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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AIRSCULPTURE: Before The (Full) Moon (2006)

Here's a recording of the wild performance from this trio around the Ricochet's theme at the legendary Ricochet Gathering

La Gomera Concert Part. 1 (49:52)

La Gomera Concert Part. 2 (63:07)

(CD-r 112:59) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

As part of the thematic concerts of Ricochet Dream, the Ricochet Gathering of 2005 was held in the fabulous Canary Islands on the coast of Spain. The theme of this great festival, bringing together such prestigious names as Steve Joliffe, Paul Lawler, Paul Nagle, Polaris, Star Sounds Orchestra and AirSculpture, was Tangerine Dream's cult album; Ricochet. The Vic Rek label, Ricochet Dream, makes good CD-Rs of these concerts, as well as other CD's in limited pressings, and offers a double CD-R of the Air Sculpture performance; BEFORE The (FULL) MOON. We are in territories of an improvised EM with its beauties and hard rhythms, as well as certain phases of atmospheres that may seem rather long for those seeking to know more the universe of the English trio. But these moments of sonic evasions bring us to levels of brain creativity still unsuspected. Here is the integral of this show where the origins of Ricochet are transcended to add a bit of contemporaneity.

A long and sinuous synth line opens La Gomera Part I. A slow and oblong line that bypasses imperceptible elements to follow a tangent invisible to the eye but perceptible to hearing, while traveling through a strange oceanic desert which are true to the long-improvised introductions of the English trio. Air Sculpture likes to take the time to draw its sonic canvases with the passion and patience of an artist with slow gestures but who knows where he is going. And La Gomera Part I moves at strokes of oars in oxygen-free water. Strokes encircled with cosmic sounds and tortuous reverberations, a bit like entering an obscure and forbidden universe. This slow intro is spread over more than twelve minutes, where the spectral breaths mingle with reverberations that form sound loops to suck the abstract elements and give way to a soft sequenced approach. These sound dusts become rhythmic elements pierce a caustic cloud for drumming in the nocturnal territories and the reverberations of its intro surrounded by a fine mellotron mist. The Gomera Part I comes to life on sequences that jump nervously into the soft dreamy layers of a synth enveloping this hypnotic movement. A movement flying over by soft harmonious solos that sing on a tempo flirting with a techno approach. The sequences are moving. They sound heavy under the charms of a synth with divine solos, a mellotron with mystic mist and a ghostly line that overhangs a hypnotic movement, close to a hallucinatory trance. We are in the interstices of Ricochet.

Towards the 29th minute, the rhythm crashes and takes an unexpected tangent with gently frantic percussions, like tom-toms of a jungle on the alert. A thin line of bass adds depth to the movement, while a synth turns into a guitar and throws furious riffs that resonate heavily on an ambivalent structure that hesitates between the ethnic rhythm and the trance movement. It sounds like Ashra in Japan performing Echo Waves. Hammered by more pressing tom-toms, the tempo is activated even more with percussions that pound an already boosted rhythm. The synths show long warm solos encircled with hoops of syncopated resonances and a beautiful misty pad, while the frantic percussions calm down and bring La Gomera Part I to the heights of tranquility. A relative quietness! Because after the austere layers from a synth in mellotron mode have lost their misty orchestrations, the percussions are typing a new rhythmic tangent. A tempo which grows candidly under synths with hybrid breezes and lines accompanied by a keyboard with its chords dancing on finely hammered percussions.

The intro of La Gomera Part II is more direct and has no hesitations. A soft electric piano is playing under the reflections of a solitary moon accompanied by a synth and its sinuous waves. A delicate intro, a little jazzed, which charms and captivates so much the dialogue between the piano notes and the fleeting synth seems realistic. Much more melodious and musical, the intro of La Gomera Part II floats like balm on the melancholy. An intro that slowly vanishes in a heavy impulse of the sequencer and structures a gallop in the plains made mythical by the foggy layers of the mellotron. The keyboard pitches a harmony that matches the sequencer's chords. Its limpid keys are sparkling around the spinning solos from the synth. We are in the core of a renewed Ricochet on inversions of the sequencer’s movements that flow freely, rushing into the atmospheric abysses of La Gomera Part II. A brief interlude is needed with colorful tones that give a psychedelic character to this phase, just before falling under the spell of a delicate magic flute. Prelude to the introduction of sequences with the sounds of African tom-toms and the rhythmic approach that swept into the first part? But here the tempo is sweeter. A tempo that seems to stick to the scenery of the Canary Islands with a soft electric piano that layered its melodious chords on a rhythm that ripples more heavily and a synth with slightly spectral breathes. The Gomera Part II deviates to a heavier and frenetic rhythm, strongly inspired by Ashra, to conclude on an unbridled rhythm where electronic percussions feverishly hammer a heavy techno and house structure. It's a grand finale that lives up to these conclusions born of improvisations with a wild, frenetic and syncopated movement, worthy of the dance floors, surrounded by colorful sound effects and percussions that clash like sheets of metal.

If the moods of albums such as Phaedra, Rubycon and Ricochet are of interest, BEFORE The (FULL) MOON from AirSculpture is for you. It's a high-octane, almost 2-hour concert that reflects these thrilling Dream concerts in the years 74-77. There's a furious mix of old Tangerine Dream and Ashra's Japanese tour of the late 90's. Highly recommended, even with its few lengths and the very minor errors of the recording that are lost anyway in this torrent of wild music.

Sylvain Lupari (November 9th, 2010) ***½**

Available at Ricochet Dream record shop

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