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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Brainwork Sensual Reflections (1997)

Good rhythms easy to hum with a rather romantic touch, it also has good tracks on light rhythms which are easy to tame

1 Intro 2:09

2 Spirit Rain 6:40

3 Wideness 7:00

4 Dreaming China 7:50

5 Red Moon 6:41

6 Thrill Zone 6:52

7 Mediterean Theme 4:34

8 Waterfalls 8:24

9 Fairy Flight 6:22

10 Ice Forest 5:56

11 Black Celebration II 6:52

12 Outro 2:59

(CD 72:43) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School, E-Rock)

Without a doubt, Uwe Saher is one of the fine composers of EM who likes melodious rhythms which are tinged with a touch of romanticism and melancholy. SENSUAL REFLECTIONS is my first immersion in the world of Brainwork. Contrary to the orders gleaned here and there, this first contact takes me outside the paths of the Berlin School. And there I discovered an album of great tenderness, including the incredible Red Moon, arched on diverse rhythms; tribal, rock or Electronica. An album that some critics consider a pale reflection of what Brainwork can achieve. Is it a kind of slump like Robert Schroëder experienced with the Pegasus era? Let's go see and hear what the hell is going on.

Intro is designed around synth waves which undulate like layers of heat on asphalt heated by a blazing sun. It's an ambient track where children's cries mingle with an imprecise auditory fauna, even touching the breaths of Jean-Michel Jarre on Concerts in China. It ends with a loud slam of door, releasing a pagan incantation on the light and languid beat of Spirit Rain. The rhythm is constant and is based on a sober percussion play, a good bass line in a kind of cosmic Reggae. Wideness marries the sweetness scents of Tangerine Dream on Legend. A very attractive track built on Johannes Schmoelling's style where the piano gives the beat. Dreaming China opens with oriental arpeggios which skip and sparkle in the astral void of a vaporous synth before marrying an undulating sequence which follows the cadence of these arpeggios. If the rhythm is light at the beginning, it gradually increases the cadence in the second half with a more present mellotron and its slow and enveloping orchestrations, from which emerge the limpid introductory chords. To date, everything is accessible and flirts with a sweet EDM with ethnic scents. Red Moon is quite splendid with its hyper touching piano, topped with crystalline notes and a mellotron with sweet orchestral arrangements to make a rock melt if not cry. That's candy for the ears, except that we are in easy New Age land… but it's so adorable it would be a sin to ignore it. A bit like the very beautiful and Middle Ages Mediterean Theme and its mix of acoustic guitar, with harp and guitar sounds from the Middle Ages coated with flutes and mellotron's orchestrations.

After this romantic insert, Thrill Zone plunges us into a musical world obscured by good intriguing synth layers, strange vocalizations and twisted solos on a sustained beat. A title that would have made the repertoire of Mark Shreeve! It's on clear, rather discreet and hopping chords, that Waterfalls opens its first steps. The rhythm sets in, following a very TD musical structure from the American East Coast. A title fueled by Yanni. That is to say very melodious, with a pleasant synth on a heavy, but soft rhythm. Fairy Flight is another title with a soft and intuitive look. A superb strummed line runs through a zigzagging rhythm which is supported by sober percussions, heterogeneous sound effects and which is also interrupted by technoïd moments. A good title that hooks instantly! Ice Forest is a melodious and heavy title which starts in a mystical mist from which escape soft strummed chords with dazzling chimes. A piece where melancholy is lulled on an ascending sequence and whose spiral leads to a heavy rhythm, while Black Celebration II offers a heavy and jerky rhythm with an African tribal vocal approach, including the claps of the hands, on an electronic background with very adventurous curves. A title which depicts the universe of contradictory rhythms of SENSUAL REFLECTIONS.

Brainwork is far from lacking in imagination. He still has a lot of creativity and especially this desire to make us hear his music. That said, SENSUAL REFLECTIONS is a strange album. Very melodious with New Age hues at certain moments. Good rhythms easy to hum with a rather romantic touch, it also has charming and good tracks on light rhythms which are easy to tame. All in all, a nice collection of music which contains real music jewels with a romantic and melancholic touch from this artist who will reserve us very nice surprises.

Sylvain Lupari (September 24th, 2009) *****

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