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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Christian Fiesel Sphere (2022)

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

A great album of Dark Ambient Berlin School in tones and structures of the 70's

1 Enter the Sphere 19:37

2 Inside the Sphere 10:25

3 Leaving the Sphere 24:25

4 Outside 10:38

(CD-(r)/DDL 65:06) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient Berlin School)

A ghost singer for an ode in moans! Enter the Sphere lives from its vibratory pulsations in an opening dominated by the moaning of the synth and a mellotron which disperses admirably well its vocal layers and its fluty harmonies on a bed of roars born from buzzing winds. Moreover, the marriage of these two elements brings shivers, as much for the auditory pleasure as for that of the soul which swallows this sensitivity its door wide open. This slow austere procession dilutes its emotional intensity in a sphere of meditation, dominated by a charge of hollow winds, as soon as Enter the Sphere goes through its 8th minute. This transitory phase, which exceeds 120 seconds, allows Christian Fiesel to readjust the title and to infuse a violent rhythmic phase that is driven by the jolts, one would say horse kickings, of the sequencer. The pulsing bass twirls in a hoop, and its circular cadenced rays structure a rhythm phase that gallops in a delightful vintage tone, even flirting with those ghostly Tangerine Dream rhythms of the Rubycon era. Layers of gothic fog hum behind this rhythmic pattern that runs breathless in a second phase of a track that never spares its effort to seduce our emotions, letting those shivers of happiness as well as melancholy run along this line that connects our soul to our neurons. Pure happiness for the aficionados of an electronic music (EM) built in the 70's.

This goes without saying, Christian Fiesel piles up some great musical achievements in another year where his productivity does not seem to dry up. In addition to his other download-albums and after 2 solid ones where its Dark Ambient side was dominant; Fading out of Sight, a tribute to Klaus Schulze, and Still Waiting at the Gate, also produced by Cyclical Dreams, the sculptor of dark ambiences ends 2022 with strength. With SPHERE! An ideal title and a concept album that is just as perfect to navigate on the dark seas of his universe. Except that the German musician-synthesist decides otherwise and takes his audience to the secret roads and rhythms of the 70's Berlin School. The music is closely related to the meaning of its title, proposing 4 structures that vibrate, twirl and pulse in circular axes dominated and propelled by these dark winds, filled with ghostly hums that feed the passion of the musician for the Dark Ambient style.

It is in this context that Inside the Sphere deploys a stationary rhythm structure whose spasmodic jolts travel from one ear to the other. The arpeggios have this moiré tone whose reflections are darkened by this shadow of a bass that serves as a rubbery trampoline in order to spread the impact of the jumps in another spherical axis. The velocity varies from time to time, allowing the rhythm to better bite our appetite for listening great EM. This disjointed rhythm lives in a dense texture of dark layers, hollow winds and chthonian voices. Atmospheric elements heard in Enter the Sphere, as well as those luminous violin pads that nuance the power of shadows are also present. There is something simply haunting about the beautiful Leaving the Sphere. Am I too sensitive? You have no idea how many times I've listened to this track, which has had an effect on me that is equivalent to what The Glimmer Room's wonderful album I Remain gave me in 2010. And it's not just because of that whispery vapor layer that covers the circadian beats of its opening. A moment of musical suspense where arpeggios glide and twirl in a universe of opacity and mysticism! This longest track of SPHERE takes all its time to develop and haunt our listening. These beats and this orangish haze captivate our attention and become a form of obsession as the seconds flee the dial. Christian Fiesel plays with his sound and musical shadows, attenuating their scope and impact in a long journey where the keyboard crumbles bits of dreams lost in our memories. A heavy bass layer starts to breathe a few seconds after the 5th minute. Its presence amplifies this veil of gloomy mystery which surrounds this fascinating procession where the souls seem to seek a door to leave this sphere. And against all odds, this shadow of a bass starts to palpitate. Grumbling, even sounding like it's silently raging, it forges a rhythm that has no intention of making us dance, instead adjusting its range with the ever-present beats of the opening. Throughout, Fiesel lets those other shadows of a synth split between its lyrical vision and the more murky, more sibylline one hover. And this fascinating procession abandons its rhythmic phase to an industrial hum shortly after the 12th minute. There, the angels sing! The synth chants are divine. They have that apocalyptic trumpet texture where a punishing harmonic horn sticks to it. Adorned by the presence of these seraphic voices, they get into our soul. Bringing out many shivers and sighs in a nectar of tenderness that few musicians are able to reach. An absolutely brilliant moment which is exported on more than 6 minutes before the circadian beats start again and that Leaving the Sphere enters another processional form which made me cry of the soul. Wonderful! Outside ends this last album of Christian Fiesel with muffled beats in another atmospheric density divided by these nuances that make of SPHERE an excellent surprise and a very beautiful album where the German musician-synthesist extracts the best of our feelings, of this passing spleen that comes disturb us once in a while. If only for Leaving the Sphere, I give it a 5 stars!

Sylvain Lupari (January19th, 2023) *****

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

(NB: The text in blue are links you can click on)

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