ANDY PICKFORD: Vanguard 3 (2017)
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
“Vanguard 3 is a logical end of the first two chapters which have so superbly charmed us”
1 Free all Angels 6:06 2 Ritual (Electro Mix) 7:19 3 Could You Cry 5:07 4 Rise 6:58 5 Schadenfreude 5:53 6 Ahnenerbe 15:45 7 Transit 6:03 8 Elektra 5:57 9 Ascendance 5:47 10 Wished 6:24 AD Music | AD177
(CD/DDL 71:22) (V.F.) (E-Rock, EDM & Orchestral Cinematographic EM)
To be a fan of Andy Pickford can turn out destabilizing! I am not a fan from the very beginning, but I learnt to know the artist and to like his music since the adventure of Spank the Dark Monkey and Binar in the early 2000's. And after an absence of about 10 years, he made a strong comeback with the Vanguard trilogy begun in 2015 on the AD Music label. Since then, he widely compensated these years far from the scene of EM with not less than 10 albums in 2 years. And each of those album hides traps of seduction, otherwise of addiction. That takes some doing! Destabilizing because AP touches everything with the fervor and a rage to put his fans on a foot of alert by jumping from a style to another with as much ease as grace. In so doing, each album becomes an opened door towards a wonderful world of sounds, of rhythms and of ambience which are as well attractive as puzzling, like in this VANGUARD 3.
The adventure begins with a horn of plenty which let drops its sound prisms from the heavens, so pouring a delicate ethereal approach where ring a beautiful variety of celestial bells. Free all Angels leans from now on a purely electronic rhythm which is transformed into a good rock. The bass is throbbing and its humming sometimes gets lost in full resounding layers of which the hoarse radiances try to forge fine stroboscopic circles. The percussions are in the tone and the synths decorate a sibylline beautification with pearled harmonies and layers of absent voices, which murmur in the background of this decoration, and arrangements of trumpets which give a festive air to this liberation of the angels. The tone is given for an album where every title abounds in soundscapes which feeds completely the voracity of our ears. In 2012, Andy Pickford realized a series of 6 E.P. among which EP#04: Ritual. It's from this E.P. that is taken the very Electronica Ritual (Electro music Mix). A mixture between Techno and Trance Goa, the music is lively and jerky like in these electronic parties where we turn around beneath wild stroboscopic effects. Besides all his talents, AP sings! Like here with the slow dance beat which is Could You Cry. The music flows behind a wide curtain of mist, so giving this tint to the voice of AP. The tempo is hyper slow and the arrangements influence an approach of a love song where cry superb synth solos. Lise loves it and I have to admit that it passes well enough. We stay in the field of ballad with Rise and its circular movement which increases its intensity gradually in order to explode in another good electronic rock. That becomes rather intense and the voice of a Berber woman adds a touch of exoticism to a strong title which will turn pale on the other hand in front of the well of intensity that is the powerful Ahnenerbe. After a very glamorous electronic rock in Schadenfreude, another title with an evolution controlled by an emotionalism amplified by diverse arrangements and especially by the presence of a good synth/guitar with striking harmonious soloes, Ahnenerbe nails us in our armchair. Very filmic, the music streams like a thousand of lapping which sparkle and sing as these circles which extend by the grace of a finger over the peaceful surface of a lake. Timid, the intensity of the circles increases its emotional and dramatic value with heavy percussions and orchestral arrangements, in particular this angelic choir, which give the shivers that our soul needs to confirm our thirst of life. It's powerfully dramatic and we search everywhere so that our ears swallows all of this sound scenario which ends up like a storm on the ice floes of time. The voices of the NASA and the electronic chirpings reminds us that with Andy Pickford, we can expect everything!
Even in this mosaic of styles, AP manages to weave thin links which unite the 10 titles and some 71 minutes of VANGUARD 3. The electronic chirpings go beyond the borders of Ahnenerbe and throw themselves into the static movement of Transit where riffs, orchestrations of the Dance Music years and effects get torn between a rock and a good EDM. The density and the sound fauna is abundant here as everywhere in VANGUARD 3. And this is true, no matter the styles. The weeping violin of Elektra reminds it to us with a beautiful ballad, sometimes light and sometimes intense, which supports very well the harmonious voice of an Elves woman. Still here, there is a cinematographic link to be weaved with rhythmic impulses which fly away like a knight leaving his lady-love just before the end credits of a movie. Ancestry is a title with dominant moods. Still here, the effects of goddesses voices caress melancholic chords where a delicate stroboscopic thread gets worn out. Catchy and filled by tenderness! Wished ends this last part of the Vanguard trilogy like the music of a pompous movie. The effects of orchestrations are as much poignant as very varied and the title progresses in strength with sequences which flash hard and around these felted percussions which are synonyms of Electronica's psybeats but which it not totally that. A very good title which will give you the same effect as Ahnenerbe and which closes a logical conclusion to the 2 first ones Vanguard where Andy Pickford has fun to fill our ears of delights. I heard that a new album, of the kind of Harmonics in the Silence and Shadow at the Gate is at our doors… Yummy Yummy…
Sylvain Lupari (June 20th, 2017) ***¾**
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