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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ALBA ECSTASY: The Storyteller (2020)

It's a very good album which has its share of catchy and harmonious EM without having this easy listening little side

1 Comprehensive 5:46

2 Lights on the Sky 5:20

3 Rewinding the Day 6:42

4 Sparkling Dreams 5:10

5 Inner Nature 2:59

6 The Cave Song 2:48

7 Regeneration X 4:01

8 Steampathy 6:14

9 Expansion 5:57

(DDL 45:00) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, Ambient & EDM)

Typical of EM, it's with a wave coming from afar that Comprehensive begins. Twenty seconds later, a first pulsating element establishes a convulsive rhythm that percussions straighten into a structure closer to a good electronic rock. The synth releases tunes that seem pensive while electronic chirps add cosmic depth. Constantly evolving, by rhythm or by its harmonies, Comprehensive is pitching short serenades in the second half. Harmonies and melodies which flirt with an appearance of solos whose melodious side polishes the spasmodic aspect of the rhythm. Alba Ecstasy does it differently this time around by offering a selection of 9 tracks in a 45-minute time frame. That's an average of 5 minutes per title. The kind of time that kills the exploratory side of EM in the bud. Except that our friendly Romanian musician doesn't need it here. Going from good electronic rock to more ambient passages to explode in big EDM, the 9 structures of THE STORYTELLER demonstrate the ease with which AE juggles in the way of composing EM. It's clear that this man has a gift that goes much further than the creation of patches and synth software...

Lights on the Sky offers a musical journey through time of sound adjustments and experiments. The approach is welded in a static rhythm animated by various tinkling of sequences and arpeggios. An ideal base for launching good solos with acrobatic and aerial figures and sound effects in cosmic mode from the 70's. Rewinding the Day finds the rhythmic path with good limpid and circular sequences which are transformed into melodious arpeggios once the percussions and the boom-booms come to stylize a robotic dance structure. It's cosmic break-dance, a rhythmic fury that even dense violin mist arrangements cannot contain. Lively !? Not just half of it! And these orchestral layers succeed in injecting one of those absent melodies which stick to our eardrums, leaving a slight mark on the hair of the arms which looks towards the sky. A superb title which is worth the purchase of THE STORYTELLER on its own and which invites us to a short Zen reflection after the 5th minute. Delicious, and for the ears and the senses! Ditto for Sparkling Dreams but for a completely different reason. It's a splendid nursery rhyme with dazzling arpeggios of glass tones that shiver like the threads of my soul. The music box spins slightly faster while the circular melody is played in its usual context. It's like an angel is playing the crystal xylophone to put our sweet Emma to sleep! Emma being our 22 month old baby girl. Inner Nature comes to us with a surreal jungle setting with large wings flying over in the rain this artificial jungle which is in accordance with the vision of its title. The Cave Song is another ambient title with a claustrophobic vision where we hear a strange flute song coming from far away. The nervous whispers of the second part can arouse this paranoia that sleeps in us. The fade-out leaves something to be desired when the highly electronic Regeneration X vision falls on us without warning.

This second longest track of THE STORYTELLER is built on series of sequences which come and go vividly on a linear path. Imagine two lines of red indicator lights turning on and off in the opposite direction and in a lively alternation and you have the vision of this static rhythm. For its part, Steampathy deploys its armada of jumping keys and their ample cabrioles which are covered of fog-breathing synth pads. A heavy and super slow rhythm, as I like them, takes hold of our headphones, I sincerely believe that the music of AE finds its depth more in a good headphone. Soft sequence in rock vision and percussions more of the Electronica genre preserve this down-tempo cast in rock but also in slow and oblong lines of oscillations. The sound effects are numerous and generated by a continually active synth here with orchestral layers, moiré chords which seem to speak to us and other good synth solos which amaze here with their tints of communications between aliens. Another big headline here! After a theatrical introduction, the introductory sequence of Expansion leads us towards a structure of EDM. The beat is catchy and our ears cannot take off from this sequence which crosses the 5 minutes of this good electronic dance hymn.

There isn't much to add without feeling like you're repeating yourself. Alba Ecstasy aligns quality album over quality album. THE STORYTELLER is not apart! It's a very good album to initiate timid ears. The album has its share of catchy and harmonious EM without having this easy listening little side. It can go in all ears ...

Sylvain Lupari (October 6th, 2020) *****

Available at Alba Ecstasy Bandcamp

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