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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

EFSS: Tidal Shift (2018)

“A bit difficult to tame and to taste, Tidal Shift worth these extra listenings you will give to it...and then, it will be a hearing love story”

1 Flood 8:16 2 Fate 7:09 3 Movement 10:12 4 Transit 7:04 5 Tunnel 7:59 6 Macroscopic 5:35 7 Axis 8:06 EFSS Music

(CD & DDL 54:23) (V.F.) (Berlin School with a bit of extravaganzas)

Always very original, the music of the German quartet Erren, Fleißig, Schöttler & Steffen transcends the Berlin School style while being inspired by it freely. These 4 musicians-friends meet occasionally in the small Dutch municipality of Ouddorp located on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee. An idyllic place which is convenient to jams sessions which gave us the fabulous first 3 CD of EFSS. The last reunion of the quartet took place in January 2018 and the results, without almost any sound make-up, find themselves on this TIDAL SHIFT which is a little different. In fact, the hearing seduction let's itself be desired after the 1st listen to. If Tunnel, and possibly Flood, seduced straight out, the rest is quite a different story Except that these four friends who are still huge followers of the modular synths are always so intuitive and manage to attract our ears with a palette of audacious colors for their rhythms, their tones and their atmospheres always at the top of the creativity.

Flood already establishes the new climate of EFSS with a meshing of percussions which sparkle over a good bass line. The rhythm shows the regularity of a metronome to which one would have added a collage of jingles and of percussive elements which beat to the same hypnotic measure, but with distances in the knocks. Thus, that beats constantly such as a percussionists' concerto on boilers and cauldrons. This structure welcomes the murmurs of machines and, a little farther, synths' lamentations whereas the rhythm becomes more pulsating and the effects of the voices more disturbing if we pour a few into a kind of paranoia. The percussions and the cawing of the bass are elements of charms here. Fate is a little darker with a more cinematic vision. The larvas of synth flow with a mixture of tones, so that it's difficult to separate the color from the shadows, throwing an aura of fascination that we shall feel only after some listening. And this insidious side of TIDAL SHIFT will make its effect rather quickly. Be sure of that. There are so beautiful groans of the synths than their sound effects which burst here and there, while the ceaseless tick-tock of the rhythm lays down an ambient structure which undulates and skips beneath the effects of percussions-sequences-pulsations-jingles-percussive effects. The fluid rhythm, always conceived in a material of harmonious complexity, of Movement is the first element of this album which moves us closer to the first E.P. of those 4 friends and of their Modular synths. Fluid and attractive, one still doesn't dance here although with imagination…, it rolls with its small jolts under some nice morphing layers which are the faithful reflections of old Berlin School. Still here, effects of voice from an extraterrestrials' tribe can be felt and they're mumbling over a structure dominating more slightly in its shape of ambient trance.

Effects of voices that we also find on the introduction all in morphing vibes of Transit. Jingles dance the clapper and seem to irritate a line of bass pulsations of which the knocks resound in another momentum of a metronome. A synth answers to this rhythm by pouring a melodious line as fluid but more pleasant to the ear. Little by little, other synths' effects invite each other, among whom some nice winks of eye to the Exit era of Tangerine Dream and embellishes this passive structure that we shall always enjoy more and more in the course of its exploration. I wrote about it at the beginning, Tunnel is simply magical. Its simple approach and its melody which eats your neurons destabilize with a huge dose of magnificence. It's the kind of melody that doesn't leave you for hours to come, while the jerky movement of the sequencer and the robotics rhythm of the percussions, without forgetting the percussive effects, are as many elements that we want to hear again and again. But it's also as many reasons make Macroscopic a little less attractive. Nevertheless, its ambiences should fit marvellously in a lugubrious movie of which the intensity gives sweats to the spectator. It's a sort of Industrial Dark ambient which overflows even beyond the introduction of Axis which, after some 3 minutes of dark and a little less inviting atmospheres for an evening where one wants to charm our potential Cupid, is hatching out with a structure of rhythm built upon fluid morphing undulations.

One doesn't say WoW after the first listening of TIDAL SHIFT, unless having our neurons and the bases of our two hemispheres are well sharpened. The complexity, in particular at the level of the conception of the rhythms and of the effects of synth which mold these murmurs of another world, of structures competes with this idea that the beauty is find in a first look. It's the very opposite here! TIDAL SHIFT is like this very particular experience where we find a very attractive element in the first look and which gives us this desire to look again and again. It's maybe not this love at first sight, but when we hang onto, we seriously stick! I have to say a big bravo to Erren, Fleißig, Schöttler and Steffen for a boldness which in the end is paying, as much for them as for us

Sylvain Lupari (May 16th, 2018) ***** Available at EFSS Bandcamp

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