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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Analog Overdose (2001)

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Analog Overdose is a feast for analog EM lovers with movements filled by a very Ashra fragrance

1 Analog Moods 8:44

2 emanoN 1:07

3 Und wir gehen in den Club...6:43

4 Sentimental Moods 11:26

5 Seilbahn zu den Sternen 4:58

6 Echo Gods 10:18

7 First Contact 12:32

8 Analog Overdose (Live/Petrus Church, Berlin March 30th, 2001) 23:57

(CD 79:46) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

What a surprising collaboration than this one. A pioneer of Berlin School in Mario Schonwalder, and a young wolf who enjoys doing Techno in Thomas Fanger. The result is beyond expectations! ANALOG OVERDOSE is a celebration for vintage EM. It's almost 80 minutes of sweet EM where vaporous ambiences are flirting with slightly technoïd rhythms. Fanger & Schönwälder offers a great album to the size of their talents. And believe me, they do have a lot of skills. And for this first collaboration, the duo offers itself nothing less than Lutz Ulbrich on guitar, thus adding the spirit and the loopy rhythms of Ashra on a work to the dimensions of vintage Berlin School. One could think of a reincarnation of Ashra in the skins of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. What more could we hope for? That it'll be good? But it is, and even more than that!

It's in a twisted ambience that Analog Moods opens up. Slightly weak pulsations are shaking synths' lines with twisteds breezes which are impregnated by dark raucous and guttural vibrations. Sublime, these synths extend their enveloping layers which move like ghosts of ether, creating a ghostly world where the unreal mate with the clicking of cymbals to merge into a gentle hypnosis cerebral. A line of sequences with nervous keys flutters around this procession whose synth lines hum like a choir of specters trapped in iridescent mists, while the rhythm of Analog Moods takes off. Its flight goes with more sustained pulsations whose muffled beats beat the rhythm under the flexible agility of the back and forth sequences going with greater velocity. This structure of static rhythm, encircled by these nervous sequences, accentuates the exhilaration of a musical hypnosis of which the breathes of a fluty Mellotron are lulling beyond the very ambient emanoN. With Und wir gehen in den Club, we dive into these dance-club atmospheres that are near the vibes of Ashra's Sauce Hollandaise. The rhythm is playful with a kind of disco groove in it and a with a guitar which throws its harmonic loops on a tempo where minimalist pulsations, clapping of virtual hands and clatter of cymbals are molding the bases of a slightly hopping structure. Listen and revel in the sound effects that wind and become embedded in the rhythms. It's a skilful mixture of jungle elements and an intimate Urban Groove where Ulbrich's guitar brings a very Ashra touch to a playful and dynamic music which brings energy to the body and to the beat of our feet. How to describe Sentimental Moods? Imagine a man plagued by his past who walks a hill whose summit he never sees. The ascent is arduous, and his head is full of memories, sometimes happy and others a little less. This is the kind of upward spiral that is Sentimental Moods. On a structure of sequences which strangely recalls the melancholic universe of Robert Schroeder, Sentimental Moods struggles to juggle with its rhythm whose furtive pulsations hesitate to forge a sustained rhythm which is invaded by dense mists as iridescent as nebulous where orchestral veils and absent murmurs weave an unreal harmonic canvas. The atmospheres are sublime and Fanger & Schönwälder sculpt an incredible movement, worthy of the best hypnotic moments of Robert Schroeder and Klaus Schulze on sequences which evolve slowly. Sequences with dark jolts which mold a dreamy rhythm under synths with ethereal layers of which the variances merge into a nebula melodious symbiosis where chords and lost quirky tones drag. It's a superb title and a classic to come of the Fanger & Schönwälder's repertoire. With its fine lunar tom-toms, Seilbahn zu den Sternen surfs on the ambiences of Sentimental Moods. Although the tempo is slightly more lively, the musical envelope remains very morphic and nebulous with nice layers with the scent of foggy violins. They envelop rumbling riffs of the guitar cooing in loops, nourishing this strange spectral procession of which the tangent forks towards an unusual world where metallic rustling pulses, quivering strange tones and ululate sighs from a singer made of metal.

Echo God and First Contact are the other two titles with Lutz Ulbrich on guitars. And it really feels like being in an Ashra album, especially with Echo God which offers a rhythm comparable to Und wir gehen in den Club but with more vigor, thus laying the foundations of a heavy organic techno. And the ambience is breathtaking with these hoops whistling in the shade of solos and riffs that roll in loops on a pulsating rhythm that has nothing to envy to the psy-trance of this world. And a superb ghostly solo adds more depth to an astonishing title, both by its musicality and its resemblance to the works of Ashra or Manuel Gottsching. First Contact is more ethereal with a structure of minimalist sequences which trace a back and forth movement, or an ambient cha-cha, whose languor swirls under the assaults of a guitar with corrosive solos and curly riffs in an envelope harmonious. The rhythm flourishes with more bite, combining spasmodic neurosis in a more fluid spiral in which solos become more lunar. Recorded in concert in Berlin on March 31, 2001, the title track is in the purest of Berlin School traditions with a long structure with slow minimalist evolutions. All of a sudden, the seraphic intro is caught up in a movement of agile sequences that swirl in ethereal breezes, like in Sentimental Moods, angelic voices in more. Quivering, a bit as if Lutz Ulbrich's loops were pre-recorded, the rhythm gallops with a frenzy retained on a more fluid measure. It's the ideal measure for improvisations and for grafting chords which enrich the musical vocabulary of Analog Overdose, whose rhythmic framework barely moves while the ambient envelope is haunted by ghostly synth breaths which breathe the spectral atmospheres of the Dream. And it's in this torment that harmonies emerge. Brief solos, fluttered Mellotron breezes and floating synth pads weave the sides of a melody that only specters can hum while the synths fly over this paranormal atmosphere with a cloud of streaks and strata that ultimately create absent solos, discreet and ultimately vindictive. And gradually the tempo gains in power while being maintained by hordes of orchestral mists, maintaining the implosive power of Analog Overdose in its stationary shackles where solos with hybrid tones come from two synths at opposite ends of their harmonies. It's Klaus Schulze on Tangerine Dream, or vice versa, but above all it is an overdose of vintage EM which is never lethal… but highly recommendable.

ANALOG OVERDOSE is the only harmless overdose to health, although addiction can be created insidiously but the pleasure will always remain healthy. This is a superb album that will appeal to fans of vintage Berlin School for sure. The ambience of Ashra or Gottsching is incredibly encrusted on each of the titles where Lutz Ulbrich puts the musicality of his guitar there, even that it overflows on the title-track, thus offering an unexpected depth to a work which thus overlaps the atmospheres of the Teutonic movement of its several tentacles. It's a musical feast where all the gourmands of analog EM are invited, as well as those who have a restricted appetite but always ready to taste something more spicy!

Sylvain Lupari (March 8th, 2007) ****¼*

Available at Manikin's Bandcamp

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