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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BOUVETOYA: Machines for Collective Living (2017)

“We have here a wonderful album that will make revive your flame for the old audacious Berlin School”

1 High Flying Jets 17:29 2 Machines for Collective Living 8:30 3 Colour the Blue Sky 11:18 4 Zenit 14:52 SynGate | MJ06 

(DDL/CD-r 52:11) (V.F.) (Berlin School)

Michael Jones had left his imprints on an adventurous and progressive EM with the high wall of cracklings which surrounded the brief impulses of rhythms of the analog years on Super High Frequency; an album which asked for some listening before being fascinated by its strange attractive power. More accessible, MACHINE FOR COLLECTIVE LIVING has all the elements to charm the fans of this time where Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Ashra and Jean Michel Jarre used their imagination to add these new sound textures which were going to change the way of creating atmospheres, rhythms and harmonies from sophisticated instruments. Now, the story doesn't say here if Bouvetøya shapes his music from the same instruments, except that the standard of creativity is reached well and truly. And my ears have clearly heard here a small jewel which will make us travel in time aboard a small drone, an instrument of modernity trapped in the vestiges of the past.

An explosion opens the rather glaucous ambiences of High Flying Jets. There are residues of Super High Frequency on this opening which is judiciously covered with beautiful layers in tones of old organ which is not completely tuned fine. Michael Jones sculpts here an opening towards the corridors of suspense with these layers which subdivide lines and spectral harmonies with a staggering calm. In this maze of Mellotron breezes which flatter the drifting movements of Klaus Schulze, as well as the grave twisted harmonies of Pink Floyd, the opening of High Flying Jets evolves with intensity until a splendid and bewitching movement of the sequencer makes wave its keys at the door of the 10 minutes. The sequences fall down in supple and fluid kicks, forcing our foot to follow an electronic rhythm which saves itself from those ambient embraces. The title-track is a fascinating screen of industrial atmospheres where run and float numerous solos of a synth in mode: CHARM! A melancholic synth which stretches its harmonious solos with fragrances of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream in a cosmos sculpted by Jean Michel Jarre. It flows between the ears … You just have no idea how! We fall immediately in the pot of charms of MACHINE FOR COLLECTIVE LIVING with Colour the Blue Sky. We dont have to wait that much before the rhythm gets in! It roams in in the ambiospherical lanes of an introduction dense of its eclectic mists staged by a sinister Mellotron. It breathes by some sequences mislaid before taking control around the 3 minutes' spot. It skips before running and zigzagging under the attacks of sound effects a la Michael Garrison, admire the wealth of the influences here. The movement is anarchic and our attention is so much attracted by this movement that it takes a few seconds before noticing this synth which frees harmonious fluids of a rare beauty throughout the title. And it's there that we notice the treasure of this album of Bouvetøya. The machines possess a soul. Whether it's the sequencer, the synths or the Mellotron; all that breathes around MACHINE FOR COLLECTIVE LIVING possesses an analog soul worthy of a musician who went learnt the ropes, which has matured in the course of his albums. That's obvious on Colour the Blue Sky which in the end is a wonderful track. Zenit proposes a long introduction of ambient music effects forged by a thick cloud of breezes which are loaded of contrasting colors and effects. So much, that we have difficulty to separate the natural elements from the industrial breaths. In these dark moments of MACHINE FOR COLLECTIVE LIVING, I feel an effect of threatening backwash which goes along very well with Aldous Huxley's quotation on the artwork: Maybe this world is another planet's hell! The rhythm emerges at the point of 6 minutes with a circular movement of the sequencer which swirls with very nice nuances in its spirals underneath those dense harmonious vapors from the Mellotron. But it's a short idyll between this rhythm and the effects, whereas Zenit dives into an intersidereal space which is filled by a seraphic choir and a delicate ethereal flute. A structure of sequences hums in the background, reminding us well and truly that this last Michael Jones' album breathes as much of its surreal atmospheres, from its lively rhythms and of its mesmerizing melodies that we seize in the late. And all in all my friends, we have here a wonderful album that will make revive your flame for the old audacious Berlin School. Available in download on SynGate Bandcamp shop, as well as a CD-r. The artwork is very beautiful by the way! Sylvain Lupari (September 29th, 2017) ****½*

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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