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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERTRAND LOREAU: Spiral Lights (2014)

Spiral Lights takes the spirit Sequences and unveils nice electronic melodies to navigate between TD and Vangelis' influences

1 Séquence Souvenir 9:25 2 Arc en Ciel 5:52 3 Cerfs Volants 6:58 4 Rue Colbert 7:01 5 Lisbourne Part I 4:50 6 Lisbourne Part II 20:25 7 Lisbourne Part III 13:18 8 Lisbourne Part IV 4:46 Spheric Music | SMCD 6302

(CD 72:35) (V.F.) (French and Berlin Schools)

I am very happy to see that Bertrand Loreau continues to solidify his influence on the contemporary EM scene. He is a brilliant artist and a superb composer whose talent makes springing all this good movement of the new French School (Olivier Briand, Alpha Lyra, Awenson and MoonSatellite) that we find at PWM Distrib. I dug a little in his music from the past and I can tell you for sure that the Nantes' synthesist is still hiding several little sonic jewels. Not really an authentic album of new music SPIRAL LIGHTS is the proof of that! Those who are familiar with his album Sequences, released on PWM in 2011, will be on familiar ground because SPIRAL LIGHTS is a sound-lift of this compilation of musical pieces written between 1988 and 2005. As expected, Bertrand approaches them, and especially coats them, with a new musical approach which gives a little more relief and colors to the first sketches of Sequences. An album which was more concentrated on the art of melodies built on sequences patterns than on the harmonious envelopes from the synths and their allegorical chants.

It's therefore for this that the harmonies and the synth solos, which take on a dress of nightingale singing in a jazz band, seem to us foreign in the opening of Séquence Souvenir. First of all, the music ignites with hot breezes instead of the dark sequences which trample the harmonious shadows of its predecessor. The onset of the rhythm is less violent. In fact, the sequences oscillate with as much mordant, but their ardours are contained in the suave harmonies of a very romantic synth. The same goes for the delicious Arc en Ciel which is clearly more musical here. From what I hear, it's the entire musical skeleton of the album Sequences which is modified by a clearly less hard sequencing and more harmonious approach. A little as a jewel that one polishes, Sequences turns deliciously into SPIRAL LIGHTS in its new sonic clothes. Before flying away with its line of sequences and its jumping keys which wind some warm imaginary winds, Cerfs Volants takes the ambiences of a soft avian fauna where the chirpings of the fanciful birds are melting into the melancholy of a synth and of its very lyrical solos. This track spreads a quite new impact here. There are no new elements on the very beautiful Rue Colbert except that the rhythm is better encircled by a more harmonious envelope where the solos dominate the percussions. If you still haven't heard this track it's a great one which inhales the influences of Tangerine Dream, era Le Parc and Underwater Sunlight. Another one which takes on a clearly more melodic cachet, amplifying its aura of solitude, is the very beautiful Lisbourne Part I of which the charms would make the delights of contemporary music boxes. The biggest impact of this sound-lift of Sequences is on Lisbourne Part II where all the nuances, the sweetness and the subtleties undress it of its primitive aspect. The passages between the various melodies and the ambiences, as well as those exploiting more free structures, which adorn the 20 minutes of Lisbourne Part II are more of conniving, showing more sweetness and more musicality. It's a very good track where Bertrand Loreau takes pleasure in destabilizing our ears with outcomes and completely unexpected directions. Excellent! The same goes for Lisbourne Part III which, even if dates concerts differ, follows with amazement the progression of Lisbourne Part II but with an influence in rhythms, and not harmonies which are very personal to Bertrand, which inhales those of Tangerine Dream, periods Schmoelling and Haslinger. Lisbourne Part IV? It's Séquence Libre and its carousel of sequences which swirl such as a dream in the space. Here, like everywhere in SPIRAL LIGHTS, the movement of sequences is decorated with melodic fineries forged in mists, with celestial choirs, orchestration and nasal solos which add more melancholy to a track whose introduction is coated by a delicate childish voice.

Making beautiful new out of some beautiful old? SPIRAL LIGHTS is more than that! Lambert Ringlage saw all the potential of the Sequences' structures and Bertrand Loreau gave to it a second breath by dressing it of harmonies and ambiences. In so doing, Sequences is not anymore! If SPIRAL LIGHTS takes back its rhythmic bases, it floods the movement of sequences with caresses and singings of synths more poetic than electronic. And it's the charm of the illusion. Throughout the album we have the vague feeling to be on familiar ground, like we have the impression to fly in new spheres where the rhythms and the melodies caress themselves mutually in cosmic and ethereal ambiences and melodic lines which were sorely lacking, when we heard this new version of Sequences. So here is of what is really made SPIRAL LIGHTS.

Sylvain Lupari (March 10th, 2014) ****½*

Available at Spheric Music

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