BRAINWORK: Soundclouds (2006)
“A great album that combines Berlin School with EDM and a hint of symphonic e-rock”
1 Rainpearls 11:08
2 Silverlake 20:05
3 Polarlight 15:55
4 Sky Trains 15:20
5 Summer Clouds 10:45
6 Eternal Ascend 6:13
(CD-R 79:28) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School, E-Rock, EDM)
A favorite! A sublime crush. I had discreetly listened to Back to Future two years ago and I had found that good. It's thus without expectation that I was going to listen to SOUNDCLOUDS this new album of the German musician Uwe Saher, also known for his more energetic music with his other musical project, Element 4.
An anaesthetizing layer covers our ears as Rainpearls opens. Clear arpeggios get sequenced to swirl in a zigzag pattern, while another set of percussive chords, sounding like glockenspiels, merge with this first rhythmic base. These two lines form an electronic rhythm structure that no human step can follow. What remains is the mind! I imagine two figure skaters combining speed and fluidity with bowls of crystalline arpeggios that they launch into a cosmic choreography cushioned by Software's orchestrations with this erratic dance of sequences whose slightest misstep is gold for the ears. This New Berlin School has the modernity of its tonalities. Did we notice this bass line emitting its pulsations that accelerate the step of this static ballet? After having blown its speed limit, a little after the 5th minute, Rainpearls slows down the pace to offer us the most beautiful moment of its frantic race whose slowing down will serve as an occasion for the proliferation of beautiful and good synth solos. Wow! What a great opening! After an opening of astral ambiences from the time of Klaus Schulze and in contemporary tonalities, Silverlake follows with notes that dance with hesitation. The bass line structures this ghostly rhythm beating in the accumulation of sleepy layers. The rhythm comes out of limbo at the 6th minute. Analog sound effects multiply around this cosmic cha-cha-cha. Winds whistle greedily inviting an emotional tension to unfold its shadow while percussions, hectic as clappers, slam with echo signifying Silverlake's halfway point. From then on, the track resets the engineering of the rhythm which becomes a good up-tempo progressing with a bit more vigor with its strobe-like envelope pulling it towards a dance rhythm. The percussive taps are sucked in by mega wind slicks where vocals fade in and out. Another intense ambient phase emerges 30 seconds into the 13th minute. An intense minute before the rhythm, and its taps, return in a good IDM style. It may fight and beat a measure that makes our butts move that the ambient phases return to grab its jewel in a slow finale where the winds dominate and weaken over a course of more than 2 minutes. But it doesn't matter, Silverlake puts my ears full of it.
Polarlight is another track that mixes the phases of rhythms and ambiances. Invasive atmospheres where the ears suffocate in front of so much tonal richness in the layers. The notes, as well high as low, dance lasciviously on unctuous strata of a dominant synth. Heavier, this atmosphere turns inside a cylindrical movement from which emerges rhythms hung by melodious lines and cinematographic orchestrations. An intense track that requires a few listens. Sky Trains rolls a little in this model of oppressive atmospheres. One passes in Berlin School mode thought in anaesthetic vapors. Without forcing the hypnotic psychosis of the techno, the beat hits on a line of bass sequences animated by good percussions, which sometimes thunder with ingenuity. I like the artifices of the Disco, as well as this bouncy rhythm without which would kill a one-legged man. The bass line is superb, and the synths are dense and follow the rhythm with the multiple facets of a moderate dance music. Uwe Saher lays down some good solos on a track that embraces the minimalist impulses of the Berlin School with an organic techno edge. It's danceable well, like it listens very well too. A great track! Summer Clouds starts on a good synth loaded of orchestral arrangements. Superficial waltz with a cord to pull out the emotions. Animated chords flutter around like a swarm of musical dragonflies with a lively and jerky movement. Little by little, the rhythm lines get more musical. Especially with this flute coming out from the mellotron. It floods us with a good melody and the rhythm falls with heaviness. The summer clouds dance on a heavy rhythm, at the limits of a symphonic EDM, with nervous arpeggios that do break-dance on very good orchestral arrangements. A good track that has some bite. Eternal Ascend ends SOUNDCLOUDS with a good down-tempo. A heavy, slow and intense rhythm with synth harmonies that sing like nuns in front of the human misery. The percussions resound on notes that seek for the rhythm on their echoes, girded by synthesizers with sparse and enveloping forms as well as catchy rhythmic lines.
Honestly? I fell off my chair more than once in my discovery of SOUNDCLOUDS. This is a beautiful Brainwork album that combines Berlin School movements with Electronic Dance Music and a hint of symphonic electronic rock. The synthesizers, and their artifices, release haze schools of a rare intensity in an album that multiplies its strong moments. One of the good albums of 2006!
Sylvain Lupari (July 28th, 2006) *****
Available at Brainwork Music