Brainwork Behind the Sun (2023)
Updated: Jan 31
“An album full of rhythms and of accessible melodies in an Easy Listening music vision”
1 Behind the Sun 8:34
2 Rising Sun 6:35
3 Looping 7:47
4 Groove Me 6:37
5 Rhythm n Flute 6:56
6 Sunstorm 8:22
7 Sweet Fruits 7:04
8 Behind the Moon 7:08
(CD 59:03) (V.F.)
(Easy Listening New Age)
It is fair to compare Brainwork's universe and artistic approach to those of Robert Schroeder. Like the musician-synthesist from Aachen, Uwe Saher multiplies albums whose musical identity remains a happening for his audience. Sailing with ease between Berlin School, Synthpop, Electronica and EDM styles as well as Trance with his Element 4 project, the keyboardist from Cologne is like a box of mixed chocolates. In the sense that you never know which flavor your ears will fall on. And BEHIND THE SUN is no exception to this rule with an album full of lively rhythms and where synths and keyboards weave melodies over electronic harp textures. Don't look for complex rhythms and random synths lead lines as well as solos. Brainwork offers a series of festive rhythms, I hear a slight Jamaican essence, in approaches where the feet are moving. It gives an album full of catchy rhythms where the Easy Listening and the melodies of New Age style fill our ears with a perfume of lightness. But it's still Brainwork! So, the rhythms respect his philosophy of always being in motion with brief permutations before returning to their original point.
Waves of water violently hitting the shore caress our ears in the opening of Behind the Sun. Keyboard chords sounding like an electronic harp direct our senses to a New Age-like melody. The percussions then structure a slow rhythm while the synths draw the panorama with whistling arabesques. Hand percussion effects and harmonious knocking are other elements that add a bit of speed and depth to a pleasant structure of which the short changes in the rhythm maintain a touch that is as accessible as it is melodic. This is how the title track is built, and this is how the other 7 structures of this new Uwe Saher album will be built. Rising Sun follows with a bouncing rhythm on a tandem of percussions and jerky sequences. The harp tone of the keyboard weaves a melody, just as jerky, that you can whistle while walking proudly like a rooster. Uwe also adds a hand percussion texture, bringing a Jamaican rhythmic flavor to the music which then spreads out over a good groovy bass. Looping is in the same genre and exploits a bit more the harp tone of the synthesizer which also lets some nice discreet melodies hover in the background. The rhythm is a bit more lively, more jerky and also more catchy. Still exploiting the same fiber of melody pinched on a harp, Groove Me is the most percussive, the most lively track of this BEHIND THE SUN. Surprisingly, Rhythm n Flute has a more groovy essence than the previous track. The tribal and festive percussion play is very good here. The synth flute offers some good airy melodies that compete quite well with the electronic harp of the synth. After Looping, Sunstorm is the track that catches on from its first chords with an approach that sounds very Jean-Michel Jarre for its driving rhythm. The melody keeps this simplistic approach that fits between the ears without difficulty. Sweet Fruits is heavy, slow and very sensual with a good languorous bass line and synth layers full of suggestive haze. The keyboard lays down a melody played by a very pensive keyboardist. Behind the Moon exudes the same liberties of accessible music with a slow, heavy structure that swirls in the scents of a fluty synth.
Easy to digest stuff! BEHIND THE SUN is the kind of CD that you listen to on a beach while wanting to make the pancake under the sun, as well as while wanting to dance on the beach. You could also say that it is electronic music (EM) designed to compete with elevator music. Brainwork draws a huge distance between this album and Late in Berlin, whose sublimities has delighted his fans who remained hooked on his Berlin School style, neo as well as retro. Uwe Saher exploits here a harp tone to the detriment of the immense possibilities and freedom of his synthesizers. In the end, it remains an album full of rhythms and very accessible melodies which has everything to please a large audience always fond of a beautiful catchy music with easy to remember and whistle melodies.
Sylvain Lupari (January 31st, 2023) ***½**
Available at Brainwork.com and at Groove nl
(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)