DASK: Electron Hell (2021)
“Vibrating and resonant rhythms of a Berlin School style developing within its limits”
1 RBMK 1500 7:55
2 Particle in a Box 7:44
3 Fission 1986 9:36
4 The Bridge 6:54
5 Ghost City 3:42
6 RBMK 1000 12:50
7 Legasov 3:52
8 Legasov (Stratus Version) 3:04
(CD-r/DDL 55:37) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School)
Hearing the radiation coming from a synth with gloomy and reverb-laden layers, RBMK 1500 continues where the very bitter Winter Stone left us. But don't worry! The universe of DASK is split in two. The one that does in the experimental and/or dark ambient genre is the opposite of SynGate's one where it offers good Berlin School propelled by a creative sequencer and eroded by imaginative synths. ELECTRON HELL comes full circle from Electron Utopia in 2017 on SynGate. There were 3 other albums between them and none of them had that potential to belong to the cycles of nuclear power plant related radioactivity. But back to RBMK 1500, which escapes from a gaping throat filled with deafening reverb near the two minutes' point to begin a first impulse of the sequencer into ELECTRON HELL. A good Berlin School with the weight of its rubbery chords that advances briskly under the effects of the cackling synths. The heavy resonant approach of this rhythm is the trademark of the rhythms on this album; heavy, powerful and resonant. A bit like Arc and Redshift splitting their rhythmic worlds. Arpeggios of varying hues accompany this muscular flow, as well as invisible staccato orchestrations embed themselves in the sequencer's articulations to draw and isolate the rhythm in a finale so seraphic that we wonder if we just got to another track. Regardless, I'll take that 4 minutes of sequencer madness any day! RBMK 1500 sets the tone for an album whose radioactive effects cling to the album's heavy beats.
In this same concept, Particle in a Box begins with a reverberating sound flow where chords dilute into sonic blobs to form a first membrane of creeping oscillations. The form is organic and a pulsating bass line clings to it a few seconds later, structuring a more fluid binary rhythm that bears the weight of this fascinating melodic approach that is always a bit muddy. These two elements stand out! One crawling and the other rushing through oscillatory meanderings, to become gray noises filled loops, the two rhythmic entities of Particle in a Box go to the same place to stop at the 5-minute mark. Then, the same concept as RBMK 1500 that I wrote above goes on. The first 4 minutes of Fission 1986 are imagined by a very creative sequencer with its multiple arrhythmic lines created to please the aficionados of the genre. Afterwards, this rhythm must cross a corridor filled with mist and mysticism to bounce 60 seconds later in Tangerine Dream-like ambiences and this Mellotron filled with chthonian mist and enchanting flute aromas before going back to explore other avenues of the Berlin School of the Phaedra years. A huge track that overshadows the enigmatic ambiences of The Bridge.
Ghost City is another track with a more intense ambience. There is more life here than in The Bridge! To that effect, we are in the chorus of ELECTRON HELL's atmospheric music as RBMK 1000 follows the paths of an excellent Berlin School less convoluted than RBMK 1500. Its rhythm structure consists of a line of bass-sequences rolling and dribbling at high speed and another more hazardous line that runs away at full speed to return to a quieter phase around the 11th minute. Knocking can be heard throughout the track, adding a very stylized depth to this splendid Berlin School created in the originality and complexity of this desire to surprise the listener in DASK. And we go from one surprise to another with the short Legasov and its bed of roses carved in acoustic guitar chords under a misty moon. Guitar solos disguised by a synth cover this beautiful ballad with a veil of romance. It's the kind of thing you wouldn't expect, and it makes you smile as much as it surprises you. Legasov (Stratus Version) proposes another version, more acoustic, of this beautiful ballad where the piano scatters well the shivers that it gives.
Vibrating and resonant rhythms of a heaviness to make tremble the eardrums, if not the walls of our living room, ELECTRON HELL carries quite well the meanings of its title. Even the two tracks of gloomy and industrial ambiences sound good in this collection where the Berlin School style develops within its limits. DASK at its best. Hats off to you David!
Sylvain Lupari (April 11th, 2021) ****½*
Available at SynGate Bandcamp