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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DANGER IN DREAM: Iconic (2019)

“The multiplicity of sound effects, including creativity in percussive elements, make this album a jewel that delights each time you listen to it”

1 Astrosteron Part 1 5:42

2 Astrosteron Part 2 5:55

3 Iconic Part 1 2:24

4 Iconic Part 2 3:12

5 Iconic Part 3 5:60

6 Deep Blue 4:19

7 Skylink Part 1 6:07

8 Skylink Part 2 4:34

9 Arctic Mysteries 5:01

10 Electric Fields Part 1 6:36

11 Electric Fields Part 2 4:27

12 Electric Fields Part 3 7:44

(CD 60:02) (V.F.) (Berlin School)

Come on! Say the name quickly. Say Danger in Dream quickly, quickly! Like music, the words in your mouth come close to illusion; Tangerine Dream! If you missed the wonderful Entrance in 2001, don't miss ICONIC. If 18 years separate the only two albums of the German-Swiss duo, the music and the composition structures of Robert Wittek and Alexander Guelfenburg have not evolved an iota. And it shouldn't!

Astrosteron begins slowly. A rise of synth lines coming from the East is coupled with a reverberation wave, while the keyboard makes dance a melody which revolves slowly. The breaths of synths have this metallic and symphonic air. Memories are awakening behind the membrane of my eardrum. And even more when a line of the sequencer makes it keys dancing with symmetrical jumps, and the ambiences are perfumed with pads and a dialogue between synths, like in the days of Exit. And while Astrosteron Part 1 merges into the offerings of Astrosteron Part 2, the magic of the Johannes Schmoelling years sparkles between our ears. Bass pulsations, duck-cyborg voice, multi-colored pads, sequencer riffs, dribbling of sequencer balls, percussive elements, percussions with muffled gas effects and finally vocals and sound effects from the Exit years! The panorama is full of these effects, in addition to this synth whose tones in the layers and solos are reminiscent more particularly of Entrance, but always influenced by the Dream. It's therefore with a static rhythm approach that Danger In Dream sets out the hunt to EM fans who feasted of the neuron box with the music of Tangerine Dream, from Tangram to Hyperborea. We are far from Stratus 4, but the best is yet to come.

Divided into 3 acts, the title-track establishes an ambient rhythm line with manual percussions and a swarm of sequences hopping with a limpid drop effect transforming into a limpid percussive sequence which will ooze and tinkle throughout Iconic. Layers and a spiral line of melody follow this procession which is armed with new sequences and percussions in order to give a slight velocity to the music which will become much more animated in its third act. The envelope of the synths and their effects are very close to the Tangram years. The slightly spasmodic rhythm, Deep Blue is a nice ballad of the White Eagle genre from which rises a beautiful synth solo which embellishes the listening as much as these slamming percussions which follow its evolution. A very good title which flows towards a pure remake of the opening of Tangram, at least for the first part of Skylink Part 1. The armada of percussive elements here reaches an unexpected level in what becomes a good electronic rock guided by sober electronic percussions. We close our eyes and the Dream becomes almost reality. As if a secret agent had stolen archives from the Franke, Froese, Schmoelling trio! Skylink Part 2 continues the evolution with a slightly stroboscopic spheroidal structure that can be found in Network, still from Exit. The cadence slowly decreasing, we arrive at Arctic Mysteries where synth solos compete with a fauna of percussive elements and sound effects à la White Eagle, Mojave Plan, in a structure leaping in its static fabric but oh so lively of its multiple effects. With our ears still in seduction mode, we probably reach the pinnacle of ICONIC with the Electric Fields trilogy. It's almost 20 minutes of electronic rock, rather frenzied I would say, watching our feet tapping nervously on a rhythm that mixes spasmodic and leaping visions quite well. As in the Entrance's finale, Danger in Dream raises its level of composition by a notch with a more personal structure where elements and effects from the 80's are grafted, as much from the music of Tangerine Dream as that of EM in general. I'm thinking in particular of Jean-Michel Jarre.

Less charming at first listen than the huge Entrance, of which I ardently wish a reissue, ICONIC remains a very good album with almost 45 minutes which are tamed without any difficulty. The mega Electric Fields earning its points with each new listening. The multiplicity of sound effects, including creativity in percussive elements, make this album a jewel that delights each time you listen to it. It is a must for fans of Tangerine Dream with influences and similarities that range from Tangram to Hyperborea. The sound quality and production are impeccable, like the 62 minutes of this album which has been playing in loops since I received it from Virtual Music.

Sylvain Lupari (December 18th, 2019) ****½*

Available at Virtual Music

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