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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ALBA ECSTASY: Stories From a Distant Space- Vol. 1 (2022)

Crystal clear chords that spin around over constantly evolving rhythm structures. The receipt for another great AE album

1 Tangent One 9:07

2 Betelgeuse 10:50

3 Tellurium 6:00

4 Lost in Transition 12:40

5 Comuting Between Private Planets 7:05

(DDL 45:45) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

Mihail-Adrian Simion got himself a new toy. A Roland Jupiter-Xm! And it is from the multiple possibilities of this synth, and its limpid tonalities, that he proposes a new collection of electronic music (EM), Stories From a Distant Space of which he presents us with a first volume with 5 titles which burst of a musical freshness in polymorphic structures, as much rhythmic as melodic.

We already feel a frenzy, an effervescence behind the synth pads that accumulate in the opening of Tangent One. Keyboard chords start to dance nervously, creating a rhythmic ritornello where jerky and fluid aspects melt their differences beautifully. The arpeggios have this crystalline tint whose reflections and fine sound trail weave a continuous structure where other arpeggios fall always nervous and consequently always alive. Percussive sparkles, like stars, adorn this first passage while already Tangent One takes a new tangent with a succession of arpeggios that fall curtly, giving a subtle spasmodic appearance to an always spheroidal rhythm. The percussions and bass pulses drop after the 4th minute, giving a technoïd approach to this structure that has always flirted with a convoluted Electronica vision. We can dance on it, just like can let ourselves spinning and floating! I'm a regular of the Romanian musician's electronic Mass and to my knowledge, this is the first time he offers so many layers of rhythms, adjacent rhythmic melody lines and minimalist electronic ritornellos in such a short period of time. Betelgeuse was the first track to come out of the sessions of STORIES FROM A DISTANT SPACE - Vol. 1. Alba Ecstasy put it on YouTube a week before the release of the album. Here is the link; Betelgeuse. For information, it's the musician who performed everything and programmed the keys so that the music scrolls continuously. This track is a pure jewel with a continuously evolving rhythmic structure where a rhythmic melody swirls that sounds as if Crystal Lake, Klaus Schulze's Mirage album, was being performed in fast motion. The bass-drum hits and the metallic sparkles give a technoïd texture to the music where this minimalist rhythmic melody is plying relentlessly. And the feeling that this melody is innocently gamboling on an uncontrollable rhythmic stream is quite exquisite. This is the BIG track on this album!

One can admire all the brightness of the limpid chords and the innumerable flavors of subtlety of the Roland Jupiter-Xm in Tellurium. This track breathes as much, if not more, of Schulze's realm between his Angst years and the excellent Miditerranean Pads. The stealthy rhythm here is closely related to it. The synth weaves magical solos that have that jazz texture of an undiscovered era, while elaborating melodic traps woven in parallel that swirl like harmonious strobes. Lost in Transition is a long, jerky, minimalist structure. A bass line grumbles behind this clear and active harmonic mirror, creating a stealthy Tellurium-like texture that always stays off-balance against the accelerated minimalist rhythm of the melody. Synth solos and organic effects complete a minimalist ritornello that holds new charms with each new listen. This is the kind of track that you need to hear more than once to capture its full dimension, even in its repetitive texture. Two rhythm structures guide the very cosmic Comuting Between Private Planets. The first one espouses a kind of well-paced procession while the second one proposes a seductive counterweight with a more zigzagging vision. Both form a strange electronic choreography, sometimes fluid and/or jerky, which serves as a bed for good harmonies as well as dialogue exchanges of a synth a little ahead of its time. A cosmic track that has movement in it!

In spite of an abundant avalanche of EM, calmer since a few months, Alba Ecstasy always manages to seduce and even amaze. STORIES FROM A DISTANT SPACE - Vol. 1 proposes a renewal in the career of Mihail-Adrian Simion. Even if the essence of his music still breathes the crystalline years of Schulze, there is something infinitely more attractive here than elsewhere in the albums of the Romanian musician. A more than a very nice album that I enjoyed more with my speakers, the sound is so clear and precise, than in my headphones.

Sylvain Lupari (August 30th, 2022) ****¾*

Available at Alba Ecstasy Bandcamp

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