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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DEEP IMAGINATION: Awareness (2010)

Awareness is a pretty good album of progressive New Age where the melodies wander in remarkably diverse atmospheric settings

Part 1 Space 4:12

Part 2 Clouds 4:16

Part 3 Surroundings 4:52

Part 4 Tradition 10:17

Part 5 Creatures 4:04

Part 6 Breath 5:01

Part 7 Elements 7:09

Part 8 Sense 7:51

Part 9 Sleep 3:41

Part 10 Eternity 3:11

(CD/DDL 55:25) (V.F.)

(Progressive New Age)

It's quite difficult to well situate the music of Thorsten Sudler-Mainz, the man behind Deep Imagination and Art Of Infinity. If his last albums suggested a soft mixture of progressive and electronics, AWERENESS makes a breach in the World Music, while touching the melodious approaches of New Age but always prioritizing the mythical electronic atmospheres. It's a good album which is well structured, like the great melodious works of Vangelis, and whose astonishing progression reaches its climax just few seconds after Breath starts. Concept album about subconscious, AWERENESS fulfills the vision of its title very well by offering 10 titles with captivating pulsations and where slow rhythms get grafted on tribal inspirations. The hypnotic sequences are molded to tribal electronic percussions and the synths mix its hybrid layers with an oneiric sweetness.

Space is heavy, dreamy, static and atonal. A sinuous and undulating synth layer opens the first measures. Like a wind from space, the breath ripples and wanders before shattering into an abrupt sound wall where heavy metallic jolts break the immutability by powerful and shattering percussion strikes and riffs of twisted guitars which roar in a divided sphere between the ambient and a latent wild rhythm. More lyrical, with its symphonic synths, Clouds introduces the first minimalist pulsations of the album. Its intro is very ethereal with a nice mellotron haze that clears up to make room for melodious keyboard chords that follow the gentle pulsations of a curt bass line. In doing so, a slow and hypnotic rhythm beats between sweet moans which embrace strange nasal layers with Arab aromas. Divided by an atmospheric phase, Surroundings hesitates to fly away with wavering keyboard chords. A little more animated than Clouds, the rhythm is also very bewitching, even sensual, and takes shape under fine reverberating pulsations which are grafted on percussions with hybrid sounds, a bit like tabla drums resonating in glass, while the synth whistles good and fragile harmonies. A good title, in line with the Creatures which is on the other hand heavier. Tradition immerses itself in the complexity of cadences with oriental flavors and its panoply of manual percussions which adopt the sinuous movements of a good line of humming bass. The synth is vaporous and subdivides its layers to create a soft mist filled of melancholy. From a tempo that seems prima facie, Tradition deviates into a mythical atmospheric and tribal world. A little as if we wander in a cave, the senses alert. The tempo takes a little more vigor but remains shy, always arched on its tabla percussions which become scattered and its bass which growls languidly. The synth is very ethereal, multiplying its layers as much lyrical as mystical with the first emanations of a saxophone.

Breath awakes slowly the rhythmic tribal that slept under Tradition to propel us in the best segment of AWERENESS. After an intriguing intro, the rhythm is joyful and hops gaily under good tabla percussions and a line of caustic bass which call out for a dance of sands, under the hazes of a foggy synth. The tempo is enlivening under the charms of a whistling synth and around circular sequences which are fading away in a heavy atmosphere before re-biting this tempo of Arabic dunes. Elements relates to the effusions of Breath with a more propped, but very hypnotic rhythmic intro. Synth hazes circulates as the morning sea spray, before it wakes up and throws some splendid oneiric dialects. Astonishing, this portion of the album is to throw the walls down the ground. The tempo gets heavier and the drums striking resound in a strange echo while the synth frees zigzagging streaks. A superb track that is going to get your attention straight away with its suave and languishing beat. Sense pursues this strange musical quest begun by Breath with a slow ambient intro, coifed by a thick cloud of synth pads and streaks which fly over a tempo weakly liven up by a hypnotic line of bass. At around the 4th minute, the rhythm is carried away and tribal percussions shy away from this syncopated line of fog which whistles above Sense, awakening a whimsical pace which refuses to take off, preferring to coil up in the musical uncertainty animated by an array of tones as eclectic as ethnic. With its crystalline xylophone keys, the intro of Sleep brings us towards an announced sleep. Except that heavier notes are grafting to this tender intro where the musical hybridity of Thorsten Sudler-Mainz is stunning of surprise here. Percussions and heterogeneous tones are beating in a charming oneiric setting, wrapped by a synth with orchestral, captivating and moving layers while that all in the background we hear fragments of a malefic bed song. Simply amazing! Eternity ends this great album of an incredible musicality with laments of a solitary saxophone which pierces a metallic foggy, a little like in the universe of Blade Runner, under notes of a bass which turn around in the meanders of our subconscious.

Different from the Berlin School style of EM, AWERENESS is a pretty good album where the melodies wander in remarkably diverse atmospheric settings. I have read on the Internet that reviewers cataloged this album in New Age, and I don't agree! It's seems possible to create a musical, lyrical and poetic universe without going into the New Age? This is the constant challenge of Thorsten Sudler-Mainz who, album after album, is busy crossing progressive music with EM, while leaving room for melodies buried in a strange cerebral universe as hybrid as poetic. Those who love Vangelis in the post years of Blade Runner should this AWERENESS from Deep Imagination.

Sylvain Lupari (December 2nd, 2010) ***½**

Available at BSC Music

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