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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Cosmic Ground (2014)

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Cosmic Ground is a true beauty which will entice for sure those who are lovers of these old analog moods of the 70's

1 Legacy 14:07 2 Deadlock 16:25 3 Ground 33:24 4 The Plague 14:18 5 Decay 18:26 Cosmic Ground Music

(DDL 96:42) (V.F.) (Classical Berlin School)

I have mentioned recently that the EM of the analog moods knew a new lease on life among the young maker of new sounds who are in search of the pinnacle of the electronic virginity. The essays abound on YouTube and it's even transform into albums where the false from the real stays always difficult to encircle, unless we are clear and precise. Like here where Dirk Jan Müller enumerates his list of equipment by insisting on the fact that no MIDI technology or/and equipment and synth software are used. The result? An album warm in sounds and in emotions. Cosmic Ground is not inevitably a newcomer in the spheres of EM. It's the project of Dirk Jan Müller, founder and keyboard player of the famous German group of totally psychedelic Krautrock; Electric Orange that took root in the lands of the underground EM at the very beginning of the 90's. It's a return to basics that he makes with this impressive COSMIC GROUND, because initially Dirk Jan Müller had begun his solo career with 3 albums, from 91 to 93, which were strongly inspired by Tangerine Dream's Baumann-Franke-Froese period. Proposed in a limited edition 500 copies, the album is consisted in 4 long tracks all built on the same rules of those vintage years; with mystic banks of mist and a lot of chthonian voices where the Mellotron is the king of a fauna vandalized by jumping keys which are also smiths of harmonious rhythms. The manufactured CD edition being totally sold out, this album is also offered in a high quality download on the Bandcamp page of the artist who also offers a bonus track, Decay, stretching the album into a 2 CD-r full of EM where the expression; return to basics is of the most appropriate here.

A dark shadow of a synth clears its interstellar sighs at the opening of Legacy. Clouds of mist full of ether and layers of faded voices assail our ears, while some irresistible flavors of Phaedra revive our memories. The illusion is completed. Tears of synth and chords are strolling adrift in these mystic atmospheres fed by a splendid Mellotron, whereas a discreet pulsing line forges quietly the genesis of a rhythm which will hatch at around the 6th minute spot. At first dimmed, the pulsations are banging with strength and vigor. So much that the water which oozes on walls drip with the fear of being sprayed by this rhythmic train which emerges from the caves of Legacy. The rhythm beats to the measure of an industrial machine on the edge of crashing down off the rails. Lively and fast, it is like a spring tense at its most which bombards until it breaks. Fine arches are relaxing the tension, curving a bit the linear movement where the shadows of the keys get loose in order to bite the back of those which are hanging around. Other keys get out of this wild race, modulating oscillating loops which give a more musical structure to the rhythm. But it is not finished! Our ears which hear the jingle of the drops will notice farther these industrial waves which go and come, forging the complementarily of a structure of rhythm of which the complexity fed itself of these keys which go into the race or which leave it, creating the illusion of revival in every cycle of a vintage electronic rhythm which runs away from the redundancy in spite of its deep minimalist flow. Down from its 14 minutes, Legacy weaves the main lines of COSMIC GROUND, and by ricochet the music of Cosmic Ground.

Deadlock is leaning on the same principle. A foggy introduction sustained by some dark and mesmerizing lines of old organ which lay down the bases of a chthonian start. Some rangy effects of reverberations decorate these abyssal ambiences which give the impression that we attend at a sound mass for little devils. Jumping keys are pounding around the 4th minute, weaving an undulatory rhythm, like a train crossing a valley loaded of small mountains, at which the jingles nibble delicately. The rhythm is peaceful, almost ambient, with good sound effects, like these hoops which go and come with more lucidity than in Legacy and of which the episodic heaping up is sounding like a choir of zombies in trance. We are in the lands of Tangerine Dream with a beautiful perfume of contemporaneousness. There is no preliminary with Ground! A heavy chord falls, scratching the ears with effects of reverberations which escape from it. Chords of keyboard nibble the first 2 minutes, just a bit before that a line of bass sequences forges a black rhythm which skips over the processions of mist. The keys untie their shadows which gallop in all directions with the swiftness of a wild race deserving of the best electronic rhythmic phases of Redshift and Radio Massacre International. On the other hand, this movement of rhythm is brief because Ground is more a monument of glaucous atmospheres where the phases of rhythm fall to pieces, run out and go and come in approaches and different formats. We find them almost everywhere but it's more the landscapes of black ambiences which remain the heart of Ground. It's a mixture between the atmospheres perfumed of ether from Klaus Schulze and those of the first steps of Tangerine Dream where there are a lot of intense moments which will throw tons of frightening discomfort in good horror movies. I found that a bit too long. Especially that The Plague continues on the same avenue with a music of black ambiences where the Mellotron is king and puts to sleep all of the jumping keys in its anesthetic coat of mystic mists. These keys will make a strong comeback after the slow and black intro of Decay. Pulsations pierce an opaque cloud of mist and of chthonian voices near the 6 minutes, weaving a pulsatory rhythm which beats laconically in a dense magma flowing out from the lands of Mephistopheles. The beauties and the attractions of Legacy and Deadlock abound here, but in a different format where the subtle nuances remain the cradle of our surprise. Cosmic Ground is an artist worthy to be discovered if we look for the perfumes of the vintage years and this eponym album is a Grand Cru in EM. A great discovery and an inescapable of 2014!

Sylvain Lupari (August 21st, 2015) *****

Available at Cosmic Ground Bandcamp

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