EBIA: Transmission (2019)
“There is this mix of drama and tenderness, of anger and resignation which make of this last Ebia album something of very deeply moving”
1 Transmission 13:00 2 Speed of Light 10:10 3 Receiver 10:17 4 Aliens Message 13:02 5 Re-Transmission 11:02 6 Lost Signal 10:39 SynGate CD-R EM08
(CD-r/DDL 68:10) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
Sadly, Jörg Bialinska died following the consequences of an autoimmune disease in January 2018. And as we say in the middle of the EM, especially since the death of Edgar Froese 4 years ago, the man behind Ebia has changed of cosmic address. A last album was being prepared and his wife kindly accepted that SynGate concludes this last opus of Ebia soberly entitled TRANSMISSION. Six titles of an average length of 11 minutes confirm the talent of the one to whom we owe Hunter of Worlds, the album that has opened the door to a larger audience in 2009. Moreover, light scents of Space Rock & Dance Music circulate on the structures of TRANSMISSION which also proposes a continuity of Herrscher im Orbit with rhythms that explode and implode under multilayers of synth which also project circular auras sometimes dramatic and/or apocalyptic. Intense and a feast for the ears, with percussion patterns suspended as dramatic actors, TRANSMISSION is a legacy of Ebia worthy of a final lap that makes sure that we will miss him for sure!
The title track gives us a good overview of what awaits our ears over the discovery of this album. Breaths of azure, murmurs and filtered sound rays of a synth in mode intensity feed an introduction overloaded of effects and noises that make our eardrums work. The range of sound in a listening room is quite intense and means that the production can be heard in headphones as well, it is always more nourishing for the soul, than in our speakers which release in return a wider reach. These rays of reverberation blow the shadow and the light, albeit more nuanced, in movements that come and go and awake the sequencer and its keys dancing on the spot. The scenery is apocalyptic with a repressed intensity in a sounding armament of the most intense. Bass drums add to the weight of this deep heaviness, whereas the fragile lines of the sequencer still dance while moving away from a musical paroxysm that has already stigmatized our reliance on a music that keeps us on our toes. Electronic percussions come and their bearings add an unexpected dimension to this still stationary structure. The rays of the synth, very Vangelis by the way, multiply their Dantesque presences with long groans which make think of long laments in good solos that sound like those of a guitar. Still in sedentary mode, the structure of Transmission oscillates between intensity and idleness with this mesh of sequences and percussions, to which adds the throbbing palpitations of a bass line, in a finale stuffed by solos from synth and guitar which are of a rare degree of intensity. Let's say that I hooked straight away to this track.
Nervous sequences and lively percussions, Speed of Light follows with a much more accelerated structure which runs in a phase of rock'n'dance of the synth-pop years. Shy and all in the background, a keyboard discreetly scatters bits of invisible melodies whereas, divided between its multilayer of the Ultravox years, the synth arrives to blow good solos. Receiver takes time to take off. Buried by another mass of layers and of noisy effects, the rhythm emerges with sequences fluttering around this dense wall of sounding reverberations. The movement brings a little nuance to its nervousness. Except that as in the title track, it flashes like crazy red lights under a black and stagnant mass of sounds. We always stay in a form of coitus interrupted here, like in Transmission, but there is something inexplicable which makes it beautiful, probably the mourning synth layers which are of an incredible sensitivity, and which stirs up constantly the sense of hearing. Less dramatic and striking than Transmission, this Receiver remains impenetrable efficiency. Aliens Message opens with layers which float like brown sheets in the wind. Jean-Michel Jarre effects support this introduction which is driven by a fluid movement of the sequencer. Sound effects, like electronic chirps, wander from one ear to another, from one speaker to another, adding to the sonic weight of this title which is a very good and quite catchy cosmic rock. And Aliens Message runs, runs and runs beneath nice synth pads which try to break through with solos agonizing of an acceptable sobriety. Good electronic rock! Less dramatic and less turbulent than Transmission, Re-Transmission offers chants of synth which coo in a mass of reverberant waves. If the drums play sober, the other ones accompany the rhythmic pattern of the sequencer and its keys jumping with a vision complementary to the harmonies of the synth in a decor filled of melancholy. The sadness is well cut out here. Lost Signal, which is quite representative of its title, adopts a bit this structure of unfinished melody in the Herrscher im Orbit album and gives me this taste to re-hear for the nth time the tenderly poetic Sebastian im Traum from Frank Specht.
Conclusion?! There is something confusing, disconcerting in the universe of TRANSMISSION. There is this mix of drama and tenderness, of anger and resignation which make of this last Ebia album something of very deeply moving. The rhythm sequences are between two poles while the synths adorn this gap with an absolute tenderness, if not an apocalyptic rage. A good album which is absolutely worth the detour!
Sylvain Lupari (February 11th, 2019) ***¼**
Available at SynGate's Bandcamp