
6 Roaming Soul 7:38
7 Reminiscence of the Journey 9:26

Generator.pl | GEN CD 040 (CD 55:18) ****½
(E-Rock mixed in Berlin and French Schools)
Definitely, Poland has become the land of asylum of the Berlin School style. I shall go even farther; the Polish artists realized what those of France achieved in the middle of the 70's, that is to annex the roots of the Berlin movement in a cosmic vision and especially poetic which made it warmer. So was born the French Cosmic School and so was born the Poland School with the coming of the very serious label Generator PL. Piotr Cieślik is the last find of the Polish label which seduced the sphere of EM recently with the very beautiful Anunnaki from Piotr Gepert and quite recently the fantastic Let Them Float from Przemyslaw Rudz. If I make a reference to these 2 albums it's because “Journey into the Unknown” which is the very first album of Piotr Cieślik, drinks of these 2 wonderful albums while bringing a delicate sonic French-style prose.
The waves of a distant intergalactic shore get lost in silky layers perfumed of ether which derive in the cosmos. Some rather discreet arpeggios skip in the background, shaking the first vestiges of rhythms and of "
Ocean's Loneliness", and of “Journey into the Unknown” while the synth is stammering some of its nostalgic dreams. And bang! There is not 3 minutes at the meter that Piotr Cieślik shows us of what he is capable. The rhythm is as much fluid as heavy with a continue movement of the sequencer which frees another line in parallel where the keys skip as the snips of scissors of a barber mythomaniac. And always these soft laments of a synth which plunges the atmospheres of "Ocean's Loneliness" into a kind of Jazz Lounge which the harmonies of a delicate piano do not deny. In a structure in perpetual movement, Piotr Cieślik enjoys to confuse our expectations by mixing the aromas of a good cosmic electronic rock with more musical phases that our ears recognize without identifying clearly. And that's the way it is all throughout “Journey into the Unknown”. After a short ambiosonic introduction, the title-track spits a heavy and slow rhythm which skips in a linear movement where dance other sequences and whistle diverse cosmic elements. A fluty synth hums discreetly whereas the rhythm crashes into a beautiful melodious phase in middle-route. This is the moment chosen by Piotr Cieślik to loosens his graceful fingers on a piano which hums a melody as pleasant as jazzy on a rhythmic always so heavy but which fades in the background in front of this very stylized melodic decoration. The arrangements are very good and we cannot refrain from making a link with Vangelis in the rather melancholic approach of melodies, as strummed as laid down by a synth. "Power Crystal" exchanges its rhythmic structure, a mixture of Berlin School and ['ramp], for two atmospheric phases fed by a thick cloud of hollow winds. "Call of the Ancestors" is rather theatrical, kind of Let the Night Last Forever from Walter Christian Rothe, with a rhythmic approach which oscillates in a sneaky way. These last two titles plunge the listener into a mixture of rhythms and ambiences where the harmonious signature is not that much present and is assumed by the movement of sequences. But it's the very opposite with "Comet's Fate" which is a superb electronic rock. The sequences get in the dance while the synth blows cosmic harmonies worthy of the best moments of Jean Michel Jarre. This is a great track which dips us back into these atmospheres of very French dramatic sound theater with "Soul Roaming", the finale is going to amaze more than one, before that "Reminiscence of the Journey" nails us on the spot with another great cosmic rock which hides a melody eater of ears and which gives us no other choice that to listen again to “Journey into the Unknown”; a splendid album where the sound aestheticism, the production and the just balance between the rhythms, the melodies and ambiences make of it my firm favorite and my discovery of 2016. A must because Piotr Cieślik shows that EM is more than a story of knobs, of threads and of preprogrammed recordings.

Sylvain Lupari (January 21st, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

You will find this album on the Generator.pl shop here
A video trailer is available here

jeudi 19 janvier 2017

F.D. PROJECT: Timeless II (2016)

“What a way to end another great year in E.M.! This Timeless II must be the solidest, the strongest album of Frank Dorittke ever”
1 Space Fields 5:52
2 Lost Ship 6:40
3 Elemental Movement 12:42
4 The Return of O; Part V 7:45
5 Spectralis 6:30
6 Timeless Two 6:03
7 An Evening (Live) 17:26

F.D. Project (CD 62:57) ****¾
(Minimalist, melodic vintage Berlin School)
A line of lively and hopping sequences scatters the mist from the snores of machine and the long shaded wings of a synth to highlight the very lively rhythm of "Space Fields". The percussions structure a good electronic rock dipped into synth layers of which the fluty breezes will remind to some of us the rhythmic structures of the Jive era of Tangerine Dream. Frank Dorittke adds a 2nd more harmonious line which hiccup in a jerky structure and introduces a very beautiful harmony whistled by a synth fill of Mike Oldfield's perfumes. On heavy and lively rhythms, forged in patterns of sequences which swirl and/or zigzag in very energetic minimalist structures, and packed with harmonies chiselled from his unique guitar and from his synths, F.D. Project presents in “Timeless II” his most solid album to date.
If we swirled with the hypnotic spiral of "Space Fields", "Lost Ship" brings us towards a motorik heavy structure with a mixture of knockings and deaf pulsations which hammer a jerky rhythm that percussions redirect into a more fluid structure. Cosmic effects, ethereal layers and vampiric shadows surround the harshness of the rhythm while some very good and incisive guitar solos flagellums and pierces it after the point of 3 minutes. And this until its finale. "Elemental Movement" proposes another minimalist and loud circular structure fed by diverse tones among which jingles of cymbals and chords parading here and there in the shape of stroboscopic thin lines. The synth here is wonderful and frees some very good dreamy harmonies. This is another solid track, lively and catchy with just enough nuances so that we appreciate these long minimalist ritornellos. Do we inevitably have to speak about "The Return of O; Part V"? Absolutely! On a structure always built in the loudness, in the heaviness, Frank Dorittke brings us in the territories of Q2 with a delicious spheroidal approach as ethereal as Celtic. Reminiscences of Tubular Bells are always there, as well as some fragrances of 5 Miles Out, and the plentiful solos of a guitar are always so conquering. "Spectralis" will become the most beautiful ballad of F.D. Project's repertoire. Imagine Drunken Mozart in the Desert, by Edgar Froese, but in a speeded-up movement. It’s a little the backbone of "Spectralis" which unwinds a bed of sequences sparkling like a mass of hummingbirds equipped of diamond wings. Hallucinating, this structure is supported by sober percussions which give to it a so rock approach as the sequenced melody can be in mode ballad. It’s lively, contagious and the melody drills its earworm while the guitar, always so incisive, makes its very inspired solos swirl again and again. After an introduction weaved in the musing, "Timeless Two" extricates itself from its ethereal phase to offer a heavy and slow rhythm which gains in intensity. The guitar is always carrier of solos which disembowel the indifference. "An Evening (Live)" is a title performed at Ledigenheim Dinslaken, Germany, in May 2014. Moreover, a video of 30 minutes is available on You Tube. It’s a great incursion into Jean Michel Jarre's cosmic universes and those movements of lively sequences which have revolutionized the art of the electronic rhythms with Stratosfear from Tangerine Dream. There are lots of winks of eye to the music of Oxygene here and Frank Dorittke shows that he feels very at ease as much with his synths and his sequencer as with his guitar which opened him the doors of this delicious fusion between the Celtic approach of Mike Oldfield and the EM very Berlin School and/or cosmic. A superb album and an excellent surprise, “Timeless II” has found its place on my top 10 list of 2016!
Sylvain Lupari (December 19th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find a way to buy this album on CD Baby and on FD Project web site here

mardi 17 janvier 2017

STEVE ROACH: Spiral Revelation (2016)

“Spiral Revelation is a truly masterpiece which guides us among the many paths of EM; ambient, tribal ambient, Trance and Berlin School”
1 We Continue 11:07
2 Unseen Hand 6:05
3 Finger on the Pulse 9:42
4 A Righteous Thing 6:33
5 Primary Phase 9:41
6 Spiral Revelation 19:49

Projekt ‎– PRO336 (CD/DDL 63:01) *****
(Splendid bridge between ambient beats and pure Berlin School)
Ah that the music of Steve Roach is unique! The Master of introspective music ends the year in strength with 3 albums which will caress the senses of his legion of fans, besides attracting to it numerous new followers. If Fade to Grey and Painting in the Dark are purely works of drones and of dark ambiences, this “Spiral Revelation” overwhelms our emotions with a work which makes the just partition between mesmerizing structures of rhythms and of ambient textures which draw their charms in Steve Roach's old tones.
And the charm operates from these first loops of rhythm which emerge from the slow winged caresses of a synth in mode
Structures from Silence. The rhythm is delicate with sequences which scamper towards heavens. Roach adds percussive tones which breathe like an old rattler which has difficulty in making its tinkles shinning. This mixture of electronic and organic tones is more than seducing and diverts us from this ascent of a structure as delicious as Reflections in Suspension with sequences which skip now between the fascinating embraces of the dying rattler. The decoration and the rather ill-assorted tones, both at the level of the color as at the level of the entanglement of the loops of rhythm, are simply hallucinating. Our friend Steve uses brightly the Synthesizers.com analog modular system by weaving many lines of rhythms which criss-cross in some delicious and magnetizing chassé-croisé. "Unseen Hand" infiltrates the finale of "We Continue" with a brook of shinning arpeggios which spreads a fascinating structure in suspension. The motionless movement of the multiple ticklings of sequences is invaded by the numerous bites of metallic elytron and by the caresses of a synth in mode Quiet Music. "Finger on the Pulses" proposes a figure of spasmodic rhythm. Lines of panting and nervous sequences skip and embrace themselves in a surprising movement of trance spiritual of which the liveliness is restrained by another line of a more nuanced and in a harmonic mode rhythm.
"
A Righteous Thing" walks us in the Now and Traveller era with a crawling structure of rhythm which is shaped in the shade of "We Continue". It’s a semi quiet phase which precedes the very good "Primary Phase" and its hypnotic loops which glitter on a rather lively structure of rhythm. We roll of the neck, we tap our thighs and we swing our feet on a rhythmic a little bit Groovy. A structure very near of an ethereal electronic rock (is it possible?) which is livened up by repetitive loops in tones full of contrasts and of others with an organic tint. And always these winged and seraphic momentums of a synth full of perfumes of sleep which wrap up the whole music of “Spiral Revelation”. The title-track is simply phenomenal! In a long minimalist structure where floats no hole, the rhythm of "Spiral Revelation" goes up and down in an envelope of tones which reminds the good moments of Robert Schroeder in the years 80-85. The slow and hypnotic progression of the 20 minutes of "Spiral Revelation" accentuates intensity and passion as the minutes pass, making of this title one of the best movements of retro Berlin School to have fired my ears since moons. This is a wonderful title which concludes another masterpiece of the illusionist of sounds and ambiences that is Steve Roach. “Spiral Revelation” is a must have without faults and without wait!

Sylvain Lupari (January 17th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

You will find this album on the Projekt Bandcamp page here

dimanche 15 janvier 2017

SEQUENTIAL DREAMS: The Exodus Wave (2017)

“The Exodus Wave is another very good album from the gang of Sequential Dreams in the vein of TD's Seattle years”
1 Telemetry 4:38
2 Subspace Breach 3:16
3 Pleiadian Prophecy 6:57 
4 Interstellar 5:27
5 Wavefront 4:14
6 The Arcbuilders 5:56
7 Countdown to Launch 6:24
8 Quantum Theory 4:32
9 The Exodus Wave 6:15
10 Booster Separation 7:06 
11 Mission Objectives 3:47
12 Arcflight 5:56
13 Hibernation in a Virtual World 9:18
14 Approaching Terra Nova 4:32

Sequential Dreams (CD/DDL 78:21) ****
(Electronic Rock)
2017 kicks off the year in a very rock way for Borders Edge Music and the interplanetary band Sequential Dreams which throws its 6th album “The Exodus Wave”! Flanked by his last known accomplice, Bernhard Beibl, Ron Charron also encircled himself of the Californian synthesist Chris Pearre (Synthesist) and of Arend Westra of the duet Parallaxe whose album I had appreciated well; Breaking The Laws of Physics released in December 2015. Since the very beginning of Sequential Dreams, Ron Charron tries to get his music closer to that Tangerine Dream with a good electronic rock shaped between the roots of the mythical German trio of the 80’s and those of the years of hard electronic rock of the Seattle era. If every album moved closer to its purpose, “The Exodus Wave” hits the bull's eyes!
After a short ambio-cosmic passage, "
Telemetry" sets the tone with an energetic rhythm where Bernhard Beibl shows that he is still has this 220Volts biting with his guitar. Sometimes very rock and other times rather soft or hopping like a light electronic rock, the music breathes of freshness in the permutations of its phases. If the guitar of Beibl is biting, Ron Charron's piano is very melancholic and both instruments paint mutually the phases of a structure in movement. Always influenced by stories of the cosmos, the music of this last album of Sequential Dreams is unfolding like a soundtrack of a sci-fi movie. Thus, 14 titles for 78 minutes propose so a very structured EM which leaves no room to improvisation nor to long passages of ambiences which are rather inserted in the intro, either into short phases of each title, to feed better the intensity of the structures which are always in movements, with a few exceptions. When we also find 14 titles on an album of 78 minutes, there is good chances that the structures are fed by similar approaches. But we have to approach it like a big sound mosaic where the hard rock flirts with the soft rock wrapped of good electronic effects. The music goes well between the ears and Ron Charron takes a jealous care of giving to it an amazing way of turning it into totally short unexpected phases. "Subspace Breach" is the perfect example with an intensity embroidered in the heaviness from where pops out a really nice movement of gleaming sequences. Sequences which sparkle and lap innocently before being snatched up by riffs and solos from Bernhard Beibl who sounds very David Gilmour here. The movement of the rhythm reminds me enormously those of 220Volts with phases of rock and some little quiet ones where the percussions are nervous and the sequences are crystal clear as the spatters of water on a mirror. Ron Charron inserts effects of drama and intensity here and there, adding some more of weight to his story of global disaster. As in "Pleiadian Prophecy" who proposes a slower rhythm with good effects of synth. The percussions are very good and the sonic envelope which surrounds this title is equal to all which surrounds the 78 minutes of “The Exodus Wave”. Still here, Bernhard Beibl's guitar is very furious and gives a very TD depth to "Pleiadian Prophecy" which splits rather well its charms between its soft and rock phases.
"
Interstellar" is more in the ambient and intense kind with very good synth solos. It’s the most quite title of “The Exodus Wave” and it’s also the title which exploits the most the charms of the synth. "Wavefront" proposes a long ambio-spherical introduction a la Rubycon before taking a rather rock tangent with a rhythm which flounders and spits effects of jerks under the bites of nervous percussions. While a line of sequences adopts an oscillating structure, Beibl’s electric six-strings spits riffs and solos which get embraced by nice layers of voices. More elements which fill the electronic rock anthems of each track here. "The Arcbuilders" takes also some time to take off. And when it's done, we are entitled to a good movement of sequences a la Franke. The rhythm is lively with a Floyd guitar. The introduction is knotted in suspense while the rhythm which follows is a pale imitation of a good e-rock. With "Countdown to Launch" we are in the lands of Mars Polaris, to say the least of the introduction with its loops of guitars which remind of U2. The structure of rhythm is as light as that of "The Arcbuilders", but with more electronic effects and this even if the guitar dominates the ambiences and of "Countdown to Launch" and of “The Exodus Wave”. With its sibylline envelope and its rhythm which goes up and down, such as TD in its Flashpoint years, "Quantum Theory" unites the many phases of the long Tangerine Dream odyssey for a so short title. The title-track allies romance and lively rhythm with biting guitar riffs and unbridled percussions of which the crazy race is subjected to beautiful affectionate layers. Between a heavy rhythm and moments of ambience, "The Exodus Wave" is a very good indication of what we will found in this last album from Sequential Dreams. The same goes for the blazing "Booster Separation" which still proposes some Bernhard Beibl's good solos. "Mission Objective" and "Arcflight" propose good electronic rock which go very easily between the ears while "Hibernation in a Virtual World" is the most progressive title here. This is a very good one with good atmospheres! "Approaching Terra Nova" ends this last opus of Sequential Dreams with a lively and jerky rhythm which rocks between its liveliness and its heaviness. A title which reflects the whole dimension of “The Exodus Wave” which addresses to a public already conquered beforehand with a beautiful brochette of lively and mordant titles and always well structured to which one listens without too much difficulty. As in the time of Rockoon, the time of Jerome Froese, the time of Bernhard Beibl and of the TDI years from Edgar Froese's sound and music vessel.

Sylvain Lupari (January 14th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

You will find this album on the Sequential Dreams Bandcamp page here

jeudi 12 janvier 2017

FRYDERYK JONA: Outer Lands (2016)

“Always great EM with a different direction, Other Lands will took you by surprise but is worth the efforts which we shall put discovering it”
1 Music for your Eyes 23:25
2 Drift away with Love in the Galaxies 21:25
3 Outer Lands 20:04

SynthMusik (CD Digipack 64:54) ****½
(Vintage Berlin School)
Other Lands” for other territories. Among these there is a territory that we already know well because Klaus Schulze has already united his music and his instruments to the very beautiful voice of Lisa Gerrard at the very end of 2000’s. Here it’s the female singer Alina Godunov who lends her voice of astral priestess to the very animated music of Fryderyk Jona. Another territory explored as well by the Polish musician is the one to twin his music, always so lively, to Ralf Hübner's incisive guitar, so giving a brief overview of what would have give an union FD Project and Klaus Schulze. And in spite of this incursion in another zone, this 6th opus of Fryderyk Jona is a safe bet for his fans and a warning shot to a sound universe of master Schulze that many fans and criticisms seem to have forgot a little bit too quickly.
A nebulous opening perfumed of cosmic effects, "
Music for your Eyes" contradicts a little the press information by coiling up in our ears with a structure which reminds of Under the Dome in The Aeon's Day from the outstanding album The Demon Haunted World. Except of this small walk in the lands of atmospheric effects, "Music for your Eyes" shakes our body with its rhythmic spasms which are accompanied by some great percussive treasures. The rhythm emerges in the edge of 5 minutes with stars which sparkle on the soft beatings of a line of bass sequences. The architect of sounds and percussions whom is Fryderyk Jona add chirpings which suit the oscillating curve of this line, pulsations which stretch as rubber kisses and jingles which remind us that percussions are also shaking the rhythmic structure of "Music for your Eyes" which struggles like the skeleton of a snake being reborn. And the voice of Alina Godunov! At the beginning, I was bored, even annoyed, by this elvish voice which made shade to a wonderful music. Rarely we have heard a Fryderyk Jona as aggressive as here. But after some listening, I jumped downright on this union which forces our eardrums to analyse a powerful music where the influences of Schulze are clearly more present in a 2nd part livened up by good percussions and chords of Groove under the very charming voice of Alina Godunov. It’s very good and the 3rd part, although short, is even more explosive. Under the Dome marinated to some Klaus Schulze in a Fryderyk Jona sauce, that is quite a big number. Let’s add the voice of Alina Godunov and we tell to ourselves that the stormy paths of the paradise, because there is nothing very of ethereal here, are not that far.
"
Drift away with Love in the Galaxies" is the little chef-d'oeuvre of “Other Lands”. There, the flavors of Schulze are omnipresent in an introduction as nebulous as textured with wide sound waves which kiss a cosmic shore. Staggering of its uncertain sequences, the structure of rhythm emerges after the point of the 3 minutes. We denote two different movements which sparkle in symbiosis of a fluty line. A shroud of fog which loses drizzle of voice makes this zigzagging structure amorphous on which are grafted other elements of rhythms, of which a heavy and roaring bass line, which accentuate the heaviness and finally the pulsatory velocity of "Drift away with Love in the Galaxies". We are in the lost paradises of The Dark Side of the Moog with this Groove rhythmic and its cosmic effects which get undone in stroboscopic strands. This superb title evolves slowly, a little as if Jona fed our ears with a little spoon. Ralf Hübner attacks our ears after we reach the 10 minutes. His solos are devastating and tear up the paint of the walls like a certain Frank Dorittke. It’s these solos which give a unique dimension to "Drift away with Love in the Galaxies" which amplifies its intensity while the minutes consume the pond of our emotions. If the slow evolution is smoothly made, the finale is explosive of intensity and emotion with a guitar and its soloes which flood us of its tears. This finale throws itself into the title-track and its structure as well bouncy, to some nuances near, as that of "Music for your Eyes", sonic artifices in less. Fryderyk Jona leaves more room to the voice of Alina Godunov, who is more passionate in his approach based on improvisation, being more discreet in the development of his structure. A structure which will flirt for a short time with the calm of an ambient passage, so giving a second breath to "Outer Lands" whose finale is to Klaus Schulze's excessiveness.
Difficult to tame, because quite far from the other works of
Fryderyk Jona, “Other Lands” is worth the efforts which we shall put discovering it. For that purpose, the approach of the Berliner by adoption deserves to be underlined because he makes a very beautiful transition between the voices and his music, as well as Ralf Hübner's incisive guitar and his synths throughout the 65 minutes of “Other Lands” which at the end is another very beautiful album of Fryderyk Jona... even if composed and offered outside our zone of comfort.

Sylvain Lupari (January 12th, 2017)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Fryderyk Jona web site here or via Bandcamp here