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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Bernd-Michael Land Humano:Id – Visionen (2022)

Excellent find for a lover of sounds, rhythms and ambiances at the doors of another universe

1 Visionen 5:40

2 Kyborg 7:49

3 Humano:Id 6:05

4 Identifikation 7:18

5 Momentum 5:16

6 Surreale Illusionen 3:40

7 Weg der Erkenntnis 4:59

8 Positionen 4:17

9 Computergeist 6:10

10 Maschinenherz 4:52

11 Tanz der Kobolde 4:25

12 Zyklus Nr. 10 6:01

13 Zeitwerke 6:23

(CD 73:41) (V.F.)

(Experimental Graphic Tones Berlin School)

Do you know Bernd-Michael Land? Honestly, I had already seen his name somewhere without having developed any interest since some connoisseurs in the field had labelled his music as New Age. He contacted me recently to suggest me some albums to review. He sent me 4 of them, including this one HUMANO:ID-VISIONEN. And the surprise is total! We see the title, we look at the cover as well as the booklet which comes with the CD (28 pages of drawings and graphics) and we guess what the universe of HUMANO:ID-VISIONEN is made of. But again, the surprise is total! Inspired by a humanoid vision; are we men, machines or/and man-machines, he delivers here a rich album of tones made out of his knowledge and his imagination. I have plunged into my memories and knowledge, the universe of HUMANO:ID-VISIONEN is of sound strangenesses as complex and sought-after as in that of Pete Farn. But with more consistency in the atmospheres and the rhythms which are astonishing, so much they are conceived in the creativity, in the originality. In short, I have spent a couple of days analyzing an album that is well worth the time spent to tame it.

It's after a typical opening to the genre that Visionen releases a line of the sequencer that palpitates briskly while making a slight inflection in its ascending movement. This rhythm loses sonic power, gradually fading away under an avalanche of synth waves whose resonances inject a panorama of sibylline atmospheres. The rhythm regains its tonal vigor after a strong injection of wiisshh and synth sizzlings. Synth lines and sound waves intertwine in a texture of spooky ambiences to begin Kyborg. This track is an example of the experimental structures built on sound effects and samplings made by the German musician from Rodgau-Hainhausen. The basis is purely atmospheric as well as multi sonic with sound effects bordering on the frightening, and the experimental world of robotic technologies. Amplified glass explosions make us jump, small pulsations running here and there make us hope for a rhythmic structure, while throaty voice effects make us better discern the numerous experimentations of a track that becomes more musical a little before the 5th minute. At this point, our ears are treated to a good organ layer that injects a seraphic texture to this track that demands a passion for more modern sounds and those that we rarely hear. Positionen follows in this vein with a very experimental tonal approach and with a texture of sounds and noises that overlaps. Computergeist and Maschinenherz are also part of these tracks with a high content of experimental sound calories. No rhythm but continuous waves of invasive sounds that are woven in the overflowing imagination of the German musician. It's surprising that a music that aims to depict a universe of cyborgs can have a progressive music opening à la Pink Floyd. However, this is what we hear in the opening of the title track. A good circular rhythm, struck over glass-wrapped arpeggios that zigzag as if inebriated, pops out a little before the first minute. A pulsing bass-line turns to be its rhythmic shadow and adds dynamics, propelling those majestic xylophone tinklings beneath maudlin blue synth waves. The guest guitar player, César Roson, crumbles a few chords that duel with those of an equally discreet keyboard, while the mournful synth waves add that vision of nostalgia that mainly animates the pool of Humano:Id's ambiences, whose keyboard espouses the model of Rick Wright, even bordering on Ray Manzarek's. The guitar becomes more and more the host of the ambiences of this title by letting hover short solos and textures which breathe a little those of Manuel Göttsching at the time of Ashra. A purely atmospheric track, Identifikation brings its seal of meditative ambiences both celestial and mechanical in a fusion of synth lines and waves with colors as contrasting as its emotional content. Momentum disposes of our emotions with a ballad, I would say a walk in a park on an autumn day with a melody of the piano, accompanied by strings, which trots between our ears. It is very beautiful!

Surreale Illusionen is another structure fill of variegated tones that has a strong potential to charm our eardrums. Organic noises, like rhythmic dripping effects on a stucco wall, are woven into a sequencer in experimental rhythm mode. Subsequently, Bernd-Michael Land has made an ingenious collage of sounds that he works into a form of sequenced rhythm. The fragmented didgeridoo bits reassembled in a sequenced rhythm structure are quite brilliant! After an opening under the sign of anguish, Weg der Erkenntnis unrolls an ambient rhythmic carousel under these undulating waves of synthesizers full of android material. The metamorphosis comes about 80 seconds later when the sequencer sculpts a bouncing rhythm with jumping keys and the beat of their shadows of which the rubbery texture concocts an approach of harmonic ambient rhythm. Effective, so much it's a magnetizing movement! Although having a strong ascendancy on the atmospheric holds of a world of metal and advanced technologies, Tanz der Kobolde is that rhythmic strike that undoes this hold of atmospheric phase from the mechanical samplings of the 3 previous tracks, Positionen, Computergeist and Maschinenherz. And like in Surreale Illusionen, its sequenced rhythm is filled with composite tones that spin like a circular ride in a humanoid amusement park. Another rarely heard rhythmic structure that is oddly effective, Zyklus Nr. 10 features sequenced keys of half organic, and of living glass in a circular structure. A back and forth movement is like a swarm of small steps running in all directions without becoming driving for the feet, on the other hand, we make our fingers drumming, in a context of continuous running under a sky full of synth waves and guitar textures that scream with an eschatological zest in their haunting lamentations. And like in Humano:Id, César Roson transforms these laments into short solos with the colors of despair. And if Bernd-Michael Land's creativity never ceases to surprise in this HUMANO:ID-VISIONEN, he concludes this last opus in a more conventional way with a circular electronic rhythm. The sequencer joins two rhythm lines that stick together in Zeitwerke. They jump into each other's last step, creating a lively and driving rhythm that has no nano seconds of gap. Obviously, the musician's complex vision has not entirely evaporated, as evidenced by this metamorphosis of the sequencer, which spins its more metallic, mechanical rhythm with its cutting-edge technology tone. And this rhythm tinkles with a driving effect underneath these samplings of a sound multiverse conceived in the imagination of Bernd-Michael Land who has more than 40 years of experience in the different cultures of electronic sounds. This artist has left me an impressive calling card with this brilliant HUMANO:ID-VISIONEN. An album that is filled with more than interesting elements and that can be enjoyed quietly but whose power of attraction is more than guaranteed. Excellent find for a lover of sounds, rhythms and ambiances at the doors of another universe... like me!

Sylvain Lupari (November 8th, 2022) ****½*

Available on Bernd-Michael Land's website

(NB: Words in blue are links you can click on)

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