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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

David Wright Live at the London Planetarium (Remastered 96/15)

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

Live at the London Planetarium explains by itself why David Wright has become an icone of the England School EM movement

1 Landing 3:22 2 Enchantress 5:07 3 Rysheara 7:35 4 Images 4:51 5 London 4:53 6 Love Theme 2:59 7 Running Cloud 12:15 8 Bridge to the Sun 1:32 9 Buffalo Run 10:41 10 Berlin 9:40 11 Nomad 4:44 12 Legend of the Tundra 9:40 AD Music | AD101 Digital

(CD/DDL 78:40) (V.F.)

(England School)

Good news for those fans who have discovered the music of David Wright late in life. I'm one of them! iTunes has just ordered 2 remastered versions of two main album in David's discography. After Ocean Watch, the English musician/synthesist, the founder of the label AD Music, revises the sound of his album which redraws the main lines of his concerts given at the London Planetarium on October 13th and 14th, 1995. With LIVE AT THE LONDON PLANETARIUM we explore another facet of David Wright's immense skill who seems to be inspired here by the tales and legends of the aboriginal peoples. With the exception of three tracks, this live album presents original material written during the last two years. And the music fits to the framework of these two evenings. Always stigmatized by the sound colors and the arrangements of Vangelis, the friendly English musician invites us to a concert where EM embellishes itself of its most beautiful assets in the presence of Nik Smithon guitar and over loud and pulsatory rhythms which progress constantly towards an incredible power. Rhythms sometimes violent and/or sometimes ambient, certain will be even motionless, which make noise in heavy ambiences, as ambiospherical as cinematographic, where are hidden discreet melodies eaters of eardrums and are stylized some luxurious arrangements which push further and redefine the limits of England School of which he is a proud ambassador.

We are in the London Planetarium! So, what a better way to start things with a very cosmic ambiospherical introduction? This is what proposes Landing. But as soon as the interstellar veils are raised and as soon as the dark winds sweep the new sonic horizons, some heavy and black tom-toms castigate the atmospheres. Ambient, the movement is not less a Babylonian with heavy strikes and drum rolls as well as faded voices which murmur in a pattern becoming more and more dramatic. The tone is set! Enchantress takes back the aboriginal gurglings of Landing into an even more apocalyptic atmosphere where a crowd of electronic noises fights among the bites of Nik Smith's six-strings. The futuristic and bucolic duel, one would say Blade Runner in an Irish wheat field, gives a quite well-done surrealistic pattern. The layers of angelic voices are charmingly captivating and the synth pads which make this link between the somber and the brightness are awakening sweet memories of Tangerine Dream of the Le Parc years. Pulled out of the Dissimilar Views album, which I haven't heard yet, Rysheara explains why I am an unconditional fan of David Wright. Chords are fallen such as those of a flamenco guitar at which castanets peck cleverly. The angelic choir feeds the pulsations which are turning into good strikes of electronic drum. The rhythm is supple and undulate like a cowboy who gallops, or rather waltzes, on ethereal plains. The guitar of Nik Smith adds a very poetic depth with a meshing of riffs and solos which adopt the curves of the synth winds adorned by a soft piano and of its pensive notes. Between an e-rock and a cinematic ballad, Rysheara is a strong track which feeds my curiosity to dig into Dissimilar Views. Images follows with a superb melody perched on a beautiful keyboard which scatters its chords like a series of drops falling of a circular sky. The approach does very sibylline with a dreamlike structure and a rather intriguing setting. London brings us to this heavy, passive and circular structure of rhythms which made the delights of Ocean Watch. The play of the percussions is very accentuated with heavy knocks which propose a rhythmic motive near the essences of an Amerindian cerebral trance. The guitar injects riffs and pieces of solos which are scattered in the harmonies of a synth and of its discreet anesthetic voices and of its breaths which sound like a trumpet smothered by a cornet. This is high class sound my friends!

Love Theme proposes a soft ambient and relaxing moment with a saxophone which cries in a night made up of cosmic sound effects. That does very Vangelis. And we slide slowly towards the tribal ambient, a bit psychedelic I may say, of Running Cloud. This long track skims a fascinating ambiospherical evolution with a rather effective motive of percussions. The synth and the guitar decorate a panorama of sonic schizophrenia while the rhythm is panting of spasms and cardiac pulsations fed by a pattern of solid pulsations and percussions rich in eclectic tones and echoes. David Wright weaves arrangements which draw a surprising sonic paradox all over Running Cloud which is also obsessing, otherwise more, than Desert Storm; my favorite track on Ocean Watch. The storm runs aground in the brief sweetness of Bridge to the Sun before resuming with more vigor in the very agitated and very animated Buffalo Run. The movement is frantic with good percussions and their shadows which outsize an imaginary tribal rhythm that David Wright paints with an incredible touch of surrealism. The synth navigates on this sea agitated by the spasms of the percussions, whistling a very New Age air which calms the riffs of keyboards taken away by the always increasing outburst of the percussions. Only the guitar of Nik Smith succeeds to calm down the storm. But it's only one for a short moment, feeding rather the fury of the 11 minutes of Buffalo Run. Very intense! We glide in a portion of cerebral rest, always so draped by phantasmagorical elements and by disturbing pulsations, from where is born a melody as unexpected as splendid which makes sound its sequences in a disturbing melody a la Halloween style. Still here, the guitar of Nik Smith is a superb complement to the arrangements, always very in tune and in tone, of David Wright. Nomad is even wilder here than on Ocean Watch, accentuating the ceaselessly increasing intensity of LIVE AT THE LONDON PLANETARIUM with a Nik Smith who ruminates his six-strings like a very concentrated Richard Pinhas. Our ears buzz in front of so much assault of the pulsations which modify constantly its textures and echoes. And the beatings pour towards another powerful track; Legend of the Tundra which equally comes from the Dissimilar Views album and which concludes this live album with a surprising ferocity but also with a harmonious approach weaved in David Wright's unique arrangements. It's another intense track which ends with strength this wonderful journey in time which simply didn't need iTunes to justify its remastering. Hat to you David! And if you wonder why I am so in love with his music, the answer is here. In LIVE AT THE LONDON PLANETARIUM!

Sylvain Lupari (September 11th, 2015) *****

Available at AD Music

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