AGE: Time Capsule (2022)
“A surprising album more acoustic than electronic while the ambience is more bucolic than contemporary”
1 Morning Smile 1:20
2 Our First Walk 2:52
3 The White Gull 2:58
4 Spring 1:13
5 Field Party 1:31
6 My Friend 4:09
7 The Organist 3:52
8 Solitude 3:36
9 The Three Pianists 7:44
10 The Milky Way 1:41
11 Lullaby 1:00
12 The Planetarium Survival 34:30
(DDL 66:32) (V.F.)
(Acoustic/Electronic Art for Ears)
It begins as simple as that! A beautiful melody whistled by a synth and its harmonica tone over a tender and romantic acoustic guitar. The impression of Genesis' Supper's Ready that follows remains ineradicable. Short as it is, Morning Smile reflects the dimension of its title. It is also the beginning of an audacious collection of 12 tracks, all composed by Guy Vachaudez, where AGE fans, as well as those who discovered the Belgian duo with their last releases on Groove nl, might be as surprised as disoriented. TIME CAPSULE is not the progressive electronic kind. Nor even cosmic, except for The Planetarium Survival. The music is more acoustic than electronic while the ambience is more bucolic than contemporary. Looking at old photos is magical! The memory instantly brings back moments, people, events or atmospheres with all the sensations and emotions of the time. TIME CAPSULE is the musical evocation of 12 photos. Initially, the Belgian musician wanted to collect personal pieces that were short and melodious under the title Candy Music. An album to be listened to as one would eat candy, without thinking about it. Just light, easy and quite acoustic in the sounds that would have nothing to do with AGE's style. Emmanuel D'haeyere did the same thing with Seasons of a Decade earlier this year. More complex tracks were added as the project evolved. No matter, I succumbed quite easily to the multiple charms of this album where finally there is only a small step to take to establish any correlation with the very beautiful and destabilizing, at the first listenings, Vangelis' Fais que ton Rêve soit plus long que la Nuit. The only differences are the years that separate both albums, we are talking about 50 years here, and that each track on this TIME CAPSULE is separate. For the rest, the bucolic vision and the tasty acoustic/electronic mixture can only make us think of this very good album from the Greek electronic bard.
Our First Walk is more electronic. Its chime brings out a layer of violins with poignant arrangements. The synth chords that are falling have that dramatic Vangelis opacity, while the arpeggios let shimmering a heavenly air that is witness to a walk that will last well over 50 years. Why do I know this? Well, friend Guy comments on a good half dozen of the album's tracks on his Bandcamp page. It gives us some context, although sometimes we are looking for those links he makes. But anyway, this Our First Walk presents the more complex side of TIME CAPSULE with zests of Zanov in it. Just like The Organist and its musical language that flirts with Tomita's in Snowflakes Are Dancing. If there is one thing that is seizing in this collection of musical photographs proposed by Guy Vachaudez, it is the tonality and the sensitivity of the synths. Trying to imitate Jonathan Livingston's flight on The White Gull, they are more the witnesses of this solitude never captured in the flights of our famous gull. The dance of the chiming arpeggios of Spring sticks to the two meanings of its title; spring as the gush of sounds. Bucolic as can be, Field Party makes its drums roll under the ancestral airs of the synths. Hearing the sheep in this track brings a smile to the ears. The jerky arrangements of My Friend structure an orchestral march whose shadow is agitated under cadenced bells. The result is a very French cinema musical envelope where poetry and mystery cohabit on an evolving minimalist structure. A choir replaces the orchestrations while more nervous arpeggios twirl around, bringing a more aerial musical dimension. It sounds like the best of Thierry Fervant on Philip Glass' influence. The dark music and the melancholic atmosphere of Solitude are up to its essence. The piano cries in an ambience weighed down by the humming of a soul in pain. The Three Pianists is another track that makes a link with the complex and anarchic structures of Vangelis. The Belgian musician blows tenderness and chaos in a track where 3 souls of a pianist clash. It is the most romantic who wins this duel built around contradictory emotions. The music of The Milky Way couldn't be more related to its title. The same goes for the too short electronic lullaby of Lullaby. Atmospheric and cosmic music lovers have not been forgotten by Guy Vachaudez since he adds in The Planetarium Survival a long musical memory of a concert given at the Planetarium of Brussels.
It was Frans Lemaire who advised me about TIME CAPSULE. Without him, this little Guy Vachaudez gem would have gone under the radar. Little gem, yes! Because the 12 tracks presented on this album, only available for download, present a small degree of complexity that keeps its nobility of art even in the most melodious visions of the album. Hence the very realistic link with Fais que ton Rêve soit plus long que la Nuit. Different certainly, but as beautiful as very audacious!
Sylvain Lupari (July 11th, 2022) *****
Available at AGE Bandcamp