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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHONWALDER: Repelen - The Last Tango (2014)

Once again, the another new album of the Repelen series holds some fine pearls of an EM nicely interbreed in the roots of New Berlin School

1 Open the Gate 13:33 2 Philadelphia - The Repelen Mix 11:49 3 Frozen Nights 8:57 4 Lazy Afternoon 13:10 5 Clusterphonie 8:29 6 Latin Grooves 8:52 7 City Lights 8:11 8 The Last Tango 1:22 Manikin | MRCD7099

(CD 74:37) (V.F.) (Mix of tribal and minimalist New Berlin School)

A flock of sequences and undecided chords stomp on the winds and the knocks of cymbals of Open the Gate. From these first seconds, we re-know this ambient rhythm so characteristic of the Repelen project. The chords raise themselves like riffs while the percussions, which flicker of fragility, supplant the sequences. Ringings, floating tsitt-tsitt and electronic chirpings decorate the ambiences, while that quite slowly a tribal structure of rhythm takes control of Open the Gate which skips in the curvatures of a bass line and of its throbbing notes. The rhythm is soft, between cosmic tribal and ambient groove. Well sat on percussions which sound like acoustic clanic ones, it pounds beneath the colors of synth solos rather dreamy which get melt in a sonic decoration flooded with mist bluish. Composed, interpreted and registered between 2011 and 2013, during a series of concerts and rehearsals performed at the Repelen church, REPELEN- The last Tango is an album which inhales literally the rhythms and the moods of the Repelen series. There are no surprises. Only some very nice music, among which 2 superb tracks, where the Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder trio accepts the tribal and ethereal caresses of Raughi Ebert and Thomas Kagermann.

A little as in Open the Gate, the introduction of Philadelphia - The Repelen Mix offers a structure which looks for itself and which quietly sets its shape with a series of floating sequences which get lost in the muffled pulsations of a bass line. Clouds of synth float in the horizon while trumpets try to wake up the ambiences. Ambiences which will stay of silk throughout the 12 minutes of Philadelphia - The Repelen Mix. We hear the violin of Kagermann crying on the scrolling of sequences to the gleaming tones. The soft piano of Keller and the very Latin acoustic guitar of Ebert come to harmonize a soft harmonious duel which rests on a rhythm become more sustained by the chirpings of sequences and sober percussions. A stable but always ambient rhythm, where the airs of trumpets and the mosaics of synths' cumulus add a touch as much spectral than romantic into this very beautiful track which flows in our ears like a morphic sweetness. We have to wait until Frozen Nights to meet the first Teutonic rhythms of the album. This rhythm is nervous! He jumps on bouncy sequences and tribal percussions whose meshing is covered by synths with waves which are just as shadier than the solos and the chthonian choruses can be discreet. These synths, as well as the violin, are decorating the introduction of Lazy Afternoon of tears and of rather lyrical lamentations. If this intro seems foggy, even a bit cosmic, the track eventually offers a soft supple rhythm with a suite of sequences which hatches a spherical approach strongly flavored by Berber tribal essences. Clusterphonie is the pearl of pearls of REPELEN- The last Tango and possibly of all the whole Repelen series. And yet, everything here is so simple with the notes of piano which sing in the shadows of other ones which skip of a minimalist pace in order to forge an innocent ritornello which swirls and swirls. The musical itch is created. The violin enters and crosshatches the melody of curt riffs. The percussions follow. They drum a rhythmic as innocent as lively, entailing in the furrow of its strikes a swarm of harmonies sculptured in seraphic voices and synths layers whose veils are painted of foggy silk. The rhythm becomes livelier and we never felt it coming this way. This is simply wonderful. Maybe the gentle and innocent earworm of the year. Anyway, I made that tune played so much that the snow banks around my condo have melted right away! Latin Grooves quite means! On a quite catchy rhythm where a line of bass draws the sketch of a very beautiful groove, the guitar and the violin are going for a good harmonic duel which erases the synths and their discreet filets of blue mist. Before ending with the very ambient and tearful The Last Tango, City Lights offer the most Berliner approach of REPELEN- The last Tango. Its introduction is as much threatening as a good movie about war or spy thriller in the Middle East. But once this mood past, the rhythm livens up with nervous sequences which skip in other lines of sequences and their criss-crossed movements. The synths throw a veil of mysticism while the rhythm gets more nervous and more jumping, riding a minimalist rhythmic cavalcade which belongs to the signature of Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder whose synth fogs and solos, electronic percussions and sequences always end forging these invigorating charming Berliner minimalist structures.

Is it the last chapter? Hummmm, even Mario won't tell. The fact remains that the series of Repelen gave us very good EM and the latter is not outdone. This union of electronic instruments, and their Teutonic harmonies, to acoustic instruments, and of their tribal ambiences, gave a delicious music where the genres get mix with a fascinating and very romantic musical vision.

Like a safe with treasures, REPELEN- The last Tango holds fine harmonious pearls, of which the wonderful and catchy Clusterphonie, which are the witnesses of this very beautiful chemistry which very fast has settled down and developed between Bas Broekhuis, Detlev Keller, Mario Schönwälder, Raughi Ebert and Thomas Kagermann. By hoping for a suite and other musical treats...

Sylvain Lupari (April 12th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Manikin's Bandcamp

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