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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BRENDAN POLLARD: Live in Concert 2006 Part II (And more) (2012)

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

There is music on Live in Concert which shows that Brendan Pollard has still his place in the chessboard of EM

1 Radiant Transmission 33:49

2 Ode to... 8:50 (May 2006)

3 Detox 15:09 (September 2010)

(CD/DDL 57:48) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

In 2007 Brendan Pollard amazed the wonderful world of EM with Flux Echoes. A splendid album which has ignited fans of the genre, of the beautiful reminiscences of the Stratosfear and Phaedra years of Tangerine Dream. Presented in 2 parts (Part 1 and Part 2), Live in Concert goes back to the time when Brendan Pollard laid the foundations of Flux Echoes which would see the light of day some 6 months later. LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part II also includes a track lost in the Flux Echoes archives (Ode to ...) and a final track (Detox) that Brendan composed before he retired and sold his studio.

Hoops of limpid electronic tones twirl in evanescent motion to introduce the very atmospheric beginning of Radiant Transmission. Steve Palmer's guitar chords seem lost in this mess of motley tones as a quietly pulsating line aligns these frantic chords, shaping Radiant Transmission's first sequenced breakthrough. This line of sequence divides its strengths, tracing another movement whose oscillations forge a crisscrossing rhythm that crosses metallic whispers and spectral choirs humming under the piercing cries of hungry birds. Another sequence with resonant keys crosses this line of rhythm, while the choirs shout with jerky movement and the synths spit out Ricochet harmonies under the weakened notes of a guitar that sounds like Manuel Göttsching. This first portion of Radiant Transmission is steaming with these symphonic synth breaths which float on cymbals whose clicks surround a galloping rhythm on undulating and crisscrossing sequences for a long period of 18 minutes. Subsequently the title sinks in an atmospheric sphere filled with eccentric electronic sounds and knocking which resonate in a universe split between abstract horror and the magnetism of syncretic tones. A bass line emerges some 4 minutes later, drawing a strange movement of groove that Palmer's guitar adorns with discreet wandering chords. A thin sequenced line runs in the background. Its chaotic trajectory traces the lines of a furtive movement, shaping a strange indecisive rumba which sways under the fine and brief solos of a guitar always so effaced. The rhythm embraces a tangent a little more incisive by releasing sequenced keys which whistle when they bite this hesitant rhythm that a beautiful Mellotron envelops in its melancholy aura. The sequences are no longer hungry. They gradually decrease their velocities, even losing their fragile balances as the rhythm of Radiant Transmission tries to maintain a cadence that runs out of steam as the keys of the sequences become less frequent and the rhythm ends up lacking in energy.

Ode to ... plunges us directly into the ambiences of Flux Echoes with a title animated by sequences skipping frantically in the voices of misty choirs and synths with philharmonic breaths. Between Ricochet and Stratosfear the rhythm, as frenzied than melodic, comes up against an opaque atmospheric passage where dense layers of Mellotron float among the tunes of a forgotten flute on the shores of a lost paradise. Composed in 2010, Detox presents a more contemporary face of BP's works. The intro is intriguing at will with murky breaths which purr on a threatening pulsating line of which each stroke resembles a suffocating breath. The movement comes to life delicately with a string of sequences which spell out its keys so that they take opposite directions on a dark pulsating bass line of which every blow bites our ears, shaping a splendid staggering rhythmic approach. We are in the lair of ['ramp] and Redshift with a superb passage where the melody of the sequences is absorbed by the heavy resonances of a strong bass line. The synth spreads spectral waves which float on these large cyclic circles where other sequenced keys are dancing when the pulsating rhythm takes refuge in a short abstract passage. A pretext for Brendan to sharpen Detox's orientations in order to bring it into dark territories. Where the rhythm beats with its dark, murky pulsations on the wings of metallic cymbals that spectral synth blades cover with a Machiavellian aura. Notes of electric piano disperse the mists drawn by the Mellotron, giving Detox the finale worthy of its splendor.

Like an architect, the English synthesist displays his dark, moving protean structures, combining dark, psychedelic and morphic ambiences with movements of the sequencer animated by free keys and sometimes unruly. LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part II confirms the talent of this very good English synthesist who retires from the EM scene. It's just to be hoped that he will reconsider his decision and that he will make us enjoy works such as Detox and the impressive Radiant Transmission, the studio version of which is even more powerful. As a whole, this LIVE IN CONCERT 2006 Part II is a good live album which proves that the ambiences and the dark rhythms of the analog years are still relevant today. It just depends on the hands and the creativity of those who want to tame them in order to share with us.

Sylvain Lupari (April 30th, 2012) ***½**

Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp

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