ALIEN NATURE: Station Platforms (2011)
"Among my revelations of 2011, Station Platforms is a great surprise and a striking album filled by rhythmic and atmospheric approaches in continual evolutions"
1 Ice Train 6:29 2 Central Station Nowhere 14:05 3 Abandoned 9:00 4 Share my Wheels 9:09 5 Traffic at 5.52am 14:34 6 The Transmission 8:50 7 Der Gast Wartet 12:49 Syngate| CD-RAN05
(CDR 74:56) (V.F.)
(Progressive Berlin School)
Samplings of voices transmitting directives to passengers, doors slamming, and trains whistling; the intro of Ice Train brings us to the station of the North. A heavy sequence steals a passage among the travelers. It skips and fidgets fervently. It waves with strength, freeing crazy ions which stir in all directions in a captivating and powerful rhythmic chasse-croisé. And the percussions, brilliant by the way with its knocks sounding as a train whistling, which bind themselves to this thrilling sequential line are shaping a furious electronic rock approach that synth layers wrap with these tones of old keyboards which harmonized the progressive rocks of the 70's. Welcome in STATION PLATFORMS; the last fantasy of Alien Nature who embroiders a strong EM opus sequences and percussions form rhythms and ambiances with a scent of the beautiful years prog electronic rock.
It's been a while since I heard music from Alien Nature. If I recall well, the last album that I listened to was the soft and romantic Anna, and it has nothing to do with STATION PLATFORMS which is a kind of concept album about the journey of a train through Earth and Cosmos. A journey embroidered through rhythms of lead and electronic wanderings at the height of a New Berlin School and of its multiple melodic meanders. A journey, wrapped with these synths and their silky and cosmic lines, that stops at 7 stations and where the listener embarks on an intense musical journey organized of a master hand by Wolfgang Barkowski. Central Station Nowhere passes from a station to another with very beautiful and poetic synth layers which throws a dark veil to its intro. We float with this invisible hand which carries us at the doors of dreams when a sequence skips frantically, introducing another strong rhythmic approach which pounds with flickering electronic cymbals and some cardiac arrhythmic pulsations. Always so gloomy the synth surrounds this magnetic rhythm, which oscillates between hypnotic movements of Berlin School and electronic rock, of a splendid veil as musical as spectral. Always so gloomy the synth surrounds this magnetic rhythm, which oscillates between hypnotic movements of Berlin School and electronic rock, of a splendid veil as musical as spectral. Fine keys are fluttering on the introduction of Abandoned, drawing a very nice beautiful melodic approach castrated by a synth to sneaky waves. They form a sequenced sketch, weaving a light and progressive rhythm that pulsations and percussions root in a beautiful soft and hypnotic Berlin School avec choirs which blow on this slow movement raised on discreet sequences, wrapping it with a fine aura of mystery. It's by far my preferred track on STATION PLATFORMS.
After another light and melodic rhythm in Share my Wheels, Traffic at 5.52am plunges us into the enchanting polyrhythmic phases of Alien Nature. On slamming percussions à la Jean-Michel Jarre, the longest title of this album is segmented in 3 stops/departures. Smooth sequences pierce its introductory veil to swirl finely before strumming a jerky rhythm under sweet solos from a synth charmer of dreams. The rhythm is sharp and jerky, like a train in full race. Bending over the knocks of dishevelled ions, it skips underneath a fine mist which encircles these slamming percussions. It switches shape after a grade crossing to undulate with more strength in an ascending spiral where glaucous pulsations, agile cymbals and Teutonic chords are pushing us in the rhythms and universes of Robert Schroeder. This rhythm makes new skin after a 3rd atmospheric passage coated by smooth cosmic waves. Sequences moulded in echoing pulsations are wiggling in a rhythmic broth encircled pads with boomerang effects. The synths are weaving bewitching layers which wrap a rhythm fed by spasmodic kicks, creating a surprising rhythmic diversion where the reminiscences of Jarre and Tangerine Dream fill our ears. This is a great track, complex and progressive which is at the height of all the panoply of equipments of a musical world without borders. The Transmission begins in the breezes of arid winds. That’s a slow intro which gives itself in plentiful percussions of a clanic rhythm before succumbing to the charms of an atmospheric stranglehold. And the rhythm bursts after 4 minutes. Furious it’s drawn in the strikings of these clanic percussions which mould a strange tribal trance under a sky darkened by foggy breaths floating on a heathen rhythm. We go from surprise to surprise on STATION PLATFORMS! And Der Gast Wartet is one heck of a kind. It's a kicker which jumps on a furious beat after another atmospheric intro of 4 minutes where a galloping rhythm is settling down. Enraged it winds the sinuous mountain sides where its sequences are crackling in the shade of percussions to come. Bestriding the rhythm confidently, a bass line embraces solidly these percussions which hammer an unbridled rhythm, seconding these burning sequences which explode under a sky fed by superb twisted solos before feed on a tranquillity deserved in the caustic ambiances of Klaus Schulze.
STATION PLATFORMS is a great surprise. It's a powerful album filled by rhythmic and atmospheric approaches in continual evolutions. Alien Nature juxtaposes with accuracy some rich and heavy rhythms to misty and poetic ambiences in a universe bubbling of surprises. I spent 75 beautiful minutes to devour this album with sometimes unbelieving ears in front of numerous new developments which shape the universe as much complex and harmonious of STATION PLATFORMS. An audacious album that I recommend without hesitations to those ears fond of another kind of EM.
Sylvain Lupari (June 3rd, 2012) *****
Available at Alien Nature's Bandcamp