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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Brainwork Ten (2008)

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

A pure musical delight for fans of Berlin School, the vintage one as the modern one

1 Traffic 14:06

2 Atlantica 16:53

3 Pacifica 21:03

4 Beauty of Sadness 20:08

(CD 72:20) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Except in his native Germany, Brainwork is got to be one of the most unknown artists of the electronic music scene. I still have the sound prints of Soundclips, one of the best electronic music (EM) cd's in 2006. TEN is his 10th album. A tribute album to the Berlin School and its creators; Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Ashra Temple. A pure musical delight for fans of Berlin School, both from the older generation and from the more digital years.

A nice astral nebulosity covers the opening of Traffic. The synth releases an armada of layers inspired by analog scents. In a morphic design, they float softly with a delicate membrane of electronic radioactivity. They waltz and intertwine their sonic wings in an anaesthetizing choreography where beeps and electronic bat songs accumulate. This introduction rises in intensity to cling to an analog rhythmic structure, worthy of Klaus Schulze's. A sequenced structure with spasmodic jolts and percussive elements concentrated in a static core. This feverish agitation is finally swallowed by these layers whose organ tones are reminiscent of the Blackdance years. Traffic then strikes an intense ambient phase where, greedy with its gloomy appearance, the keyboard initiates a series of fat and resonant chords on this pierced core and whose flow seems eternal. The 10th minute sees Traffic reborn from its sequences. But the movement remains static until it disappears in a finale equal to the opening. Atlantica doesn't differ too much from Traffic with a boisterous atmospheric opening filled with reverberating jerks, static interferences and twisted filaments that tear through a cosmic oblivion, creating a black hole from which a rotating motion emerges. A heavy sequenced movement filled with 3 chords, muted pulses and glass percussions creates a mesmerizing vortex beginning. A bass line climbs over this rhythm, throwing depth and stimulus to dance to. And when the percussions fall around the 4-minute mark, Brainwork's double, Element 4, takes the beat and turns it into contemporary techno. Minimalist, Atlantica's rhythm now serves the cause of Uwe Saher who decorates it to his liking, including those jerky orchestrations that end up counteracting the rhythmic voracity. A temporary stop, as there will be some more in order to oil this infernal rhythm. A ferocious track that will be followed by the two gems of TEN.

With Pacifica and Beauty of Sadness we enter into a most romantic Berlin School musical universe. Hesitant chords jump around in a sequenced circular movement whose stereophonic environment gives a rather lyrical aspect. It reminds me a lot of Remy's Exhibitions of Dreams or Klaus Schulze's Dreams. A good bass line adds depth to this atmospheric rhythm, while chords going the other way follow a few spins later. This gentle hypnotic movement adds slightly spectral layers. Quietly Pacifica is dressed in a good minimalist structure, expanding its range of diversified sounds. In particular an electronic guitar modifies the structure by making it dreamier, recalling the charms of Claustrophony on Dreams especially with the addition of percussions. More incisive and innovative percussions, with effects of rattlesnakes' tails, are accelerating appreciably a pace already bewitching and superbly suggestive. A superb piece of music. And while we feel it and we know we are conquered; Uwe Sawer throws us at full soul the splendid Beauty of Sadness. A music as poetic as its title with a charming intro. Chime notes gambol freely in a Cinderella glass universe. This tenderness takes us to emotional heights with a melodious synth inviting us to restrained waltzes that runs through an amplified movement of a hesitant bass. A superb mellotron synth drops short magical odes. Odes marked by a nostalgic tenderness that we would like to be eternal and that dances innocently in the corridors of our melancholic sadness that runs through the meanders of our sufferings that made us grow up. The beauty of sadness, as seen by Brainwork cannot be described. It is lived by listening to this magnificent title which will be for a long time the witness of our most painful dreams. A superb title! I know I already said it. A superb final thus which is with the image of an album which will still be listened in 10 years. Bravo Uwe for making us live these emotions through your music.

Sylvain Lupari (May 19th, 2008) ****¾*

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