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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Yet another splendid minimalist opus which sparkle of freshness from this trio that crosses ages without a wrinkle

1 Direction Green Part I & II 42:17 Manikin Records | MRCD 8003

(EP 42:17) (V.F.) (Minimalist New Berlin School)

The rhythm comes by far. It swarms such as the gallop of a cavalry that our ears catch in slow motion. The lines of synth are outlining some electronic fogs, a little as when our fingers touch the surface of clouds. And the chords are dancing in some slightly chipped stroboscopic spirals. We are on the way towards Green; the next album from the Keller & Schönwälder duet which is planned for spring 2015. The fans are impatient and wait with ears already too strongly dilated for the suite of this pentalogy on colors that the German duo began with Noir in 2003. The musical structures of this electronic symphony on visual tints and colors have always met their auricular equivalences with long minimalist structures which mix marvellously the soporific ambiences to soft morphic rhythms. And at this level, DIRECTION GREEN will know how to charm, but with a little something in more.

Wooden percussions click with discretion and the bass line loses its pulsations in the knocks of bass drum. The first 15 minutes offer a hopping rhythm which waves and quavers in a kind of musical silt where the sound waves collide in some fascinating organic lappings. The effect creates a kind of static staccato. The ambiences are stuffed of evanescent stroboscopic lines and organic sequences which oversize the tints of green. The solos are charming. Sometimes dreamy and other times strangely dark, one would say a strange organic guitar, they drag the rangy ambient melodies which split up their airs in a continual agitated eddy of jerks and stroboscopic filaments. Surprisely, I hear Vangelis. Direction Green Part I & II changes of skin a little after the 15th minute. The rhythm becomes vaporously funky with a good bass line which gurgles as much as it beats, supporting the deformed harmonies of the spectral waves and these chords disguised of riffs which cut out the brief floating harmonies. After a short ambiospherical passage where the synth lines pulse in long jerky filets, Direction Green Part I & II adopts this structure of soft morphic techno so dear to the repertoire of Keller, Schönwälder and Broekhuis. It's very quiet. One would say a techno in a state of weightlessness. But the whole sound universe is swarming like a puddle flooded of krill. And the solos mock these jingles of percussions, these organic sequences and these rippling synth lines which unwind stroboscopic clouds. Crying tears of sapphire in soft mists in tints of emerald, they slide so tenderly that they wrap us with a quilt of serenity. A new chapter gets create at 34:50 while that Direction Green Part II kisses our ears with synth layers which float like soporific clouds and solitary harmonies, presented by a tone of saxophone very near the melancholic serenades of Vangelis, on an ambient structure where weak tom-toms, and heterogeneous percussions, bring us to these deserts moods such as depicted by Steve Roach. Unexpected and totally great!

DIRECTION GREEN is a delicious starter, while waiting for Green! No matter the times, the music of Keller & Schönwälder travels through decades with such a grace as it is impossible to us not to fall under these hypnotic charms. This music charmingly minimalist has no secret for this German duet, strongly supported by the brilliant play of the percussionist Bas Broekhuis (we should not push him aside from the Keller/Schönwälder equation this one), which illuminates constantly the hearing with splendid sonic decorations. The secret lives in the Memotron and these other electronic instruments that the Manikin team knew how to develop over the years, giving a 3rd breath to an art of which the relevance we would question without musicians' contribution of this calibre.

Sylvain Lupari (November 1st, 2014) *****

Available at Manikin's Bandcamp

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