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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Computerchemist Volcan Dreams (2019)

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

“This is quite a powerful retro Berlin School album which is loaded of striking synth solos and driven by sequencer-based style paces”

1 Volcan Plain 12:03 2 Through the Volcan Forest at Dusk 10:08 3 Volcan Sea 15:31 4 Valley of Modulation 6:45

5 Subsonic Volcan Flight 14:55

(CD/DDL 59:22) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Computerchemist is the project of the English musician Dave Pearson. Active musically since 2007 with a highly acclaimed debut album in Atmospheric. The synthesist who lives now in Hungary, is making a comeback with his 7th album; VOLCAN DREAMS. And what do volcanoes dream of? Well, of Tangerine Dream's music! On structures of rather catchy rhythms, Computerchemist forges very Berlin School approaches in the programming of the sequencer and has really nothing more to learn of Chris Franke. Moving between minimalist art and a kind of psychotrobic trance, the rhythms serve more the cause of synth harmonies and solos than its opposite, creating the perfect illusion of the 70's with a tone very close to that time. And Dave Pearson insists, there are no virtual synths nor virtual effects on this album. Using the Volca synth modules, the English musician weaves solos that are sometimes even staggering, and always very attractive, which constantly swirl with varying colors and intensity levels but with a touch that gives chills. It's therefore with great pleasure that I share with you my comments on VOLCAN DREAMS, an album that has exceeded my level of expectation. Both in terms of compositions, music and of its excellent tone for an album available mainly in download on Computerchemist's Bandcamp platform. A physical CD can also be bought. What comes out of my Totem speakers are juicy and resonant chords. Just behind, we hear a series of sequences which walks stealthily. A march that becomes more present, more accentuated with the arrival of electronic percussions. So, it's a kind of slightly hobble up-tempo that Volcan Plain extends its musicality all around my listening room. I insist on this point, not by snobbery, but to make it clear that in a download version the sound of VOLCAN DREAMS bursts from everywhere. The synth delivers beautiful lines with a hint of Chinese weeping violin while the two tones of the sequencer's lines clash while clinging to percussions. This steady structure and a minimalist touch welcome these mists that add a more mystical decor to a music whose perfumes are quite tangible. The synth pitches good effects and throws good solos that turn in turn, by turns with keyboard chords which leave their harmonic imprints into our ears. Chris Gill completes the work with a bright and vivid guitar whose solos add a progressive touch to the music. Take the spectral harmonies of Phaedra and stick them to a brisk and spasmodic pace, you get the main ingredients of Through the Volcan Forest at Dusk. Two lines of sequences structure a lively flow, one of which flutters sharply, which is helped by a sneaky bass line and clatters of percussions, giving a semblance of wings to this rather catchy electronic rhythm. This structure is interrupted in some places with sequences that flutter in solo to give the synth the space it needs to emit its short evasive melodies. The solos abound on this title, and some are simply flabbergasting, with random tracings and changing tones. The essence of the 70's is well reproduced in this title, both at the level of rhythm level, of the ambiences and the harmonies of the synth. With a level of rhythm where we stamp of feet and we roll of the neck, Volcan Sea fully explores the meaning of its title. Initially, the rhythm is built on stationary sequences whose fluttering and flow converge towards a dark and threatening sound mass. Spray of sounds emerge by the form of synth solos and discret keyboard riffs. The tone of the synth is very sharp with piercing solos which intertwine as the rhythmic intensity is eating up the time in order to reach a symbiosis of intensity around the 5 minutes with the arrival of percussions. The spasmodic rhythm is still hiccupping as the synth ignites its progressive flame by spitting fire solos that remind me of the good days of Manfred Mann's Earth Band with the album Solar Fire. Intense and superb in its drifts and its random axes, it's a very good title which left its imprints on my walls. Valley of Modulation still shows Computerchemist's skill for weaving morphic solos. On a slow pace, like a cosmic down-tempo, Dave Pearson conceives his solos which get unite to a melodious approach. The drum of Zsolt Galántai adds a bit of astral sensuality with a good presence that accentuates the heaviness of the rhythm. Gradually, this beat is out of steam and the harmonic solos sail alone towards a finale rounded of resonances which swallow everything, to disappear suddenly and thus destabilizing a listening that had become hypnotic. Subsonic Volcan Flight ends VOLCAN DREAMS with a big Techno & Trance! Bass sequences that make boom-boom-boom, slamming of percussions and hands and a decor that flees the senses at 100 per hour, the rhythm really leaves the territories Berlin School with a Vanderson approach, but heavier ... and even faster. Jean-Michel Jarre I would say, during his last Electronica tour. In addition to jerky orchestral layers and psychotronic effects, the synth still has some energy to forge some good solos. A find! A very nice find that this album, and the music, that Computerchemist who offers an album without flaws and which highly stylized by the many synth solos that are the foundations of EM. Evolving mainly in the Berlin School mode, Dave Pearson is also very creative in rhythm programming with multiple lines on the same title, creating an opaque richness that satisfies the whims of my hearing that never has enough of sequences to put between my ears. But the main attraction remains this Volca that Computerchemist handles with style and panache, creating one of the beautiful albums of pure sequencer-driven Berlin School I've heard lately. Happy ears all the way through the 60 minutes of an album perfect for the retro Berlin School fan in you. Sylvain Lupari (May 24th, 2019) ****½*

Available at Computerchemist Bandcamp

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