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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERND KISTENMACHER: Best of-Patterns of Light (2012)

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

There are compilation that are an interesting journey of a career which knew an important artistic bend, this is one of those

1 The Beginning 4:14

2 In Face of Saturn 8:49

3 The End of the Record 12:59

4 A Hand Softly Touching You 11:47

5 The Memorial 6:58

6 On The Shoulders of Atlas 6:05

7 Lost City 14:01

8 Autumn Leaves 6:24

(CD/DDL 71:15) (V.F.)

(Symphonic EM)

There are compilations which are just simple compilations! There are others which form an interesting journey to the antipodes of a career which has known an important artistic turn. And BEST OF-PATTERNS OF LIGHT is part of these ones. This superb compilation of Bernd Kistenmacher takes the listener on a journey between the two worlds that the German synthesist and composer has caressed to the delight of our ears. From this universe with analog vintage tones, strongly imbued with his Klaus Schulze influences, to a more contemporary one, forged in superb symphonic arrangements, this album is a skeud that travels as much in time as in Kistenmacher's cosmos. A clever mix of two styles which in the end makes a wonderful musical treasure where the dream follows the patterns of a light that only Bernd Kistenmacher has control on the switch.

The Beginning and In Face of Saturn are forming the superb intro of Celestial Movements. Here they initiate a hybrid flavored compilation with dark synth layers that grow around the lamentations of a melancholy trumpet. The movement is symphonic and Vangelis' like. It pours into In Face of Saturn and its electronic percussions which row towards a tempo whose curt movements are strummed under the aegis of a synth with superb solos. This more contemporary vision of BK radiates from his symphonic arrangements while The End of the Record and A Hand Softly Touching You take us back to a whole different era. Taken from the Contrasts Vol I album, produced in 1998, The End of the Record offers a slightly hopping rhythm with sober electronic percussions and sequences which alternate like beveled strokes on a long minimalist movement whose fine variations flow under sweet solos with analog flavors. We are in the temple of typically inspired works of Klaus Schulze. It is particularly good and very magnetizing. A more intimate and ambient work, A Hand Softly Touching You from the Outlines album in 1991 reminds us of Kistenmacher's first incursions into the world of orchestral arrangements. The movement is dark, bewitching and intensely meditative.

First unreleased title of this compilation, The Memorial is inspired by José Saramago's novel and bears very well the weight of its processional mood with a Bolshevik flavor. Continuing on his symphonic momentum, Kistenmacher works on this title with a dramatic approach where discreet angelic choirs envelop the symmetrical pulsations of a slow evolution which has become more oneiric than tribal. The superb On the Shoulders of ATLAS follows. The jewel of Antimatter parades in our ears with all the magnificence of a splendid bolero of which the crescendo stigmatizes our emotions, so beautiful it is, so much is magic. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful tracks of Bernd Kistenmacher which fills our ears with another gem taken from the album Beyond The Deep; Lost City. This very beautiful track is constantly torn between its melodious sweetness and the dense orchestrations with dramatic approaches drawn in the breaths of a discreet synth. A synth that becomes more present and whose spasmodic chords and symphonic layers gradually invade this universe where the rhythm is won with bows and somewhat anarchic drum rolls before sinking into the tranquility of a final which joined its introduction. An interesting point of reference is the very avant-garde work of Geoff Downes; The Light Program. Autumn Leaves is the second unreleased track of this compilation. It's a nice symphonic ballad for romantics with a good melodious synth which sings under the delicate warning blasts of a concerto for bows whose jerky movements carefully envelop the caresses made by a dreamy synth. It's beautiful and its crescendo presents a very poignant finale.

Skilfully traveling between eras and styles that Bernd Kistenmacher has been designing for our ears since 1984, BEST OF-PATTERNS OF LIGHT is a great compilation that provides a fair overview of his career while establishing its links to a more melodious and symphonic EM . It is a compilation which focuses on the more contemporary works of Kistenmacher and which should charm those who are still hesitant to let themselves be seduced by an EM as melodious as classical. The music is melodious, the rhythms are fine and the melodies bewitching. This is the universe of Bernd Kistenmacher at his best… or almost! Fans of Vangelis should love it and those of Kistenmacher will also enjoy the two unreleased tracks, while being surprised by two tracks that we had forgotten along the way. Here is a compilation that is worth its weight in gold!

Sylvain Lupari (December 1st, 2012) ****½*

Available at MIRecords Bandcamp

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