AWENSON: Wizard (2010)
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
“Each year brings its lot of surprises and this Wizard nests now on my charming list of EM masterpieces”
1 Hypnotic Ways 30:08
2 Psychedelic Dream 40:12
Musea Dreaming DR8468
(CD 70:20) (V.F.)
(Berlin School Vintage)
Each year brings its share of surprises. In 2010, EM fans were pampered by rich and sumptuous musical epics. Here is one that may upset fans of an EM that we believed to be accessible only through the memories embedded in the furrows of vinyl. WIZARD is an astonishing work with flavors of analog years. These 70's which awaken more than one memory with the audacity and creativity of Klaus Schulze, Edgar Froese and Jean-Michel Jarre. Awenson is Joël Bernard, a French synthesist who grew up with these musical memories. He presents us with this first album a superb moment of anthology with the rich ambiences and rhythms of analog years. Do not look for comparisons between a KS or a JMJarre, because Awenson goes beyond comparisons. He establishes his own touch of a love for music that artists like him make timeless. And WIZARD will become a big one, like Body Love or Oxygene.
Hypnotic Ways opens like a flower whose delicate prismatic petals respond to their echoes. Far away, in a cosmos with a thousand images forged from our ignorance of the place, they sparkle with their stationary flashes and open completely to release a fine nectar of synth voices. A soft ethereal choir with fine vocal streaks chants an astral prayer under sinuous reverberations which have enveloped these fine shining prisms to predominate with their resonances this oneiric intro with fleeting limpid sounds. A magical intro that intensely recalls Schulze's musical prayers, but without copying them, and which extends where our cortex can continue to daydream. A little beyond the 6th minute, a sinuous synth line opens the valves to metallic arpeggios which fall like water droplets. Sequences flowing in vertical spirals alternate their sounds under its drops which fall in a harmonious downpour, subdividing the melodious rhythmic which awakens Hypnotic Ways. Some, like me, will think of Thierry Fervant and his majestic Universe as superb twisted synth solos encircle the awakening movement. A synth singing in different tones and which embraces the nothingness of analog stamps in our ears, dominated by so much cohesion, becomes a long movement which has made an astonishing ambient / rhythm transition. Towards the 15th minute, Hypnotic Ways folds up into a mystical mist where a dismal synth flows a light spectral thin line which undulates among dark resonances. A metallic pulsation embraces this atonic portion, forming a strange pulsating rhythm which beats under tortuous and distressing breaths. The 4th portion of Hypnotic Ways comes alive around the 20th minute with a slow and heavy pulsating sequence. We enter in a dark musical universe, à la Redshift with these sequences which skip and grope in the echo of their vibrations. Their resonances, as well as the caustic breaths of a synth charmer of sequences, are enveloping another sequence, softer this one, whose scintillating chords waddle and form a curious rhyme à la Halloween. A movement of the sequencer takes the form of hoops which escapes and sparkles alone in the multipolar immensity of Hypnotic Ways which quietly embraces the infinite with the waves of this synth charmer of sequences, vibratory rhythms and dreams in sedition.
Psychedelic Dream is a superb musical dream sculpture. Its intro is besieged by fine and good oscillating curves which meander with the heaviness of sleep between the delicate corrosive waves of the KS years and the soft morphic layers of a more cosmic synth from JM Jarre. A slow intro where strange pulsations come and go in a universe nourished by static crackles and a swarm of analog tones which can only bring us to the gates of dreams. A little after the 10th minute, a circular sequence escapes the supervision of Morpheus to dance freely with its chords and their hypnotic double. The movement is calm and marries a musical ritornello which twists with an astonishing delicacy before taking refuge in the spectral waves of a synth with the sounds of psychedelic glasses. The music re-embraces the morphic nothingness of the analog zones to awaken again to the sound of a crystalline sequences whose glass chords meet another sequence, less formed, which skips randomly under reverberating waves. A strange fusion of sequenced chords ended up creating a surprising zigzagging walk. We are beyond the 20 minutes and the rhythm is clearly awakened by this series of intersecting sequences which form an imperfect rhythm while languorous synth solos fly over this circular parade. The sequenced movement runs out of steam to permute towards a tangent as much ascending as circular. It forms an astonishing rhythmic incoherence which staggers heavily under the filaments of a synth with multiple electronic sounds. We are the auditory witnesses of an arrhythmic electronic ballet which wanders under the lamentations of a synth with solos and hybrid layers whose wandering choirs pierce its heavy veil. It's a dance of the shadows covered with sumptuous solos and a fascinating electronic fauna resuscitated with an astonishing address by Awenson. Quietly this rich sound and this musical feast fade away, leaving the erratic sequences provided with a scintillating musical necklace to be solitary riders. Sequences that get lost in a dense caustic haze, like the one that forms when you go back to sleep after a restless insomnia. It was with full ears and drowned memories of new music that my eyes closed after the last breaths of Psychedelic Dream, convinced that now there will always be someone to take over from an astonishing music that has made us so much dreaming and which nourished so many emotions.
WIZARD is my little masterpiece and I imagine all the colossal work done by Awenson in order to achieve such perfection in music that some people too often judge as abstract. Listen to WIZARD and you will hear the emotions and the musical life take shape in your ears… Guaranteed!
Sylvain Lupari (December 4th, 2011) *****
Available at Groove nl