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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERT HULSHOFF: Space Scan (2021)

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Spontaneous and unadulterated EM can be beautiful!

1 Spacecrash 24:27

2 Sunstroke 26:08

3 Space Drone 18:18

(DDL 68:56) (V.F.)

(Ambient Drones Berlin School)

Phrozenlight is dead! Long live Bert Hulshoff! And whether it's one or the other, the music remains as it always was, long improvised sessions without any overdubs or editing afterwards. Just like it is!

It's thus in an atmosphere where the Cosmos breathes through the interstices of synthesizers, which have this fascinating probability to establish a dialogue with the elements of space, that Spacecrash elaborates its tonal strategy in order to seduce ears better served by headphones here. Close your eyes and imagine that these noises and effects are luminous flashes, and we have a sonic constellation that could dictate a new route to the Cosmos and its star-filled oasis. And little by little this road stores up a plethora of sound elements, including a harmony and rhythmic duet that remains in the background in this overabundance of effects woven to regale the confines of the universe. This scan of the space reveals that the sounds, as heterogeneous as they are, ending up lacking resources without harmonic and/or rhythmic directions. And it's a bit this implacable logic that makes this long first track of SPACE SCAN a bit more difficult to tame. This track is a bit long, with some quite seductive elements and phases. Sunstroke is the most interesting track on this new Bert Hulshoff album. A pulsating circular rhythm gradually drives out a soft ambient introduction to copy a clone that beats in its shadow. The two elements are complemented by a vertical pulsating movement, garnished at times with white noises, and a thrust of 7 sequences that trace the circular movement slightly tilted and dented by the last two keys of the sequencer that tend to want to jump on each other. This delightful imperfection gives a less cybernetic vision to the movement whose rhythmic setting is filled of various sound effects and other chords that play symmetrically with the vertical beats. Sunstroke ends up embracing this form of convulsive rock where headbangers dislocate their necks. Bert also has fun playing with nuances that add a psybient vision, in the 10-minute range, to this movement that sometimes remains the only tonal element of the track. And this rhythm changes skin in ears that notice this major nuance once it's implanted. It becomes an almost viscous organic matter while maintaining its energy level until the 17th minute when a sequence of zwee-zwee momentarily replaces the circular movement. These two elements merge and defuse in a finale that knows Sunstroke will have to get rid of its rhythmic framework. A tonal storm fills the first 2 minutes, and dusts, of Space Drone. A rhythmic structure forms and eventually gallops into a bumpy circular motion. Spacecrash's like sound effects adorn the rhythmic ride that runs out of steam under the new heaviness imposed by these electronic effects. So much so that the rhythm disappears to give way to a kind of distress signal that pulses in search of an answer. An answer that comes in the form of a mechanical movement whose disarticulated jumps die under this mass of sound, which comes and goes like a tonal lasso, finally dying out before the 14th minute. Bert Hulshoff then plunges us into a Klaus Schulze-like finale. But 3 minutes of it is simply not enough...

Spontaneous and unadulterated EM can be beautiful! Even in a hell of sounds and of sound effects where the feeling of deja-entendu is everywhere, Bert Hulshoff manages to produce interesting stuff. I can't imagine what SPACE SCAN would have sound like with a little more distance, editing and mastering worthy of the ambiences of this download. Yes, there are some good ideas lurking between Bert's ears.

Sylvain Lupari (July 29th, 2021) *****

Available at Bert Hulshoff Bandcamp

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