AWENSON: Aweena (2020)
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
“Here's a fascinating album of EM where even its most difficult moments have this nobility of the art attached to their hatching”
1 Romantic Lovers 15:58
2 Lovedance 7:56
3 Lovers 10:33
4 Trilogy 9:46
5 Strange Behaviour 11:02
6 Nacht Musik 5:16
7 Running 16:15
(CD/DDL 76:46) (V.F.)
(Berlin School Psychedelic area)
It's with a whistle coming from the Cosmos and with a dramatic touch à la Klaus Schulze that Romantic Lovers tries a boarding of our ears. Now taking on an austere tone of an old organ, the title sinks into a musical drama that flirts with the Phantom, the real one, of the Opera. Electronic chirping was invited to be immediately chased away by this gargantuan procession whose steps of the Palace of Sorrows make us tremble until this breaking point where everything clears up a little after the 5th minute. Sound garlands then start to shimmer. A little concerto of allegorical tinsels, of which each string is connected to an organic core which pulsates and which creates a rhythm dominated by countless falls that in the end one wonders if these garland fall or rise. The first time, our ears are suspicious in front this continuous sound shower. It's when they perceive these layers of ethereal mists that we let ourselves be absorbed by this astonishing arrhythmic Berlin School that Romantic Lovers became. Because yes, you can hear Romantic Lovers beneath the sheets. Thus, prepare yourself for a real sonic feast that this latest album from Awenson is!
Hey boys! As much to tell you straight away, AWEENA is not for all ears, although all ears can adapt to it and discover an astonishing album sculpted in our memories of the 70's. Because everything revolves around these mythical tones of the Farfisa organ and the wonderful world of the analog. There is intensity, human warmth and creativity per square inch in this new album by Joël Bernard. Being a big fan of Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese, Awenson decided to create a work to match his influences. Each note is sculpted here in minimalist suites steeped in audacity. The listener passes between musicality and cacophony with an astonishing ease. Aweena is a cosmic goddess, imagined and personified by the music of Awenson, who brings comfort to humanity against the pandemic linked to Covid 19. Hmm… It has sense! Although I would say rather; who brings to the ears of humanity a new concept of EM in which letting ourself be absorbed is one of the great ways to escape to reality for 77 minutes on a marvelous time journey through the roots of progressive Berlin School-style EM.
Speaking of Berlin School, Lovedance is simply majestic with a sequencer in mode spiral staircase. The steps are sometimes light and sometimes awkward, sometimes heavy as from time to time zigzagging under the colors of a synth illuminated by tenderness and its seductive solos. We come to a point where the solos are like the chants of astral mermaids. It's at this moment that the staircase turns into imaginary plains where the dreamer alternates his step between a run and a brisk walk, of which the aim is to meet these mermaids with such adorable and sibylline songs. An excellent track drawn from the shadow of Body Love by You Know Who. If you know Jean-Pierre Thanès, you will feel connected with the opening of Lovers. A distant grayness pierces the silence between Lovedance and Lovers. It advances towards a mechanical heart which lives on these white noises and which lets filter a nice soundscape whose vast panorama of old arid and cracked lands, where live electronic bats, is within the reach of our closed eyes and our open ears. The heart must pump again with these reverberating effects so that this panorama can always be transformed according to its sounds and our illusions. A slow movement emerges from it, like a slow procession filled with sinuous and reverberating waves which serves like a nest for a fauna without destiny. And bang! Want it or not, we jump when a heavy chord of a resonant bass, Joël also plays bass like guitar, falls in our ears. The metamorphosis of Lovers goes through this bass which reveals a painful ascent under the greyness of musical dust. It's in this grainy panorama that our ears guess this correlation between these noises and the lines of the trumpet and the old organ whose mixed songs become obsessive. It's very psychedelic, between the theatrical music of Thanès and the old Pink Floyd, and one hangs as soon as the second listening. And want or not! This bass line has something to do with it! If you like to float with sound particles and between the slow undulating waves of synth to the organ scents of Edgar Froese, the overture of Trilogy is for you. The music is heavy and charged with emotion with this carpet of reverberations where sound lavas are flowing, like others most musical There are impulses reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre like Thierry Fervant which are projected in the form of large intense buzzing. Without moving, we climb towards peaks where our eyes do not see the same things our ears hear. Barking !? Mooing! Or demonic sneers? And yet, we are still rising and we feel in the modulations of the impulses that the disaggregated rhythm is reborn from its dusts in a short moment of madness where the eyes of the rebels dart at us with reverberating rays. A strange excursion that this Trilogy!
Gongs! A concerto of gongs opens our ears to this rush of pulsations whirling like a slingshot of Strange Behavior. We enter in the most complex part of AWEENA with a sound sculpture that takes us into a psychedelic universe of the early 70's. The European psychedelic with curt movements which are linked to the distortions of a marriage between organ and guitar and which come back one after the other, repeating until the neck gets dislocated or our feet get screwed into the ground. But here like in Trilogy, a shadow of tranquility blows behind this tonal sling. Scattering these chants à la Vangelis, the synth covers and soothes this mass with a floating harmony before its exercises of exorcism vocalizations begin to challenge our tolerance. But we must persevere because the final is well worth its pains! As a night music, Nacht Musik is for those insomniacs who create video games with such fervor that they create a soundtrack that overflows with their visions. Consider the thing from another angle; we are at the Sound Museum and Nacht Musik is taking us there. We hear a reverberating wave where the parasites initiate a pulsation that goes out of order. The spliiichts and the splaaachts are these umbilic cords which nourish the material, whereas explosions and all forms of sound distortions invite themselves to this banquet of sleepwalking schizophrenic. AWEENA's longest-running track, Running brings the last two tracks to order with a stylized discord that is pure euphony over dissent. It all begins with forms of ringing that mutate into circadian pulsations of the shadows and their echoes. Small steps get excited in rhythmic oblivion to stimulate two parallel races with tinkles that seek their place in. A superb progressive Berlin School track, Joël Bernard plays with the modulations and the speed of this improbable race where the actors of the video games in Nacht Musik come out to breathe sonorous fire in an impressive delirium musica where the rhythm is overwhelmed by what came out of the dust from those steps racing on the road to dementia. There are several sound elements which get grafted to this infernal and sustained rhythm that rinses our ears until the end of the 8th minute. Its demons remaining, Running begins to drift into a meditative phase with heavy winds that brings us into a meadow where peacocks sing like divas and insects chirp in the grass.
AWEENA is a superb album which takes us on a tour of all the roads, musical as dissonant, of the Berlin School-style EM of the early 70's. From Conrad Schnitzer to Jean-Michel Jarre, Awenson draws on the creativity of these pioneers to deliver us an astonishing album where even its most difficult moments have this nobility of the art attached to their blossoming.
Sylvain Lupari (December 9th, 2020) ****¼*
Available at Groove nl