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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Cosmic Ground 0110 (2020)

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Here is a big album from Cosmic Ground which proves that the Berlin School style can evolve without losing its soul

1 Parasite 10:29

2 Procreation 17:18

3 Sorrows of Venus 11:01

4 Wrong Planet? 19:01

5 Cosmic 72 20:15

(CD/DDL 78:03) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

The color of the tones always shines of an original hue when worked on analog and/or modular synths. It is in this color of a red invaded by the blue pulling towards the green that Parasite comes to life. From this first undulating layer sliding through our ears, Dirk Jan Müller cuts it finely, like a butcher cutting his cocktail sausages, to give it a convulsive looks. Parasite then becomes like its title! Sinking effortlessly, it delivers a frenetic and spasmodic rhythm which keeps its linear course by emitting a rapid series of jolts. But little by little, DJM attributed to it good percussive effects which rolled and bounced on a conveyor in order to stimulate the music which reached heights of varying intensity. There is a good echo effect around the 7th minute, flagship moment of the title which reaches an intense stage of electronic rock that a mellotron quieten of its sleepy flute leads in a final all in mist and which tries to pull the rhythm back in its introductory tube. Yes! There are still crumbs, and big ones, of Tangerine Dream's musical feasts. If it's not on Parasite, it'll be somewhere else in the latest Cosmic Ground's album 0110.

Following the complex structure of hybrid rhythm, sequencer and percussions, innovated in Cosmic Ground 5 in the title operation: echo, Dirk Jan Müller weaves an imposing rhythmic choreography also propelled on this crossed-beats structure to which the keyboardist of Electric Orange adds good rhythmic effects which only increase the fun. 0110 is aimed more particularly to aficionados of the sequencer-based style. Besides, I don't think I'm wrong in writing that this album is the least nuanced, the most structured in rhythms from Cosmic Ground. The ambiences' phases are more used to start a title, like stopping it in order to propose another choreography of the sequencer.

In fact, even if the style flirts with retro Berlin School, Cosmic Ground can still give its ship a contemporary oar stroke. Like in the sumptuous opening of Procreation which springs up with a modern tone, even in its ambient envelope. We have to wait for the thick layers of Farfisa to put a little vintage between the ears in this introduction where the intensity breathes by our desire for listening and apprehension. Dirk Jan Müller throws layers of Farfisa to which he grafts tones flirting with the chthonic universe of the genre. We feel this rage coming from the keyboard/synth, and even a guitar, riffs in a fascinating luminescent aura of the layers and their corridors oriented on Space Music. The sequencer extracts a rhythmic line between these riffs, a little before the 6th minute. If at the beginning, it waddles like a puppet with missing fingers, it gets back quickly enough to structure his rhythms which always come back in the form of balls. In the meantime, another line of percussive effects rolls in parallel and even bifurcates to touch this primary line which must stop to contemplate these jumping keys… which are only jumping. A circular line which develops a roaring shadow and another contiguous which quivers in order to bring out its double, advance in this highway that it seems to me that Parasite has already taken. The structure of Procreation becomes as hyper jerky as in this first track of 0110. And if the lines of rhythms roll at full speed, everything that surrounds them ends up throwing us fluty harmonies and banks of this ethereal mist in ambiences that flirt with the Rubycon and the Phaedra years. But nothing more, like if Dirk Jan Müller had made his bed elsewhere. Sorrows of Venus does not waste time to impose a chaotic rhythm to which is immediately grafted another line that thrills like a spasmodic road. Awkward, the rhythm skips in the mute reverberations of the bass line. Chthonian mists abound and still there, a comparison to the vintage style of you know who is far to be made. They are dense, with light streaks of flutes, and float while enclosing a thrilling rhythm whose each jolt makes the colors of the layers of mist radiate a little more. And DJM sculpts his new ambient visions around his complex rhythms which entangle convoluted rhythmic illusions and whose different forms run towards the same goal; infinity. This thrilling effect gives more charm to long structures that barely evolve, constantly keeping the course towards this endless goal that the ambiences, became more stuffy, refuse each time to go further when we begin to find the primer a little redundant.

Wrong Planet? puts a little more weight on the perception that Cosmic Ground wants to have its own identity by pouring us a superb Berlin School which comes from another planet. In a splendid protean rhythmic choreography, the sequencer works on the shift of the Phaedra years with a structure where the fluidity and the convulsionist are dancing in parallel on smooth roads as convex, linear or curved. At times powerful while often muffled, the rhythm remains trapped in this mass of vintage vibes without elaborating a little more on its charms of yesteryear. A superb title, and for me 0110 would be a small masterpiece of the genre without the enigmatic Cosmic 72. I understand the correlation with that time. On the other hand, I am one of those who think that although it was a pioneer, this period when Farfisa and Moog sculpted wind symphonies has nothing new to add today. But everything gets tamed! The first winds are gentle and auscultate with their buzzing whispers a hostile territory filled with guttural noises and wild percussive elements. The fine wave of the Farfisa adapts to the threats of this antagonistic fauna with a rise in a universe of caustic buzzes. It is Dark Ambient in an impostor syndrome whose immense waves of reverberations begin to play ambient break with a jerky perception. I needed 3 plays to acclimatize myself, except that in the end I did not stick to this track as I was for the other 4.

Here is a big album from Cosmic Ground which proves that the Berlin School style can evolve without losing its soul. The first 58 minutes of 0110 are pure auditory pleasures that amaze with each new choreography of this hybrid rhythm formula. One of the very good albums of the genre in 2020!

Sylvain Lupari (January 4th, 2021) ****¾*

Available at Cosmic Ground Bandcamp

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