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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BASIC PRINCIPLES: Colours (2022)

A splendid find that makes us travels on different rhythmic paths of EM

CD One (70:22)

1 Raw Umber 11:48

2 Indigo 8:31

3 Flake White 6:49

4 Alizarin Crimson 6:56

5 Viridian 5:14

6 Mars Black 9:52

7 Magenta 7:13

8 Maroon 13:56

CD Two (77:49)

1 Prussian Blue 9:39

2 Purple Lake 6:57

3 Sepia 13:52

4 Ultramarine 7:00

5 Cerulean Blue 13:46

6 Black Carbon 14:34

7 Terre Verte 7:25

8 Payne's Grey 4:34

Deserted Island Music DIM-014

(2CD/DDL 148:12) (V.F.)

(Ambient, EDM, Berlin School)

The spheres of electronic music are buzzing with little musical wonders lately that have all the attributes to please the aficionados of the genre and seduce new ears. I'm thinking about the latest Spyra, My Little Garden of Sounds 2022, and the very beautiful Mirabilia from The Soviet Space Dog Project as well as the latest Klaus Schulze of which I should write a text soon. And here is that recently, my ears were measured to this splendid album of Basic Principles! This is quite a find from Remy who welcomes the Dutch musician-synthesist Wladimir Duijndam to the Deserted Island Music family. It is by the big door that Basic Principles arrives here. A first double CD with almost 3 hours of EM that takes us out of our comfort zone by making us travel through a fertile musical imagination brilliantly mixed and mastered by none other than Wouter Bessels. Wladimir Duijndam caresses as many styles as forms with slow hypnotic movements centered on reverb effects and Dark Ambient in rhythm structures that take us out of the Berlin School model widely used here for floating rhythm structures. The tone of the synths is exquisite, as well as the numerous effects that explore an organic-cosmic fauna of a universe at the crossroads. In short, pure enchantment which makes me write that yes, contemporary EM is able to seduce still and always, even after more than 60 years! A sparkle coming out of nowhere...

The first CD unleashes a strike force that is compatible with our highest expectations. Criss-crossing the dark territories of ambient music, it goes through the ambient rhythms as some Electronica patterns, even a small raid in the Disco for Cyborgs to end up in a good Berlin School phase. Raw Umber invites us to this surprising musical fresco with an approach full of mystery. Its envelope originates from a sibylline wave that sings in a spectral opening that respects the essence of the title. A tenebrous wave looms in this setting, stretching its presence that becomes a moving shadow. A shadow that buzzes lightly and floats slowly, like the parachute of a dandelion pushed by a warm wind. The rhythm that beats is secret, almost furtive and abstract, with random beats of electronic percussions. But it bewitches! Slow and protected by the complicity of a bass line, it bewitches the senses and serves as a base for the synth waves that sculpt an ethereal ballad with fine loops that unravel and reform into spirals and spirographs under the brief and discreet laments that give Raw Umber its enigmatic texture. These loops stretch their form in Indigo. They buzz and radiate a dark musical envelope over a much more nervous and animated rhythm than on Raw Umber. The sequencer activates a line of percussive keys that pulse and dance in a panorama where the color indigo is reflected by long, shimmering synth waves. After an ambient opening that is shadowed by these sonic filaments that create phantasmagoric volutes, Flake White electrifies our feet in a very good dance rhythm. The rhythm is a Disco-Electronica-Techno fusion on a duel of bass sequences that alternate their hits in a percussive echo. Other sequences, more limpid, and seductive percussive effects complete the echo dimension of the rhythm while the synth multiplies its layers, all with a texture of mocking spectres, under a sky full of reverberations where the term Flake White loses its meaning. There is no respite for the feet on this track, as well as on the cosmic groove of Alizarin Crimson. Its rhythm forms an elastic lasso with percussive effects that slam with echo on a structure that is very contemporary Klaus Schulze, for the rhythm, in a darker musical envelope and whose ochre essence of the ambiences and synth layers goes with the spirit of the track. Those vibes of dance continue with the furious Viridian, which is of the same mold as Flake White, and Mars Black which is more spasmodic. A kind of futuristic Hip-Hop with good cosmic effects for cyborgs programmed to do Breakdance. The bass is great, heavy and catchy in a good dystopian mood! In a more threatening envelope, Magenta tempers the very dance-like structure of this first CD with Raw Umber's percussive ambient rhythmic style. Slow with a slight hint of romantic jazz blues, Maroon is as intoxicating as Morpheus doing the sleep catch. Its opening is bizzarro with the strange yowling of a beast falling asleep. The bass line is suave and reminds me of this opening of I Love You from Sarah McLachlan. And it's even more so when the orchestrations begin to waltz languorously in a Cosmos that is covered in a multitude of harmonic loops. Reverberating jets crisscross this passive landscape sculpted by morphine where our senses drift in symbiosis with this slow rhythm and these tonal caresses of a synth that, even sober, dominates the ambiences with a diversity of tones and forms. And slowly these same senses are absorbed in a Berlin School style ambient finale with a beautiful haunting and ascending movement of the sequencer. The door of dreams is just next... A very strong first CD that deserves a 5 stars!

It's a little different with the second CD which proposes openings of more tenebrous ambiences, even apocalyptic where there is only a step to cross before making a minimal link with the effects and the music of the intergalactic action video games. Prussian Blue develops a slow atmospheric introduction with reverb waves that adjust its dimension to a spectral texture from the Cosmos. There is a mixture of sibylline and seraphic voices, and breezes that progresses to a more tenebrous phase with a veil of drones after the 3rd minute. A discreet bass line, similar to that of Maroon, is heard in the magnetic field of reverberations shortly after. A rhythmic structure is clumsily grafted onto it, releasing choppy loops that come and go in a soundscape where our ears perceive a dark vision of the end times. If you liked the dance rhythms of Flake White, Viridian and Mars Black, Purple Lake is of the same genre but with a vision closer to an organico-cosmic universe plunged in an apocalyptic marasmus. Moreover, there are organic percussive effects that tap dance in a circle in a structure where the elastic side forges a seductive effect of driving echo. The organ vapors are very Schulze, the delicate boom-booms are very Moonbooter, and those shadowy synth waves are very dystopian sci-fi. Sepia offers a long start before developing a slow rhythmic structure that crawls on a lunar ground. The movement is upward and magnetizing. The sequencer shapes a more musical double of this mumbling rhythm that radiates a presence wrapped in white noises, creating an echoing effect whose contrasts are swallowed by an astral mermaid voice and spectral synth waves. Ultramarine's slow, undulating reverberations set the table for COLOURS' meditative phase. They roll in loops with fine melodic tinkles, giving a lyrical depth to an EM conceived from the stars. Cerulean Blue offers a delightful texture of atmospheric cosmic music. The track stretches out its almost 15 minutes with slightly droning breezes. It is peaceful, meditative. These breezes turn into moving waves that undulate in a panorama that has become dominated by reverb effects from which emerges a silent upward movement of a synth wave. Like a wing without a body, it snakes through the imaginary peaks and gravitates in a dark landscape that is filled with layers of voices as seraphic as sibylline. Electronic effects flicker here and there, while lunar orchestrations add a dramatic dimension to a contemplative music that feeds on enigmas and whose slow procession embraces as much an industrial texture innate to a Berlin School with chthonian and gothic ambiances. The longest track of this double album, Black Carbon proposes an opening that feeds on the elements of Cerulean Blue finale. A slow opening of cosmic ambiences with orchestrations and effects that bring us back more or less to 2001, A Space Odyssey. The sequencer activates a rotating and ascending movement after the 6th minute. Its rhythmic odyssey is brief and runs over a distance of more or less 4 minutes with an approach that develops with vigor, extending a long, jerky scroll in a sound texture that combines sizzling effects with the dark yet diaphanous resonances of the spasmodic sequences. The orchestrations always surround the movement of its slow caresses of a circular cosmic waltz which extends its morphic hold on the last 4 minutes of Black Carbon. Green Earth takes us out of the ambiences of this first Basic Principles opus with an atypical rhythm whose spasmodic form makes think of a train rolling on a cosmic road. The bass line is vampiric and brings an unexpected warmth to this track which takes us out of the structures of COLOURS. Payne's Grey ends this magnificent album with an atmospheric ode worthy of a music for disaster movie. In spite of its dark and dystopian side, this title does not stop in any of its more than 4 minutes this perception that our ears have met and have fell in love with an excellent album that I recommend without hesitation. Hats off to Wladimir Duijndam!

Sylvain Lupari (July 12th, 2022) ****½*

Available at Deserted Island Music Bandcamp

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