BREIDABLIK: Omicron (2020)
“Breidablik offers here an album of exceptional quality where the high-tension cinematic genre fits to the essence of Berlin School in a vision of its own”
1 Omicron Part I 22:24
2 Omicron Part II 20:47
Bonus Tracks on CD
3 Penumbra Part I (Remixed & Remastered) 19:28
4 Penumbra Part II (Remixed & Remastered) 11:06
(LP/CD/DDL 73:35) (V.F.)
Penumbra and Nhoohr have highlighted the great ease of Morten Birkeland Nielsen to write an EM that flirts with the perfumes of the Phaedra years. You will tell me that there are many who do! You are right. But very few do it with the same vision, the same tone and above all the same passion. It's with these 3 elements that Breidablik has managed to stand out. Obviously, it's very difficult to survive to these dominant albums without bringing a new element likely to rally fans, from the beginning as the new ones, in the furrows of a new album. Breidablik understood this by broadening the horizons of his music with the arrival of Håkon Oftung, his guitars and flutes, in his enchanting universe. And this presence is felt as soon as OMICRON opens.
It's with a tender and dreamy acoustic six-strings from Håkon Oftung that this new adventure opens in the territories of Breidablik's analog Berlin School. The melody is catchy with an air of already heard from the 70's. A kind of progressive folk immersed in a layer of distant voices and another one of synth full of fluty mists. The first mutation of Omicron Part I floats towards an ambient phase where tears of a synth that we can easily confuse with the Lap-Steel guitar of Steve Howe in Soon remain in suspension. Electronic fog and drifting synth pads continue to sew this chthonic opening that a heavy step of the sequencer revives in an approach that is reminiscent of The Aeon's Day from Under The Dome. Heavier and slower, the flow of the sequencer resonates and sculpts a stroboscopic effect with a membrane of white noise sewn on its back. The movement is ascending with oblong oscillating curves typical of the Berlin School, kind of Rubycon, drawing these imaginary trains which go up and down the improvised musical plains. The rhythm accelerates and the electric guitar throws raging solos which are like large fireflies zigzagging in the dark, giving a more progressive rock vision to Omicron Part I. Håkon Oftung rests his fingers at the same time as the flow moderates its velocity in a phase where the sequencer still remains active by releasing rhythm lines which oppose their differences. Layers of absent voices, vaporous waves and other more incisive adorn the ambient passage which opens at the door of the 10 minutes. Very rich, this phase is filled with tearful pads and other pads whose austere tones and thin lines of reverberations lead us to small muffled explosions. Wooshh and wiishh add to the ambiences that an organ decorates with its big threatening carpet. A shadow of the sequence hatches a little before the 16th minute, thus awakening the sequencer which propels the music into a fiery electronic rock whose alternating strikes receive the support of percussion in order to feed this beat which will sink with a thundering abysmal layer before returning Omicron Part I to its introductory cradle.
The sighs in suspension of the Omicron Part I opening are also found in that more organic one of Omicron Part II. The guitar and flute of Håkon Oftung fill this phase of atmospheres where a strange figure of rhythm takes shape in the background with clicks which make suffer by a bench of hungry wooshh. Except that it's rather a line of fluid sequences, with its choir suspended to its oscillations, that the rhythm takes root. The ambiences are in the very Berlin School of the years 72-73 with this vampiric shadow which extends its rhythmic grip and the fragrances of an old organ as sinister than the chthonian voices. The tremolo, and especially the acoustic effect of the flute, roots us at this time. Flowing like a harp that makes a horde of children dressed in white dance lightly, the rhythm dances in symbiosis with an enchanting flute. The darkness of the organ keeps watch behind the scenes, while bells tinkle in a sonic confusion fed by noisy percussive elements. Worthy of a horror movie, this secret rhythm of Omicron Part II draws large loops that come and go between the roars of the winds and of various electronic effects. This circular rhythm is like a hypnotic refrain as hysterical as it's vertiginous which gradually crumbles its lines of rhythm and the ingenuity of the sequencer in order to bring Omicron Part II into a final which initiated the genesis of OMICRON.
Originally designed for vinyl, OMICRONwill also be available on a manufactured CD and in download format with the two large sections of Penumbra, remixed and remastered. I didn't really find a lot of major differences, apart from an enhanced sound and a better cutting in the sound effects and in the percussive elements. An excellent initiative for those who do not have this album. As for OMICRON, Breidablik succeeded in bringing its music to another level of excellence by offering an album of exceptional quality where the high-tension cinematic genre fits to the essence of vintage Berlin School in a vision of its own. Splendid from A to Z!
Sylvain Lupari (February 20th, 2020) ****¾*
Available at Breidablik's Bandcamp