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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AWENSON: Beyond the Galaxies (2009)

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Too much styles and influences in a musical mosaic where we feel the blooming of Awenson

1 Shangri La 40:50

2 Innerlight 27:37

3 Fairies Gate 10:42

(CD 70:57) (V.F.)

(Berlin School Vintage)

This 3rd Awenson opus begins with oblong synth layers to vaporous strings of sitar sounds that weave the opening of Shangri La, a long epic track with very eclectic meditative approaches. Monastic bells ring out, expanding their circles of resonances with different chimes that ring among Blade Runner's industrial impulses and superb twisted synth solos that float among ethereal layers and astral choirs. Although very ambient, this intro is very musical with these celestial synth waves which crisscross a universe of cosmic recollections where each movement is juxtaposed with those already in place. Around the 15th minute a warm cosmic wave envelops this variegated intro, both in the sounds and in the essences, to carry it a little further into the land of the stars. Ambient and cosmic, Shangri La comes alive with an electronic life and this floating mellotron veil that meets sequences whose fine resonances multiply their numbers. Arrhythmic pulsations leap in this strange cosmic fauna where synths get reborn from their nasal breaths and mellotron wings are moving slowly like astral specters. We are beyond 20 minutes and Joël Bernard's synth also makes his solos floating in a long space crusade where the pulsations travel like asynchronous transmissions and where the sounds of Vangelis wander with those of Klaus Schulze and Bernd Kistenmacher before falling back in the stringless sitar chords that had given birth to this long epic title with strange eclectic tones. Like its title suggests, Inner Light is a long introspective quest driven by slow synth waves seeking contact with our cerebral cortex. Although ambient and completely devoid of rhythms, the slow oscillations which buzz there trace threadlike synthesized filaments which resonate gently forming a strange sound screen where we can hear the formation of astral choirs. It's a curious sonic experience which is tasted with more depth at high volume and which will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Steve Roach's long nocturnal fairs. More dramatic with its enormous musical knellings that resonate in heavy synthesized layers, Fairies Gate ends this long cosmic escapade with a title devoid of sequences but filled with murky oscillations which resonate of a strange musicality. Purely ambient and fully atmospheric, Fairies Gate is a foray into the hidden and unknown side of a cosmos that may well harbor some frightful ghostly creatures.

BEYOND THE GALAXIES is a true cosmic musical journey. A special experience where the rhythm is built on bass synth impulses and where the richness of sound abounds with more intensity and warmth than on the first 2 works of Awenson. An Awenson who seems to have reached his cosmic maturity with an ambient album as powerful and poetic like the works by Steve Roach and Michael Stearns. If we still perceive the influence of Klaus Schulze, and even Vangelis, it neither envelops nor annihilates the whole personality of the French synthesist who comes out of his shell to produce a much more personal album. We can clearly feel the main lines that will guide him towards the superb Wizard a year later.

Sylvain Lupari (July 10th, 2011) *****

Available at Groove nl

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