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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Andreas Baaden Night Walk (2022)

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

The music lives on a wide range of rhythms that light up our neurons as much as our feet

1 Think First and Do the Second Move 4:14

2 Icy Worlds in a Habitable Zone, Part I - Europa 9:58

3 Icy Worlds in a Habitable Zone, Part II - Enceladus 8:25

4 The Light Behind the Dark Side 7:11

5 Lunar Jam 4:40

6 Sensing Colours 4:03

7 Dropping in at 800 AD, Part I 8:18

8 Dropping in at 800 AD, Part II 8:15

9 Interlude 2021 3:13

10 Take Time Forever 6:54

11 Going for a Night Walk 4:42

(CD-(r)/DDL 69:59) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, EDM, Electrobeats)

Home was a revelation to my ears when I heard it in the spring of 2020. The album offered evolving tracks with melodic arrangements and visions that gave a lot of depth to the music of Andreas Baaden. So, I was looking forward to hearing this NIGHT WALK which is produced by MellowJet Records and mastered by Bernd "Moonbooter" Scholl. And I spent a pleasant 70 minutes where there is little dead time, there are maybe 1 or 2 tracks that I would have left aside. But nothing major in this mosaic of compositions written between 2020 and 2022 where the musician gives us a lot of rhythms to fill our ears. The synths always weave these arrangements and short phases of ambiences which are rich in depth and atmospheric harmonies, while having a small dark and psybient ambient side. What is surprising is Andreas Baaden's ability to jump from ambient rhythms to synthpop and electronic rock, from Berlin School to Electro Beat while nibbling on Moonbooter-like dance phases. If one denotes an influence of Jean-Michel Jarre in cosmic ambiences which amplify so much the atmospheric phases as these beginnings of lunar rhythms, I also hear a lot of Alan Parsons at the level of the arrangements and the constructions of these rhythms. Chronicle of an album that is worth every penny spent!

For a 4 minutes track, Think First and Do the Second Move offers an amazing musical richness in a good electronic rock texture. The rhythm is bouncy and resonates lightly in bursts that momentarily modify its curve. The percussions are sober and effective, while sequencer proposes an alloy of bass sequences radiating some juicy vibrations and luminous arpeggios whose jumps are more fluid with a vision which is as much melodic as rhythmic. The arrangements are very well done, at times it sounds like a film score, and the synth weaves good harmonious orchestrations that twirl in the axis of the rhythm while illuminating the musical firmament with good effects and short snippets of melodies. The flow of Icy Worlds in a Habitable Zone, Part I - Europa is slower. Starting with a piano line, the track dives into an atmospheric phase that flirts with psybient. A soft wave of chimerical violins emerges from this opening rich in various tonalities, inciting the sequencer to come out of its mutism around the 80th second. The offered rhythm zigzags slightly on bass sequences. Its musical envelope is of the same richness than Think First and Do the Second Move, plus gaseous spray effects and synth wails that have a subtle melodic Middle Eastern approach. The synth elaborates more of these melody snippets to form loops that roll with a more ectoplasmic vision. Arpeggios, still resplendent with a shimmering tone, leap into the shadow of the previous one, creating a repetitive leapfrog effect whose leaps are cushioned by a dense veil of lunar orchestrations. The percussions then activate to redirect the structure towards an electronic rock which dances soberly, at the limit of Moonbooter's danceable rocks, in a decor which gradually impregnates itself with very Jarre elements. Icy Worlds in a Habitable Zone, Part II - Enceladus follows with a slow atmospheric opening before exploring, after the 4th minute, a rhythmic structure that develops its EDM vision a little more than in its first part. The Light Behind the Dark Side offers a fascinating rhythmic approach that will make your neurons dance. There is a surprising diversity of percussive elements in this track whose rhythmic arrhythmia fizzes in every corner of our headphones. We don't dance, but we listen! The vampiric bass layer blows ghostly impulses with modulations that give a dramatic and melodic touch. Again, the arrangements are very harmonious.

The first words of a historical speech by John F. Kennedy introduce the pulsating and circular rhythm of Lunar Jam. We choose to go to the moon returns here and there on this movement that vibrates from one ear to the other, attenuating its power and velocity for short atmospheric phases. Percussions reinvigorate the structure while the synth lets flow a good airy chant and a guitar effect brings a more rock element. The slower, but still quite pulsating rhythm of Sensing Colours is in its place after Lunar Jam. Jarre's influences are much more noticeable on this track. Interlude 2021 offers a more linear rhythm while Going for a Night Walk, the last of these 5 short tracks on the album, offers an overly upbeat rhythm structure for a night walk 😊. The synth layers a nocturnal melody over a nighttime texture with a dark, almost gloomy tone. There is a restrain emotion in the atmospheric opener Dropping in at 800 AD Part I. The synth weaves arrangements that will become the harmonic source of the track with trumpet-like tunes hovering over a piano keyboard played by thoughtful fingers. The pulsating and fast rhythm starts about 20 seconds after the 3rd minute. Unwinding a spasmodic approach, it turns into an Electronica when technoïd percussions beat the beat a few seconds later. While the celestial trumpet harmonies and evasive keyboard melody remain, the rhythm changes velocity and alternates with short phases of respite before resizing into a structure that flirts with electronica, electro-beat, synth-pop and electronic rock. Dropping in at 800 AD, Part II is of the same kind but with a nice organ layer that gives it a vintage touch. One recovers from these changes of rhythmic and atmospheric identities of these two great tracks with the progressive synthpop of Take Time Forever.

My ears devoured this NIGHT WALK at least a dozen times before I wrote this review. And each time, its appeal remained irresistible. Andreas Baaden has gone all out with rhythmic textures on top of his beats, and this tendency to fill our ears to the rim is also present in the arrangements with synths that breathe as much vintage as contemporary tones and ambiences. A must-have album to start 2023!

Sylvain Lupari (January 08th, 2023) ****¾*

Available at MellowJet Records

(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)

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