BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHONWALDER: Yellow (2017)
“That's got to be one of the best album from start to end of BK&S since a pretty long time”
1 Yellow Stone 18:52 2 Yellow Sun 14:26 3 Yellow Train 12:53 4 Yellow Cab 14:21 5 Yellow and Purple 10:56 Manikin – MRCD 7106
(CD/DDL 71:30) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
For YELLOW, the famous trio gets back to base. Thus it's without Raughi Ebert and Thomas Kagerman that Bas Broekhuis, Detlef Keller & Mario Schönwälder presents us a 25th album (with or without Bas Broekhuis) and a 6th one on the theme of the colors which began with Noir in 2003. About 15 years farther, we can say that the sound of the Berlin trio has constantly evolve, for the pleasure of our ears and also to follow the evolution of the instruments of MÉ developed by Manikin, while the compositions always remain wrapped in this hopping and spasmodic minimalist cocoon which serves to decorate an EM with the most beautiful sound assets from the Manikin house. Wrapped well in a 6 panel digipack artwork, YELLOW is undoubtedly the album which has the most impact to date in this series about colors. BK&S doesn't deny at all the essence of their inspirations by offering to his fans a great palette of synths' colors which awaken Tangerine Dream's memories of the 74-77 years and way beyond. It's with an absolute charm that I savored the 71 minutes of this album, as in the nice time where I discovered the wonderful The Annazaal Tapes.
It's in the vapors of an orchestra which tunes its strings behind a foggy pond that begins Yellow Stone. Covered with intriguing motives, the introduction gets free of its glaucous atmospheres influence to jump into the train of a sequencer which skips together with a line of bass. The twinning of its two elements structures a delicious chaotic rhythm of which the minimalist approach will gather all the rhythmic fineries on its passage. This rhythm, which seems to me like a train without passion, skips by tuning the harmonious motives which get free from the synths with its pace. This is the way the color palette throws jets of iodized mist and poignant layers while the jingles of Bas Broekhuis remind us that he is not too far in the decor. The pulsations of bass become more intense, they will make vibrate your walls as the rhythm of Yellow Stone will reach its full power, while the synth layers throw chloroformed jets. Our senses in state of hypnosis notice this line of mislaid sequences which flicker without desire while the layers intensify their hold on our senses. The percussions got to get more and more active. And Yellow Stone gets more and more intense with synth layers and chthonian choirs which make a call to time with its flavors of another famous German trio; the one of Franke, Froese & Baumann. The velocity reaches, the movement is more powerful than lively with an arsenal of tones and effects which are doing rodeo on a structure which kept all its minimalist envelope for its last 12 minutes. This pattern of minimalist evolution, including the overture and the finale, is the backbone of the 5 tracks of this very good contemporary Berlin School album which adopts marvellously its new elements with those of yesterday. After a multicolored introduction of ambient effects, Yellow Sun develops in a structure which sticks to the tribal and especially ethereal rhythms of the Repelen series. The work of Bas Broekhuis is simply delicious on a structure where the Music of the World exploits the many languishing synth solos.
Many noises, a nice palette of tonal colors and luminous synths perfume the hopping structure of Yellow Train. Set up on a structure which is similar to an astral train hidden in the subtlety, the title releases itself from its introduction filled of electronic noises that are near the tones of arcade games. A line of sequences is running like millipedes frightened by arpeggios that stretch their musicality with big footsteps trying to crush them. The strange noises, the liveliness of the millipedes' jingles and the slow motion of the strides draw a sound contrast that fills our ears with delight. Three minutes farther, the hopping rhythm, unique to the signature BK&S, swiftly gambols in a sound plain where solos stream like clouds over a turbulence of tonal elements. A piano is weaving a melody stolen from these elements, while the minimalist envelope of the quiet rhythm spreads its capers and its cascades under always dreamy synth solos. Now, I wrote above about the Tangerine Dream's influences in this album! And Yellow Cab isn't shy of let heard them. A kind of pure remake and remix of Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme), it's also a pure delight to the ears of those fans of this soundtrack with a musical vision that doesn't distort at all the original version. The music, the harmonies, the vibes and especially the sequences and the percussions are more in-depth here. BK&S exploits totally the essences of this key title of TD's repertoire with the same vision in the solos and the harmonies of the synths which are longer and also more elaborate, a little as if the trio possessed and shared the secrets of Franke, Froese & Baumann during the recording sessions of Sorcerer. This is pure candy for the ears. In any case, mines!
Yellow and Purple announces the next step of this series on colors from the German trio. After an introduction of ambient elements, which is in the tone, the rhythm borrows a surprising tangent of dance music with an always hopping, and more spasmodic, pace that is surrounded with solos as much tortuous as a knot of snakes which get untie in the chthonian vapors of the synths. There is a good mixture of old Berlin School here with the contemporary essences where always roam these fragrances of Tangerine Dream. Yes! The best to date of the sonic rainbow with colors as improbable as very ear-catchy from Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder.
Sylvain Lupari (April 24th, 2018) ****½* SynthSequences.com
Available on Manikin Bandcamp