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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

APEIRON: Imagic (1993)

“Imagic is a solid album of EM which unveils a pretty good range of sub-genres from a musical style which literally revolutionized the musical art”

1 Way To Paradise 5:59 2 Imagic 14:17 3 Vortex 8:20 4 Head-land 14:36 5 Roomless 12:37 6 75 Dreams 3:59 Spheric Music | SMCD2001

(CD 60:09) (V.F.) (Progressive Berlin School)

I like going off to explore these albums and these artists that the time has buried far in the oblivion. At the time where the Berlin School style gets metamorphosed with the presence of the MIDI technology and the massive use of samplings, a movement of resistance raged in the German underground scene. The big labels have skimmed the genre, keeping the most known names and favoring the American answer to the German EM; the New Age and the Easy Listening. Artists such as Lambert Ringlage, Stephen Parsick, Klaus Schulze (with IC), Robert Schroëder and Mario Schönwalder, to name but a few, stayed the guard dogs of a movement which became a little more progressive and which at the same time was also going to give birth to the New Berlin School. It's in this stride that Spheric Music was set up. This label of Lambert Ringlage was going to produce a series of albums that would respect the tangents of the German movement, while finding a lot of local talents and a few outsiders. Apeiron is one of these names. Andreas Konrad is the man behind Apeiron. IMAGIC is his 3rd album to appear on Lambert's label and shows a surprising range of a genre that have literally revolutionized the musical art.

Way to Paradise tickles our hearing with a lineage of twinkling stars which sparkle like knocks of baguettes on a crystal xylophone. A pad of voices invites itself quite slowly in this astral choreography, on which is also added some rollings of celestial water. Between a sordid hymn to Halloween and the seraphic moods of Legend, Way to Paradise accosts our listening with a heavy and slow rhythm where the synth throws at us a very New Age acute melody that percussions make shiver with strong strikes. The approach militarizes itself, as a lot of structures on IMAGIC, with drum rolls whereas the synth stays of silk with this wonderful melody which wriggles in a series of solos of which our ears had so much forgotten all the charms. This is very beautiful, on the verge of being lyrical, it catches our attention on the spot and it's deliciously musical. And then it ends rather abruptly! The title-track starts with small ringings which seem to be trapped in winds of which the quirky dissonances tangle up in oblivion. Percussions, kind of hand drums, drum a plan of absent rhythm while quite slowly Imagic finds its shape. A spheroidal shape whose outlines remain fuzzy. Some nice juicy sequences join this draft movement which swirls in an astral cotton pad. The synth comes again throwing these famous solos which are the core of IMAGIC, while the track, apparently inspired by Tangerine Dream of the 80's, lost its beatings in an astral passage where a series of sequences a la Poland restructures a more progressive approach from which the essences Krautrock perspire throughout a thick cloud of superb harmonious solos. And quite slowly, the beatings and the sequences, to the acrobatics randomly so attractive, are fading away while that Imagic evaporates its last musical moments in some sinuous line with a resounding acoustic. I may say that it could take some times to like these strange figures of rhythms but at the end we get out of it with difficulty. This observation goes to the whole work which has a clear tendency for being more progressive with rhythms, sometimes motionless, which change directions constantly. And this even if Way to Paradise seduced straightaway and that Vortex releases a harmonious rhythm which finds niche between our ears. The approach is always so near improvisation, or rough draft, with an intro filled with heterogeneous noises which sparkle on the back of cosmic waves. We even hear their singings of stellar whales. A structure of rhythm emerges with the complicity of two segments of sequences, one is melodic and the other organic, which skip and pound in a little bit hesitating symbiosis. Andreas Konrad covers his tactics of rhythm to circular outline a bit blurred with more beautiful solos, as twisted as melodious, whereas the rhythm wins in velocity with other sequences which shiver as a figure of synchronized aquatic swimming. This vision applies as much to Head-land and and to Roomless, at some variances near! After some hits of carillons, Head-land gets out of the limbos with an ingenious movement of sequences where the crisscrossed jumps of the keys bloom in colorful tones. Still there the electronic percussions hammer and roll in the shade of a more harmonious line which draws a slender stroboscopic filet. Although cosmic, Head-land spits a steady rhythm. The rhythm becomes heavier and livelier with a meshing of sequences and percussions of which the very livened up bed welcomes these fabulous solos which perfume the hybrid ambiences of IMAGIC with astral singings. After a very ambiospherical intro, Roomless attacks the peace of mind with a good sequenced serpentine line which gets loose from these morphic moods. The keys skip in waterfalls there. Trampling in the fragility of their shadows, they swirl in vaporous synth lines which remind the spirits of the Dream. Despite the attacks of sequences and the bites of percussions, Roomless remains static and swirls as a damaged stroboscopic hoop in a mishmash of sequences and percussions which have difficulty in well structuring a wild rhythm but all the same rather still. And this despite all these sequences which flutter and wink here and there, harmonizing their rhythmic melodies with synth solos always so lyrical while the percussions drop their last beatings in a dying structure. This is a cosmic rock rather difficult to tame but which in the end revives well enough the flames of the past. 75 Dreams ends IMAGIC like Way to Paradise had started it. The chords remind me the melody of Heart and Soul, but in a delicious lento mood. The synths are always so magnetizing and flood our ears of these so seraphic e-chants which bewitch all these structures a bit complicated of a beautiful album forgotten on the counter of time and which this chronicle, I hope, will give you a little the taste to make a real beautiful detour in a period when the Berlin School was in full transformation.

Sylvain Lupari (October 19th, 2014) ***½**

Available on Spheric Music

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