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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DAVID HELPLING: IN (2022)

An album as powerful as musical that did me a lot of good in another texture than purely electronic

1 Waves Dream of Breaking 7:32

2 This Burning Sky 7:20

3 Only What's Been Taken 6:26

4 Here all Along 6:25

5 Still as Stone 6:12

6 The Bliss You've Always Carried 8:01

7 Slipping 8:01

8 The Cold Distance Between 5:56

9 You Already Are 6:42

10 Following the Lines 5:30

11 Bending Towards the Night 8:21

12 In Waves of Fire 5:50

13 I Too Am Coming Home 6:44

Spotted Peccary | SPM-0805

(2CD/2LP/DDL 90:00) (V.F.)

(Post synth waves, New Age, Cinematic)

It is by a breeze sweeping the green spaces that begins Waves Dream of Breaking. A note of bass falls and makes irradiate the secret voices and these synth lines having a discreet metallic squeaking of an azure tone. Tones which remain discrete in the soundscapes of IN where tinkle also these chords of electric piano of which the tonality one cannot help linking with that of the universe of Patrick O'Hearn. Buzzing, the breezes transport us to the first rhythmic jolts with bass-sequences and clan percussions where twirl these ambient harmonies of a guitar which scatters its riffs well. Fractured, the rhythm hesitates between ambient phases and a vision more supported by a good texture of percussions and a pulsating percussion line. The metallic echo effects of these percussions add an emotional weight to a musical envelope that intensifies as Waves Dream of Breaking crumbles its minutes. It's at the foot of the 4th that David Helpling frees the sequencer into a circular rhythmic tornado brilliantly lifted by an excellent percussion playing, bringing the music into a powerful envelope where the threads of a progressive and melodic New Age mingle with the electronic beats of a Berlin School vision. And no, Waves Dream of Breaking is not an isolated track in this marvelous IN that has just come out of Howard Givens studios who has just mixed and mastered a fascinating and intense album for the Spotted Peccary label. This new album by the Californian guitarist exposes nearly 90 minutes of acoustic-electronic music that mixes its wild rhythms with lunar ballads and where chills, if not tears, are born in the recesses of an intense, dramatic and poignant music. Helpling has invited seasoned musicians to play instruments with uncommon range on this album which the American label is offering on double-vinyl, CD and download.

The elements that made Waves Dream of Breaking so beautiful are also found in the other 81 minutes of IN. And there's no denying the resemblance to O'Hearn's music, as the ambient guitar chords and glassy arpeggios in the opening of This Burning Sky take us back to the lands of the 1991 album Indigo, specifically for the splendid Sacred Heart. Leaving behind the charms of an ethereal introduction, the track embraces the vision of a good electronic pop/rock tinged with a contemporary revival where the female singer Nidhi Bhatmuley offers a dazzling performance that is not without recalling the great vocal moments of Enigma or Lisa Gerrard. Moreover, the list of guests in this album, prepared over a distance of 2 years, increases the intensity of its depth, without forgetting the curiosity of our ears. It is a sparkling string of shimmering arpeggios that initiates Only What's Been Taken and its piano leaving its notes in a mist born of melancholy. The rhythm that emerges of it turns into a ballad well articulated by a texture of percussions mixing echo effects and incisive strikes on a circular structure regularly fractured by softer passages where the piano imitates the holding and the tonality of the one that gave us Ancient Dreams. Well balanced on its more than 6 minutes, Only What's Been Taken brings us towards a more emotional texture with this piano and orchestrations filled with shivers where are hiding some absent voice humming. The arrangements are very beautiful and this duality between the emotional threads is pure genius from Howard Givens. The acoustic guitar is the main ally of Here all Along, a post New Wave ambient ballad built on the same principle and the same texture as Only What's Been Taken, dominant guitar in addition. The same can be said of Still as Stone which starts like a nice lullaby whose crystalline tone of arpeggios swirling in guitar chords stuns the listening. And like the two previous tracks, its second part is more intense and emotional with a desire for a rhythm well-framed in its meditative phase. The Bliss You've Always Carried is a more acoustic track that features the Esraj, a fiddle from India with a Sitar neck attached to the oval body of the Sarangui. The texture sounds like a Chinese weeping violin. The