ASUNTAR: Pulses (2017)
“Pulses is another solid opus from Poland which will please to those gourmand of analog tones, of Berlin School style with an audacious zest of ambient moods”
1 Mare Tranquillitatis 7:08 2 Ambient Voyage 8:17 3 Sequenced Day 7:40 4 Steel Towers 10:18 5 Wind of the Stars 7:08 6 Voice of the Wind 6:36 7 Are you There? 8:40 8 Beautiful Thing 8:51 9 Slow Moving Structures 8:18 Generator.pl | GEN CD 041
(CD 73:02) (V.F.) (Vintage Berlin School)
Ah the wonderful universe of electronic music (EM)! United to the exponential growth of the computing, its many software of music creation, the platforms of downloads and this without counting these small thingies which improve the sound reach, this art lives again and always at full speed in France, in Romania and in Poland. And there are little geniuses who stand out to land in the big league and stay there. And this plenitude of new talents brings good dose of energy which stimulates the Berlin and the England School styles without forgetting the Netherlands School. So, every year some new names spring to bring a wind of freshness which comforts the aficionados of the kind. Yes, EM is alive and kicking! The last one on line is the Polish artist Asuntar who has just realized a first album on the prestigious and the very demanding label Generator.pl, PULSES. And if we take the release press seriously and trust its words; «After listening to the album you can ask yourself the question, whether the Berlin school with a solid dose of ambient music has still something to offer? It turns out that it has a lot», we expect to spend some good 70 minutes of EM of the Berlin School style. But, is it true? Let's find out!
It's thus with my ears wide open that I attacked the opening track. The name of the title and the writing of the press info, Berlin school with a solid dose of ambient music, announced a little the colors of Mare Tranquillitatis. First of all, a very acid breath comes from beneath to squeak between my ears. An interaction between these breaths and drones gives an exchange of astral tones which float as a slow digital symphony where some thine lines of absent voices are humming a rather sibylline air. Cosmic effects fall down like a horizontal rain in periphery of this mosaic of interstellar moods which prohibit any forms of rhythms in its hyperborean envelope. It's a few seconds after the introduction, always of ambient moods, of Ambient Voyage that my attraction for this album is settling little by little. There is a beautiful movement of the sequencer here which is not without reminding me of Velvet Voyage from Klaus Schulze's Mirage. These delicate arpeggios skip in an upward movement until merge in the delights of a bass line which espouses the shape of the beat. And contrary to Mare Tranquillitatis, it's the warmth of the ambiences, always stuffed at this duel between cosmic and cybernetic tones, which fascinates in this other ambient movement undulating like a hypnotic flame. Ambivalent chords gambol at the opening of Sequenced Day. Jumping and dreamy, they try to harmonize to a rhythmic structure which takes off, not without having pierced a thick cloud of anesthetic layers and of electronic tones, with a superb bass line which feeds the first rhythmic structure of PULSES. Tied to a strong oscillatory movement of the bass sequences, the rhythm roars in an analog shroud from where escape good synth solos perfumed of Free-Jazz, the movement reminds to me Jean-Luc Briançon's Dantesque universe, on a structure which becomes even more lively with the arrival of percussions. That turns into a solid cosmic rock with a very vintage reach. Awesome! Steel Towers brings us back in these territories of ambiences filled with hollow winds and with others more effects paralyzing for the senses, a little as the introduction of Mare Tranquillitatis but in longer way. Wind of the Stars leads to forget a little its lengths with another good electronic cosmic rock. The Mellotron is as soft to the ear than the sweet murmurs of the night angels. The meshing of percussions, sequences and a good line of bass is structuring a slow rhythm ideal to other good synth solos.
Voice of the Wind is one of the most beautiful ambient piece of music that my ears have met recently. Weaved in intensity and passion, a delicate and very morphic melody makes glitter its chords of prism in suspension in a wide strip of voices and murmurs which are encoded in a soundscape where the orchestral aestheticism drives constantly our line of emotionalism. It's excellent and it's the kind of title that we would expect from Vangelis. A title which gave me a good dose of shivers! The chirpings of computer add an always very cosmic touch in the music of PULSES. They decorate the introduction of Are you There? which, after an ambiosonic phase, seduced my ears, my fingers and my feet with another good cosmic rock always as delicious as complex. I am in the paradise of EM of the analog kind and suddenly, I do not think any more of Mare Tranquillitatis nor Steel Towers which have scratched a little my ears in a decoration which, I have to admit, is quite a good one. Beautiful Thing proposes an ambient rhythm with some pretty good oscillations which wriggle like a mass of worms in a rain from clouds of radiations. Voices murmur from everywhere while diverse little noises burst here and there among the chants of synthesized birds. Always very rich in his diversified sound fauna, Asuntar adds orchestral layers which float such as sighs of sensuality in a gangrenous universe. The rhythm establishes itself a little more with nervous percussions and good bass line knotted by jolts. We don't escape it; one would imagine to be in a futuristic universe as darker as Philip K. Dick's visions. And always these intrusive synth twists! You already missed this delicate Mellotron flute of Wind of the Stars? We find it here and quite tremulous in the first 90 seconds of seduction in Slow Moving Structures. Afterward, this flute bickers with a structure which seems to want to explode but which always maintains its vision of atmospheric moods by being inspired by the fascinating Electronic Universe from Software.
Yes! After hearing PULSES, you will have the certainty that Berlin School with a good dose of ambient music has something to offer again. There is a contemporary touch here which irradiates the flavors of the works, all the same rather complex, of Jean-Luc Briançon. Another beautiful album from the Polish label Generator.pl which distinguishes itself constantly by realizing works of a very high quality. Recommendable, without hesitations!
Sylvain Lupari (April 15th, 2017) *****