“This E-Scape 2019 is quite full of great things, even with its more experimental, more progressive tangent”
1 ReConnected (Live) (4:34)
2 Secret Landing (5:06)
3 Live Sessions 29.3.19 (9:32)
4 Escaping Infinity (15:10)
5 Looks Like Rain, Dear (16:32)
6 Rejuvenation (9:04)
Nik Owen Jones
7 Second Star (9:02)
8 Always Tomorrow (7:55)
David Wright & Carys
(England School, progressive EM)
David Wright and the team of his label AD Music remain very involved in the evolution of EM on the side of England. They are doing a huge job setting up an EM festival since 2015. A festival called E-Scape. And as is the custom, a CD is made for the event and contains original music, or a concert performance, signed by the artists invited to this festival. And I can confirm that each of these compilations made since 2015 at least hide a title that is worth the cost of the CD. And I would say it's the same this year with E-SCAPE 2019. Although the tangent of this last festival seems to privilege a more experimental approach of the invited artists, there is always a title we have the crush for and a new name to remember which makes the purchase of E-SCAPE 2019 very interesting.
Well, we know the superb ReConnected from David Wright. The live performance here is spotless. This is a very nice title for those who don't know it yet. This is Glenn Main's 3rd participation at this festival. For this occasion, he has composed a lively title with a good rhythm and a very Jarre synth melody in Secret Landing. We have no surprise here, except that the music is good and kind of ear catching. Melodious and rhythmic, these two titles are sure values in this compilation. Axxent Opaque is the first revelation of this album. This English trio, consisted of Colin Jordan, Gary Wright and Chris Medway, works a little bit like AirSculpture as they seem of being more comfortable on stage than in studio. They already have an album out, Wave-Forms, and the excerpts I've heard seem promising. Live Sessions 29.3.19 is a rather interesting improvised track. The rhythm is woven by a series of oscillations that form a lively and spasmodic line on which metallic percussive effects are grafted. These effects, and many others, peck or add to this long reel of spasmodic rhythm adorned of synth layers and heavy guitar riffs. These two instruments leave moaning solos. The rhythm is convulsive with sound effects so creative that I thought I heard a chorus of amphibian roar without a second of respite. Interesting project! Escaping Infinity is a title from Infinity Curve, a duo of veteran English musicians, Peter Challoner and Jez Creek. These two synthesists are specialized in the field of dark ambient EM that is knotted around effects of reverberations coming from a mass of drones and their sound repercussions. The two musicians, who are friends too, tune their equipment and once the break-in is over, balance at us a very nice Berlin School movement with a line of rhythm and its hesitant keys running and jumping clumsily. The structured slightly attenuates its sound velocity to give space to multiple strata and sound effects. Do you like AirSculpture or RMI? Infinity Curve's Escaping Infinity is for you!
There is a strange mood behind Looks Like Rain, Dear which is a very experimental title concocted by E3, a duo consisted of two other veterans of the English EM scene; Paul Ward and Stephan Whitland. The duo wears out their 16 minutes and more with different collages that give a pastoral hue, as an abyssal color to a long movement animated by felted explosions (implosions). A choir and vocal effects à la Jean-Michel Jarre's Zoolook act as sails where terror can easily be mixed with schizophrenia. I didn't like! Who is Nik Owen Jones? This is the real find of E-SCAPE 2019! His title, Rejuvenation, is a very good Berlin School. Intro dark with chthonian fragrances from a mellotron and its various sources of dark waves and mists. The departure makes me think a little about the structure of Silver Scale from Tangerine Dream, with a gradation in the movement of the rhythmic train that is powered by jolts of the sequencer. The pulsations are muffled and resonate with heaviness, giving more vitality to this line of rhythm that will become much more agile and incisive in the second half. The synth pads are generous and wrap with an ethereal perfume movement that stops to let a guitar breathe and starts again with more energy and especially with more synth solos. An excellent surprise! Like the very explosive Second Star from Wavestar II. John Dyson, Paul Ward and Stephan Whitland break the shack with an explosive Berlin School that is unique to Wavestar II with synth and a mellotron solos that are very personal to the mythical English trio who likes to exploit the sound of Tangerine Dream's Jive years. The Blue Years! Always Tomorrow ends this other solid compilation from AD Music with a beautiful ballad in the New Age genre that can be found on the very good David Wright album; Stranger Days. Chills guaranteed with these beautiful arrangements and the sweet voice of Carys that would make a dandelion cry!
Sylvain Lupari (July 8th, 2019) *****
Available at AD Music web shop