DASK & THANECO: Elemental (2018)
“Elemental has all it needs to satisfy the appetite of fans of sequencer-based EM, in particular of Tangerine Dream, era Virgin”
1 Earth 9:56 2 Water 13:28 3 Metal 11:42 4 Wood 8:11 5 Fire 8:44 6 Air 11:19 7 Void 7:08 SynGate Wave | DASKT01
(CD-r/DDL 70:29) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
Riffs of orchestrations and muffled rumblings get Earth out of the silence. Wiishh, whoosh, winds of dust and orchestrations, of which echoes form incomplete staccato impulses, adorn this introduction, for at least nebulous. Layers of voices get graft to these elements, filling an opening which grows with a dramatic approach while the first steps of the sequencer stutter a little before the point of 3 minutes. This first movement will seduce those who have lost in their memories this zigzagging approach of Edgar Froese in Drunken Mozart in the Desert. Influences which are also found on Electron Utopia, the first album of DASK. This movement of sequenced orchestrations describes large arcs on a weak bed of pulsations which slowly organize a riposte a little before the 5th minute whereas the second rhythmic skin of Earth hatches with a movement of bass sequences. These two movements synchronize their zigzagging ballads in a symphony for sequencers with keys which jump and frolic in conventional tones and others caramelized in a mixture of distortion and sizzle. David Marsh is part of this new generation of EM musicians who have made their mark with a series of compelling albums. At ease like a fish in the water behind an energetic sequencer, he succeeds in getting out of the bundle with a constant progression in his prototypes of rhythms which are played with additional lines of underlying rhythms. And this creative and sometimes daring approach is always very much glued to a harmonic vision. Co-written with EM Grec's musician, Thanasis (Thanos) Oikonomopoulos, ELEMENTAL is a seventh official album for DASK, including a fourth on the German label SynGate. Carved around the theme of sets of elements which explain the observations of life and nature, ELEMENTAL offers pure Berlin School structures which quietly emerge from limbo, and of its ambiances, to bite our eardrums with movements in progression which are also scented by the influences of Tangerine Dream, Chris Franke era.
Water proposes a more austere approach. A bank of layers of Gothic voices and of astral mists floats until reaching a dense veil of industrial organ where chthonic hummings are roaming there. A delicate melody mounted on arpeggios pinched like harp strings follows a minimalist circular ritornello played on piano. Perfumes of flutes are wandering here and there, while Water evolves with changes in its structure until it adopts the pulse of a sequencer which upsets the established order by structuring a new arrhythmic approach. A conveyor rolls balls which sparkle from everywhere, while the initial approach tries to keep its phlegm. This segment, and the sound effects that surround it, link the world of Chris Franke to that of Johannes Schmoelling in Wuivend Riet. The part 2 is strong and full of memories! The first 6 minutes of Metal reflect an almost post-apocalyptic phase with knockings which roll in their echoes through a haze nourished by voice effects. Phase by phase, these knocks join their distances to form a tasty, and quite unexpected, down-tempo under long sighs of a synth mode Vangelis' Blade Runner. The second part offers a more electronic approach with a felted and resonant movement of the sequencer to which is grafted good electronic percussions. Metal becomes a good electronic pop-rock driving under a virgin melody, like ELP's, hummed by a synth in mode charm. After the slightly abyssal atmospheres of Wood, where chords and arpeggios are a little isolated, Fire spits a slow rhythm, at least its first half. Under pulses of powerful synth pads, the sequencer organizes a rhythm wrought on keys irradiated by distortion effects. The whole thing is very pleasant to the ear, even if the effect of déjà-heard in the structures is omnipresent, when this ambient rhythm, nicely decorated with sound and percussive effects, reaches its climax and sinks with a more fluid rhythm around the 5th minute. This second phase of Fire flows with a good pace in this same setting. A short interlude is also proposed to restructure another short phase of rhythm. If Void adopts the depths of its title, Air also plunges us into a pool of very ethereal atmospheres before giving itself to a delicate rhythm. The atmospheres in this title reach the dimension of its meaning with layers of sound effects radiating and convincing in their natures and minds.
Available in HQ CD-R format and downloadable from SynGate's Bandcamp website, ELEMENTAL has all it needs to satisfy the appetite of fans of sequencer-based EM, in particular of Tangerine Dream, era Virgin. This association with Thaneco adds a more classical depth to the ambivalent and progressive structures of DASK, even if these structures melt between our ears with an obvious sense of déjà-heard, the touch of the Greek musician adds subtleties that bring everything back into the moods that have inspired the sense and the spirit of ELEMENTAL.
Sylvain Lupari (June 16th, 2018) ***¾**
Available at SynGate's Bandcamp