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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BRENDAN POLLARD: Isolated Passages Three

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

It's a last lap of a series that has no reason to die out

1 Devolved 16:00

2 Solitude of Motion 11:16

3 Configure 10:42

4 On Air 13:24

5 The Final Passage 20:23

(CD-R/DDL 71:47) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Woosshh, dull neurotic beats and electronic effects, both chthonian and astral, are at the origin of Devolved's dimension. Brendan Pollard doesn't exceed 70 seconds to make us visit the limbo of what remains of the coat of arms of Tangerine Dream that already the dull rhythm becomes a fluid zigzagging movement of the sequencer. Another line settles under the roar of the synths, giving an air of race to this first title that plunge us in the ambiences of ISOLATED PASSAGES THREE. The layers of voices fly over these two rhythmic lines as well as the vocal tunes of a synth sculptor of surrealist ambiences. There are these beats which come and go to annoy a little this titanic course of the pure Berlin School that BP soberly reminds by scattering snippets of harmonies drawn from the Mellotron. The rhythm becomes slightly convulsive, like a disarticulated puppet that refuses to give up, in a momentum supported and fortified by chords that come and go to decorate its speed. Speed that little by little crumbles under the weight of what the sequencer carries and that brings this crazy train of Devolved to a phase where everything is dark and surrounded by murmurs of fog some 10 minutes later. A land of grainy woosshh and organ sound that casts a murky veil under reverberation's cracks. A small phase of almost 3 minutes before a form of rubbery suction cup makes vibrate the waves subjected to a colony of Mephistophelian monks. A 3rd part of Isolated Passages? Why not... Brendan Pollard has more than one trick up his sleeve to keep our ears riveted to his compositions, which translate into the always very good Berlin School for the aficionados of the genre. ISOLATED PASSAGES THREE is announced as being the last album of a series of 3 that began barely 1 year ago. For many, the feat seems trivial. All he has to do is open his equipment and start improvising to add some meat around this new bone. But the passion and the way! Brendan has it and is quite creative in the way he puts it all together. This latest installment is like the last one, which was like the first. Nevertheless, the English musician-synthesist manages to introduce contemporary elements in textures conceived more than 50 years ago. Quite a feat, you may say! But when the passion and the way of doing things are there, there is no more, or almost, comparable.

Solitude of Motion shows that you can string together old and untie it like new! In an introduction drawn from the sound effects of the Ricochet and Rubycon years, a zigzagging and reverberating wave is coupled with a soft, fuzzy tune in a Luciferian vision. An initial pulse forms and its bouncy flow goes hand in hand with the reverberating lizardry that attempts to illuminate the darkness of Solitude of Motion. Its limp cadence is supported by another line that zigzags like a train running on tubular twists. The synth throws reverberating harmonies over this static two-speed structure. And like Devolved, this slower rhythmic surge ends around the 8-minute mark, plunging the track into a world of woosshh and waasshh. A universe of sonic drizzle from which come those strange, not to say sordid, borborygms of a hungry creature. The resonant beats of Configure don't waste any time to call the sequencer which releases immediately a rhythmic line more fluid and especially heavier than in Devolved. The mellotron covers these first moments of a Berlin School whose ascending line leads to the tinkling of small chimes. The mellotron comes back with a monasterial choral layer where loops of ambient harmonies multiply on the stoic and resonant beats of the Moog bass. Hypnotic and magnetizing, the rhythm keeps us awaken up until the finale. Awaken because then arises the movement of On Air and its bouncing suite of limpid arpeggios fixed to a sequencer in mode Berlin School. This very beautiful moment in music escapes on its route of 13 minutes with very beautiful harmonious synth solos in a structure of EM which has all the old Berlin School in a skin refreshed in a form of revival. Excellent! The Final Passage says everything! From the top of its 20 minutes, the title must amputate more than 9 minutes in a liberating introduction for the analog and modular synths. Liberating since Brendan eviscerates their interstices in a suite of bizarre noises mixed with others more conventional to the genre. The rhythm is pulsating and beats the measure in a corridor decorated with the layers of an old progressive rock organ. The rhythm is catchy and makes you hear the clicks of a double that follows its shadow with another line whose misstep stimulates its speed while falling those magnificent synth solos with apocalyptic trumpet harmonies. Scents of Edgar Froese are here... The sequencer always finds a way to give juice to its main rhythmic line by inserting keys that modify a structure always fed to please the most refractory of the last lovers of Franke-Froese-Baumann. It's a last lap of a series that has no reason to die out so much the talent, the passion and the way of making of Brendan Pollard embraces us the ears always eager of his intrusions in the genre.

Sylvain Lupari (April 14th, 2021) *****

Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp

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