ALLUSTE: Sparkling Star (2022)
Updated: Feb 4
“With Alluste's music, you can't go wrong. Splendid from A to Z!”
1 Skyline Runner 15:58
2 Angelic Steps 10:12
3 Sparkling Star 13:26
4 Alpha Nine 12:22
5 Night Illusion 8:56
(DDL 60:54) (V.F.)
My first statement goes to Alluste fans! When I mention that the music of the Italian synthesist has perfumes of... Well, let's take this last album SPARKLING STAR for instance. Perfumes of Gert Emmens and/or Tangerine Dream, it's not to underline that Piero Monachello copies those artists. It only serves as a reference point. So we breathe through our nose! So when I take the trouble to write that the soft movement of the sequencer floating in an absorbent cotton atmosphere in the opening of Skyline Runner sounds like Gert Emmens, it is only a point of reference! With that in mind, hold on your hat tight as the first two tracks take us into a spiral of melancholy.
The sequencer movement carves out a 1st rhythmic phase 85 seconds after hearing the cosmic haze set in. The keys jump nonchalantly, making a kind of track that seems to drift softly in a meditative mood. Warm synth solos caress this rhythmic breeze with melodic offerings. The rhythm maintains this seraphic softness over a long run of nearly 9 minutes in a track where the presence of the synthesizer, its tunes and its lyrically blown solos, remains its strong point. The sequencer gets another boost after the 11th minute, barely speeding up the pace with a circular movement that leads to a heavy ascending Berlin School for a finale where the synth still remains the cornerstone of Skyline Runner. Angelic Steps now! We can take the track from all sides and observe it with another ear that the conclusion remains the same, it is a very beautiful musical replica of the White Eagle track from Tangerine Dream. Certainly, the synth offers another melodic texture. But the keyboard and the movement of the sequencer is very similar. Yes, the track is longer, and Alluste occupies it in other musical avenues, but the harmonies and the sequencer come back to the starting point. It's almost like a new mix... And a very nice one by the way.
The opening of the title-track is based on a slow dance of synth layers in a space environment filled with sound crystals coming out from a harmonic tap. This opening flirts with the 4 minute mark when the electric piano loses a few indecisive keys that hang themselves into a mellotron haze. It's a few seconds before reaching the 6th minute that a beautiful spiral of sequences takes place and of which tonalities flirt with those of Chris Franke's The London Concert. Magnetized at an animated bass line, the structure takes an ascending journey with this voluntary faux-pas of the sequencer that gives the impression of running while trotting. This rising volute is caressed by a cosmic mist, preserving this romantic cachet of Alluste. A little sound shock and hop, the movement gets livelier after the 7th minute while keeping the hypnotism of its seductive spiral of the New Berlin School style. It's on another floating movement of the sequencer that Alpha Nine slowly takes off. At first, the ears hear rustling as if the track is fogged in a haze of static. The sequencer unfolds its movement in accordance with known tunes, like TD in the Miramar years, more specifically Goblins Club, even if the synth goes in the opposite direction with very good harmonious structures. The track takes a second flight near the 8th minute, unfolding a more accelerated and spasmodic rhythm structure. Night Illusion stands out with a rhythm built on two sequencer phases, one bouncy and the other harmonic, in a good Berlin School unique to Piero's style. Well adorned by cosmic effects, the rhythm runs at high speed with a nice influence of Chris Franke on the sequencer. And that, the Italian musician knows for a long time the art of the sequencer by the master of the 70's and 80's.
With Alluste's music, you can't go wrong. My friend Piero has long since developed a good mastery of the sequencer, and in this respect SPARKLING STAR shows the extent of his talent. On the other hand, it is only recently that he has mastered the harmonies and solos of the synthesizer. And he makes a very good use of it on this album with melodious arrangements set on slender solos and sometimes of a breathtaking tenderness. Finally, my Italian friend reaches new heights with an EM which knows how to make us travel, dream and especially love even more this style that many consider cold, as devoid of emotions. Listen to SPARKLING STAR and you will never have this impression again. Splendid from A to Z!
Sylvain Lupari (February 4th, 2022) ****½*
Available at Alluste Bandcamp