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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

CLAUDIO MERLINI: The Colours of Music (2010)

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

The Colours of Music is an album where melodies predominate on rhythms created at the heart of huge orchestrations

1 Distant Sky 4:47

2 Images of a Crystal Sun 4:59

3 Across Green Mountains 4:21

4 Eternal Dreams in Blue 4:28

5 Free Fall (Any Colour You Like) 6:14

6 Prisms 4:05

7 The Sirens Secret Call 4:54

8 Travellers in Time 4:50

9 The Harmony of Colour 7:13

10 Memories of a Purple Plain 3:18

11 The Mystic 7:33

(CD/DDL 56:36) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, New Age)

Another discovery of the English label AD Music, Claudio Merlini is an artist who colors his music with an abundant sound fauna on remarkably diverse rhythms. THE COLORS OF MUSIC is his second album and the Italian synthesist takes on the skin of a Salvator Dali of the EM by offering 11 tracks whose structures, even the shortest, are in constant hesitation with countless samples, both vocal and sound , which are combined with so many orchestrations and arrangements to make Art of Noise turning pale. Visibly inspired by Tangerine Dream, from the Le Parc period, and Jean-Michel Jarre, from the synth pop period, Claudio Merlini constantly challenges the listener by showing his know-how on very lively tracks, as well as good ballads which are dying to explode. An album that is difficult to classify so much the disparity of styles and structures diverge from title to title and even within titles.

Distant Sky shows the enormous mix of styles and genres on a short title that starts with tribal voices. Voices and ethereal flutes intermingle on percussions which seek to hammer a slow and heavy pace. A spellbinding rhythm which spirals in a surprising mixture of tribal and science fiction ambiences, softened by a suave mellotron with a flute flavor. The title explodes with good percussions strikes, a melodious keyboard, a synth which spreads out its ethereal layers and a fine syncopated line above a skilful mixture of vocal samplings. Sticking to the finale of Distant Sky, Images of a Crystal Sun is a ballad that floats in the vapors of a synth with multiple sound sources. Across Green Mountains opens up with a breath of synth which has a Le Parc's flavor. The tempo is curt and hatched, hammered with percussions, and wrapped in synth layers with changing colors. A track which exploits ethnic flavors and big orchestral arrangements with a two-speed rhythm to finish its race towards a more syncopated line. Eternal Dreams in Blue is another nice ballad with a rich sound which blossoms on crystalline chords and pulsating impulses of the synth. We find all the characteristics of good sentimental ballads with a fluty synth which flows under fine percussions and a bass line à la Patrick O'Hearn. Free Fall - Any Color You Like is right in the direction of its title with different structures which are grafted on to a panoply of sounds as lively as melodious. A title which embraces structures that are both jazzed up and soft rock passing by tribal rhythms beneath good orchestrations where riffs of electric guitars mix with chords of acoustic guitars. In short, there is something for all tastes and styles on rhythms that are quite light. With Prisms we enter the ballad section of the album. A section which leans a little more towards New Age with percussions which click in echo on chords which advance with cat steps. It's nice, sweet, delicate and it sounds very TD from the Miramar years. All that follows Free Fall - Any Color You Like breathes lightness and innocence in a strong tincture of sounds where samples of all kinds cover each of the melodies, like the very soft and tribal The Sirens Secret Call, Travelers in Time, the poignant The Harmony of Color which would find its place in the repertoire of Mike Oldfield, the very Vangelis' Memories of a Purple Plain and The Mystic.

THE COLORS OF MUSIC is an album where melodies predominate on rhythms created at the heart of huge orchestrations. It's a disconcerting album certainly because the Italian synthesist spreads a panoply of sounds as explosive as delicate on cadences or melodies constantly buried under a plethora of vocal samplings. A curious album that hides a New Age approach with melodies that make huge winks to the music of Tangerine Dream, Art of Noise, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and even Mike Oldfield in their phases of great accessibility.

Sylvain Lupari (January 8th, 2011) *****

Available at AD Music

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