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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Faber Voices (2020)

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

We may be far away from Dark Sun, but it remains melodious in its scents of Electronica with Tribal essences

1 The Hive 5:33

2 Dreamworld 4:11

3 Diva 4:24

4 Apollo 12 9:32

5 Soha 5:01

6 Nightwalk 5:57

7 Karelia 4:33

8 Brama 6:32

9 Ambient Voices 4:28

10 Chapel in the Dark 6:15

11 Brama (Moonbooter Remix) 10:08

(CD/DDL 66:39) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, Electronica, Tribal)

One thing I find difficult as a columnist is to jump from one style to another. And sometimes it can be from one extreme to the other. As with VOICES by Faber. The first time I heard this album was between Caelum et Infernum and The Utopian Blossom. You can't say it's the same genre. But additional listening, and in loops, brought me to order to finally make me admit that this VOICES is better than at its first impression. As usual, Faber visits several genres, while really lingering in Celtic ambiences and even in the style of Mike Oldfield. To my knowledge, this is the first time that Ronald Schmidt has insisted so much on a musical texture other than his. The rhythms remain catchy, although more ambient in a vision of soft and dreamy electronics. And as its title underlines, VOICES is attached to good distorted voice effects and a series of vocal samplings that surprised me and which throw its full of charm in structures very pleasant to listen to.

And it starts with a cheerful and catchy title. The rhythm of The Hive is based on pulsations of bass-drums where a soft fluty melody is heard. Percussive additives and distorted voice effects are the first elements to grip onto this structure. It's a pop style introduction which invites a more lively phase, with more rhythmic percussions and a synth which now whistles this aerial melody. Continually, Faber adds decorative elements to the minimalist evolution of the title. The ringings of bells and chords in sound effect mode accompanies the progression of The Hive, while in its background is filled with jerky flute effects which oversize its structure. Quietly, the music becomes a good up-tempo which travels at times on wings of violins, and in other times on the harmonies of a synth in symbiosis with these false Stradivarius. The tone is given to an album filled with earworms and rhythms as catchy than the melodies they rock ... But there is more! Like on Dreamworld where it's the melody which constantly changes its texture on a soft rhythm. We can also talk about Diva and this seraphic voice à la Diva Plavalaguna which hums on a hopping rhythm with croaks in its springs. We are staying in a sci-fi setting with the opening of Apollo 12. One of the big surprises here is this texture of melody and of rhythm that does very much like Mike Oldfield in Ommadawn. The rhythm is of the African tribal genre with manual percussions and a flute whistling of harmony as inciting as this voice which comes to mumble here and there in this longer title of the album. Soha continues on this momentum in a good mixture of tribal, Celtic and electronic textures. A good 14 minutes and some dusts of a Mike Oldfield of this level! I take two dozen of this. Like I also take Ambient Voices and Chapel in the Dark! In return, Faber seems to lose the essence of his identity. But that remains as beautiful as surprising!

Ronald Schmidt breaks away from his electronic vision to borrow a musical form where an aura of EM covers a vision much more tribal, medieval, and cinematographic than in his other albums. It starts with Nightwalk which leads us to a more medieval structure. Arpeggios waddle on a carpet of reverberations when the synth releases jets of harmonies carrying dreams and illusions. Clicks and limpid arpeggios form a rhythmic couple which slides gently under the cover of a soft and warm orchestration. This texture of ambiences accentuates its heaviness in these orchestrations which make us float under a starry sky. This sweet reverie of the introduction melts into silence and Karelia takes us out with a Celtic ballad that takes on the air of film music. A ballad with a medieval spirit, but also with adventures of Marco Polo on his silk road. I have a bunch of images from these adventure films of the 70's that are running around in my head with this music. Brama highlights a deep opera voice on a good mid-tempo slightly catchy for its lunar decor. The keyboard disperses its chords which forge an evasive melody under the amber streaks of the synth. A strange title that has more teeth in the remixed version of Moonbooter. Although more ambient and more in Electronica mode, by its slow morphic down-tempo, Ambient Voices also does very Mike Oldfield. The guitar is fluid, like the magic fingers of MO, and the melody is hummed in a vision that is near the ambiences in Five Miles Out. We reach Chapel in the Dark and its synth waves imbued with a deep tone which reflects its sound arc like in an implosion of reverberations. Our ears perceive a delicate a thin layer of voices humming an Elvish air, while the bass pulsations accelerate a circadian pulse eager to get lost in the arrhythmic waves of its lost shadows. Adopting a tribal structure of an Electronic Universe, where all peoples have all forms of communication, Chapel in the Dark swirls even under the touch of enchanted flutes. The flutes become violins and the pulsations invite real manual percussion in order to give more tone to a structure which swirls slowly, like a belly dance, in a panorama with the smells of the Middle East. The third harmonic texture is born from a body of bugles and / or wind instruments, including this delicate playful flute. An organ tone infiltrates this changing carousel while eventually all these instruments go in the same direction, while Chapel in the Dark plays with the threads of its intensity to end in a finale intense of its arrangements.

In the end, and after a few consecutive listenings, VOICES finally finds its essence in this universe where the melody must flee the banality in order to seduce. I am light years from the fascinating Dark Sun, but still quite close to this fusion of the Electronica and tribal rhythms of Kaleidoscope. So, a fairly familiar universe where Faber still masters his destiny.

Sylvain Lupari (May 5th, 2020) ***½**

Available at MellowJet Records

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