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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BRENDAN POLLARD: Expansion (2005)

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

Brendan Pollard exploits the analog structures of the 70's with his very personal touch

1 Tegula 19:08

2 Toxic Blue 24:53

3 Nebulous 7:05

4 Valve 7:10

5 Aquarius 2:29

(CD/DDL 60:55) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Brendan Pollard is part of the English duo Rogue Element, the same one that gave us the sublime It's thus without surprises that he presents us a solo CD with the divine sounds of the analog years. EXPANSION could even be considered as a sequel to Premonition that we would not be surprised.

Lonely chords float in a dark ambience filled by mysterious lapping and sounds effects of cosmic cetacean. A choir of monastic voices springs from this artificial void that a mellotron flute comes to embellish. A lazy bass line undulates with strength and resonance under a delicate sequence and fleeting synth layers. Tegula comes to life on the reverberations of this bass sequence tinged of abyssal voices and of superb synth solos. The title deviates towards an atmospheric sphere where dark pulsations echo on sound effects with thousand and one percussive forms. A huge layer of chthonian voices envelops these effects a few seconds after the 3rd minute, plunging Tegula in a dark ambient vision. It's like a vertiginous fall towards the other side where we hear a flute nebulous of its tunes, a few minutes later. Corrosive reverberations have replaced the voices that return in another form, while the Moog bass spits out a long elastic hook that drags the track towards a slow rhythm where the sequencer is dancing of its indecisive keys and are humming momentarily these absent voices. The rhythm becomes a wave of fury with these elasticized chords that come and go in this intimidating fog of the gothic Berlin School. Its strength is tempered in the charms of a flute around the 13th minute. Where one can also hear the imposing flora of percussive elements that fed its strength and which diminish gradually, stretching its aural charms over an atmospheric distance exceeding 2 minutes. At this point, the void greedily absorbs the last vestiges of Tegula, an excellent Berlin School from the Ricochet years, as Phaedra's.

It's on heterogeneous noises, creating atmospheres at the limits of a sound schizophrenia, that Toxic Blue moves forward. From the flute to the dark choral passing by sighs of violins, the mellotron floats in this iconoclastic sphere where a soft floating passage manages to stir us just before the wind rises. A solitary cello takes up this sweetness on sad strings with cold metal sounds. Slowly, the preludes of a sequencer pulse take shape on a convulsing bass and a floating mellotron. The rhythm comes alive with good sequenced keys that twirl around some resonant pulses, accompanying a light flute and synth before spilling over into a furious sequence that blasts out over a rhythm twisting of power. Another sequenced passage opens around the 16th minute under biting synth stripes. The rhythm cascades over analog sound effects and a violin mellotron layer, swirling with an intensity that a flute can't soften. A superb demented passage! With Nebulous we enter a sphere where the sound effects mix with strange voices on vaporous mellotron passages. A track worthy of the psychedelic moments of Pink Floyd, but with a very updated sound freshness. Valve's first voluptuousness begins as Nebulous ends. But after a few seconds, a swirling sequence takes over with nice layers of a seductive synth. The movement takes on more depth when a bass line replaces the sequence and undulates with accentuated speed over the mellotron flutes. Aquarius closes EXPANSION on a mellotron that is suave and melodic, sailing on calm and idle water, like the sublime flute that closes the last harmonies of the album.

With or without Rogue Element, Brendan Pollard exploits the analog structures of the 70's with his very personal touch. Beyond the mellotron passages, the English synthesist exploits a more audacious sound environment, with more psychedelic and sharper passages than on Premonition. To write a track like Toxic Blue alone, shows a seductive audacity but also a suicidal one, because a single movement less, as in of too much, could have made this track fall into a total indifference. Ditto for Tegula! But Brendan Pollard knew how to combine the extremes with subtlety, creativity and emotion. EXPANSION is an album that can be listened to with the passion it clears out. And with headphones, the effect is unique! A true vintage Tangerine Dream...

Sylvain Lupari (November 30th, 2007) *****

Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp

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