top of page
  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERND KISTENMACHER: Un Viaggio Attraverso L'Italia (2001)

This is a wonderful album of true Berlin School where orchestrations are travelling along evolving EM structures and fine synth solos

1 Journey to Italy Part I 21:56

2 Cogni di B. (Dreaming of B.) 4:54

3 Journey To Italy Part II 33:43

4 Driving Home 5:40

(CD 66:53) (V.F.)

(Orchestral Berlin School)

Bernd Kistenmacher is another unknown pioneer of the Berlin School-style of EM. The one who was considered the alternative to choose to hear a Klaus Schulze's new genre, when this latter took the symphonic and operas samplings' bend. Except that unlike Schulze, Kistenmacher is as much silent as a chair bar dragging in the bottom of the planet. His last album, UN VIAGGIO ATTRAVERSO L'ITALIA, for A journey to Italy, dates back to 2001. A bit like all artists of the genre, Kistenmacher sought to purify his style and that of the Berlin School. The cover clearly demonstrates this determination to take a more human direction. Except that the content doesn't go with the container! Even in a more orchestral vision, the harmonies merge on a complexity rarely equaled for a music which sought above all the simplicity of the New Age. This is how people over here called the music of this album. So, if it was all true, Bernd aimed alongside his target to offer us a superb Berlin School.

Journey to Italy Part I begins with a light breeze that turns into a wave of winds hummed by an absent choir. A violin emerges from this stellar chant, initiating a rise in orchestral layers from a cloud of violins playing a slow movement, like an ambient staccato. A cello metamorphosing into an organ disrupts these divine atmospheres with its heavy bow to make breathe the breath of the shadows. The staccato arrives like a shy gallop in a sequenced movement which activates a little more with the arrival of the synth pads cut more sharply. These saccades of misty moods serve like a minimalist, and angelic, bed for a long piano concerto. These saccades of misty atmospheres serve as a minimalist, and angelic, bed for a long piano concerto. Harmonious, this piano crumbles more solos than melodies in a free-Jazz style very acceptable to my ears. A beautiful duality also settles between the acoustic vision and the orchestral electronics which accompanies this splendid piano with modulations always agonizing. This piano also makes me think of the presence of Manuel Göttsching in Klaus Schulze's In Blue with harmonious pirouettes seated between notes plucked so dryly. The scents of Miditerranean Pads, with a breeze of Dreams, flavor the moods of the piano's arrhythmic journey. A piano which remains the sole manager of the floating cadence of Journey to Italy Part I. Cogni di B. (Dreaming of B.) is a superb melody crumbled by a hyper melancholic piano. A title to make bawl a rock!

Journey To Italy Part II begins slowly. A seraphic choir extends a pensive anesthesia. Chimes and a rising shadow forge a slight upward movement than a mist, denser than voices, is enveloping like the caress of a tender mother. Metallic effects fit into this procession. Scattered and comparable to the ringing of angelic bell towers, they breathe false impulses into this ambient opening and astral atmospheres. Filaments are drawn out of this padded shell, around the 8 minutes, pushing a brisk pace meeting this challenge of ascent. In reality, they become those elements in jerks that supported the enchantments, like here, of the piano. Except that things are shaking up with more zest in this second part of Journey To Italy Part II. The filaments become oscillating loops which surround the rhythmic axis with multitudes of fluttering loops. The piano is always as active with an animated melody on this mass which starts to throb through a distractedly buzzing bass line. Percussion, riffs in disco mode and a line of bass sequences are nourishing, like a good Pyramid Peak, this rhythmic vessel which remains suspended until up the 18th minute. Out the piano! It's the synth's turn to bewitch us with beautiful solos that sing and intermingle their differences on a techno beat for zombies in search of meat. Solos, sometimes I think of the Body Love period, which become more vicious and which exploit different vocal approaches on a subtly more aggressive tempo. This daring approach melts gently in the mist, the solos moaning like stranded whales and the breathing rhythm dying off after a last series of late beats, a finale always slow to suck in its orchestral mist. Driving Home ends this magnificent album by Bernd Kistenmacher with a more playful rhythmic approach. You would think you heard the framework of Vangelis' Antartica trapped in an electronic ballad from Jean-Michel Jarre on a melodious background with oriental essences. It's beautiful, bright and catchy. And as always, Bernd modulates his music by adding nuances and subtleties making of Driving Home a melody that has all its senses and its meaning!

I read my first review about this album and I don't understand the vision I had at the time. Must say that it was my morphine period! I listened to this album half a dozen times this week. Although the sound has aged very badly and a remastering and mixing is necessary, UN VIAGGIO ATTRAVERSO L'ITALIA is a wonderful album of true Berlin School. An orchestral Berlin School, where the piano imposes its vision as much as a synth can do. Like in Journey To Italy Part II. Great and creative Bernd Kistenmacher.

Sylvain Lupari (January 20th, 2020) *****

538 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page