CODE INDIGO: Chill (2006)
“The music is rendered by great musicians with a professionalism that is near the ones of Roger Waters and Mike Oldfield”
1 Autumn Fades (9:02)
2 Chill (4:37)
3 Vapour Tales (1:14)
4 Ten Degrees per Second (8:15)
5 Vapour Trails (0:57)
6 Back with Weather - Calm Front (6:08)
7 Back with Weather - Storm Surge (4:57)
8 Vapour (5:43)
9 Cultures (7:44)
10 Culture Shift (5:34)
11 Vapour Tails (3:08)
12 Lost Radio (Tuning in) (3:35
13 Lost Radio (Prog 1) (3:15)
14 Lost Radio (Prog 2) (5:45)
15 Lost Radio (Tuning out) (6:02)
(CD 76:04) (V.F.)
(Electronic Prog Rock Music)
I don't really know the music of Code Indigo. I'm more familiar with that of the co-founders, David Wright or even that of Robert Fox, who are two great melodists. CHILL is my first contact with this group which brings together 4 virtuosos from the English EM scene; David Wright and Robet Fox on synths and keyboards, Andy Lobban on guitars and Dave Massey on rhythm programming. Seasoned musicians who master the art and the instruments that fuel it, as well as the technologies that deepen it. CHILL is a 4th studio album. A solid album which is quite different from what the English side of EM usually offers. Very different from the floating and minimalist spheres of the Berlin School, the music of Code Indigo is more in electronic progressive rock with symphonic and melodious essences bordering on the recent works of Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield.
Autumn Fades begins with a mysterious wave which floats with its light movements of impulses which draw musical arches from which emerge the fragile notes of a pensive piano. The keyboard borrows a guitar tone with vaporous waves, while the real guitar weaves floating solos in this introductory haze that a bass line animates in an ambient rhythm structure. The rhythm progresses to take a little life with the arrival of the percussions which support the bass line in a good classical down-tempo. With its riffs and solos, the guitar evolves in mode Roger Waters' Amused to Death. There are howling solos and heavy riffs toying with their echoes in a hazy rhythmic procession where keyboards weave violin harmonies against a backdrop of cinematic music from the Middle East. The rhythm hopping in the dreamlike mists, Autumn Fades melts in the opening of the title-track and its piano which extends a web of harmonies dreaming in these melancholy mists. We are almost in progressive New Age here which changes face a little in the dark ambiences of the short and atmospheric, like a musical bridge, Vapor Tales which is an introduction to Ten Degrees per Second. The start is slow and fed by murky voice effects and other sound effects that keep the first 60 seconds in a hostile ambience. The rhythm comes alive with a beautiful harmonious approach built around synthesized hums and percussions which have a rhythmic clockwork beat. A slow rhythm that the guitar loads, like a rebel who wants to be heard. And out of nowhere, a good melody is heard. The kind of melody that sticks to our ears. That we sing for long periods. It walks with grace and is stormed by the moans of Lobban's guitar which tortures this melodious line with big heavy riffs and good shrill solos. Interspersed by atmospheric passages, this serenade survives and progresses on more biting and enveloping lines which are always attacked by the guitar.
Vapor Trails takes us to Back with Weather. Two tracks animated by varied rhythms, with tribal essences and voices that sound a bit like on Songs of Distant Earth by Mike Oldfield. The harmonies are interrupted by ambient or atmospheric passages, but are constantly progressing on slow, even heavy rhythms. The synthesizer is enveloping, like the orchestral arrangements and rivals an incredible guitar that never ceases to charm, both by the speed of its chords and the accuracy of its solos. Another great time on CHILL. Vapor is another track with a very Pink Floyd vibe. The nasal voices of the radio on parasitic noises, other isolated voices and verbal exchanges which mix with scattered piano notes and in an ambience that becomes darker and darker. Following this principle of lost voices, Cultures starts with tribal percussions and a beautiful synth with fluty dimensions. Sometimes melodious and sometimes atmospheric, Cultures breaks up with stops and starts that relaunch it with more harmonies. More insistent percussions animate this rhythm in search of its identity with big guitar riffs and its fuming solos which are always enveloped by a harmonious synthesizer which keeps this melody alive. Cultures joins Culture Shift and its rhythm of sunny islands. Light manual and tribal percussions animate this relaxing rhythm on the very suggestive lamentations of Andy Lobban's six-string. His guitar drags languidly up to the atmospheric Vapor Tails. This atmospheric track follows this modern psychedelic tangent of Roger Waters with vocals, rather murmurs, and parasitic noises on a moving texture whose boiling point is lost in the opening of the mega Lost Radio, a long track of almost 19 minutes divided into four parts.
It begins with a strange industrial ambience where metals twist with pain and vocal effects of CB radio and intercoms. The rhythm that comes out is slow and catchy with very good percussive effects in which an astral choir floats. The piano is melodious and concocts a melody in a progressive New Age ambience. The melody progresses with a more dynamic piano and a vast sampling of synth pads which inject an aura of mysticism on a rhythm which solidifies its hold by a good and sensual morphic down-tempo. We reach a meeting point where all the instruments converge in a melodious context to give us shivers on a pace whose intensity has always accompanied this emotional progression of the beat. Tuning Out ends this insidious evolution of a simply melodious album with a vision of Jazz in floating ambiences.
CHILL is definitely one of the great CDs I have heard this year. Even if we are far from the England School or the Berlin one's. The music is rendered by great musicians with a professionalism that is near the ones of Roger Waters and Mike Oldfield for live performances. This is the ground of progressive New Age extremely effective in terms of melodies and arrangements. Solid, from start to end!
Sylvain Lupari (July 12th, 2006) *****
Available at AD Music