EAGLE (SYNTH MUSIC): The Dark Side of the Sun (2021)
Updated: Feb 6
“This is a good electronic rock album that is accessible to all ears, especially those seeking for TD's Schmoelling era”
1 Bending Space and Time 2:58
2 Hammerheads (Live Version) 3:06
3 The Dark Side of the Sun (Live version) 3:12
4 Spectrum of Possibilities (Live Version) 9:36
5 The Star King 3:39
6 Angelic Forces 6:05
7 Dream within a Dream 4:45
8 The Brain Scorcher 10:41
9 The Golden Rule 5:30
10 Xristos Anesti (Alithos Anesti) 9:29
11 The Great Attractor 6:25
(DDL/CD-R 65:30) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, Progressive New Age)
I like Arend Westra's approach. Beautiful, good and very accessible! A musician as meticulous in his role as a composer, the Dutch synthesist obviously takes his time before putting a final product between our ears. THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN is a different album from The Journey with an Eagle (Synth Music) focused on creating rhythmic textures with hybrid tones noticeably more seductive when captured in headphones. The sequencer forges sequences with woody tones that blend with others and especially with percussions that we guess too late. That gives some bewitching rhythm structures which frame good catchy melodies. And as always, the synth flows beautiful melodies with very Tangerine Dream hues, which sometimes escape in the form of solos or which have fun weaving an entrenched earworm. What made the strength of The Journey is transposed, just with a little more skill, on this album where electronic rock, atmospheric panoramas and progressive New Age exchange in turn the fervor of our eardrums.
It's with a trickle of Egyptian voice that Bending Space and Time begins this last musical adventure of Arend Westra. From then on, the first tribal dance of THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN takes place. The rhythm is lively and built on good manual tribal percussions, beats of the bass line and electronic percussions. The Berber voice is the essence of this melody which arpeggios support in a lively movement of jerks. A very good strobe line encircles an electronic rhythm buried under dozens of synth layers mixed with prismatic Arabic colors. This album includes 3 tracks that were performed during a concert by Eagle (Synth Music) at the ESE 2018 MONoord festival in Groningen. Hammerheads is one of these three tracks and offers a vampiric structure with organic pulsations that crisscross a reverberating canvas of sizzling tones. The title-track offers a lively and jerky circular rhythm built on a mesh of sequences that the echo effect makes compact. The synth throws philharmonic layers a la Tangerine Dream throughout the course of The Dark Side of the Sun (Live version). Spectrum of Possibilities (Live Version) is woven into the membrane of Hammerheads, but with a smoother rhythm and synths inspired by the title-track. Well established over its 9 minutes, the rhythm progresses with a very good pulsating bass line to reach this ghostly climate fed by a nice fluty melodious line. The Star King also offers a semi-rhythmic structure, leaping innocently with a good percussive element that exhilarates the listening, like if a bundle of rattlesnakes were flowing in a musical tap. The synth charming like a TD one and the structure of rhythm of the Miramar years are beautiful assets, but nothing compares to these descents of castanets that we will also hear later in the album. A good track nice to listen, but not enough to tell my girlfriend 😉.
On a more indecisive rhythm, tied in the jolts of percussions, Angelic Forces offers a rowdy ambient rock where a stream of stationary sequences switches for a synth with touching solos. Dream within a Dream follows the same scents with an electronic rock encircles by good wood tones percussions and a synth which whistles us very good solos. There I told my Lise! The Brain Scorcher is one of the 3 long tracks that Eagle (Synth Music) has decided to use over a period of time of around 10 minutes. Its openness is cosmic with jets of lunar mist and pulsing bass in a tonality full of radioactivity. A more precise rhythm emerges and opts for a cinematographic procession where we see Egyptian caravans traveling a secret road. It's a beautiful ballad with a synth that throws its harmonies stretching in lunar solo. It's a great track which evolves with all these sound ingredients which draw this panorama of the Middle East where the arabesques of the synth become whistled melodies with a tremolo effect. Magic, the synth also modulates nasal airs on a rhythm which develops slowly to become a good electronic rock agitated by spasms and carrying this melody of a kind of Baghdad's James Bond. Very good! The Golden Rule rolls a bit like Angelic Forces, but lighter, even seraphic. While it's true that every album, and whatever the genre, has its jewel, Xristos Anesti (Alithos Anesti) is that of THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN! It's a New Age and heartbreaking title which spins in a flight of orchestrations to make split up our souls. Celestial harp, magical mist and Mediterranean blue sky; what beauty and sentimentality! It may seem quite long, but it listens too so well. Lise even asked that I put it in her iPad! And it ends in our tears, sorry in the rain! Circular sequences, linear bass pulses and arpeggios as melodious as rhythmic, The Great Attractor is a title which gets rid of its circular attraction in order to offer a leaping electronic rock with guitar solos that are very Edgar Froese.
THE DARK SIDE OF THE SUN is a good electronic rock album that is accessible to all ears. Especially if the style of Tangerine Dream in its most accessible years, the Schmoelling era, is a genre you're looking after. It's a genre that has inspired the music of Eagle (Synth Music) and a host of other artists. Except that Arend Westra is one of the few to do it with so much emotion.
Sylvain Lupari (01/30/21) *****
Available at Eagle (Synth Music) Bandcamp