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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Colin Rayment Time Dilation (2023)

A very enjoyable and musical album in the tradition of Tangerine Dream's Berlin School

1 Fast Forward Chronograph 11:52

2 Accelerometer 7:21

3 Transitional Dimensions 10:24

4 Snapshot in Time 5:34

5 Glimpse into a Future 12:32

6 Time Stands Still 11:33

(CD-(r)/DDL 59:18) (V.F.)

(Ambient Berlin School)

Following an introduction typical of the style of progressive electronic music, Fast Forward Chronograph emerges from its atmospheric cocoon to sparkle, and also lazily undulate, a line of arpeggios inspired by the melodious rhythms of Tangerine Dream, Risky Business period. This initial rhythmic structure is ambient in nature, relying more on the melody undulating with slight velocity over the sly undulations of the reverberating bass layer. The sequencer makes sparing use of the ratchet technique, and rather discreet percussive elements quaver or shudder alongside the melodious rhythm, further stimulating our sonic curiosity. A slight breeze of ectoplasm sizzles through the background, adding a ghostly dimension to the track's ambience. Little by little, Fast Forward Chronograph solidifies. Bass pulsating thumps revitalize its rhythm some 20 seconds into the 4th minute. Still underpinned by the dull throbbing of the buzzing bass, it becomes more driving. So much so that you can even tap your foot. The synth is very musical in this portion of the track, bringing different colors and nuances to the breath that has become a ghostly air that haunts the listener, while the keyboard scatters arpeggios whose gleam sparkles between our ears.

TIME DILATION tackles the phenomenon of special relativity in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. Basically, if an object and/or person is moving very fast, time passes more slowly. In theory, this would make it possible to travel into the future! How does this translate into music? With a new album by Colin Rayment who surfs on his excellent Equilibrium. The 12 minutes of Fast Forward Chronograph dictate the nature of 5 other tracks on this new album released on the German label SynGate. The rhythms are fairly slow. There's no impetuous movement where the sequencer, or the electronic percussions, go wild to propel us into electronic rock territory. Except for a brief moment on Glimpse into a Future. On the contrary, our ears swim in a panoply of tranquil rhythms well detailed by a creative sequencer in multi-line mode. Rayment uses the sequencer for his harmonic phases while being generous with its ratchet effects that make the sequences dribble as well as gallop. The rhythms slowly build up to cosmic rock phases that are more stimulating for the neurons than the feet, although sometimes you can tap your foot like a fingertip on the arm of your favorite chair to eat the music. But no more! If the rhythms are conceived with the same vision, so are the melodies, which all sound the same, with that little something that makes you think of the Stranger Things genre. An element also found on Equilibrium.

A slow introduction fed by reverberating waves awaits our ears as Accelerometer opens. After 90 seconds, the sequencer attempts to activate a rhythmic phase. The sequences dance and flutter in these ambiences, where purring sounds filter through threads of absent voices. The rhythm emerges 1 minute later with an undulatory movement of the sequencer, where are grafted jingling of wood which quiver in short lively phases. The rhythm takes on more tone with the arrival of bass pulsations and percussions, of which the rapid flow is like a kick on a swarm of sequences that begin to twirl in all directions. A discreet synth emerges around the 6-minute mark, whistling a melodious, evasive tune. Transitional Dimensions takes less time to take off. Its rhythm is articulated by a sequenced bass line that pulses briskly with stroboscopic inflections that resonate the weight of sequenced keys. Arpeggios dance freely as the synth weaves beds of lunar mist, creating quite emotive arrangements. The structure encounters a transitional phase around the 3-minute mark. Transitional Dimensions is reborn in a distinctly more dynamic second half, with ratcheting effects of the sequencer and with electronic percussions throwing in some rhythmic machine-gun fire. It's one of TIME DILATION's biggest hits. Ditto for Snapshot in Time, with its beautiful, melodic ambient rhythm. The structure progresses over the arcs of a dramatic bass line and the weeping effects of a synth in Ondes Martenot mode. The melody is deliciously inspired by Stranger Things. The influence of Tangerine Dream on the London-based musician-synthesist's music is very palpable here. Glimpse into a Future lies on a layer of drones, more intense here than elsewhere on the album. The rhythm is built on the muted surges of the resonant bass and a sequence line whose oscillations have a melodic power. The synth throws nice spectral tunes, like mist that has taken lost voices hostage that have a cosmic dimension. After 4 minutes, percussive clicks start to tap-dance. And still the synthesizer throws in those tunes that make the hairs on the back dance. Glimpse into a Future literally changes skin just before its 6th minute. The keyboard is more melodic, almost dramatic, with moiré arpeggios that make sparkling an invading melody. The percussions come in some 30 seconds later, structuring the album's only electronic rock, which here reaches a very poignant dimension with this wailing melody over a slowly dying rhythm structure. Glimpse into a Future ends in a beautiful, dark and melancholy cosmic phase. Time Stands Still has a floating, slightly driving rhythm, due to the effect of undulating galloping loops. Rayment adds seductive percussive slams, especially in the first part of the track, as well as bass chords that add a dramatic dimension to the music. There's a fine balance between the rhythm imposed by the bass pulsations and these lines of sequences, some of them fluttering as in the melody of Snapshot in Times, which share rhythms and melodic verses. Guitar textures nuance this dimension in the final third of the track.

TIME DILATION is another very good album from Colin Rayment, who once again demonstrates his propensity for creating ambient rhythms that are both melodic and slightly catchy. Extremely creative with his sequencer, the synthesist arranges several rhythm lines in the tradition of Tangerine Dream's Berlin School. The ambiences breathe also of these cinematic settings proper to TD's dimensions. In short, another highly enjoyable and musical album worthy of Colin's talent.

Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2023) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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

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