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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ERIC G: Nophicord (2018)

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

“In its old tones of the French cosmi rock of the 70's Nophicord turns out to be a nice journey in time”

1 Me and Dali 11:10 2 Checkpoint Charlie 6:36 3 In the Moog (version) 4:29 4 Black Star 5:53 5 Space Walz 2:48 6 In the Head of a Hippopotamus with Decease 6:08 7 The Mountain Woman 4:21 8 Nophricord 4:01 Eric g Music

(DDL 45:30) (V.F.) (Cosmic Rock, French School)

It's with a nice line of flute crossing the echoes of cosmic effects that Me and Dali settles between my ears. The melody is pleasant with its vintage perfume and is easily whistled. A juicy sequence leaps on the spot, radiating its resonance that carves an ancient procession. I wonder if I'm not hearing some old Michael Garrison, so much the walk in the cosmos in Me and Dali sounds vintage. The sonic perfumes are very analog whereas the pulsating road of the title remains intact and the music continues its ascent with an increased intensity of the synth and its voice of Mellotron with a so bucolic charm. After nearly 5 years of silence, either from the album Visions released at the end of 2012, Erik G. is making a comeback with a remastered version of his first album. Originally composed around 80-82, NOPHICORD was played and recorded on cassette tape with a handful of synths and 2 recorders. Rudimentary means for a first album that never came out of Sweden. An album that doesn't even appear in the musical bibliography of Eric g. Imagined my surprise! The Swedish musician has thus pulled it out from his archives and has re-recorded the titles with more synths and a better source of recording, while retaining the original tones which flirt with the old model of the French School, so much the music of is carried by the influences of Jean-Michel Jarre. In fact, the fans of the synthesist from France should have this NOPHICORD at ear!

It's instead in Vangelis perfumes that Checkpoint Charlie pops out from my speakers. A reverberant wave, a bit like a finger that is placed on a sound canvas and makes waves which get multiply in circles, is the portal of a universe of ambiences loaded of granular mist. Synth blades sweep the horizons with a tone that becomes more and more like Vangelis, but in tonal envelope of Frederic Mercier (Music from France). The sequences begin to spark around the second minute, freezing a spasmodic carpet which hosts another sequence that hops with a melodious approach. Solos are raining here, as well as organ pads are settling down, while a more pulsating line cements a stationary rhythm that even the percussions struggling to move. Complex with its multi lines of rhythms, of synth and solos, Checkpoint Charlie remains well frozen in the years 75-78 of EM from France. And it's even more convincing with In the Moog (version) which is almost identical, the structure of rhythm is anyway, to Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygene IV. It goes pretty bad at first, but I let myself be seduced by this candid melody very focused on this so charming electronic rhythm of Jarre. Black Star, as well as In the Head of a Hippopotamus with Decease are titles of atmospheres pushed by series of synth pads, decorated with electronic effects, which make us imagine cosmic storms. Serious chords give an emotional touch to these atmospheres which are ultimately joined by shy solos. The short Space Walz, livelier and jerkier, and especially the title track are other tracks fed and carried by these same structures of melodious rhythms that shake In the Moog (version). Perhaps too stuck on the essences of Jarre and Garrison, I must also add Frédéric Mercier, they are nevertheless good cosmic rocks from those golden years of EM. The Mountain Woman is a title a bit apart in this collection by its very Tangerine Dream influences, White Eagle period, especially in the effects. The introduction is reminiscent of these extraterrestrial songs from the early Twilight Zone TV show. The rhythm straddles between the French approach and that of TD while the harmonies are undeniable French School style with a zest of Alien material. A good title which is too short!

In the end, NOPHICORD turns out to be a beautiful journey in time where the rhythms were pushed by beat-boxes and by these sequences with the attractive tones of giant pit vipers. I feel really immersed in the years 76-78 with Eric g who really over-dressed his structures with a plethora of multi layers, of rhythms, of moods and with very nice rhythmic melodies. If the similarities annoyed me at the beginning, I got used to it and I dug in my collection to find and to listen to albums such as Oxygene, Rendez-vous, Music from France and Prisms, this one from Michael Garrison. Sylvain Lupari (September 5th, 2018) ***½**

Available on Eric G. Bandcamp

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