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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BRENDAN POLLARD: Live in Concert 2006 Part I (2012)

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Live in Concert 2006 is a great pre-sequel to his classic album Flux Echoes

1 Aquatic Caplet 26:25

2 Fluxy, Flangey, Phasey Bollox 25:17

(CD/DDL 51:42) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Each time I listen to an album inspired by the nostalgic ashes of the dark sequenced movements of analog years, like Phaedra and Stratosfear from Tangerine Dream, I have certain apprehensions. Has the vein not been exploited enough to bring out other interesting music? LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part 1 from Brendan Pollard is not composed of original material. It's an improvised EM album which preceded the main creative lines of his pivotal album Flux Echoes released in 2007. Recorded during the E-Live festival in Eindhoven, Holland, in October 2006, LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part 1 is a journey to the heart of these musical memories that captivated so many aficionados of progressive electronic music of the 70's. It's also a journey into the rhythms and ambiences of a flagship album that would become Brendan Pollard's pass in the circle immortals of contemporary EM.

Divided between its psychedelic phases and its evolving sequenced rhythms Aquatic Caplet progresses like an architectural project in which Brendan Pollard is busy at the height of his creativity. The introduction is choppy with strokes of the oars that brilliantly shatter stigmatized water and large metallic bangs that resound in an echoing mist, stimulating the piercing cries of a young bird created in the tones of a synth with multiple hybrid tones. This sound envelope stuffed with disparate and metallic tones will furnish the thundering psychedelic phases of this long title with multifaceted structures. Our ears, still in the shock of a noise without music, discern a limpid sequenced movement which subdivides its scintillating keys. The sequences intertwine in a fine linear ballet that a resonant bass line supports with its soft purrs, drawing a fluid rhythmic approach that turns on itself and whose harmonies woven by the synths swim in harmonic memories of Stratosfear and its chthonic choirs wandering under superb layers of enchanting flutes. The melodic approach is seductive and flows like a fine harmonic lasso which rolls in a loop on a structure more and more animated by a nervous and more accentuated sequenced current. The rhythm set up by these subdivided sequences gradually fades away as Aquatic Caplet plunges into a first psychedelic and atmospheric phase where a panoply of ringing sound effects ring in a nothingness crammed with metallic breaths, paranoid whispers and the echo from bludgeons' blows, recalling the more experimental phases of the Dream. And the rhythm comes back to life around the 11 minutes with this resonant bass line and these sequenced arpeggios which frolic and shine with an incoherent rhythmic approach that a delicate misty flute caresses from its lethal veils. And that's how Aquatic Caplet works! Crossing 3 psychedelic-atmospheric phases, the rhythms remain always flexible and delicate, traced by sequences with keys which alternate and intersect in tones of glass. They permute, both in their forms and their tones, bringing this first long title of LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part 1 in delicious morphic dances that wandering choirs and dreamy flutes caress and support with a harmonic envelope drawn from the vestiges of Stratosfear and Phaedra.

Fluxy, Flangey, Phasey Bollox is a title that we found in the special edition of Flux Echoes. Structured on the same model as Aquatic Caplet, with atmospheric phases which relaunch rhythms moved by the fine modulations of the sequences, it also begins in unreal ambiences of an abstract musical universe. The intro is stuffed with sonorities as complex as they are disparate that a bass line disperses with its resonant chords. A movement of the sequencer takes shape and sculpts a hypnotic movement of an imperfect spiral, while other sequences escape and diffuse keys whose echoes dance in their subdued resonances of metallic tones. And it's the dance of the sequencer that begin. More complex than Aquatic Caplet, the rhythmic structure of the title is assailed by good sequences which frolic excessively under very beautiful fluty layers. Here, the synth releases very good solos which spread a nice musicality in mists as ethereal as intriguing. The rhythm changes radically after the first atmospheric phase with an explosive sequenced line which squanders its keys in a furious undulating linear movement. The synth may make float sweet solos that the oscillatory rhythm of this phase remains imbued with a charming liveliness, like a roller coaster in a Milky Way. This frantic rhythm continues its course beyond the second psycho-sonic passage before coming up against a final imbued with tones as abstract as the EM universe can create.

This Brendan Pollard album is aimed at fans of Flux Echoes and Tangerine Dream from its Baumann-Franke-Froese era. Without inventing anything, the English synthesist follows the evolutionary tangent which brought him to his flagship album. Despite some problems with the limitations of the recording sources, LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part 1 offers good sound quality as well as an EM that meets the expectations that one may have of an artist who is specializes in embroidering his music in the ashes of the best moments of the progressive Berlin School.

Sylvain Lupari (April 28th, 2012) ***½**

Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp

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