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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Beyond Berlin Fine Tunes (2017)

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

“That's a bomb of Berlin School with wild rhythms beating in dark and sibylline ambiences”

1 Primum 24:48

2 Andra 27:52 3 Tercera 20:07

(CD/DDL 72:46) (V.F.)

(Berlin & Netherlands Schools)

We lost Beyond Berlin on the EM map since Music for Cosmic Nights appeared shyly under the radars in 2013. Nevertheless, this album was warmly applauded by the critics as being an excellent surprise. More than 3 years later, and some 3 solo albums farther from Rene de Bakker and 1 from Martin Peters, the Dutch duet comes to visit us again shyly, this time on Groove, amazing our ears again with a very good ode to Berlin School. FINE TUNES is a pretty solid album. A big album of EM as several of you love. There is rhythm. As solid as intense. There are ambiences. Ambiences which search for the cracks on the ground from where leak out these chthonian choirs or these luciferian effects while the melodies tinkle in a surprising fragility for an album so heavy. Sat on 3 titles with very distinct dimensions, FINE TUNES is this kind of thing of which the only flaw is about time. There is too much on one title and not enough on the 2 other ones...

A plethora of electronic noises, some even disturbing, is lining-up in order to identified each of them. They form the introduction in two times of Primum. Because if the noises abound and are powerful, the synth layers loaded of Floydian mists. Other layers have a more sibylline vision, like the purest essences of the Berlin School, which are chasing away these noisy effects by spreading wide bands of silky caresses. Momentums of synth waves are rushing in, adding an esoteric depth to these first moments of Primum which always stays possessed by this noisy and luxuriant tonal fauna. The synth layers pile up by playing with their tones, I hear owls to hoot and even flutes which are simply not there, creating a dense sound magma too heavy to get purify in so little time. There are more than 9 minutes to the meter, and always no rhythm which livens up the instincts of Primum. It's 30 seconds after this mark that the first pulsations are beating through. Behind petite whistles of flutes, a swarm of static sequences intensely sparkles while hesitating 2 bass pulsations, followed by a set of 3 more fluids' ones, are structuring the minimalist ambient rhythm of Primum. Layers and lines of synth pile up in this maze of sequences, which sometimes sound very Franke, are leading the moods to reach summits of intensity. Then a delicious line of melody forged on sequences skipping in cascade gives the shivers to the soul around the fifteen minutes. At this point, a kind of sound anarchy creates an ambient intensity where the whole thing gets to perfection in this great electronic adventure of FINE TUNES that will take a new sonic face with Andra.

Here the rhythm is more fluid and the vibes have a more Mephistophelian soul. The sequences skip in the way with a soberer movement, whereas is whistling a rush of electronic winds coming from the hells. The Tangerine Dream fragrance is still present at the level of sequences, while the melodies which are butt-welded with parts more or less connectable sound like Mergener-Weisser, without the cosmic vision. The acrobatic choreography of the crystal-clear serpentines of sequences is a small marvel for the ears. At this level, the transparent sounds of the sequences equal those of a hammer hitting on a big xylophone of unbreakable crystal. Almost more a symphony for sequencer than a ballet for sequences, Andra evolves with its various lines of rhythms which criss-cross, intertwine and pill-up into a fascinating rhythmic mosaic that denies at no moment its ambient tones with banks of mist, layers of voices, breezes of synth and effects which place now and forever the portal of both EM universes. A little bit too long but still very good!

Layers of voices, THX effects and curtains of lights and tones, Tercera jumps into our ears with a hopping and lively rhythm. A meshing of sequences lines and electronic percussions feeds a good structure of electronic rock with some delicious percussive effects, my guilty pleasure. Synth layers spread out floating oases whereas lines of synth throw melodies which glitter like tonal reflections. Harmonies suggest an approach in the shape of solos while these sequenced melodies always tinkle in the background. If the rhythmic fauna is rich, the one which manages the ambiences and the melodies overflow of sounds and colors with multiple lines and effects of synth which melt in a big e-rock became heavier. The rushes of percussions and sequences come by package of twelve, the synth solos get out of their hiding place and the arrangements weave dramatic and intense momentums in a structure which worn out its 20 minutes to put fire in our feet and to boil our energy in one of the wildest and most furious titles that I heard in the domain. A solid gift of music my friends! In fact, everything of FINE TUNES is a bomb...

Sylvain Lupari (March 9th, 2018) **** ¾*

Available at Groove NL

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