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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ALBA ECSTASY: X Edition (2022)

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

AE hasn't lost the shadow of its touch in these troubling moments

1 The Voice of the Desert 12:57

2 X Edition 9:06

3 Infinity Train 21:31

4 MicroCosmos 8:00

(DDL 51:35) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, Movie EM)

Divided between 2 long tracks and 2 shorter ones, X EDITION is conceived in the great influences of Klaus Schulze's 85-90 years on the music of Mihail-Adrian Simion. The influences of Denis Villeneuve's movie Dune are also present, notably in the cybernetic and very realistic language that is used in the music. As usual, this new music from Alba Ecstasy is only available on download and like he does for years, the quality is at the top from this sound engineer and developer of synth patches.

If you have seen Dune recently, the synthetic language of The Voice of the Desert will be familiar to you. In addition to this cybernetic throat voice, the music lives on a tempting offering of two percussive chords whose low timbre, staccato texture and echo project a rubbery rhythmic structure. The keyboard immediately lays down a sequence of arpeggios that waddle briskly through the modulations of a Berlin School-style ascending movement. Following the shadow of the bass, a bass-sequence line intrudes along with the first scarlet streaks of the synth around the 2 minute mark to stick to the keyboard structure, further increasing the liveliness of this steady rhythm structure. As metallic slams announce the coming of the 3rd minute, AE knits numerous synth solos over an increasing presence of throat voices that quack like usurping ducks. And a few seconds before the 5th minute, the music takes a more danceable tangent with the arrival of pulsating percussions and their magnetizing tssitt-tssitt. Well put on this minimalist structure, The Voice of the Desert makes its structure roll under superb solos with long sinuous and spectral loops as well as these quacking which get to this title this delicious organic evolutive texture. This rhythm has exhausted its reserves as soon as the 9th minute is crossed, letting music and ambiences penetrated a more organic psychedelic zone in a 4 minutes that always keeps the curiosity of our ears on alert.

The title-track follows with a swaggering rhythmic structure that hops around on a mesh of sequences, percussions and very subtle organic rhythmic effects. This driving rhythm is created to accommodate piano, keyboard and synth solos in a setting of ghostly streaks and echo effects related to that low, resonant chord tone more in the genre of Cosmic Funk. It's the same recipe of The Voice of the Desert but in a different way. The result is also the same, exciting and great! The very long Infinity Train makes us relive the nightmarish visions linked to KS' superb Dreams and En=Trance albums, as well as Remy's classic, Exhibition of Dreams. This very long minimalist structure offers a jerky, bouncy rhythm with repetitive percussive chords grafted with a sneaky bass-line pulse and a series of percussive chords which have a delicate vision of nocturnal fright. Series of arpeggios, as much harmonic as complementary to the rhythm, are sporadically invited as well as short presences of solos from a synth more dedicated to pulsating spirograph effects than to solos. A long magnetizing track like in the good old days! MicroCosmos is an atmospheric track whose slow synth layers make me remember Blade Runner. The track develops a rhythmic texture which remains in the background in a cinematographic envelope inspired by Vangelis' music.

Less prolific but just as relevant, Mihail-Adrian Simion hasn't lost the shadow of his touch in these troubling moments that our planet has been living for more than 2 years. X EDITION is an excellent and flawless downloadable album that magnetizes the listener even more with each new discovery. A new opus that adds itself to this collection of jewels scattered in the immense discography of Alba Ecstasy.

Sylvain Lupari (March 18th, 2022) ****½*

Available at Alba Ecstasy Bandcamp

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