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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

CLAUDIO MERLINI: Forever Changes (2014)

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

“Claudio Merlini quits here the soft paths of a New Age to undertake a more audacious sonic journey with pompous orchestrations and strong electronic rhythms”

1 Fireworks 6:17

2 The Unknown Path 6:15

3 Chain Reaction 6:11

4 Calling Nature Part I 6:57

5 Transformation 6:11

6 Drawing the Sphere 6:58

7 Calling Nature Part II  6:42

8 The Spinning Wheel 6:01

9 Adam and Eve 7:49

(CD/DDL 59:21) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, Orchestral EM)

In its press guide, AD Music states that the evolution of Claudio Merlini who, since The Colours of Music in 2010, progresses at full speed to reach a surprising maturity in his music structures. I have to admit that this last album amazes. With FOREVER CHANGES Claudio Merlini quits the soft paths of a New Age and its thousand musical embraces in order to undertake a more audacious sonic journey with an excellent production and pompous Vangelis' orchestrations which cross strong electronic rhythms with structures which throw a sweet sensation of déjà-entendu in the ears. Certainly he always manage to leave some room to these sweet dreamy melodies, I think in particular of Calling Nature, both parts, and Adam and Eve and their very seraphic airs of Fountain of Youth that we found plenty on The Colours of Music and on Enchantment. Except that the Italian composer and synthesist dares and gets out quite slowly of his cocoon to offer us a more audacious album which is undoubtedly his best to date.

And it begins with Fireworks and its structure of rhythm which gallops like a solitary rider on the plains of harmonies. The essence of the album is all over this track with a superb gradation, both in the rhythm and the harmonies. Airs of legions and cavalry, whistled by a sharpened flute and/or clarions and very good orchestrations, as fluid as jerky, which moan into slow waltzing strata, and percussions as symphonic as electronic are structuring a strong title which amazes due to its thick cloud of organic tones that will follow our ears all along the route of this last Claudio Merlini's album. Let's say that it kicks things out well and that the imprints of Vangelis are lying all around. The Unknown Path is less on fire and pulls us towards a more melodious approach with a sneaky structure of rhythm and a dreamy melody which reminds me vaguely that of Tangerine Dream in the Tyranny of Beauty years. This resemblance with the style of Tangerine Dream, mostly the Jerome Froese years, is even more convincing with the structure of percussions which embroider the static rhythm of Chain Reaction. Moreover, the rather serene ambiences, the flute, the flock of evanescent harmonies, the breezes of synth a bit philharmonic and the dramatic effects seem to be all familiar elements to us. Beautiful and delicate with a sober pattern sound of twinkling sequences and its soft ethereal flute of which the airs whistle on the harmonies of a dreamy piano, Calling Nature Part I, as well as its 2nd part, leads us a little closer towards the dreamy ambiences of New Age and Easy Listening which overhung the first two albums of Merlini. After a very philharmonic pompous opening, where swirls a sweet carousel submerged by organic tones, Transformation sneaks through thousand essences to finally set ablaze a strange and fascinating mixture of hip-hop and funk. The rhythm becomes at the same moment brusque and fluid with a wave-like bass line and good tribal percussions. Good envelopes of violin close this splendid sonic madness, which a sweet melody, a kind of ear-worm to become, sung by a very harmonious piano, ennobles of an ethereal sweetness and forges the furrows for a bewitching tearful violin. Very good! Less hard-hitting and especially less adventurous, Drawing the Sphere kisses this configuration of macedoine of styles with a tribal approach which sits on a very electronic rhythm strongly encircled by good arrangements and a beautiful line of flute with songs as angelic as these choirs which hum in the circular melodies of a piano a bit more voracious. The imprint of Vangelis and of Jerome Froese's electronic percussions are rather evident. The strength of this track is necessarily its 7 minutes, because the more it plays the more we find it good. The Spinning Wheel offers a strong structure with arpeggios which ring with hesitance in an opening tinted of organic tones. A line of sequences shakes furiously its keys which flutter such as enraged knocks of scissors in emptiness. Alternating its sweet ethereal melody into violent movements of circular rhythms, The Spinning Wheel takes refuge under dense Babylonian orchestrations and a pattern of Gregorian voices. There is a great passage of electronic percussions which cut into pieces a sneaky rhythmic phase which reminds me vaguely the first albums of Yanni. Idem with Adam and Eve which is a beautiful melodious ballad fed by a dreamy piano and by some seraphic voices.

FOREVER CHANGES has all what it takes to continue to charm the fans of Claudio Merlini while seducing a lot of others. It's a rather cinematographic album with very Arabian sonic essences. Sharply more audacious than on these two first albums at AD Music, Claudio Merlini succeeds all the same to keep this touch printed by romance and reverie which had so much seduced on The Colours of Music or yet Enchantment. This is quite beautiful, very melodious and it breathes of Vangelis, a bit of Yanni, on rhythms and electronic percussions a la Tangerine Dream. A good EM cocktail but a single signature; that of Claudio Merlini!

Sylvain Lupari (July 21st, 2014) ***½**

Available at AD Music

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