BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHONWALDER: Repelen Revisited (2018)
“If people will find something to say against Repelen Revisited it will be that it's too easy to tame, to like the music on it…”
1 Ready for Lounge 11:19 2 Walking Under the Moon 8:35 3 Repelen Groove 10:11 4 Electric Chess 10:49 5 A New Day 8:31 6 Song of Life 11:28 7 Rush Hour 6:30 MRCD 7107
(CD/DDL 67:28) (V.F.) (Mix of New Age & Berlin School)
I'm always divided when I start to dig into a new album of the Repelen Series from Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder along with their musical journeymen on this project; Raughi Ebert on guitars and Thomas Kagermann on violin and flutes. Not because it's not good, nor interesting! The quintet explores a musical avenue which struggles between New Age, or a kind of a very pleasant Easy Listening, and an EM which flirts with a clearly more accessible Berlin School style. But always, I get seduced so easily by a production without smudge among which the mastering and the mixing allows every instrument to seduce the most timid eardrums. Contrary to what the title can indicate, REPELEN REVISITED is not a compilation nor an album of remixes. It's rather a collection of titles that the quintet played or rehearsed during the performances and/or the sessions of 2011 and 2016. Thus, it's original material which respects in every aspect the music without borders of Broekhuis, Keller, Schönwälder, Ebert & Kagermann.
It's with Raughi Ebert's acoustic guitar that begins Ready for Lounge. The notes travel from a loudspeaker to another one with a hint of Mediterranean romance. A pulsation seizes the last breath of this first acoustic melody, awakening the tears of a dreamy violin while riffs of keyboard slumbers in suspension. The jingles of the percussions peck at a structure which increases its pace while staying in its limits of cosmic Funk and Groove so peculiar to Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder. Stimulating tinklings of xylophone add a surreal touch while the violin always cries so much. In my opinion, Ready for Lounge seems to be offer to the sound journeymen BK& S so that they sharpen their talents. Walking Under the Moon is more interesting with its very Berlin School structure. The sequencer, and its very nervous keys, skip on a Halloween theme, or yet Tubular Bells, to form these Berlin School rhythms lively for the neurons, and the for fingers. Instead of drawing solos, the synths stimulate good effects and ambient riffs to deepen the soundscapes and the field of Thomas Kagermann's violin laments. This is a very good title and I suspect that Repelen Groove is inspired by it by offering a slower, a dreamier structure of Groove as we say, to submit to our ears a bigger diversity in instruments and other synth effects. One can hear an acoustic guitar, percussions bongo drums, lines of flute and piano here. The solos are hearing-illusion with a synth which shows tones of saxophone besides forging ethereal layers where we can even hear voices with a tribal essence as a seraphic one. Ideal for on a Sunday morning.
In fact, all of REPELEN REVISITED is even more beautiful on a morning when the senses are amazed in front of the beauties of life and its natures. The Electric Chess sounds familiar? Well, it's a kind of tribute to the cult title of Manuel Göttsching's album E2-E4. We jump over its psychedelic introduction to dance immediately on a kind of cosmic Groove and its clothes of ambient Funk. Raughi Ebert is in nice shape with his guitars, as acoustic as electric, which scatter appropriate riffs and also vapors of blues, as well as romances, while more discreet, even more retiring than the violin, the synth is in mode very cool saxophone. A New Day is a little serenade structured on a beautiful momentum of rhythmic growth. The music is very soft and floats through the harmonies of clarinets forged skillfully by a synth. Discreet, the guitar is of use as melodic bed to a duel between this clarinet, as with the lines of seraphic voices and the tears of violins. The percussions raise the romantic intensity of this title which livens up slowly by crumbling its seconds. Impossible to not like this one! Song of Life is another title of the Berlin School genre with a floating movement dipped into gases of ether. The ambiences liven up gradually, binding even themselves with a rhythm sculpted by percussions always of the Bongo kind, while the ambiospherical décor is split between good synth solos which include perfumes of the 70's and solos of a violin at times too present. Set apart the synth riffs, the ambiences are decorated with the electronic effects of the Klaus Schulze repertoire and with pretty nice Mellotron layers. That's a title that I would have like a bit more in its purely electronic envelope of the good analog years. At this level, Rush Hour answers more my waits. Even if Thomas Kagermann's violin tries to bring in it a folkloric touch, the rhythm shows a good swiftness under lively percussions and riffs of hiccupping sequences. The synth solos are what we expect of EM with their aerial pirouettes which spin in and out in an ear-catchy electronic décor filled with sounds and with mists which are familiar to our ears.
Always carefully presented in a six panels digipack artwork, REPELEN REVISITED wears proudly the Manikin signature. In this sense that the music is polished up well with an incredible precision in the tones and where each title possesses a little something catchy. The music is nice and very accessible with a light and lively melodious side. It's this kind of album of which the biggest defect is that it's too easy to like…
Sylvain Lupari (April 25th, 2018) ***½** SynthSequences.com
Available on Manikin Bandcamp