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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ALIEN NATURE & TMA: Hydra (2010)

“Navigating between its astral structures and its progressive cosmic rhythms of rock, Hydra manages to weave the missing link between these two universes”

1 Hydra 15:50 2 Eclipse 10:14 3 Reflections 10:15 4 Outland 14:22 5 Diorama 19:25 SynGate | CD-R AT02

(CDR 70:05) (V.F.) (Progressive Berlin School)

HYDRA starts where TMA had abandoned on Sequentrips. Although written with Wolfgang Barkowski (Alien Nature), HYDRA, which is rather different than the poetic and lunar Medusa, is a work which breathes much more the fragrances of Torsten M. Abel's heavy cosmic progressive rock than of Alien Nature's astral poetries. The electronic drum is solid, the keyboard and synth riffs are curt and jerky, and Martin Rohleder's guitar, presents on Reflections, although discreet, and Outland adds some weight to those heavy and powerful tracks which seem to be taken out of the Sequentrips' sessions.

The intro of the title-track is pushed by distant winds of Orion which blow on cosmic dunes, raising crystalline dust and a cloud of sequenced keys which roll awkwardly in hoops with toothless outlines. These sequences with serious tones whirl around like a lasso that lacks velocity, casting imperfect rotations to percussion strikes that struggle to ingest this strange strobe structure. And the rhythm takes shape. Initially uncertain, it increases the pace with a good game of percussions whose symmetrical strikes awaken the enveloping waves of a synth manhandled by these black sequences that spin in imperfect harmonic spheres. Between its disheveled and quiet phases, Hydra takes its rhythmic assurance with imposing synth solos that imprison these sequences whose jerky hoops are harpooned by powerful percussions, plunging the title-track in the canvases of a powerful progressive rock. First gem of atmospheres in HYDRA, Eclipse offers a delicate ambiospherical intro with silver breezes that float in the echoes of stifled percussions. The synth sculpts superb magical solos that extend their musical veils like vampire chants while a movement of the sequencer traces a rhythmic line that whirls in long eroded circles. And this synth is magic! Drawing its breaths whose solos adopt those of Adelbert von Deyen on Sternzeit, it extends its spectral harmonies on a structure that shakes its melancholy with percussions that beat a rhythmic measure amplified by a whirling string of sequences. Despite this spherical rhythmic approach, Eclipse keeps its oneiric nobility, pointing its cosmic and twisted solos in a mist whose wide morphic movements are chloroforming an electronic samba that can only bend the spine before so much astral beauty. It's very, very beautiful! Hollow breezes a bit scary are opening Reflections whose intro is akin to a cosmic journey disrupted by a meteorite fall. A line with sequences zigzagging of a funny drunkenness starts a spiral rhythm with keys that hesitate to dance. The percussions fall and the jumping keys pound on the spot. They trace rotary movements with hatched curves while the percussions are more hammered, plunging Reflections in a heavy cosmic rock with synths loaded of organ tones that whistle like on Eclipse, and with riffs of a discreet guitar that leaves room to the beauty of the synths.

After an ambiospherical intro, the rhythm of Outland runs with fine pulsations in the strata and solos from a lunar guitar. The rhythm is increasing and takes a second impulse that is more nervous with spasmodic sequences which quiver frantically under a good duel guitar/synths from which the undulatory solos caress a rhythmic shape became intense. Another line of sequences is pounding this stubborn gallop which drinks of percussions which roll with noise and pulsations banging fervently while that Martin Rohleder's guitar whips this unbridled race of loopy solos. Diorama appears to our ears with an intergalactic intro à la Jean-Michel Jarre. The synth layers which coo in cosmic breezes are appealing. They slowly awake a first rhythmic phase which spins of its circular movement beneath the riffs of synth which recall the harmonious universe of Tangerine Dream. This timid pace amplifies its cadence with a spiraling approach that electronic drum strikes and other sequences with prismic reflections take to the gates of the languorous synth solos that hum in the mists of ether of a poetic cosmos. At the dawn of its 10 minutes, Diorama embraces a more lunar phase where violent, high-pitched winds obscure chimes of musical dust that rain on harmonious arpeggios, hiding a timid rhythm that pulsates with insecurity in this cosmic oasis multicoloured of percussions with strikes as much asymmetrical as cosmic errors can permit. And little by little, Diorama deviates towards its 3rd phase with a more spasmodic approach where the rhythm remains vague, even if very present, concretizing the world of ambiguity which gravitates throughout this long cosmic watercolor that is in 3 acts.

Navigating between its astral structures and its rhythms of progressive cosmic rock, HYDRA manages to weave the missing link between these two universes of which the antipodes are constantly feeding their ambiguities. It's some big cosmic rock where the percussions have the upper hand over sequences and with just what it needs not to frighten the purists who will find their fun in the very nice Eclipse and the enigmatic Diorama.

Sylvain Lupari (February 25th, 2013) ***½**

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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