FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Analog Overdose 2 (2003)
Updated: Sep 30
“What else there is to say about AO2 except that it's another little jewel of analog vintage EM in nearly 3 hours of pure magic”
1 The Art of Sequencing Part I 33:34
2 Zwischenton 11:38
3 The Art of Sequencing Part II 33:35
1 Liquidrom Tape I 26:12
2 Within a Real Dream 30:20
3 Liquidrom Tape II 21:06
(CD 156:15) (V.F.)
(Vintage psychedelicosmic sequenced Berlin School)
After the huge success of Analog Overdose, the new duet of EM proposes us a suite simply entitled ANALOG OVERDOSE 2. This time, it's a double album; one in studio and the other one in concert which presents us the sequenced and the ambient sides of Fanger & Schönwälder. It's another journey in the heart of vintage Berlin School with minimalist rhythms which grow insidiously on movements of sequences rolling in loops and on atmospheric moods where synths and sound effects are the masters of our lucidity. Yet, it's another great album which confirms Mario Schönwälder's importance in the universe of contemporary EM and of his great clairvoyance about the evolution of this style by teaming up with Thomas Fanger.
With its fine arpeggios which sparkle in a nothingness streaked of fluty passages, The Art of Sequencing Part I seems to be escaped out of the sessions of Klaus Schulze's Mirage. The movement is delicate, oniric with these chords fluttering in a fluty universe. For this long musical epic, the German duet goes to the borders of the analog tones of the Berlin School's vintage years to modulate 2 superb parts vitamined by good doses of Mellotron as well as heavy and long layers and lines of synths which grab onto some fine rhythmic pulsations, such as shimmering suction cups eating up the beat. The delicate crystalline line of the opening is fading in the ethereal harmonies of synths to fluty fragrances and leaves its rhythm always so evasive in a line of sequenced bass which scatters its jumping keys in a delicate furtive movement. A movement which stores the strewn skipping and the keys mislaid on the road of the rhythm, mixing these rhythmic elements which skip and interlace their tones in a rhythmic continual coming and going which swirls with delicacy in an enchanting ascending spiral. If the minimalist rhythm fattens constantly its depth, the harmonies are not outdone. First of all, the Mellotron spreads its lines of mists and choirs, all of angelic tones, in a beautiful harmonious painting that spectral and twisted solos and floating and captivating waves caress in a harmonious bright spell unique to the universe of EM. Zwischenton changes the register with a more atmospheric approach which begins with the gurglings of whales coming from beyond. It's a linear movement with multiple sound effects which mixes elements of cosmos and earth on beautiful modulations of a synth coupled to a nostalgic piano. A magical and restful track, it's also to The Art of Sequencing Part II which takes the same rhythmic precept, but much harder and louder, than Part I. The movement is fluid with keys of a nervous sequencer which jump in the rhythmic circle of another key, while that the flute wraps this disordered ballet of an ethereal harmony. We are always in the art of sequencing, as much as of the minimalism, with this procession of sequences which dance with their shadows in a finely jerked rhythmic pattern where the hootings of Mellotron and synths weave an unreal universe in which are awkwardly jolted the lines of sequences which never stop cavorting in an orgy of artificial rhythms. So much that we forget from where come the beginnings of these synth pads which hiccup in the harmonies of a rhythm which doesn't stop seducing. And it's the debauchery. Sound effects, voices to multiple intonations, solos with unimaginable forms, and we all know that Fanger and Schönwälder have unlimited imagination, flutes, Mellotron, modulations with tones struck on anvil, percussions to tones of xylophone, sequences divided into halves and drawling voices of mesmerizing mermaids. All the range passes there and yes, the recollections of Tangerine Dream flank this track which hasn't enough of its 33 minutes to seduce. According to me, it's the best track on this double album and probably the most beautiful on the first two works from Fanger & Schönwälder.
The second CD brings us towards another level. It's a rendezvous for lovers of drifting, floating music, especially for the portion from the so famous show at the Liquidrom of Berlin. Liquidrom Tape I is a long atonal movement with multiple effects of voices and sound effects of sea bed. Some sweet modular loops infiltrate this first part where the dark choirs are melting into fragmented and sharp solos. After the visit of the carillons, we glide profoundly in a dense territory where ringings and more celestial voices attract us, such as submarine mermaids on a hesitating violin veil. All as much beautiful and nebulous, thanks to a splendid enchanted flute, the second part is a mixture of alarming beauty. The heavy synth pads to dark tones which buzz constantly bring a sinister tint, while that beyond the strikings of anvils the celestial voices lay down some silky rays which cross a turbulence of the fluids. Within a Real Dream brings a more sequenced movement. The intro is superb with its long layers which melt themselves in a dark decoration while shaping a slow rhythm. A sequence runs at top speed at around the 8th minute in a livened up movement which is still surrounded by a beautiful and fluty Mellotron. Heavy, this sequence pattern is waving with strength on synth pads and choirs to heavy undulations. This becomes an intense movement which reminds the improvised madnesses of the Dream in the 70's, especially the sequences fighting over a troubled flute. But the more the piece moves forward, the more it sounds like RMI with Ed Kurtz's edgy guitar and the hopping sequences which give an illusion of echo on the background of progressive electronic rock.
Mario Schönwälder knows his things and he knows above all how to lay down all the ingredients to forge the mesmerizing hypnotic volutes of the Berlin School movements. He also knows how to attach these movements to those of groove that Thomas Fanger likes to forge out of nowhere. And both know how to work in order to deliver another overdose of vintage Berlin School. ANALOG OVERDOSE 2 is a pure success. It's more than 3 am of pure electronic music which travels between sequences and ambiences. Sometimes violent (Within a Real Dream) and sometimes melodious, even nostalgic (Zwischenton), the German duet amazes by the deep their imagination and the growing complicity which unites these 2 excellent musicians. And this is just for our ears and our most great pleasure.
Sylvain Lupari (April 10th, 2007) ****½*
Available at Manikin's Bandcamp