BILDSCHIRM: Kinologie Vol. 1 (2017)
“This is a stunning album which crosses those fantastic years of the analog with a contemporary vision”
1 Avarica (Theme from Hackney Aflame 1987) 4:42 2 The Tower Becomes Visible (From The Hidden Triangle 1983) 8:28 3 Rainforest Sequence (Over the Forest/Landing/Finding the Wheel) (From The Hidden Triangle 1983) 8:43 4 Cosmic Time (Theme from Wissenschaftlich 1983-1987) 4:06 5 Convergent (From Schneebesen 1985) 5:04 6 Suite Contrabandine (From Contrabandine 1988) 7:45
7 Solace (From Trost 1986) 5:32 Bildschirm Music
(DDL 44:23) (V.F.) (Analog sequencer-based style)
The Bildschirm adventure goes back up as far that on 2005 when John E Thelin, fascinated by names, stories and uncommon music, googled a search to find an unusual name for his duet. He fell on chirm, which would want to say the sound of a crowd. And when he worked on a sleeve image, he realized that it was rather a bit of a German name (schirm). And one thing lead to another Bildschirm was born, the perfect name for a German synth duo of the 80's. But that may be also Adrian Tóth's pen name, who creates his music on a purple laptop and who is the son of a disgraced Hungarian politician who run away with his trophy-wife in a wild sanctuary in Zimbabwe. Like it can simply be the project of the photographer, the composer, the translator and the entrepreneur John E Thelin, a former Swedish stand-up comedian and television writer living in Berlin. In fact, who knows! Who knows in a universe where the false news and the false myths are born from the 4 corners of the universe to jump up all over it? But one thing's for sure, and no matter the true of the false, the music of Bildschirm possesses all these attributes which seduce the fan of EM of the Berlin School style and of these wonderful years when our eyebrows frowned of surprise and our ears flowed into the soft madness of the multiple possibilities of the analog synthesizers. And the false from the true is that the music of KINOLOGIE Vol.1 is forged in the immense possibilities of the Propellerheads Reason 9. A digital adventure that fools the ear with its software and analog samplings!
Very fat and juicy chords skip from an ear to the other one with a good velocity. Buzzing clouds and layers of very subdued voices infiltrate the jumps of the sequences, while a delicate keyboard spreads an earworm melody which charms with the effects of clacking percussions and of the dense foggy synth layers. On a smooth down-tempo, Avarica begins this very first rendezvous with the music of Bildschirm by an approach as honeyed as harmonious. The electronic effects of the former days, as well as the tones of the French School years, are flooding our ears. This is a nice piece of music with a great melody on it. The Tower Becomes Visible reveals on the other hand the darker side of the album with a heavy circular approach where the keys always very juicy swirl with their shadows in a intricated figure of rhythm. Sequences advocate the disorder while other percussive tones enrich a structure which does not count anymore its rhythmic additive elements, and which stress the pace in the middle. One would believe to hear the big Modular monster of Mark Shreeve. The atmospheres are to inundate us of a theatrical approach of fear while the effects multiply this tension which eats away at us from the inside. Subliminal, a melody roams in the background, making every effort to drag us out from the abimes of a heavy and black music loaded of Arc's perfumes. But in vain! Rainforest Sequence (Over the Forest/Landing/Finding the Wheel) is a rather complex but very delicious title which crosses astral atmospheres, always a little bit disturbing, to land in a phase of anarchy rhythm. It's a great mixture of Heldon, Patrick Gauthier and Zanov. It remains a title difficult to tame, to like, but the ghost melody which circulates is of the earworm (another one?) kind. We fall for it before wanting to run away!
Cosmic Time offers a structure of rhythm more fluid that reminds me Happy the Man because of its liveliness weaved in the tumult. The synth is magic with a vintage presence which reminds me of Robert Fripp's guitar. In brief! This is music of Happy the Man mixed to King Crimson's in a veil of intensity! And this flavor of analog which pursues constantly our ears… delicious! Less agitated and less spasmodic, Convergent inhales a little the scenery of Cosmic Time but with Edgar Froese's perfume in the synth which tries to impose a harmonious tranquility over a rebellion of the sequences which spit organic venoms. Suite Contrabandine proposes firstly an ambient rhythm generated by some wide oscillating loops on which are tolling these metallic percussions which have enchanted the ears of the synth-pop fans of the 80's. These metallic jingles thus pepper these long zigzags which shorten little by little their loops in order to install a good swiftness. Effects of percussions and tones, always a bit organic, adorn this rhythmic illusion while a synth, a very Tangerine Dream one by the way, reveals beautiful layers which weave the melodic bottom of Suite Contrabandine among which the loops which swirled in a hypnotic way are accentuating their speed in a heavier and more insistent structure. It's another title difficult to tame but which is a real delight for the fans of EM of the 70's -80's years. Solace ends musical tale of John E Thelin with a more contemporary approach which is fed of the perfumes of Massive Attack over the dead rhythms of Portishead. That gives the hunger to our ears which want more. And if I trust the words of Hans-Reinhardt von Gorleben (sic!), the next gift of music from Bildschirm should be an EP coming out very soon whereas a next album is planned for this coming autumn.
By the way, who is Bildschirm? I invite you to read his biographical novel on his Bandcamp page. As for me, I absolutely have to thank Arend Westra from Parallaxe for having put me on the trail of an album so incredible. The aficionados of the analog time of EM should absolutely get KINOLOGIE Vol.1. A no brainer! A must so they say…
Sylvain Lupari (March 30th, 2017) *****
Available at Bildschirm Bandcamp