CARTAS DE JAPON: Sequence at the End of the World (2021)
Updated: Apr 11
“Superb album from beginning to end, we never know on which foot to dance with diversify rhythms built on creative sequencers”
1 Sunrise in Huancar 4:58
2 The Ascent 5:45
3 Chaman Hallucination 6:23
4 Modular Spell 1:57
5 Uritorco 8:00
6 Gazing Poicenot 5:56
7 Nightfall in Huancar 5:11
(DDL 38:12) (V.F.)
A wooden bug that belches a strange language and the arrhythmic flow of the bass pulsations playing with breezes of a kind of vuvuzela, by the way the burp effect has this tone, Sunrise in Huancar takes off with an avalanche of percussions that invites the sequencer to do the same. The rhythm is therefore very catchy and puts us full of ears in addition to giving us a bursitis to the hips. The sequencer is doubly effective with a line that dribbles its jumping keys. Real drumming injects a Latin-rooted rock vibe while the bass-pulses have never stopped from the start of this tropical beat. Sunrise in Huancar goes from chorus to verse taking a nice bridge of ambiences animated by a guitar swinging towards flamenco. A superb title whose synth solos in its last third remind that Cartas de Japón creates above all EM. What is Cartas de Japón? And what is this new project from the Cyclical Dreams label? They are the 3 co-founders of the Argentinian label and the Latinos School; Lucas Tripaldi, Pablo Bilbao and Esteban Menash. Seriously, the Latinos School does exist. It's a style derived from the Berlin School with more rhythm, according to this Latin culture that still has this passion for rhythm. And rhythm in EM has always been an object of fascination because of the sequencer and oscillators that can make us dance on the moon. SEQUENCE AT THE END OF THE WORLD is just the title chosen to draw the attention of Berlin School style aficionados to the music of this new label. Composed and designed to be heard through analog equipment, the music nests on a rather short album, like in the time of vinyl, and offers an impressive collection of rhythms influenced by Chris Franke's mastery of the sequencer, notably Tangerine Dream's Hyperborea period and its rhythms from jungles of the future. Available in downloadable format with a quite well-done home-made mastering, Cartas de Japón puts in music 7 letters from Japan.
The Ascent features a nice fluty chant of a Mellotron over sequenced chords that bounce and alternate sounding like guitar notes. A delicate breeze forms in the evasive harmonies of the Mellotron, revealing a discreet layer of prismatic vocals. The chant increases in velocity with more strident harmonies, responding to the rhythmic invasion of tribal percussions. This introduction of 90 seconds leads into a texture of African tribal rhythm well squared by the sequencer where fall guitar riffs and especially twirl sweet solos on a structure become very electronic. Surprising and lively, Chaman Hallucination proposes blurred chants of a sibylline choir before borrowing an Asian chorus of an innocent candor. It's a superb ballad with an acoustic penchant where the impression to make our neurons dance on a very good play of the sequencer seems tangible. A quite unexpected thing worked into genius since the orchestrations and the tones of guitars of Asia in an electronic texture are well framed. Supported too by the jumps and dribbles of the sequencer is an element which remains to be explored. The track derails in a graceful way around the 4th minute with a psychedelic exodus and strong Asian spices before returning to its original form.
A short interlude with chthonian ambiences with Modular Spell and we hear again the influences of Tangerine Dream in the excellent Uritorco. The rhythm is slow, and the introduction lets us hear reminiscences of the Berlin trio and especially of Peter Baumann's Trans Harmonic Nights album. Surrounded by brief strains of synth and fluty tunes, the beats are heavy and powerful. The resonances make sequences vibrate while the flute counterbalances in a magnetizing movement, like a belly dance behind a blue smoke screen. An excellent hypnotic track with its share of psychedelic spices! Gazing Poicenot is another particularly good track evolving slowly in its very TD influences. It opens with vocal effects and symmetrical beats that raise a veil of reverberations. The visual smells of a dried-out desert more than normal are felt in my ears. The rhythm is built by bouncing and gamboling sequences with a dribbling effect while the fluty harmonies become true synth serenades. The more the title moves on and the more these elements trigger feverish phases of rhythms always well covered by the musical softness of the synth. Nightfall in Huancar loops the loop and proposes a circular structure with more active and audacious sequencers than anywhere else in this SEQUENCE AT THE END OF THE WORLD. At the rhythm level, the essences of Jean-Michel Jarre and the Dream melt with delight in a good electronic rock where the impact of the synths becomes as significant as that of the sequencers.
Superb album from beginning to end, we never know on which foot to dance with SEQUENCE AT THE END OF THE WORLD. If the sequencers are great, the synths are not in rest with particularly good solos, a creative injection of sound effects and especially arrangements which are in tune with rhythmic textures diversified by the numerous attractions of the Argentinian traditional music.
Sylvain Lupari (April 10th, 2021) ****½*
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp