mercredi 19 octobre 2016

COSMIC HOFFMANN: Best of (2012-2016)

“Best Of is indeed the best way to discover the great world of Cosmic Hoffmann, an iconic figure in EM and in the Krautrock Kosmik Musik style”
1 Howling Wolves 8:08
2 Shiva Connection 10:39
3 Hypnotic 5:08
4 Opera Mellotronique 7:51
5 The Call of Gullu 10:41
6 The Gate of Bihar 6:03
7 Sehr Mystisch 5:53
8 Spacewards 12:37
9 Crab Nebula 7:39

AD Music ‎– AD165CD (CD-r/DDL74:43) ****½
(Mix of vintage Berlin School and Krautrock Kosmik Musik)
That feels great to hear again the very beautiful music of Cosmic Hoffmann, of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. Although this brilliant guitarist and synthesist founder of Mind Over Matter is a little more discreet since the making of Hypernova, his last album including a collection of unpublished titles released in 2009, he remains an always symbolic character of EM as prove his multiple collaborations and his participation in the creation of digital Mellotron, the Memotron of the Manikin label. The AD Music label re-releases the albums of Cosmic Hoffmann (7 all in all) for the needs of the streaming platforms. “Best Of” is a re-release, without new mixing nor mastering, of the compilation album entitled Best of Cosmic Hoffmann which saw the light of day in 2012 on Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock's label, Heart and Mind.
Composed in 1997, "Howling Wolves" sets the tone with a slightly jerky but rather fluid movement with a line of bass sequences which waves peacefully under layers of synth in the colors of Tangerine Dream in Desert Green and under the howlings of cosmic wolves. The approach is rather vintage with very warm tones which and with beautiful synth solos which coo in a mass of cosmicolectronic tones. The atmospheres are soft and the effects are near the psychotronic universe the 70's. It's a very good title stemming from the first album of Cosmic Hoffmann, Beyond the Galaxy. "Shiva Connection" presents us the very energetic side of Cosmic Hoffmann with a hyper jerky structure which parades as a train at a brisk pace in the interstellar landscapes. Other title and other structure of rhythm, "Hypnotic" changes of tone with a rhythm livened up by some motorik percussions which shake a nest of sequences skipping with fright. The synth spreads a mixture of charms as much of a flute and saxophone with beautiful harmonies, so giving an approach of hypnotic tribal trance to a title which reaches the aimed purpose. "Opera Mellotronique" doesn't really need presentation! It's exactly what we wish to hear of this master of Mellotron. Beautiful and ambient, one listens to it the eyes in the stars. The finale is magnificently captivating. Fine minimalist pulsations draw the rhythm slightly pulsatory but resolutely ambient of "The Call of Gullu". An avalanche of synth lines get entwine and unroll in a thick cloud of sound hoops from where escape solos and harmonies all carriers of the Krautrock Kosmik Musik seal. Always very comfortable with a Mellotron, Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock brings us in the dark spheres of la belle époque with a beautiful floating structure where voices and effects of enveloping layers remind us the sublime period of
Tangerine Dream's Phaedra. If we like those cosmic ambient phases, "Spacewards" will know how to fill our waits with a beautiful structure which too is not far from the Phaedra period but in a more cosmic envelope. "Sehr Mystisch" flirts a little with the structure of "Howling Wolves" with a wave-like movement and some rather piercing songs of synth. The effect of cosmos is always very present. "Crab Nebula" concludes this very representative collection of Cosmic Hoffmann with a structure which drifts as so comfortably than "Spacewards" and where the sweetness of the Mellotron and the beauty of the cosmicolectronic effects are as much inviting as the sweetness of Morpheus. There is a bit of Vangelis in this title for the effects of intensity which make rise a little the adrenalin of an eater of cosmic tones on the edge to fall asleep.
We had lost Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock a little in the fog since a couple of years. And this initiative to put back on the map a piece of his immense career with his Cosmic Hoffmann project is completely justified. It's the best way to discover this brilliant artist and this “Best Of” describes aptly the styles and the approaches of this iconic figure of the Krautrock Kosmik Musik style.

Sylvain Lupari (October 19th, 2016) &
You will find this album on the AD Music web shop here

lundi 17 octobre 2016

SYNDROMEDA: When IN-Side becomes OUT-Side (2016)

“If we look for something different in EM, this new When IN-Side becomes OUT-Side from Syndromeda will answer to your needs”
1 Native Alien Meeting 27:10
2 Upside Down 15:13
3 Reproduction NOT Allowed 10:35
4 Back to Sub-Reality 16:02

SynGate ‎| CD-R SS23 (CD-r/DDL 69`02) ***½
(Dark ambient and progressive vintage EM)
A distant shadow settles a sound texture of ambiences. Dark ambiences which swap their hollow breezes for layers haloed of astral voices. Slow! It's with an epidemic slowness that develops the long introduction of this last opus of Syndromeda. Near celestial bodies, the sounds and tones take the appearances of the dreamer. On "Native Alien Meeting" Danny Budts has braided an alloy of industrial mechanism, hollow breezes and distant voices which float like a wreck across the intersidereal space. And not, Syndromeda did not change at all his sound signature. Dark ambiences, piercing shards of synth and radioactive sequences mixed with Tangerine Dream vintage sother equencing patterns liven up the 70 minutes of his last opus on the label SynGate. Flirting with the blackness of gaps, the synth lines roam like spectres come from far away. Set apart some pulsations and movements of layers which weave intense moments, the first 19 minutes of "Native Alien Meeting" are purely of ambiences and of dusts of noises. Percussions begin hammering discreetly under a mass of cosmic voices while the sequences sparkle of these organic tones that Syndromeda likes to give to his ambiences. In fact, all of the action for the senses takes place in the last 6 minutes of "Native Alien Meeting". The rhythm there is ambient with a mixture of sequences to tones as much diversified as the bases of the rhythm. I like Syndromeda but I found the introduction of this meeting of the extraterrestrials' first nations much too long. But Danny Budts knows how to straighten his sound ship. The structure of sequences, which we listen to like a concert of chirping of birds which stammer, of "Upside Down" emerges after a short ambiospherical moment  from where emerges a language of extraterrestrial shape. The rhythm is forged by sequences which limp and of another line of pulsations, before becoming more fluid with a movement waving as an endless ascent. A very beautiful line of flute throws a surprising musicality to this rhythm of which the wall of astral voices always surrounds with an envelope of mystery. It's some good Syndromeda who fills our ears of a rhythm unique to his signature for the next 8 minutes, before that a duel between this concert of apathetic voices and of those beautiful songs of flute is wrapping "Upside Down" in a morphic cocoon. I really loved that one. "Reproduction NOT Allowed" proposes an introduction loaded of mechanical groans that more musical layers are cradling of tenderness. This sound of Syndromeda is unique and fascinates with an almost vampiric approach. Sequences bang as a metallic ball attached to a thread and which returns to bang continually on a pallet of metal. Another crawling line accompanies this static rhythm which is suddenly flooded of absent voices. Another line of sequence livens up even more the rhythm with lively and mixed jumps, giving an artificial rhythmic life to "Reproduction NOT Allowed" which will preserves its stationary approach. The same goes for the rhythmic structure of "Back to Sub-Reality"! Although more steady and presenting two lines, one rather conservative and the other one very nervous, of rhythm which is molded in the pattern of "Upside Down", except that the shrill solos replace the harmonies of the flutes. This is some pure Syndromeda and it needs more than one listening before really hooked on it. But this is the whole story for the great majority of the albums from the Belgian synthesist. If we look for something different in EM, because the sound here is completely unique, and a progressive cosmic music, “When IN-Side becomes OUT-Side” will answer to your needs. It's another beautiful sonic adventure of Syndromeda that his fans are going to savour neurons in the cosmos!
Sylvain Lupari (October 17th, 2016) &

You will find this album on the SynGate Bandcamp page here

dimanche 16 octobre 2016

JAMES MURRAY: Ghostwalk E.P. (2016)

“To be honest?! I already heard a ghost's walk a little more discreet than this Ghostwalk”
1 Ghostwalk 6:58
2 Ghostwalk (Kinosura remix) 7:08
3 Ghostwalk (Martin Nonstatic remix) 7:27

inre088 (DDL 20:39) ***
(Psybeats, Groove & Electronica)
I already heard a ghost's walk a little more discreet than that proposed by James Murray! The title-track of this foretaste of the comeback of the British composer  on the Ultimae Records label opens with bass pulsations which skip under the delicate bites of cymbals. Layers which buzz like wings of big bumblebees intimidate this opening with a surprising effect of humming, defining the barriers of "Ghostwalk" which will balance between a rhythm slightly bouncing and some brief passages of atmospheres which are quite near a surrealist decoration peculiar to the night-ballads of these dear spectres which feed our most serene insanities. The sequences flow with fluidity and with a beautiful effect of gap in the pace, offering a structure which gets loose from the minimalism mood and which hooks the captivity of the listening. But the effects, and this spectral melody which mystifies with its misleading appearances, are at the heart of "Ghostwalk" with an approach more ghostly than organic. It's a premiere for me from this always very creative label. This E.P. offers remixed 2 versions of “Ghostwalk”. The first one comes from a new artist Kinosura. Here, the lines of basses are more captivating and the rhythm is more linear with laconic pulsations and with effects of percussions which click and fly away like a thick cloud of noises. The synth layers get melting in a sonic decoration which is closer to the roots of Ultimae Records with nice effects of hoops and with dark breezes always as much spectral as James Murray's vision. I liked this approach a bit more dance and groove than the original version. Martin Nonstatic's remix is more lively with sequenced pulsations which are more accentuated, some good effects (I particularly like the noise of these metallic doors which make creak the hinges) and a delicate melody which is more hummed in this ambience of spectres and their hypnotic charms. It bears the seal of Martin Nonstatic and it's the most electronic version of “Ghostwalk”. The album is expected later this year and I expect something rather unusual. But isn't it always the case with Ultimae Records!
Sylvain Lupari (October 14th, 2016) &
You will find this album on the Ultimae Records Bandcamp page here

jeudi 13 octobre 2016

ANDY PICKFORD: Adagiometry Vol. 1 E.P. (2016)

“When Andy Pickford goes cinematographic and classical music”
1 Adagiometry 1 4:18
2 The Line 7:20
3 Emerald Beach 7:57

AD181Dig (DDL 19:35) ***½
(Orchestral et cinematographic EM)
The movement is slow. Like an adagio among which the delicate synth layers which slowly get out of breath are wrapped up in sumptuous orchestrations. "Adagiometry 1" sets the tone to this fascinating sonic booklets which the English label AD Music sells, in downloadable format only, for the most great pleasure of Andy Pickford's fans. In all, it's 5 volumes that Andy Pickford proposes and which will follow the air of time and the big comeback of this musician whose eccentricity is equaled only of his immense composer's talent. This series brings out the very film approach of the English musician and this floods our ears from the first seconds of "Adagiometry 1". The arrangements are as well soft as heart-rending and the effects of emotional intensity follow the curve of a title which could very well be thought of as a classic piece of music, so much the effect of orchestration and the voices are well crafted. We have gooseflesh! If I understand well the sense of this “Adagiometry Vol. 1”, the music should follow this bend of semi slow rhythm which defines the emotional characters of music for films. Thus "The Line" is as much intense with its film approach which fits admirably be well with a movie about 1001 tales and legends of the Arab world. Here the approach is more electronic, more intense also, with layers of violins which are closer to a synth dimension that those in "Adagiometry 1" who have a more acoustic tone. The chords of keyboard are rolling like those pearls that we make slip through our fingers, laying down a ghost melody which drowns itself in the heaviness and the slowness of the orchestrations effects. Intense and moving! The extremely melodious approach of Andy Pickford is more present in the very beautiful "Emerald Beach". It's a nice cosmic slow dance with keyboard chords which pearl like those of a nostalgic piano in a music misted by melancholy. The level of emotionalism is as much pronounced as in the first two titles but with an electronic touch which is more elaborated than that of "The Line". That gives me in fact actually the taste to throw me in Adagiometry Vol. 2. I'll soon write about it too!
Sylvain Lupari (October 13th, 2016) &
You will find this album on the AD Music web shop here

DRIFTIN' THOUGHTS: Secret Dimensions (1997)

“This is an honest album which keeps this cachet of the EM albums of this period. Besides the long title-track is one of the very good to have emerged from this time”
1 The Spirit of the Trees 6:50
2 Silence After Midnight 2:50
3 Rain 4:31
4 Secret Dimensions (Parts 1-4) 19:01
5 Panta Rhei 6:41
6 Windward 3:54
7 Disguised Illusions 6:23
8 StrangeLand 8:51
9 Broken Mirrors 5:23
10 Serenity 5:33
11 Forgotten Places 3:38

Spheric Music ‎| SMCD 8001 (CD 74:56) ***½
(E-Rock & New Berlin School)
The 80's and the 90's represent a little the dark side of EM of the Berlin School style. Abandoned by its main leaders who vainly tried a more commercial approach, the kind has waded in a creative slump where the emergent artists, and even some of the golden era, have tried hard to ally those 2 poles. It was doubtless the starting point of the New Berlin School. Several names appeared with a short series of albums and are disappeared in the creative labyrinths of EM. Driftin' Thoughts is part of this category! This project of the German musician Marcus Hildebrandt counts a thin total of 3 albums plus some titles that we find on uncountable compilations which appeared on various labels of this time besides a compilation of unedited tracks released in 2000 on the Spheric Music label. Apparently inspired by the approach of Tangerine Dream's most melodious years, “Secret Dimensions”, also released on Spheric Music label in 1997, proposes a very beautiful mosaic of styles which represented at that time the twist of the Berliner style towards a more concise approach where the melodious side and the rhythms of the digital synths dominated now all this analog side that the pioneers had developed in the 70's.
The Spirit of the Trees" starts things up with a structure of circular rhythm. The sequencing, as discreet as sneaky, draw oblong 8 while the percussions build a structure which balances between a very TD electronic rock and a good New Berlin School with another movement of sequences of which the keys cavort and are fool around out of time of the very linear approach of the main movement. The movement and the melody remind me of Johannes Schmoelling and the effects of percussions hook on the spot the attention of those who like the colors of sounds. It's a great opening! And if we like this kind of electronic rock highly inspired by TD's Jive years we shall like this album, especially with titles as "Disguised Illusions", "StrangeLand" and "Serenity" which alternate between a good e-rock, dance music and a bit of Electronica with a Techno zest. The melodious approach is at the heart of this collection of small titles and Driftin ' Thoughts offers to us beautiful ballads tinted with a romanticism a la Tangerine Dream of the Tyranny of Beauty and Turn of the Tides years. I think of titles like "Rain", "Windward" and "Broken Mirrors" with the Dirk Radtke's very edgy guitar. Here, Linda Spa's essences soak these moods of Easy Listening of these 3 titles. The atmospheric side is also very present on “Secret Dimensions” with tracks such as "Silence After Midnight", "Forgotten Places" as well as the wonderful morphic ballad of "Panta Rhei".
Of good e-rock to cosmic/ambient moods while going from Electronica as well as the syrupy ballads,
Marcus Hildebrandt also proposes a very good evolutionary piece of music with the very long title "Secret Dimensions(Size) (Parts 1-4)". The adventure begins with layers of synth which float over the echoes of some crystal drops and of which the ringings resound in a submerged cave. The voice of Andrea Hoffmann, which can also be heard on "StrangeLand", waltzes lazily with these layers which spread a cosmic aura, bringing a touch of esotericism to the introduction of this key title which is flooded with the influences of Tangerine Dream from Le Parc era. The sequences begin to stir some 90 seconds later. The alloy with the percussions give tones of the Hyde Park track. Flooded of layers and of cosmic effects, the rhythm of "Secret Dimensions(Size) (Parts 1-4)" is heavily harpooned by percussions while the sequences get wriggle all over this structure which always looks for its melodic approach. The approach lives in fact in the sequencing pattern and when the title dives towards a short ambiospherical phase, the rhythm returns with clothes of e-rock in a style which is more in Jarre's than TD. The percussions are very enticing at this point. Solos abound also in this part with a touch clearly more melodic than sequences. The three phases structure of this long title remind me a little of the brilliant Travelling Tune which we find on the album Breezing Sequence from TeeKay. Album appeared on the IC label in 1989.
“Secret Dimensions” is an honest album which keeps this cachet of the EM albums of this period. Those who are fond of these more rock and more ballad periods of
Tangerine Dream will be delighted by this album where Johannes Schmoelling's essence and those superb effects of percussions, one of the main attractions of this album, are what stands out the most. And "Secret Dimensions(Size) (Parts 1-4)" is one of the very good titles to have emerged from this time.

Sylvain Lupari (October 13th, 2016) &
You can find this album and order it here