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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ALIEN NATURE & TMA: Medusa (2009)

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

One of the goodies of 2009, Medusa is a small masterpiece of progressive Berlin School EM style

1 Awakening 5:01  2 Backyards 12:01  3 Dreamland 7:54  4 Flying Cities 9:34  5 The Forest 5:13  6 Traveller 12:06  7 Landscape 3:14  8 Medusa 16:15  9 Returning 5:20 Syngate |CD-R 2146

(CDR 76:41) (V.F.)

(Progressive Berlin School)

What a find and a pleasant surprise that this collaboration Alien Nature and TMA. If I already was familiar with the music of Alien Nature, it's my first rendezvous with his duo with TMA (Torsten M Abel) and I got to say that I'm pleased because MEDUSA is a wonderful album. A long musical saga segmented in 9 acts, all intertwine in a long electronic odyssey where ambient moods are inserted between nice hypnotic sequenced movements. Floating and lively music which gets are coiling in its loops to embrace progressive rhythms which pound randomly under the suave fragrances of a Berlin School wandering between the opposite of its roots.

Awakening starts this long cosmic journey with heavy and intriguing moans of synth which resound in a sonorous effusion of heterogeneous tones where some of these tones are taking the shape of strange guttural whispers in a metallic and strongly acid musical universe. The tone is set for a musical universe where opposites are dancing in the shadows of hope with this slow lugubrious and cold intro where the metal complains under the fine brilliances of synth before merging in the first stammering sequenced of Backyards. Initially, these sequences flow like arrhythmic palpitations beneath chloroformed cymbals. And quietly this rhythm form switches shape for a harmonious musical crescendo which is encircle by another line of sequences of which the hiccups are surrounded by fine percussions which structure an increasing rhythm. The movement develops smoothly in the softness of a hypnotic Berlin School which sits astride a languishing pace harmonized by a foggy flute. This is a great music piece which reminds me the time where the New Berlin School was developing its harmonic asset by the music of Mergener/Weisser, aka Software.

Dreamland floats with heaviness, thanks to its circular loops which cross some slow deviants and undulating strata. The intro is of ambience and drifts gently up to fine strummed chords which mix to a fine acid rain on the opening of Flying Cities and of its intro of melancholy which faints little by little in the jumps of a sequence to the nervous palpitations. This rhythmic embryo develops bit by bit with the arrival of percussions which subdivide their strikings with anvil tones nearby a synth which blows some beautiful lyrical solos which become symphonic; freeing some delicate filets of voices on a structure became heavier and much more musical. The Forest dips us back into a quieter universe. A serene ambience flooded by metallic streaks which fly over this ambiospherical tranquility before diving with mordant reverberations towards Traveller and its nervous intro built around pulsations agitated by an echoing effervescence. It's a track which is in the same lineage as Dreamland with good solos and a great permutation of the rhythms which charms the hearing. Landscape is a short prelude to the title-track which extends its atmospheric side before releasing its galloping sequences on a soft and very musical synth with its breezes semi spectral and semi mesmerizing. This delicate intro sewn in a cosmic terror increases gradually the pace with sequences which skip nervously under some lost breaths. The rhythm is of silk. Swirling with fluidity it appropriates the percussions which fall and draw a rhythm weaved in the meanders of a good old minimalist electronic prog rock where the synths are hooting of their melancholic timbres and the stars are ringing while crashing into cosmic larva. MEDUSA is a magnificent track. Hypnotic the movement is nevertheless fluid and skips constantly in its stroboscopic spiral with a harmonious musical elegance beneath a delicious Persuades rain. It's a jewel of rhythmic tenderness that explains by itself the bewitchments of the Berlin School style and which is withdrawing under the ambient and atmospheric skirts of Returning. What a track!

You have doubtless guessed it; MEDUSA is a heck of EM album. Alien Nature and TMA draws here the lines of a small masterpiece in the chessboard of progressive Berlin School. In my opinion it's one of the top albums of 2009 with a lot of cosmic moods and tenderness that are bound to rhythms at once light and heavy coming from great sequencing patterns without never break this poetic and harmonious touch that flees out of MEDUSA. It's the kind of album that worth each listening and that each listening commands another one...and so goes on. But is it really a surprise, considering the roadmap of Wolfgang Barkowski, who did a great job with Lambert Ringlage on Hypnosphere, and the emergence of Torsten M Abel who will surprise us with other opuses built around cosmic prog rock structures? Asking the question it's answering it!

Sylvain Lupari (June 5th, 2012) ***½**

Available at Alien Nature's Bandcamp

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