FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Analog Overdose-The Road Movie (2012)
“This is a wonderful and a fascinating musical journey in the lands of teutronica and a great and smoothy hypnotic Berlin School”
1 Eindhoven 25:45 2 Liphook 12:15 3 Los Angeles 14:45 4 Frankfurt 10:27 5 Berlin 50:58 Manikin | MRCD7097
(DVD/DDL 115:00) (V.F.)
(Teutronica, Berlin School)
I once written it and I still persist: attending a concert of EM is to show a heroic deed against somnolence. This superb music, which is the equivalent of a lava flow under the arcs of a rainbow, finds all its wealth under the closed eyes of diurnal dreamers. Certainly, there are rhythms. Rhythms embroidered into sequencers where the protagonists are more much excited than Macy's dummies. In fact, what saves the day during these concerts is the quality of the music. And at this level, Fanger & Schönwälder gives us quite a seminar about EM of which the analog perfumes revive these crazy souvenirs of our years of artificial illusions. ANALOG OVERDOSE- The Road Movie is a movie-documentary about the international tour undertaken by the duet from September 2007 to August 2008. A tour which strolled them from L.A. to Berlin while passing by England where Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder have dazzled many ears on an EM religiously listened by a public taken in hostage by rhythms and ambiences which flow beneath some organic panoramas of screens and walls skilfully brushed by psychedelic lavas. Apart from music and the visual effects, the very penetrating video views offer us a small lesson about the electronic art with closes-ups which reveal secrets, and which satisfy all the curiosity of a greenhorn such as me about the working of synths and sequencers.
It's at the Eindhoven's very own E-Live festival of 2008 that this audiovisual adventure begins. In a sober setting, very intimate and decorated with Spirograph's kind of psychedelic drawings which melt on screen into delicious psychedelicosmic embraces, the rhythm of Eindhoven emerges delicately from its morphic circles and its soporific flutes to espouse the shapes of a cosmic groove. The rhythm, at first slow and uncertain, becomes languishing and increases a mesmerizing pace under the harmonious breaths of synths filled by the fragrances of Tangerine Dream's Ricochet era. This kind of lunar Lounge mislaids its lascivious rhythm into ambiospheric wanderings, before resuming its hypnotic mould which beats of a suggestive life in a dense synth veil where organic tones effects and eclectic pads wrap a rhythmic approach shapes in electronica with a Berlin School zest. Liphook is a little jewel of an EM which links magnificently the analog and digital eras. The rhythm is neat and steady. Caressed by serpentines of sequenced keys which embroider in their echoes a finely jerked rhythm, it goes low bow in front of the synth pads among which the ethereal voices and the Persian breaths revive recollections of Klaus Schulze on Blackdance. Splendid! The introduction of Los Angeles goes by a short video of the city road-circuit where the images parade in the fragrances of Tangerine Dream's Encore. We are entering a more intimate portion of the DVD where we see the duet piled up in a premises interpreting a music piece molded to measure for those who followed the Dream's North American tour in 1977. The rhythm is forged in good sequenced pulsations which oscillate among jingles of cymbals. It follows a tangent which zigzags on a musical highway filled by obstacles and enlightened by synth strands with ghostly tones. This rhythm endowed of two distinct entities which criss-cross in foggy and symphonic synth pads is of use as backcloth to a musical slide show where we see the duet roaming in the streets of L.A. and exploring the Californian deserts. The lovers of analog vintage EM will love this and will wear out this segment of ANALOG OVERDOSE- The Road Movie. And the more we move forward in the DVD and the more our ears are delighted, while our eyes appreciate the discoveries while forgetting the lack of pompous effects of concerts with big deployments.
The performance of Frankfurt is based on the same precepts as L.A.; small premises, images of an urban activity and a very TD's musical approach with a thick cloud of Mellotron which covers a heavy hypnotic and sustained rhythm. Sequences are superb! They jump and pound with an orgiastic way in a rhythmic structure that we have difficulty to describe so much the fauna of percussions, sequences and pulsations is as well dense as diversified. These rhythmic elements bombard an intense structure that Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock wraps of his coat of harmonious and morphic mist weaved in the magic of the Memotron. And the finale... Hum...!Berlin is the cornerstone here, both by its long musical structure and its location; a swimming pool emptied of its water. The distant camera shots put height the view with a range of drawings and lighting effects which upholster the internal walls of a concrete aquarium which returns a futuristic decoration. And the music is espousing these modernist reflections with a delicious intro where drops of rhythms resound in the emptiness of a swimming pool bared of its watery element. The ambience is postmodern with these jingles that click and shape a languishing structure where the notes which fall resound in oblivion, while that insidiously a slow morphic down-tempo installs the framework of its hypnotic rhythm. This slow rhythm evolves by subtle segments, increasing delicately a pace which extricates itself from its lunar down-tempo among which the hypnotic beatings and the ambiospheric wanderings cavort in a splendid organic musical fauna to adopt a groovier tangent and finally explode into a finale herculean with stormy sequences which remind us the rhythmic, harmonious and electronic duality of Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder. A dualism which is the driving and creative strength of an EM that makes a perfect bridge between electronica and the hypnotic charms of the Berlin School.
Electronica, Teutronica, morphic down-tempos and an EM that doesn't deny its Berlin School roots; ANALOG OVERDOSE- The Road Movie is a wonderful and a fascinating exploratory adventure of a music which seems to hatch out of a contemporary artistic witchcraft. Although a too big category of EM concerts is the equivalent of a chamber music performance for a invited public, Fanger and Schönwälder offers the possibility to all their fans and other lovers of an imaginative music to visualize and hear a very beautiful collection of intimist concerts where the music transcends the parameters of big deployments concerts. The shots, the organic and psychedelic visual effects as well as sets and locations cement an artistic symbiosis which espouses the hallucinatory fancies of a music that always ends by taking the shape of ours. Yes, Fanger & Schönwälder offers a very beautiful Christmas present to their fans!
Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2012) ****½*
Available at Manikin's Bandcamp