BEYOND BERLIN: Epiphany (2021)
Updated: Jun 11, 2021
“I won't hide anything to you, Epiphany is the story of one title. But what a title!”
1 Reconciliation 24:05
2 Artificial 15:19
3 Epiphany 27:59
(CD/DDL 67:24) (V.F.)
I'll go straight to the point; EPIPHANY is the story of one title. But what a title!
It's in these breaths coming from the pores of metal that Reconciliation opens. The ambiences are almost bewitching with these shadows of silence which fly now on slow scattered pulsations. The movement of the sequencer is heard some 30 seconds after the second minute. Subtle, it goes up high to come down precipitously. The movement is haunting, until my memory locates it in a Klaus Schulze album. FM Delight from En=Trance! Well supported on the pulsating bass line, it is the acoustic side of this bright track from the German Master. Solos, suave since distant, wander on this minimalist framework which takes vigor while always very discreet. Close to Body Love, for the tonality, while being a little far, for the flow, this ritornello of the sequencer, twinned to the bass pulses and to another rhythm line, ends up weaving a lunar texture full of tenderness under synth layers become sleepy. Hypnotic, it would be good to sleep on it. Beyond Berlin has other plans! Resonant boom-booms lift our eyelids. We are 10 seconds before the 13th minute and Reconciliation increases the power of the volume and then the flow. The synth solos also have this new life force. Twirling on this bed of reverberations of the heavy bass pulsations, they multiply while decorating the ambiences with acrobatic figures and veils of emotion that respond quite well to the heaviness of the reverberations. Some 5 minutes later, Reconciliation finds its balance by being stronger than its first part and less violent than its second. I forgot to tell you! It's a superb Berlin School with a finale that has the scent of the musical ambiences of Tangerine Dream on Logos. More than two years after the majestic Totem, BB comes back with an album entitled EPIPHANY. And the album starts very strong. Too strong even, since the two other titles, which are a little more progressive, have to flirt with its limits that they will never reach the depth of this Reconciliation.
After an introduction sculpted in the experimental approach, it sounds like a cybernetic sequencer losing its pieces and structures over a 95-second runtime, Artificial spreads its fleeting sweetness with flickers that support the intertwined chants of two mellotrons. Let's enjoy these moments as the sequencer releases heavy balls jumping from ear to ear, while Rene de Bakker and Martin Peters trade synth solos that have a harmonious Jazz Rock base. The rhythmic texture is amplified by layers of the sequencer, structuring a circular rhythm whose loops pass over the other movement which is more ascending. The peculiarity between the solos is that metallic noises which is heard when one of the synthesizers, the second one, makes them hover with a diminished tone. This animated phase finds a bridge where the rhythm has become ambient with meditative fineries around the 8th minute. This last phase of Artificial focuses on the different possibilities of the sequencers that weave a dense rhythmic texture of its sequences that jump and gambol between lower and more spaced-out chords. There's an effervescence around the 10th minute with these lines that clump together, inviting arpeggios to cast a mirage of melody blown by a mellotron. A nice ending! Now, what does the long title-track have to offer? Its opening is floating with astral synth breezes filled with angelic voices. A rhythmic base can be heard flickering in the background while the hum of the bass line warns that a rhythm is in the making. This introduction to Epiphany is very moody and ethereal. It's very KS! Especially with the tern calls swirling over this rhythm that sheds its shell to hatch into a static cluster teeming with nervous sequences. We get to the 11th minute and the still restless structure spreads out jerky movements which are encircled by fleeting solos. This noisy and static movement lives from its tumult before returning to its cocoon and letting the first moments of Epiphany be reborn. The mellotron takes the lead momentarily, letting the sequences and the ambiences intensify in a finale that seeks its way out.
Reconciliation aside, EPIPHANY is an excursion into a bolder Berlin School story. If you like multi-layered sequences and synth solos that are also busy creating soundscapes, this album is for you. And if on the other hand the lunar romance is your dada, there is this long first track...
Sylvain Lupari (June 10th, 2021) *****
Available at Groove nl