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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Däcker Anthropomorphic Personification (2023)

A revelation for 2023 that should appeal to fans of Berlin School and a more experimental EM

1 Thanathos 9:25

2 Aergia 16:14

3 Hypnos 15:50

4 Chaos 10:42

5 Chronos 20:15

6 Gaia 4:56

(CD/DDL 78:00) (V.F.)

(Progressive EM, Berlin School)

Pareidolia, released in autumn 2020, had left me with a vague promise of a better tomorrow, with electronic music (EM) inspired by La belle époque. The 70's, with analog synths and sequencers. Still supported by Remy and Wouter Bessels, who still does the mastering, Däcker is no longer that vague promise. Peter Dekker delivers a powerful concept album on anthropomorphic personification. Hence the title, ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION. The album, available as a manufactured CD and as a download, features an EM inspired by Klaus Schulze and Vangelis, where atmosphericosmic visions, industrial pulsating rhythms and Berlin School scroll over a 78-minute span without our sometimes very surprised ears detecting one too many.

Slightly damaged wiisshh reveal interesting psychedelic contorts while stimulating an industrial pulse in Thanathos opening. Peter Dekker adorns this first invitation to his new album with sound effects from Klaus Schulze's early years, mingling with the fascinating effects of Jean-Michel Jarre on his long track Waiting for Cousteau, from the  same name album. The whole thing is caressed by cosmic orchestrations and soporific synth layers. Purely atmospheric but not meditative, due to its intensity and its noisy environment, with a touch of drama courtesy of a magnetizing synth bass shadow and timpani rolls, Thanathos continues its minimalist journey over its 9-minute and counting distance, stimulating the listener with its rich tonal flora. In fact, the track's structure reminded me that it's been a while since I listened to Vangelis' excellent Soil Festivities. You get the picture! Hypnos, a much darker track co-written with Rik van der Lande, who handles guitar here, follows in the same vein, with its delightful use of tape-delay effects. If you like to hear a synth whistle like a nightingale, Aergia is for your ears. In an old Berlin School structure à la Klaus Schulze, its opening sings to our ears like a rivulet of arpeggios gently stirred by azure winds. A veil of orchestration falls, followed by a shadow of bass, embellishing a listening experience that reveals a latent level of intensity. The synth starts its charm operation as early as the 3rd minute. The texture of its floating aria reminds the tones of the early to mid-70's. One is immediately reminded of Schulze, only more musical. From the 5th minute onwards, the rhythmic structure slowly takes shape. Gradually, its upward motion becomes spasmodic. Just like the good old days of analog! We tap our fingers on the armrest of our recliner and our neurons flutter between our ears. The sequencer forges lines that juxtapose or merge with a juicy wet-rubber tone. When it comes to synth solos, Däcker is definitely in a class of his own! An excellent track!

Chaos takes us to another level. A more experimental-industrial one. Percussive sound effects are echoing in banks of hollow breezes. The opening is atmospheric in nature, with winds that moan in cascades, like a train journey with a window open. The sound mass is very compact, with these winds on which are grafted voices from beyond the grave. They howl in symbiosis with this storm of whistling winds. The din, the sonic chaos, settles in like a psychotic crisis in the head of a schizophrenic lost in the incessant hums and beats of a production line. This is thus the rhythmic source of Chaos, which convulse with a succession of lively industrial pulses that roll along like a crazy train on uneven rails. It's spasmodic, relentless and there's nothing melodic about it. But our ears get in line, for a feast with this immense whirlwind of acid winds and mechanical pulsations in an environment that's ideal for headbanging. After such a racket, Chronos' atmosphericosmic opening is most welcome. Its first 150 seconds entice us to travel to the farthest reaches of the Cosmos, with long and organic torsade that drip out of their tones in symbiosis with some soaring synth waves that zigzag into infinity. ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION's longest track, on the other hand, develops in much the same way as its predecessor, with less fuss and more Berlin School structure. The rhythm bursts forth after the second minute. Its upward movement is structured on 8 circular steps that you climb up and down with your hair blowing in the wind. Däcker subtly accelerates the pace, adding a bass line that hums in harmony with a beat that has become hypnotic. So much so, that a rhythmic earworm gets created. The synth waves amplify their presence. They shimmer here and there, sometimes with a more piercing tone. They even whistling solos with an ectoplasmic texture. They also glide, more than slalom, to keep up with the pace, which is supported by percussions somewhere after the 10-minute mark. Chronos then repositions itself into a tasty technoïd Berlin School. And even more so when the cymbals sparkle with their tssitt-tssitt some 4 minutes later. An excellent track that ends in a more seraphic finale than its opener. The short Gaia ends this powerful Däcker album with a beautiful cosmic ballad where arpeggios, dropped by thinking fingers and a nostalgic soul, glow sadly in the vibratory waves of tape-delay effects. The synth accompanies the keyboard, launching harmonies filled with sadness in a sublime setting that reminds us just how much we miss Vangelis.

I was entirely captivated by this new opus from Däcker. So much so that I must have listened to this ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION at least a dozen times over the Christmas holidays. I admit, my ears have hesitated on tracks like Hypnos and, especially, Chaos. But learning to tame these progressive, experimental structures was easier than the opposite, without affecting my all-consuming passion for the other 4 tracks of this powerful album. A revelation for 2023 that should please fan of an EM inspired by the Berlin School from La Belle Époque, and the experimental but musical style of Vangelis. I always think of Soil Festivities here!

Sylvain Lupari (January 8th, 2024) ****½*

Available at Deserted Island Music 

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

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