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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AWENSON: Saphonic (2007)

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Both mesmerizing and mystic, Saphonic is a musical adventure where dark ambient goes next to rhythms getting more and more uncontrollable

1 Le Rasoir D'Occam 22:41

2 Metropolis 6:44

3 Interstellar Overload 5:54

4 Lolita's Waveform 4:48

5 Technoff 21:00

MuseaRecords DR8480

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

(Berlin School Vintage)

Before Wizard, Awenson had a life. He started making EM under the name of Awen with the album Shadows. SAPHONIC is his 2nd album. A strange album where the rhythm grows peacefully before literally exploding with the impetuous and dynamic Technoff. And already we feel all the passion that drives him to make EM with free and random movements that float or jump wildly in a very cosmic ambiences. In SAPHONIC, we quickly understand the full dimension of Joël Bernard who will offer us his little masterpiece some 3 years later in Wizard.

A slow cosmic wave undulates and multiplies a series of waves which roll in a starry cosmos. Le Rasoir D'Occam is a long mostly inert movement where the stationary rhythm is driven by morphic modulations which are sometimes heavy and sometimes discreet. A long ambient track inspired by the first works of KS with a synth with oxidized and metallic waves which shifts its floating layers in a universe imbued with a certain melancholy. Fine harmonious oscillations parade behind this musical wall, thus shaping a strange paradox between the silence of the celestial bodies and the chant of the stars, where breaths of shadows break out like nostalgic sighs to finally embrace the limpid chords whose resonance marries the reverberating waves which spread their metallic moans. A strange abstract dance follows with the circle of limpid arpeggios which intersects with other hesitant chords, offering Le Rasoir D'Occam a finale where harmony defies cosmic darkness. A title both fascinating and macabre, Metropolis advances with layers of organs that walk on a sinuous resounding wave. A melodious synth line emerges from this slow death march and a violin plays a fine serenade which extends to the borders of the unreal, where pulsations and pulsating layers deflect the dawn at the gates of cacophony. But this is only a brief musical disorder, because a good movement of the sequencer emerges with skipping chords. They surround the movement where a metal wind blows just behind to extinguish a little too quickly this captivating title. Shaped in the same mold, Interstellar Overload begins with a heavy linear movement where the synth beats pulsate with increasing feverishness in a sound universe bursting of a dark implosion. It's a race against music where the pulsations are more consistent and trace a febrile undulation which gets ventilated in the breezes and the beats of a cosmic universe became corrosive. Subsequently, fine crystalline arpeggios sparkle and dance in this suspended universe, sculpting a sequential movement that continues its minimalist route in the belly of a synth with pulsating modulations and heavy dark layers of which the corrosive modulations as well as delicious solos nasal and twisted betray the passion of Awenson for Klaus Schulze.

Lolita's Waveform offers a languid rhythmic structure with a sequential sway that waddles like a lone cowboy riding the cosmic plains. It's a beautiful structured ballad on the swing of a bass which waddles like a sequential minimalism movement where the synth solos circulate among analog sound effects with cosmic scents. Technoff begins with fine pulsations that twirl in all directions. A cymbal supports the movement, followed by a bass-drum which hammers a heavy and insistent pulsation while the synth layers flutter with feverishness. Technoff follows a demonic tangent with its unbridled percussions which hammer a hyper nervous rhythm in the shade of hoarse roars of a creative synth, if not attentive to the development of the second longest track of SAPHONIC. A synth which releases wild and twisted solos in a rhythmic fiesta rarely heard in an EM track with a frenzied beat which marries perfectly this heavy progressive techno. It's a vitamin Berlin School-style of EM with a lightning-fast infernal rhythm where the synth lines crisscross while escaping glaucous sounds and crashing with noisy echoes. Spirals with aggressive resonances circulate in this cluster of electronic sounds which continues to increase its rhythmic bite with superb permutations in its tones. A titanic track which ends in calm and serenity under the waltzing waves of a romantic synth which escapes starry snatches, forging such beautiful electronic musical layers.

At both bewitching and mystical with its dark layers of a very metallic synth, SAPHONIC is a perilous musical adventure where the dark ambient style rubs shoulders with rhythms which become more and more uncontrollable. I would say, it's an intense and powerful album because of the strong presence of a melancholy hidden behind sumptuous and mysterious layers of a biting and ardent synth. In fact, we hear through SAPHONIC the first vestiges of Wizard and the strong influences of Klaus Schulze on the French synthesist. The album is now released and distributed by Musea Records and can be find on good EM stores such as Groove.

Sylvain Lupari (April 27th, 2011) ***½**

Available at Groove nl

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