“There is always room in my ears for powerful EM feeding an array of incendiary beats”
1 Clockwork 7:37
2 Sunny Island (Element 4 Remix) 7:34
3 Big Elephant 7:53
4 Deep Diving 6:46
5 Motionless 6:45
6 Unusual Normality 7:12
7 Stormland 6:54
8 Frilly People 6:24
9 Caribbean Pearls 8:18
(CD-R 63:03) (V.F.)
(EDM, Techno & Trance)
After the explosive T.N.T., Uwe Saher undertakes a technoïd turn and leaves the trance genre to embrace the danceable and joyful rhythms of House Music. But no matter the styles, this new Element 4 album is a pure festival of minimalist techno. From the top of his virtual stage, the German musician swaps his Brainwork suit and puts on that of a DJ who has given himself the mandate to stun his crowd. And he succeeds. MONOTONY IN MOTION presents 9 tracks that follow each other in fiery rhythms where percussions play a preponderant role. It's more than 60 minutes of wild music that Rave festivals would be well advised to listen to.
Clockwork begins this frenzied hour with a pulsating rhythm that is supported by a bevy of percussions. The intro spreads its arsenal of percussions that will feed its evolution and that we will hear throughout the album. Here, their powers fade in a resonant pulsation. Hypnotic boom-booms, cymbals' tssitt-tssitt and keyboard riffs structure a rhythm that feels like chasing its shadow. Clear arpeggios emerge to create the harmonic vision of the track. It becomes a good circular, sequenced melody in an ascending mode. It oversizes this rhythmic and melodic approach that strange metallic gases accompany in the form of jerky slices. As everywhere in this album E4 accumulates its rhythms with an astonishing melodic vision based on the orientations of the sequencer to form the main axis of the melodies. The invading sound effects add more depth to the static rhythms that breathe with these brief and more atmospheric phases. Subtly we deviate to Sunny Island (Element 4 Remix) which borrows the same clacking and sequenced pulses of Clockwork, but with a more airy and festive melodic vision. The chords get more nervous and flutter over a measure that discreetly shifts into a more accentuated rhythm while the synth traces good trumpet blasts that float over the bouncy riffs. This is a really catchy track whose harmonious intensity follows a progression that leads to the tribal and festive percussions of Big Elephant. A good bass line with elastic chords and synth riffs are shaping a tenacious rhythm that is interspersed by rosaries of the sequencer ginning up its jerky rhythmic balls. The rhythm is made of leaden and belted with good sound effects that forge a strobe-like belt over ingenious percussion, the highlight of this 8th E4's album, and a roaring bass line.
Deep Diving continues with an amalgam of percussive effects including hand claps, cymbals' tssitt-tssitt, hypnotic pulses and a slowly rising bass line that structures a minimalist rhythm. The rhythm gradually increases its impact with the addition of stationary riffs and other chords that graft and float in a hesitant harmonic envelope. As the rhythm becomes more fragmented, the track accumulates strident jolting lines and bongo percussions that add even more depth to the collection of percussion's instruments that form the basis of MONOTONY IN MOTION's hypnotic rhythms, not to mention those relentless and bewitching pulsations. On Motionless one is a vague impression that the rhythm is more static, even though it's still dressed of the same percussive elements. A rhythm where the keyboard riffs are more scattered and where their echoes are lost in the addition of metallic percussions which flutter with a symmetry always so calculated. With its metallic tssitt-tssitt and hesitantly crisscrossing chords, Unusual Normality is arguably the least heavy track on the new Element 4 album, a kind of sanctuary of serenity before Stormland comes in with its array of bickering percussions and good stereo effects to put in our ears. An incredibly heavy and ingenious track with a superb fusion of reverberating pulses, overflowing percussions and nervously jumping keyboard chords, Stormland is in perpetual motion and evolves by gathering superb crystalline arpeggios that gambol over a hellish pulsating structure. The finale is to throw us on the floor and deviates all in power towards the heavy hypnotic knockings of Frilly People. A track where the heavy resonant chords are grafted to the thundering pulsations and hang on the furtive lines of the sequencer to create a beautiful harmonic fusion. Lines that blossom to forge an unexpected melodic approach on a bed of aggressive boom-booms which deviate towards Caribbean Pearls and its equally incisive rhythm where an equally diverse melodic approach reigns and that make the richness and depth of MONOTONY IN MOTION.
Heavy, powerful, hypnotic and musical! These 4 qualifiers describe the whole universe of rhythms and melodies that decorate MONOTONY IN MOTION. I'm not really a fan of house, techno or trance. But there is always room in my ears for powerful music with good percussive elements that feed a panoply of incendiary beats. And this latest Element 4 album is full of it. I love the subtleties and fluidities in the permutations of phases; MONOTONY IN MOTION is full of them. I love the sequences, the creative bass lines and the percussion; it's the essence of this rather surprising album that shows that tssitt-tssitt and boom-boom can be as melodious than deafening.
Sylvain Lupari (October 8th, 2011) *****
Available at Brainwork Music