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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERTRAND LOREAU: Schatten und Lichter (2021)

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

This is without a doubt the most beautiful work in the genre coming from Bertrand

1 Near you 4:35

2 For a journey without a destination 5:15

3 I say another prayer 2:08

4 The way of lights and shadows 1:28

5 Invitation to navigate into space 7:14

6 All sails out 13:16

7 From the Porte de l'Aube 1:25

8 A glow shines 8:17

9 At the source of heaven's tears 1:30

10 The sun rises 0:59

11 Left to a higher power 5:29

12 And stay beyond the horizon 1:30

13 When the night surrounds you 1:39

14 You don't go alone 6:47

15 On the long way 8:08

16 Because you hear yours 4:06

(CD/DDL 73:51) (V.F.)

(Neo-classical Berlin School)

Floating orchestrations, vaporous flutes, a discreet shadow of celestial voices, a minimalist keyboard and synth blasts stolen from the soul of a sentimental and dreamy saxophonist. That's all Near You needs to establish this close contact between this romantic music lover that I am and the music of my friend Bertrand Loreau. First of all, let's underline the poetic character of SCHATTEN UND LICHTER! Flirting with the Berlin School of the Johannes Schmoelling era with Tangerine Dream, his new album is well divided between minimalist rhythms driven by the sequencer, introspective ambient moments and romantic melodies. In fact, all the styles that made Bertrand famous are well represented on this album, including the more complex and orchestral ones. SHADOWS & LIGHTS follows this imposing double-album Finally Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 by offering a tide of tracks dressed in modernity that rehashes the present of a past that forged the future of a brilliant artist-composer whose wordless music has as much impact as the pen of a lyricist bitter of his time. In another beautiful production from Groove nl, which signs Bertrand's last albums, OMBRES & LUMIÈRES offers 16 tracks for nearly 74 minutes. The longer and medium length tracks are more likely to appeal to fans of minimalist sequencer-driven movements, while the shorter tracks are more intimate, almost acoustic. But still the synth is possessed by this saxophonist and his most intimate dreams.

For a journey without a destination is more in the New Berlin School genre harmonized in the flavors of a Johannes Schmoelling. Its delicate circular rhythm is ideal for solos that are more in the nightingale-singer genre. Beautiful solos whose tenderness flows over empty bottle tones like cosmic effects. A bass-pulse joins the rhythm structure, just to thwart redundancy, while a bank of musical mist infiltrates the ambiences. The waves foaming our toes, I say another prayer is an ode played on a kind of harpsichord. Soft and romantic, like several tracks on SCHATTEN UND LICHTER. I think among others of The way of lights and shadows and its duet acoustic guitar versus mellotron. The sun rises is of the same mold. From the Porte de l'Aube is also a little fluty ode with mellotron and piano. There is also the melancholic At the source of heaven's tears and And stay beyond the horizon. Without forgetting the bitter violin and its union with the piano of When the night surrounds you. We are in the fields of Mannheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire here and on You don't go alone, a beautiful lullaby full of tenderness that evolves into a ballad becoming more and more animated by a sober drumming. The celestial voices, the fluty mellotron and those admirable synth solos add charm and conviction to this delicate animated beauty. Now, the longest tracks…

How about I start with Invitation to navigate into space! It's a good and harmonious Berlin School inspired by Tangerine Dream's Schmoelling years that evolves by building up its intensity in its singing synth solos over a more aggressive circular structure with a sequenced flute. Hardly more complex than For a journey without a destination! But Bertrand Loreau is capable of complexity, as shown on All sails out which is a superb Berlin School like the Dream did in the 70's, plus a bit of modernity in the details. An excellent track! A glow shines? Another great track built for sequencer. We have a real tornado of rhythms that confront each other and intertwine in a hellish rhythmic maelstrom. There is no room for melody for an infernal 6 minutes...Maybe at the very end. Left to a higher power proposes a rhythm animated by two sequencer lines jumping one in the other. There are influences of Peter Baumann, notably at the level of the rhythmic and harmonic visions of the sequencer and the tonality of the synth solos. Let's say that I had the taste to listen again to Trans Harmonic Nights. On the long way is the other more complex track of SCHATTEN UND LICHTER. The track develops a more orchestral vision with a horror movie atmosphere. Its slow flow is surrounded by orchestral bursts while being shaken by another line of the sequencer. It takes more than one listen! We reach the finale with another ballad, Because you hear yours, conceived on Bertrand's reflections on the piano. It's very beautiful, rather sensitive and it shows all the melodist skill of the bard of the French EM

A collection, a bit like Sur le Chemin, Réminiscences and Morceaux Choisis, but with a more accentuated rhythmic vision, SCHATTEN UND LICHTER (Ombres et Lumières, Shadows & Lights) is without doubt the most beautiful work in the genre coming from Bertrand Loreau's inexhaustible mind.

Sylvain Lupari (July 11th, 2021) ****¾*

Available at Groove nl

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