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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ARIEL RAGUET: The New Memories (2022)

This is not for all ears, this is abstract art for curious ears!

1 Distances 4:08

2 Fears 8:17

3 Searchings 8:36

4 Findings 9:25

5 Memories 28:47

(DDL 59:15) (V.F.)

(Modular Synth Experiences)

For its 50th album, the label Cyclical Dreams continues its exploration of the different forms of progressive electronic music (EM). This time, the Argentinian label proposes nothing less than an album of explorations and experimentations that revolves around the different sonic possibilities of synthesizers. Ariel Raguet is a musician born in Argentina who has dabbled in different musical styles playing bass, guitars and synthesizers. In recent years, he has dedicated himself to researching the sonic capabilities of synthesizers, both hardware and software, focusing mainly on modular types. He used no less than 15 modular synthesizers for the needs of THE NEW MEMORIES, in addition to the Korg SQ-1 sequencer, in improvisation sessions performed around 2019 with mainly 2 Moog 15 modular synths. The result is an album of an EM more experimental than anything else with heavy vibrating movements that sound like the whispers of big bumblebees amplified to distortion. His style reminds me of Pete Farn with atonal structures where the absence of melodic vision is compensated by an exhaustive research of sounds and their derivatives in heavy patterns pulsating to the point of inciting us to lower the volume. Is it enough to please? It depends on what you are looking for! If you like the sounds of the past, Wendy Carlos, Stockhausen and Synergy styles, think of Cords without rhythmic or melodic aspects, this exploratory album of the Argentinian musician can please the more adventurous ears.

Without rhythms? Not really! Drops of sound, emitting beeps, escape from the interstices of the synth in a long sequenced series to create those motionless rhythms that often seduce the neurons. This is how Distances brings forth this ascending structure with this line of sound signals that snake a sound canvas filled with static reverberations buzzing in a web of white noises. These noises also feed the web of Fears and its pulsating bass-sequences that come out of the headphones with a frenzy making our eardrums beat aggressively. I had to turn down the sound level to find the experience more pleasant. Findings on the other hand is much more aggressive with a swirl of sounds and sequences from which psychedelic filaments escape. I had to really lowered the volume here. The information posted on the Bandcamp page of this album mentions a link with the Berlin School style. This is not wrong since the sequences of the different pulsating vibrations sometimes sound like the genesis of these Teutonic rhythms. Like in Searching which is conceived around resonant synth chords like in the opening of Tangerine Dream's Silver Scale. The structure remains without a driving rhythm but rich in electric atmosphere. Ariel Raguet always keeps our ears in zones of vibratory disturbances with the long title Memories whose evolution starts from an easily listenable EM to a torrent of sound flows always close to the listenable to conclude in sound experimentations from the synthesizer's exploratory years.

Honestly, this THE NEW MEMORIES is not for all ears. And it would be very difficult for me to defend the contrary! However, it is undoubtedly the album to listen to if the desire to explore the different sources and capacities of synthesizers is part of your projects. Abstract art for curious ears!

Sylvain Lupari (April 8th, 2022) *****

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

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