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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERTRAND LOREAU: From Past to Past (2015)

You are looking for an amazing album of retro Berlin School? From Past to Past is the answer to your quest

1 Past Never Dies 38:04 2 Journeys Remains the Same 11:00 3 Flying Stones Over the Sea 11:24 Spheric Music |SMCD 6303

(CD 60:28) (V.F.) (Classic Berlin School)

Bertrand Loreau is an irreducible! He is this Gaul who defends the Berlin School genre tooth and nail since his early stages in music. Always very imbued with his nostalgic and above all very romantic approach, he pursues his musical quest inspired by the music of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream with fragrances of his own. The genre gives an alloy of Berlin School flavored by a French approach that is always very poetic. Reminiscences, Journey Through the Past and Nostalgic Steps are all album titles that clearly define Bertrand's directions; a nice guy who deserves to be known. And this FROM PAST TO PAST continues in this line. Flanked by Lambert Ringlage, (what a comeback!) and Olivier Briand (for a second time), he signs here the pinnacle album of his career. As direct as it sounds, FROM PAST TO PAST is his Stratosfear, his Body Love. It's an album filled of Mellotron mists, solos and creative synth effects. And by movements of sequences in constant evolution which are very imaginative. An album that we listen to without ever seeing the time fly by. And it starts with its bomb that is the long introductory track.

Past Never Dies begins this last opus of the French musician with a cloud of layers which are stuffed with nasal harmonies. Harmonies that once decorated the long parades of Adelbert Von Deyen with tones of an old organ whose long flutes are anesthetized by mists of ether. The journey back in time has indeed begun. White noises, which mature in electronic lapping, give an astral touch while a mesh of percussions and pulsations enliven the decor with a brief movement of evanescent rhythm. The layers abound with tones of metal impregnated with poetry, enriching the introduction of an unreal cosmic-industrial envelope which gradually falls asleep in the breezes of Orion which adorn the lunar decor of this long journey of 40 minutes. Other layers, with more contemporary tones, enhance this decor by dancing cosmic waltzes on the back and forth of sequences of which the threads dislocate their keys in long jerky movements. Keys that collide and movements that intersect in an ambient rhythmic ballet whose sharp oscillations undulate peacefully in the morphic caresses of the angels' breezes. The noises remain. They adorn this persistent duality between the fury of oscillations and their static rhythms which languidly wind astral territories knotted in the celestial orchestrations of Past Never Dies. We reach 15 minutes and the Loreau, Lambert and Briand trio take the music to a quieter first phase. A 2nd phase where the movement of sequences unties solitary keys which frolic more peacefully, a little innocently even, in the chants and solos of very creative synths. Even if delicate, the rhythm succeeded in capturing the interest of our hemispheres with a shadow that stands out to dance in the furrows, but in the wrong direction, of the guideline. Attention to detail remains the key to a long sonic river which is around 40 minutes. And here, Bertrand Loreau neglects nothing. Through the delicate permutations in the atmospheres and in the rhythms, the Nantais' synthesist enhances the transitions of a thousand nuances and subtleties which thwart a possible, and probably in many cases, weariness of listening. But not here! Everything is tuned perfectly. The ambiences pass quietly through the sweetness of the rhythms and the latter migrate towards sequences either a little livelier or a little dreamier. And other sequences raise out. They dance with more energy, weaving a good rhythmic earworm to wake up the 3rd and last phase of Past Never Dies.

We are at the gates of the 29th minute and the movement is violent. The oscillations are sharp. They undulate in magnetic chants where a cloud of parasitic noises swirls under the aegis of synth pads with aromas of ether and these choirs which are lost in this sonic illusion where each detail is woven in complexity. The sequences lash and flutter. Going there from sharp kicks, like long cabrioles in the anarchy of the oscillations which keep on the other hand always this fascinating approach of harmony in the tempestuous rhythms. It's big EM that gradually reaches the point of complete serenity around 33 minutes. But then again, the sequences dance in the reverberation of their knocks, a bit like saying that Past Never Dies never really dies. Journeys Remains the Same approaches our ears with the same sneaky touch that thrilled the 2nd phase of Past Never Dies. The rhythm is delicate. It's embroidered in a mesh of sequences and of electronic percussions whose tireless cabrioles form a line of minimalist loops which skip in the harmonies of a synth, and its solos woven in dream paper, before liquefying in a final stuffed with ether gas. A final that blends with Flying Stones Over the Sea which is dedicated to the memory of Edgar Froese, and which is the most dynamic title of the album. In a livelier movement, the faster the keys of the sequencer agglutinate and jump here with more force, multiplying loops on frenetic loops and oscillations on furious oscillations in scents of a Mellotron which spreads its clouds of mist charged with ether. The psychedelic sounds, the morphic layers and this frantic rhythm which runs with its small quick steps to lose breath are no doubt as for the spirit behind its conception. And suddenly everything is over. No problem, we start again!

This is what will happen to you when you unpack this latest album by Bertrand Loreau. FROM PAST TO PAST is a real foray into time but with a clearly more contemporary writing philosophy where poetry, romanticism and melancholy by Bertrand Loreau gracefully pass over the subtle transitions of the two long acts of this album. It's a real retro Berlin School fiesta with the best in the business. And Bertrand Loreau, just like Olivier Briand with his astonishing The Tape, reached the zenith of his career with this album which demonstrates that the genre has more and more to offer if we are daring and original. It's a great album. A classic in the making!

Sylvain Lupari (July 4th, 2015) *****

Available at Spheric Music

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