ALBA ECSTASY: Studio Collections 1 (2021)
Updated: Apr 9
“A solid album where the minimalist frameworks are filled with tinkling arpeggios struck on the tip of a cosmic iceberg”
1 Suspense 3:52
2 Equanimity 7:38
3 Above Us 10:17
4 Saturn Rings 9:25
5 Hegemony 14:28
(DDL 45:41) (V.F.)
(Roumanian School, Cosmic EM)
We are in April 2021 and here is the very first album of Mihail-Adrian Simion! What's going on? Well, Alba Ecstasy has not been idle! He just focused his attention on another project, fatherhood. And I can assure you that he is very happy to compose happy days with his wife and their two little girls. Well, no more gossips! What about the music! STUDIO COLLECTION 1 is another idea-concept that revolves mainly around different ideas thrown on a keyboard that will develop over time. It's more or less another collection in the genre of Nodes, Where Are the Quiet Saturdays? and many others that the Romanian sound engineer has put online in the last years. And it 's with pleasure that I rediscover the flavors of The Long Way to Mars on this first part which offers 5 tracks in the form of melodious carousels spinning in minimalist mode. The strong point of Alba Ecstasy.
It starts with a beautiful ambient track. Rising and falling notes undulate in a perfect lunar ballad that connects us immediately with the musical universe of Alba Ecstasy. A bass line secretly extends its grip, and its pulsating surges contrast with the harmonic lightness of Suspense's arpeggios that resist even its electrified mutation. Equanimity is very much its opposite! AE unleashes a spasmodic line that combines bass-pulsation and organic electrification. The static movement is like a herd of wild horses trapped in a too high and too narrow pen multiplying kickings and disordered jumps. Oscillating quickly, Equanimity struggles to hide this misty line trying to remain discreet as the horses have broken through the fences to escape into Cosmos. Above Us is a very charming track made to bring us to the doors of our cerebral tranquility. The frozen arpeggios tinkle in a harmonic cohesion that reminds us of Klaus Schulze's great Crystal Lake from the Mirage album. The flow is slower. If the first part lays its chords on a bed of mist, the second is led by a synth and its bluesy lamentations in the style of In Blue, still from the German master. A very good track that tries to take its speed, without pushing this project further.
Saturn Rings begins its musical blossoming by revealing the radioactive field of its rings. Vibrating from its sedentary circles, the movement pulses like a big industrial hum whose velocity is like a pressure on our eardrums that comes and goes to extinguish in the cosmic woosshh after the 4 minutes barrier. Where the solemn march of a guitar awaits us under the shooting and whistling stars. AE also brings us back in these solos with hybrid tonalities which are not without recalling the morphic caresses of the duo Schulze/Göttsching in In Blue. The longest track of this album, not exceeding 46 minutes of Alba Ecstasy, Hegemony seems to be a mesh of the 4 other musical personalities of this album. Rotating, the structure is fed by a line of muffled beats and another of bass-pulses. The flow is thus fluid and jerky, constantly swirling and amassing the various sound effects left in AE's bank of ideas. The Romanian musician also knits short synth solos that he scatters on this structure that has become jerkier and that is as intoxicating as the magical nights of Remy, Exhibitions of Dreams, and of Klaus Schulze in En=Trance. A very good track that loses its energy in a direction-seeking finale for 120 big seconds.
There is very good material in this STUDIO COLLECTION 1, a solid album where the minimalist frameworks are filled with tinkling arpeggios as well as evasive solos and temporary madness in a universe of ice and its crystalline odes struck on the tip of a cosmic iceberg.
Sylvain Lupari (April 8th, 2021) ****¼*
Available at Alba Ecstasy Bandcamp