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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Brainwork Cosmic Places (2014)

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

One of Brainwork's good albums where the minimalist art still has its charms in a mix of retro and New Berlin School

1 Endless Spheres 20:18 2 Salt Lake 19:24 3 Fog Spiral 12:36 4 Mare Serenitatis 8:49 Brainwork Music

(CD-r 61:13) (V.F.) (Retro and New Berlin School)

A long electronic crackling hinders the freedom of arpeggios which spread a spheroidal rhythmic musicality. Both entities get mix in opposite currents when a bass line ties to both lines its furtive notes and when synth solos, imprinted of nostalgia, unfold a fascinating veil of floating spectres. Endless Spheres goes into our ears with this delicious mix of retro and contemporary Berlin School where Uwe Saher hesitates once again between his suit of Brainwork and that of the Element 4. The rhythm is as well sneaky as mesmerizing. While the bass line makes melt its notes in the forgetting, cymbals emerge and make ring their elytrons of steel. Another line of sequences gets in and make swirl its jumping keys with small jolts in the movement, shaping a willowy stroboscopic filet which hiccups in the knocks of nervous percussions. Using knowingly the 20 minutes of Endless Spheres, Uwe Saher adds to his sonic envelope some smooth modifications which bewitch the ear. The solos are sublime and speak to us of their spectral singings while that the background ambiences spread pads of mist and dark voices as ethereal as cosmic. It's at the level of the rhythmic that Brainwork handles marvellously the hypnosis of his long minimalist movement by bringing in it some subtle changes which sound like a strange fusion between electronic ambient and a kind of jazz groove with percussions which skip as those of Harald Grosskopf in the classical Body Love from Klaus Schulze.

Moreover, everything of Endless Spheres inhales the hypnotic charms of Body Love and the whole of COSMIC PLACES draws out its inspiration from the musical bridge that Klaus Schulze has forged to make cross the analog electronic art to the one more colder and more groovy of the digital technology. After an ambiospherical intro where sonic elements swirl weakly in a cosmos magnetized by hollow voices and by an eclectic sound magnetism, Salt Lake shakes a first line of sequences which makes its keys skip in some metallic rustling which moan on the knocks of anvil. Nervous, the line of sequences makes its keys oscillate furiously in the submissive singings of a choir without soul which is coated by a chthonian fog. And boom-boom! Dark pulsations propel the rhythm towards a hypnotic techno where the boom-booms pound a rhythm made dizzy by the charm of the metallic jingles. Salt Lake reveals the wild rhythms of Element 4 in the seraphic envelopes of Brainwork. The leaden rhythm goes through all the morphic phases of the Berlin School and of its treasures of floating atmospheres. It staggers and adapts itself to the ambient phases to reborn with more vigour in its approach, bringing together here and there rebel sequences. Sequences which couple to some independent rhythmic motifs and fatten the sedentary violence of a cosmic techno which makes the backbone tremble if we approach a little too near the loudspeakers. If we want to get rid of a boring visit! A little softer and taking the shape of the evolutionary structure and lively rhythm of Salt Lake, Fog Spiral surrounds its boom-booms and tsitt-tsitts of sequences with keen tones of xylophone melted into an anvil. The rhythm lays down its sonic brilliances whose soft variances is forging a melodic approach so dear to the movement of New Berlin School while the ambiences are wrapped by chthonian choirs and by dark fog of which the fusion spreads a morphic envelope which, at times, calms down a rhythm which lulls between heaviness and sweetness. Mare Serenitatis ends the album with a clearly more serene approach, although always rather dark. The rhythm is slow. Forged in soft beatings, it offers its laconic pulsations to the melody of a vocoder from which the syllable singings remind the very intimate link between EM and its futurist vision of a science fiction to the unlimited horizons. I hear Robert Schroeder here in a very futuristic sonic painting that Brainwork decorates constantly of new sound elements.

I like this duality between the leaden rhythms of the Teutonic boom-booms of Element 4 and the dreamy sentimental-ambient approaches of Brainwork. And with these constantly scalable minimalist structures, where the rhythms sparkle of their sonic envelopes with sequences as much gleaming as lively and where the ambiences are colored of their most beautiful ambiosonic assets, COSMIC PLACES is for sure one of the good albums from Brainwork. An album where the minimalist art still charms and where retro Berlin School and the more contemporary one coexists with superb variances, as subtle as rough, in tones, harmonies and rhythms. Very good and to classify as an inescapable in the genre in 2014.

Sylvain Lupari (February 7th, 2014) *****

Available at Brainwork's webshop

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