COLIN RAYMENT: Polyphonic Memories (2021)
“Powerful and creative in terms of rhythmic structures and percussive elements...”
1 Night Sky Over Keystone (part 1) 12:09
2 Bullet Train to Kyoto 10:09
3 Night Sky Over Keystone (part 2) 16:41
4 Five Years of Reminiscence 5:26
5 Atlas Mountain in the Sun 13:48
(DDL 58:15) (V.F.)
(Progressive EM, Berlin School)
Colin Rayment is part of this list of new EM talents to have broken through the wall of anonymity in the mid-2010's. It's thanks to SynGate Records, which offered us Abstract Dimensions in 2015, that I discovered this wonderful English artist who was able to shed his Tangerine Dream influences in order to present his own musical style. POLYPHONIC MEMORIES is a collection of tracks that draw their inspirations from a collection of memories, poignant and personal in time. In music, this translates into an amalgam of several melodies, or musical parts, played at the same time. The two visions coexist very well on this album produced by Colin Rayment due to SynGate's hiatus for the summer of 2021. And it's in a tonal setting where rhythms, tied to imaginative patterns of sequences, percussion and percussive elements, are the beds of this amalgam. The corridors of memories being sometimes murky and often nostalgic, one should not be surprised to discover this atmosphere of mystery that surrounds the melancholic melodies of this album, and the short Five Years of Reminiscence has to be the most striking example, whose different textures constantly remind that it could have been a soundtrack for the movie The Dark Tower - The Last Pistolero
A silent fight between the forces of darkness and its pulsations is at the origin of Night Sky Over Keystone (part 1) and its explosive rhythm that roars 10 seconds before its first minute. Played as part of the US Mountain Skies EM festival, along with Night Sky Over Keystone (part 2), this track is all about rhythm built over its 12 minute span. The structure features a pulsating bass line that twitches with percussive effects that are bitten by electronic rattles. Strange bleats take over the rhythm, as well as a sequencer line that activates its jumping keys in a circular cylindrical motion. A layer of misty voices extends on this rhythm which is now conqueror of our sense of hearing. Its stroboscopic alignment is more perceptible when orchestrations and a fluty melody caress its evolution which has modified its impact around the 4th minute. Guitar-like chords impose an airy melody some 30 seconds after the 6th minute. Night Sky Over Keystone (part 1) changes its approach a bit with a still fluid rhythm, but without the percussions and the rattling effects. There are only a few scattered explosions on this rhythm supported by the sequencer and which, like a train, decreases the pace when seeing an approaching destination. And 15 seconds after the 9th minute, it resumes its vigor in a more complex tonal setting. Bullet Train to Kyoto in turn presents a 60 second ambient opening before a strobe rhythm structure sets up an ambient rhythm. We are a bit in the universe of Gert Emmens with this suspended rhythm where also prowl these mixed chords between a synth and a guitar. They form nice evanescent melodies on a rhythm which is inspired more and more by the effects and the structure of Night Sky Over Keystone (part 1). We will not know until where these influences will dominate since Bullet Train to Kyoto stops a dozen seconds before the 5th minute to take an ambient passage. A passage heavy with its mysterious atmosphere filled with layers of voices and keyboard riffs trying to restructure a form of rhythm. We hear sequences jumping from the tip of the toes before a subterranean storm makes the ground tremble with percussive sequences and bass-pulsations. It's over this incipient rhythm and its radioactive percussive effects, another conquering trick of our hearing, that the keyboard weaves the lines of a melody whose beauty, nor its emotive effect, has nothing to do with the more fluty and romantic one that precedes it. And, always on this heavy and noisy ambient rhythm, these melodies come and go to charm our senses while changing their origins. The fluty one and the other hummed by an astral goddess are simply divine.
We get to Night Sky Over Keystone (part 2) which proposes us an opening of ambiences linked to distant industrial pulsations. This opening which exceeds 5 minutes is built on bases of melodies scattered in vibratory winds, a little like memories that we stick end to end can make its slideshow in our head. A heavy wind with a sharp tone sweeps this perspective with the violence of an ogress. And so, it is that 10 seconds after the 5th minute, the sequencer deposits its jumping marbles which waddle on a linear structure carried by these winds and their textures of ethereal voices. Our senses drift over this suspended structure where bubbles of melodies, familiar to our ears, are created in more complete patterns. The percussions come in long after the 9-minute mark, shaking up the moods and giving to the structure what is needed for the melodies of screaming glass to survive in an uproar level-headed by a more ambient finale. Five Years of Reminiscence is a good little track with a fiery rhythmic structure that can't deny that sensitive and poignant melody that has long since made its bed on POLYPHONIC MEMORIES. Atlas Mountain in the Sun is an evolving track that opens with a delightful electronic ballad on the rather fluid flow of a percussive chord mesh between a sequencer and a keyboard. This very illuminated movement carries the undulating streaks that zigzag with vaporous dust as well as the melody of a slide guitar kind. The bright percussive chords change of tone and become more metallic before sinking into a shadowy area where everything becomes intriguing. Cavernous winds suck up the rhythm which reappears with a break to its momentum. Staggering, its flow is no longer ballad-like as the broken harmonies try to glue themselves back together in a finale beaten down and jostled by sparse percussions. In the end, it's a very ordinary track in the huge musical panorama of POLYPHONIC MEMORIES. Take it like a bonus track...
So ends this new chapter of Colin Rayment! POLYPHONIC MEMORIES is a great album with a 45-minutes too strong for its last track. Powerful on all fronts and creative in terms of rhythmic structures and percussive elements, this latest album from the London musician offers 45 minutes of creative EM with its highly ingenious textures.
Sylvain Lupari (July 5th, 2021) ****¼*
Available at Colin Rayment Bandcamp