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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Divine Matrix Invisible Landscapes (2011)

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

It took me a few listenings, but I ended up appreciating this unique style where New Age is so close, while being so far away

1 Faith in Chaos 5:29

2 Invisible Landscapes 4:20

3 Fractured Sound 4:48

4 The Crystal Womb 5:15

5 Orna's Prayer 4:55

6 Stargazer 4:29

7 Occam's Razor 5:15

8 The Fade 4:48

9 Space Walk 4:04

10 Whistle the Moon 5:00

11 Song for Vega 5:55

12 Skyrapper 5:24

13 Terraforming 5:04

(CD/DDL 64:46) (V.F.)

(Progressive New Age)

Divine Matrix? That's Steve Barnes, the man who gave us New Day in 2009. But contrary to this album, Invisible Landscapes is a good intrusion in a rich and varied musical world where he stays always so melodious. In this album, his style gets frozen into an EM at once complex, dark, electro-acoustic and even esoteric. As describes so well in its press info, Steve Barnes exploits to the hilt the immense possibilities nowadays of equipment and technologies to weave a highly diversified album. An album which at first hearing could sounds simplistic or very New Age, but which in the course of listening spread an astonishing originality that doesn't alter all of its musicality. Chronicle of an album divided between harmonies and artistic quests.

Faith in Chaos begins like a musical poetry with delicate and light arpeggios which twirl like in Tomita's Snowflakes are Dancing. It's a nice dreamlike sequence which spirals in a spiral and stumbles on a warm piano whose notes cling to a soft and silky electronic ballad. In finesse and subtlety, the rhythm evolves on a more animated structure where the musicality of its introduction infiltrates slightly more snappy percussions, very romantic keyboard spirals as well as synths with layers and solos which embrace in a soft harmonious echo. This musical clarity pours towards the title-track which reveals a slightly more dramatic intro with its synth layers with the flavor of quavering flutes blowing on a hesitant piano. Notes of acoustic guitar float in a cosmic drizzle, giving the necessary respite so that the piano takes again its rhythmic impetus and mold a melody which one would believe to have heard on Faith in Chaos. Fractured Sound continues this enchanting introductory quest to this second album by Steve Barnes with static voices that seem to wander between two worlds. A fairly dark intro that sits on throbbing dark synth layers that fly over a thin pulsating line. A delicate piano with melancholic notes emerges and waltz around these long oscillating curves, creeping like glaucous specters on a rhythm which takes more and more weight. It feels like the dark universe of Memory Geist. Always, the piano notes spring up and isolate themselves to create a beautiful melody that stretches over The Crystal Womb where the piano chords get tangled up in a childish nursery rhyme forged in glass chords. A beautiful melodious and melancholic fusion which leads to a slightly lively rhythm and a gentle passage of a Chinese violin.

And this is how INVISIBLE LANDSCAPESwill unfold its music. Each title seems to be conceived in the shadows of the preceding or the following, to such an extent that one has the vague impression of hearing the same melody on structures with subtle variations. Thus, Orna's Prayer, Stargazer, The Fade and Space Walk all have this delicate approach where the piano lazily predominates on structures which slowly come to life with fluid rhythms but not really strong. Terraforming respects this instruction, without going through a melodious approach to the piano. The arpeggios which follow one another nervously and jostle in the intro of Occam's Razor make this title one of the strong points of the album. We are in the Low era of David Bowie with this nervous minimalist structure that chimes on an abstract tempo. The synth layers are superbly smooth and the hypnotic rotary circle of the music is absolutely fascinating with its sky variegated with eclectic sound effects. A very good track, just like Whistle the Moon which is in electro acoustic one, like in the best moments of the Fax label, and Skyrapper which offers some reminiscences of Memory Geist. Song for Vega is a heavy, meditative circular movement where the chords revolve around layers of synth with dark organ tones. A title as dark and effective as Fractured Sound but more melodious and flowing on an incessant stream of shimmering synth layers.

It took me a few listenings, but I ended up appreciating this unique style where New Age is so close, while being so far away with these sweet melodies which flow on structures at the same time harmonious but sometimes complex and sometimes dark. With its 13 titles which cross the road of an enormous musical diversity, INVISIBLE LANDSCAPES of Divine Matrix is ​​a very good collection where the styles overlap in a harmonious freedom. Even if we always have this vague impression of hearing the same melodious structures, they always end up getting lost and sink according to the equally diverse atmospheres.

Sylvain Lupari (June 08th, 2011) *** ½**

Disponible chez AD Music

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