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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Alba Ecstasy Y Edition (2022)

A DDL album that literally sticks to the '85 to '90 era of Klaus Schulze

1 The Voice of the Desert II 12:01

2 Y Edition 8:04

3 Underworld 20:29

4 Intrinseq Flow 11:49

(DDL 52:25) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

Following the path of X Edition, released in March of this year, Y EDITION is the second part of this new musical adventure of Alba Ecstasy where the influences of Klaus Schulze, years 85-90, have clearly a better ascendancy here than on the first album of a series to be completed. And unlike the X Edition, there are few links between Mihail-Adrian Simion's music and the movie Dune. The download-album includes 4 tracks, two long and two shorts, which are dominated by minimalist movements with luminous arpeggios that sometimes radiate in an organic fauna, like a classical one with hypnotic, harmonic and rhythmic ritornellos movements that adorned the flagship albums such as Dreams and En=Trance. But there stops any comparison! Because at the time that the late Klaus gave depth to the coldness of digital equipment, Alba Ecstasy adds the timeless warmth of the analog years to an electronic music also conceived on digital synths. The ongoing struggle for new technologies in synth music!

The Voice of the Desert II has a slower pace than The Voice of the Desert. Its rhythm is pulsing and dully vibrates on heavy chords whose resonance melts with dark gothic synth layers. The orchestral haze of these layers is dense, and its depth is in symbiosis with the deafening effect of the heavy and weary beats. The movement is minimalist, therefore hypnotic, and creates a kind of evolving atmospheric happening. The first arpeggios tinkle a few seconds before the 3rd minute, tracing a delicate astral ritornello whose scintillating effect gives more charm to these orchestrations which marry these slow movements of Arabian waltzes. And if there is a link to make with Dune, it is at the level of these arrangements. For the rest, The Voice of the Desert II evolves with its slow and muted rhythm to which are added nice layers and tender lines of melodies, slightly tinted with a celestial flute tone, that drift between our thoughts. A more droning texture, almost intriguing, adds a hint of cinematographic music, like a horror movie, towards the end of the track. We like it and we are subjugated from the first listening! I would say the same thing about the title track which also adopts a hypnotic structure in a more accentuated pace. Here, the sequenced arpeggios jump with velocity in the solitary step of a bass sequence, giving a slightly gap in the beat. It creates a rhythm semi-rapid for the neurons that jumps under a sky slashed by slow streaks of agonizing colors. The density of the layers lets hear gothic voices in a decor as dark as intensely opaque in the sound volume. A pulsating chord invites itself close to the 3rd minute, modifying the cadence of a title of which, and strangely, the flickering of the arpeggio line adds a very droning chthonian dimension to it.

The longest track on X EDITION, Underworld offers an opening filled with drones and hollow breezes. The shimmering glow of a sequenced arpeggio movement emerges from a dull cave hum a few seconds before the 4 minute mark. These arpeggios jump briskly in single file where a hitch sticks its nuance. Superbly musical, the minimalist movement offers good attenuations in it that at times give the impression of a galloping movement, like a race for one-legged person on a gasoline-powered Pogo stick. AE takes advantage of this 20-minute distance to elaborate a hypnotic movement where nuances in the beat abound, thwarting any likelihood that the listener will lose track of his listening. One hardly notices that the structure has become more jerky, even spasmodic, so much so that the numerous solos and the layers of sibylline poetry criss-cross its dimension. The sound engineer also adds organic effects, enriching a rhythmic development that accentuates its velocity when its shadow gets untie, and that more lively flickers hammer it with passive violence. The percussions that come in a little before the 12th minute, about the same time that cosmic effects invade the ambiences, create a rhythmic happening that reaches its apotheosis when technoïd boom-booms hammer our eardrums somewhere after the 13th minute of Underworld. This is some very good AE in all its splendor in the building of a minimalist anthem with technoïd growth. A short melody sequenced in timeless loops awaits our ears at the opening of Intrinseq Flow. This melodious movement is ascending and is as seductive to the ear as these minimalist choreographies of an ivory ballerina in a music box can be to the eye. Organic effects invade the ambiences of this minimalist ritornello, adding a psybient dimension to a quiet rhythm that is counterbalanced by deafening pulses and is pecked by the tssitt-tssitt of fake cymbals. Orchestral synth layers envelop this pulsating rhythm as much as these organic effects, providing a rather interstellar vision to this track which will remain delicate and musical until its very end.

This is how Alba Ecstasy's latest musical adventure ends. Y EDITION literally sticks to the era in question, from '85 to '90, of the Romanian musician's most inspiring mentor, Klaus Schulze. Personally, I hear it more as a sequel to Stories From a Distant Space- Vol. 1 than anything else, but notice that these 2 albums seem to be inspired by the same era. In the end, this is another nice album, maybe with a little less depth than X Edition, which actually made me want to listen to Mirage as much as Dreams, En=Trance and Inter*Face.

Sylvain Lupari (November 23rd, 2022) *****

Available at Alba Ecstasy Bandcamp

(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)

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