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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Cosmic Ground Live (2017)

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

“Pure Berlin School revival that is this Cosmic Ground Live. The aficionados will love it!”

1 Dark Enck 20:16 2 Cairo Grind 19:14 3 Unground I 19:20 4 Unground II 18:57 5 Anomaly 16:54

(Bonus track for DL only) Sunhair Music | SH 0025

(CD 77:48/DDL 94:41) (V.F.) (Vintage Berlin School)

Is good old Berlin School has still something to show? You bet it has! Recorded within the framework of 2 festivals of electronic and/or psychedelic progressive music, be the prestigious E-Live Festival in Oirschot and the Psychedelic Network Festival in Würzburg, COSMIC GROUND LIVE is the quintessence of this art that very few artists are capable of making live again without falling in the plagiarism of a time which, for several among us, stays the zenith of EM. Comprised around 4 long evolutionary titles which fill the furrows of a double vinyl album of 180 gr, this last electronic Mass of Cosmic Ground is also available in CD and in downloadable format where a Bonus Track, Anomaly awaits the fans of this solo project of Dirk Jan Müller, the keyboard player of Electric Orange, a band known for its psychedelic music. We are here in the pure Berlin School style of the vintage years where the concerts were given beneath the seal of improvisation, thus nebulous introductions blown by creative Mellotron are on the menu of the 4 immersive titles of COSMIC GROUND LIVE. Certainly there were some rehearsals, but the inspiration always remains the main source of Dirk Jan Müller who is assisted here by Horst Porkert; founder of the psychedelic music label Sunhair Records.

It's with a bed of roaring fog and of titanic frictions of cymbals that opens the glaucous and misty ornaments which Dark Enck needs in order to survive at its metaphysical fusion. Electronic chirpings are sparkling in the oblivion and breaths of ambient drones are snoring here whereas delicate fluty lines add a lyrical touch to an introduction loaded of mysticism. Faithful to his understanding of the universe of vintage EM, Dirk Jan Müller adores watering his openings and his finales of these dense fur of Mellotron which always add a perfume of cemetery (you know, these corpses which get up from their graves?) to his music. Except that here, the corpses are rhythmic skeletons which take shape in a sequencer as precise as spasmodic and which charge the atmospheres with surges and gallops to break the bones of those which remain stupefied and without moving. The first rumblings of the sequencer crumble the last trails of mist of this introduction shortly after the of 150 seconds. The bass palpitations are nervous and spit a heavy and noisy structure where roam some bright effects. And we're off! As in a race of oscillating balls, the rhythm bulldozes ahead and follows the fluctuating curves of a structure which will take advantage of its long rounds to forge the tones of the sequences and disorientate the race by throwing on the pavement some layers of mud which slow down the swiftness of the rhythmic balls. Jingles of percussions decorate the insanity of the jumping keys with boosted thrummings just as the race of a sequencer avoid the abrupt bends with so graceful moves, so one would say that everything goes in slow motion for a few seconds. This rhythmic plan in constant movement avoids the traps of slumbering our eardrums by playing on the color of the tones, which go from black buzzing to crystal tint, as well as by varying the frenzy of the sequencers' lines of rhythm. If Dark Enck spits rhythms of fire, Cairo Grind calls out to genius with a clearly more spasmodic structure in a duel of sequencers which still gives me shivers to the spine. It's like hearing all the evolutions of the rhythmic structures of the vintage years in a segment of 20 minutes. Brilliant!

After this duel of sequencers, the long introduction all in mystery of Unground I arrives as some balm between our ears. The lines of Mellotron and synth inject an appearance of Mephistophelian choir with arrangements which are right, both in the tone and in the note. A long introduction stuffed with hollow breezes where from emerges a lively and crystal-clear structure of rhythm in the edge of 10 minutes. From then on, the sinister atmospheres get crystallize to form the adjacent atmospheres of the rhythmic train primed by a sequencer which adjusts its jerky structure of rhythm between those of Dark Enck and of Cairo Grind. For a short 5 minutes, this structure shakes our meditative phase which returns with a soporific finale and among which the perfumes and the essences will float up until finale of a very serene and ethereal Unground II. A bonus track goes with the DL version and is also available to everyone for a modest amount of; pay what you want! Anomaly, which clocks for 19 minutes, is in the tradition of Cosmic Ground kind of EM; so be a lot of rhythm and as many variations with effects and ornaments of percussions (jingles) in a long exercise for sequencers and the art to build electronic rhythms among which the subtle variances and the decorations are at the diapason of a music which shows that its borders have, and seem to have forever, no limits. COSMIC GROUND LIVE proves it with a superb album which is in the continuity of the previous works of this solo project of Dirk Jan Müller who is like a fountain of youth in contemporary EM. Solid, from A to Z!

Sylvain Lupari (July 3rd, 2017) ****½*

Available at Cosmic Ground Bandcamp

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