99.9: Silex (2018)
“This is an interesting album, loaded of deep ambiences and Berlin School rhythmic structures, which needs a lot of love to be fully tamed”
1 Origin & Dissolution 26:54
2 Naked Sand 24:55
3 Corrosion 24:22
4 Erosion 13:42
(CD/DDL 89:07) (V.F.)
Aficionados of analog-type EM and of modular synthesizers, Nothing But Noise is a sure bet. The Belgian duo offers big sequencer trains that smash our eardrums, or better shake our shelves, in heavy structures that have nothing to envy to Redshift or Arc. 99.9 is half of NBN. This is a project by Daniel B(ressanutti) who gets associate to the violinist Edwin Vanvinckenroye in a double album whose styles travel between neo-classical and Berlin School, because of a heavy and loud sequencer, while having a very avant-garde approach and whose total cost befits to the cinematic atmospheres of a horror film series B that we shoot in our head. An album which also travels between phases easier to tame and others more complex and creative that require a lot of love. And don't worry, your ears will be rewarded with 2 mega structures. And it begins without hesitation with Origin & Dissolution, the headline of SILEX.
A juicy wave full of static resonance spreads a shadow that grows like a swelling at the entrance of our ears. Sequences in tones of the vintage years start to stagger and structure a line of zigzagging rhythm, carrying in its momentary wandering a superb fluty tune. Vampiric, this melody will obsess our senses by evolving into some tasty skin changes throughout Origin & Dissolution as well as SILEX. The decor of the atmospheres is deepened by synth pads that take the tunes of this melody, while infusing it of disturbing appearances. For the Berlin School lover in me, the movement of Origin & Dissolution is simply divine. Between Jim Kirkwood and Redshift, it's heavy and always between two speeds, beating our expectations by taking a cinematic tangent and returning to the trails of the German movement of the 70's. And there is always this melody that comes and go, modifying its appearance to better weave its magnetizing canvas. At times she is alone, as around the 9 minutes point, and laments of its complaints and distortions in duels of violin/guitar versus synth. This first slump gives a boost to the rhythm of Origin & Dissolution which has become much more fluid and elegant. Subtle echo effects in the reverberant waves and psybient filaments cling to this ascending structure as the invading melody slowly regains its dynamism. Evolving in a 27-minute pattern, Origin & Dissolution is very well in its time life, evolving like a real soundtrack of a gloomy film with staccato arrangements that perfectly take the shape of the sequencer streams. The title enchants with its many phase changes, immersing me constantly in atmospheres that make me relive my best moments spent watching horror and dread movies. This is too good and too strong to start a work like SILEX. Too strong since its frame is revisited in the next 2 titles with visions for atmospheres more troubling and especially very present. Naked Sand is the reverse of its decor. It's a more avant-gardist title whose many mutations can have this tendency to disconnect our ears. Edwin Vanvinckenroye is more present here and his violin weaves arrangements as black as the ideas of Daniel B. Between for his phases of dark moods, which are always gloomy, and its ambient rhythms scrolling in moments that seduce, while others belong to the cinema. It's a kind of collage of ideas, like a musical library, that come and go in a slow structure but in continual movement. It's this kind of title that requires a lot of listening, love and patience before we get invade. The only way to approach it is to listen carefully to these short phases of sequences that are all connected by this melodious thread that flowed in Origin & Dissolution.
CD 2 of this duel Daniel B. vs Edwin Vanvinckenroye starts with Corrosion, which is built on the same principle as Naked Sand but with a greater belonging to Origin & Dissolution. Edwin Vanvinckenroye takes his ease here with a presence that is felt at the level of arrangements, even going as far as initiating structures of unexpected rhythms that are as heavy as they are hypnotic. The structure drains its 25 minutes with phase changes that are as long as in the opening title while presenting sound effects that always evolve a little more as our ears accept the challenges of SILEX. And they are extremely seductive in the first half of Corrosion. Its first 15 minutes are the most accessible (sic!) by making us travel between Philip Glass arrangements and movements of the Berlin School. The violin dances on limpid arpeggios or floats in mephistophelic atmospheres where a piano is grafted with its disturbing melancholic notes. These minutes waver between rhythm and ambience before hatching in a fabulous Berlin School heavy and slow that ends its journey in amazing violin arrangements. The second part of Corrosion requires a greater opening from the listener who is confronted with a piano/violin exchange in an atmosphere worthy of the horror cinema of the years without a word of the 7th art. Erosion carries its title perfectly with its deconstructive approach. The music is more ambient and almost without rhythm, except for the finale. The main lines of SILEX are gradually crumbling and fade in a finale whose slow pace is just as dry.
Much like the works of Nothing but Noise, this SILEX is not for everyone. Origin & Dissolution is a little gem that brings shade the 3 other titles, but which is necessary to venture into the audacious corridors of an album that is worth discovering. The vampiric melody that wanders through every corner of this album also facilitates the transition between the different styles of this double CD of Daniel B and Edwin Vanvinckenroye which has more strong moments than weak ones.
Sylvain Lupari (September 10th, 2019) ***½**
Available at db2fluctuation Bandcamp