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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ALIEN NATURE: Anna (2007)

Updated: Aug 17, 2019

“Anna is one of those CD that we listen and listen again just to be sure that it's as much good as the last listening”

1 Theme for Anna 10:53 2 Crystal Voyager 9:19 3 Day-Dreaming 10:47 4 Endolphine 8:31 5 Night-Watching 7:58 6 Where the Dead Bees Fly 7:18 7 Her Smile 6:06 Syngate | CD-R AN02

(CD-R 60:53) (V.F.) (Melodious New Berlin School)

This is with this album that I discover the wonderful world of Alien Nature. A musical universe which is dark and ambient with good sequencing patterns. And even if he is recognized for that, Wolfgang Barkowski amazes on this opus dedicated to his daughter Anna. Filled by a delicious tenderness, ANNA touches us with this mixture of softness and of dark ambiences. Yes, the dark aspect is still present here. But it doesn't dominate and has just what it needs to attract and intrigue. The whole thing is a world of wonders, a gentle sound feast where the melodies are as soft as baby's skin.

A piano is crossing a wave of aqua-spatial sound effects to roll up its melody with a nostalgic fingering. It's a graceful opening that fills our ears when a sequencer comes knocking down this fragile balance of softness when Theme for Anna spins with heaviness along a jerky sequenced line. The synths fly over this opening track with beautiful solos which come from everywhere, cherishing a nervous rhythm interrupted by the short breaks of a romantic piano. At high volume the effect is awesome, especially when the synths fall to wrap the hybrid approach of Theme for Anna. The solos are beautiful and fluid. They fly with grace on a heavy sequencing pattern which knocks with strength. Simply exquisite! Crystal Voyager bends on a sequence which spins of hopping its keys on a sequenced pulsation. The movement is ambivalent. Trying more to exploit its tones and to create a world of sound in fusion, Crystal Voyager doesn't really take off. It's rather a static rhythm that modulates some shorts and beautiful melodies on an irregular rhythm. It's rather nice. Day-Dreaming continues with the undulating and heavy sequencing patterns. This time the rhythm is sustained and jumps among vocal effects as noisy while the melodic envelope is quite fluid with a synth with flickering layers and curly solos. This is another nice track which lowers its tone while reaching its finale.

Endolphine is the kind of track which draws the lines of a soft musical itch which sticks to the hearing as much by its melodious side as by the ingenuity of its structure. The main pattern turns around on a nice mixture of piano and guitar chords which enchant on a rotatory movement decorated by small Tibetan bells. The impulse evolves on good Tablas percussions and is transported by violin strata with a Middle East essence in it. A drum knock gives the signal for a more fluid and edgy movement which turns like a kind of bolero spinning on its axis. Choirs float on a minimalist approach of a hypnotic keyboard from which the pads and riffs give birth to more articulated and subdivided movements. It's a nice one. Night-Watching unfolds an ambience tinted of suspense and drama with a darker approach which is close to Endolphine. Except that its movement is less livened up and is constantly slows down by pulsations which resound among percussion effects adorn of light ringings. Where the Dead Bees Fly is a charming musical delight. It's a splendid piece of music of an astounding Arabic sweetness with tones of freedom and of young innocence. A little as in the world of Baffo Banfi, the synth is charming and circulates between felted percussions, adding a silky depth to this strange ballerina which accelerates its rotation in symbiosis with its progression. Her Smile ends this very good opus from Alien Nature on the somber flights of an organ from which to ample modulations are crawling under a drizzle.

Hum…In its genre ANNA is quite a great EM album. If I say that it's an inescapable, some would say that I'm an easy target for beautiful and harmonious EM. Because it's all the story of ANNA. An album of moods and emotions where Alien Nature weaves his musical universe towards various sound effects and rotary impulses which bewitch and amaze from one track to another. An album without weaknesses? It seems so if you like more harmonious than progressive EM. I love both but I have a weak spot for the good harmonious lines. It's stuff with beauty and tenderness and it's invades us from start to end. It's one of those CD that we listen and listen again just to be sure that it's as much good as the last listening.

Sylvain Lupari (February 9th, 2007) *****

Available on Syngate

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