DAN ARMSTRONG: A Long Time Coming (2019)
“A Long Time Coming is this little guilty pleasure which presents 7 tracks about waves' evolution on patterns of ambient minimalist beats”
1 Alpha Wave 6:48
2 Beta Wave 9:30
3 Gamma Wave 8:33
4 Delta Wave 7:15
5 Epsilon Wave 9:15
6 Zeta Wave 10:24
7 Eta Wave 11:06
(CD/DDL 61:52) (V.F.)
(Ambient minimalist beats)
This album by Dan Armstrong is one of those little pleasures of discovering a contemporary EM that combines the basics of the Berlin School with both ambient and meditative dance hymns. In fact, we chat Chill-Out Ambient here! A LONG TIME COMING is a collection of 7 tracks that are propelled by different wave movements. The waves being what they are, there are several similarities in textures and movements. And if the openings are more ambient, the second parts dive into phases of rhythm with psybient or organic essences. Dan Armstrong is a musician-producer-composer whose name remains associated with the works of Si Matthews, and this name is very popular in the circles of modern EM. A LONG TIME COMING is a first solo album that survives the Electronica / Psybient label more than the Berlin School genre, although the two extremes touch each other at certain times.
A reverb, equipped with a twisted filament, emerges from my platinum. Its inflammation, and its explosion, vibrate a nest of sound waves that meet a mega breath of the synthesizer and its intense dantesque tone. Forged in the main lines of a music atmosphere heated by a mass of radioactivity, Alpha Wave has all these attributes that makes that we do not want to continue the adventure of A LONG TIME COMING. White noises, crackling sounds and distorted waves mate with the sound impact that gives coldness to the back. In the distance, the explosions resound! And near us, the warnings congest the sound highway with these breezes coming from the unreal and which would serve the cause of a documentary on the dramas of our planet. Nevertheless, a beautiful musical shadow lurks above this extreme tonal temperament and must be completed to reach the second level of this first album by Dan Armstrong. Black and intense! The moods are still blurred with the opening of Beta Wave and its percussion, some felted, slamming and resonate at the corners of my speakers. And my Totem Tower appreciate the clear division of the stereophonic effect of these multiple clicks. A line of the sequencer frees itself and sculpts a fluid ambient movement that goes up and down in a relative peace ... before the bass line explodes and extends its vampiric power. The movement of Beta Wave pigeons in the atmospheres of Global Communication with crackles of percussion and arpeggios, free from any harmonic constraint, who wander by weaving an evasive melody and ambient. His second portion embraces a very Berlin School movement of the sequencer before exploding for a frank and dry rhythm, like ambient chill-out. Suave and soothing, the bass line wreaks havoc on this album. In Gamma Wave it makes the pulsations sound in clouds of ether. The rhythm lives on its three repetitive chords and slowly advances while changing the scenery. Thus, drops of water fall into a cave before ending up indeed juicy sucker. Chuttts come and go too. If you think of Diva from Zoolook, we are in the same place! The sequencer zigzags a line of rhythm that wobbles until ending its isolated race in its magnetic double, moment when Gamma Wave clings to a survival instinct in a second part much livelier. The percussions that slam and tinkle in a rhythmic pattern à la Massive Attack, Delta Wave is activating the sequencer and its lines of sequenced rhythms that wavers in a striking effect of a bass line and its very Solar Fields grasp. Epsilon Wave begins with a pattern of rattlings that form a fluid membrane which is conducive to this dance of arpeggios in the breezes of chthonic corridors and where roam this sibylline choir. Chords are born, giving more depth to a noble first part but much less interesting than the second and its heavy rhythm that dips us into a crossing between Vincent Villuis, the man behind Aes Dana, and Magnus Birgersson. Zeta Wave is more in ambient music mode with its bed of reverberations that fray a lot of textures sound before giving itself to a heavy slow rhythm and resonant of its bass waves. With more rhythm, especially in the second half, Eta Wave puts an end to A LONG TIME COMING as Alpha Wave had started. But always with more rhythm.
Beyond the style that interests us here on this site, but with enough elements to sneak in if the music of Ultimae Records, Carbon Based Lifeforms or Solar Fields interests us, this A LONG TIME COMING by Dan Armstrong is worth a little detour. And if you like to vibrate on a bass line that makes soles insensitive, you're in the right place.
Sylvain Lupari (September 8th, 2019) *****
Available at Dan Armstrong Bandcamp