CAN ATILLA: Berlin High School Legacy (2018)
“This is a superb album of traditional Berlin School loaded of the vintage magic with just enough complexity to not make people run away”
1 Messier 81 4:07 2 Arp 299 15:52 3 IC 10 6:29 4 IC 342 13:45 5 IOK- 01 5:41 6 LGS- 3 11:18 Groove GR-257
(CD/DDL 57:10) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
Those who have fallen under the spell of EM since a few years probably don't know the name of Can Atilla. High-caliber Turkish musician, the musician from Ankara has earned the praises of the electronic scene with his famous Ave, album that has marked the 30th anniversary of Tangerine Dream in 1999. Since then, Can Atilla has produced 5 albums, all on the Groove label, which have been influenced by Tangerine Dream and sometimes Jean-Michel Jarre. In the meantime, he also composed multiple soundtracks for Turkish cinema and New Age music with a strong tribal essence that rooted his power of attraction in his native Turkey. More present on the social networks that flirt with a clientele follower of the EM of the Berlin School genre for a few months, we suspected that Can Atilla was preparing a return. He whose first album in the genre goes back to Waves of Wheels in 1992. So, it is more than 15 years later and 7 years after his last album Hi-Story that he finally presents his comeback album. Amazing and sublime from beginning to end, BERLIN HIGH SCHOOL LEGACY revisits the scents of the beautiful years of EM with an approach stigmatized in the periods of Logos and Le Parc. Even more! Except this time, Can Atilla will go further. Will go even further than one would has imagined!
And it starts with the sonic morphine layers of Messier 81. Cavernous breezes filled with ether and absent voices float on a mass of embryonic dissonant sounds, which will be found in more detail in LGS-3, borrowed from the years 73-75. It's a dark, even Chthonian title, with enormous Luciferian organ waves, like the good Tony Banks of the Foxtrot years, drifting quietly towards the fiery Arp 299. A line of bass sequences oscillates vividly in a setting of sound magic that the guitarist Mahir Şafak Tuzcu attacks with furious solos, like Zlatko Perica, which swirl with the same incisive magic of synth solos. The drums tumble and mistreat a highly boosted EM with a stormy hammering, leaving little room for lines of sequences which survive anyway while little by little the ardor of this electronic progressive rock dissipates. A short moment of leniency is required. It imposes banks of layers of voices and keyboard chords that move like Free Jazz and whose tone exudes slight memories of old TD. But the music and the ferocity of its rhythm comes back in force in the 2nd part of Arp 299 whereas this time the guitar is in competition with the synth for solos that roll so well with the multiple strokes from the octopus on percussions. Highly contagious and one of the very best tracks in EM this year. That moves a lot inside the 6 minutes of IC 10. The title is born from the sequences of Arp 299 in order to take refuge in a texture of percussive ambiences. Multiple hits with very diverse tones structure these moods. A line of bass sequences arises to create a quasi-circular resonant structure to which these percussive effects get grafted. Another line of more clear sequences adopts this rhythm which suddenly loses its percussions and its resonant bass. This motley structure ends up espousing a more harmonious tangent where everything sounds like the electronic rock of the Dream in their Poland years.
The piano which opens the path of IC 342 will undoubtedly recall Paul Haslinger's Piano Medley in the bootleg Sonambulistic Imagery. A sweet flute evaporates these memories to guide us elsewhere. Elsewhere is the entire universe of Tangerine Dream, all eras include, that we found in the second part of BERLIN HIGH SCHOOL LEGACY. Complex in its approach always very assorted, the music of Can Atilla is like this long filiform member to which are added musical membranes that make us visit various eras, like that of Green Desert with these percussions that also bring us back to the era Hyperborea, Sphinx Lightning, or yet Logos. The tour de force in IC 342 is to meet several eras and styles within its 14 minutes which are constantly in motion. So much that the game of comparisons is difficult and Can Atilla finally leads us to his own style. Like with IOK- 01! A good solid electronic rock in its Chris Franke's sequencer armature. To my ears, LGS-3 is the most enjoyable title of this latest EM album from Can Atilla. Blissful, but it needs a few listens before falling in the four-leaf clover! The first part proposes these ambiences of mystery that one discovered in the analog universe of the Phaedra, and even Cyclone, years. These elements of atmosphere progress in intensity before imploding in the rodeos and cascades of the sequencer. The oscillations come and go later then on a drum carpet which structures LGS-3 in a good electronic rock always more intense before dying in those atmospheres which fed these inexplicable finales of the vintage years of EM.
I devoured a lot more BERLIN HIGH SCHOOL LEGACY through my headphones than with my speakers. The sonorous fauna is dense and incredibly alive, while the rhythms are carved in patterns of sequences and percussion that employ 2 or 3 Chris Franke at the same time. Like a Harald Grosskpof in Arp 299! A title moreover that brought out in mind the brilliant The Tape from Olivier Briand. Can Atilla succeeds in forging a universe here that is very close to those of the 70's when the complexity of the compositions rivaled with seduction. No weak moments and many strong ones in this last album of Can Atilla which must appear on my Top 10 ... of this year if only for Arp 299 which shows that the Turkish musician is as much comfortable in his style than in his role of copycat of Tangerine Dream's best moments. But to think of it ... is it not what BERLIN HIGH SCHOOL LEGACY means? A must in 2018!
Sylvain Lupari (November 12th, 2018) ****½*
Available at Groove nl