“We know that we are dealing with a major work by the attachment that we develop over the course of its discovery”
1 Fliegende Schatten - Canon 1 12:44
2 Okkultation 6:57
3 Kernschatten 6:21
4 Streulicht 4:40
5 Finsternislimit - Canon 2 8:38
6 Syzygium 17:25
7 Sunnenvinster - Canon 3 14:20
(CD/DDL 71:08) (V.F.)
(Cinematic tribal EM)
A nice angelic choir opens the first moments of Fliegende Schatten - Canon 1. A shadow of the synth rises. Subdividing its orientation, it releases two contrasting lines while the chants become more sibylline and that tint behind the scenes a melody strummed on the silver strings of harmonies. It's with a structure of dark moods that begins this album of Frank Makowski, too long absent from the EM scene if you want my opinion. An important figure if there is one, Frank Makowski has been active in the spheres of EM for almost 30 years with a first album, Cyberland X-Press, produced in 1992. This solo project was done under the name of Tranquility and gone along pretty well with solid albums of Berlin School style. It gives him the chance to meet Lambert Ringlage with whom he has since established strong ties, leading to the production of Deus Ex Machina in 1996 on Spheric Music. Then there was the huge musical ship ['ramp'] that he co-founded with Stephen Parsick and Lambert Ringlage. The last time I saw his name on a ['ramp'] album was with Doombient.Three - Kalte Sterne back in 2008. And since... silence. Last year, his fingers were wandering on an e-piano and slowly, the melodic ghost of what will be Syzygium took shape. Now Frank Makowski wouldn't want to do a Berlin School album, as with Tranquility. Offered on CD manufactured and in download, CANON DER FINSTERNISSE is a first album under his name and an impressive album, but which commands a few listenings. Even in its tribal envelope of the Precambrian era; the album, the name and the choice of the titles are inspired by an old work of the astronomy written by Theodor Egon Ritter von Oppolzer in 1887. And it's not in this vision that I feel the music, at the very least for its first 6 titles that will enchant you faster than the last one.
Frank Makowski surprises with his choice of instruments and his musical direction by composing a minimalist music attached to harmonic filaments of a piano, sometimes acoustic and other times electric , and percussive effects that tinkle like pebbles thrown into a cave. It's a little the opening of Fliegende Schatten - Canon 1 that I continue to describe. Metal clangs dance on the cymbals, igniting the desire of the drums to beat a morphic down-tempo enveloped by chants of chthonian monasteries. The percussions are very good, and the size of the title reaches a very progressive elegance with a texture that renews its desire to charm at any moment. Playing on dramatic sonic escapades, like on a drumming play seeking to draw music to a more consistent rhythm, the 13 minutes of this title are the easiest to evaluate, the rest plunging squarely into territories where the quest for sound is as intoxicating as astrological discoveries. A title with tribal appearances and another true delight for the ears, Okkultation is very interesting at the level of the percussions. For some, the ambiences will recall Steve Roach's vision in Dreamtime Return with these effects of reverberations, which are real lassos of sounds, and manual percussions fiddled on clay. We remain in a tribal vision with the murmurs on a giant didgeridoo in Kernschatten. The lamentations are unique and move between the echoes of the caves that surround a thin passage to let the sounds circulate. Streulicht is a very meditative short title with bells tinkling and twinkling in a dark panorama. The ringing fades gradually with an austere piano and its lines of evasive melodies resounding in the airs. This piano is brighter in Finsternislimit - Canon 2. Playing with its contrasts, it creates a cryptic ambience where wander paranormal murmurs and percussion ghosts that come, disappear and return in a much more meditative structure. We arrive at the core of CANON DER FINSTERNISSE with 2 solid titles that we must listen with attention to appreciate the full dimension. The shape of Syzygium reminds me of Philip Glass! Piano chords are reluctant to get out of the soundboard. They wander through a corridor filled of metallic creasing before forcing a meditative melody that echoes as a musical canon. Sometimes intense, especially after the 10-minute mark, as evasive, this piano is scattering its notes in a decor painted of percussive elements before agreeing with the winds of dust and of sound particles in the second part of Syzygium. Sunnenvinster - Canon 3 finishes this comeback album from Frank Makowski with 14 minutes of tranquility where the sound effects, such as these murmurings that remind me of Tangerine Dream's Kiew Mission, on Exit, rehabilitate this very ambient work that takes a different proportion before reaching a final all in voices with a more intense chthonic chorale.
We know that we are dealing with a major work by the attachment that we develop over the course of its discovery. Audacious, progressive and musical surprise, CANON DER FINSTERNISSE is this kind of album that brings a new slice of charm to each listening, until our ears will remain captive to appreciate its concept and its dimension up until its last breaths. Pretty impressive comeback Frank!
Sylvain Lupari (November 29th, 2019) *****
Available at Frank Makowski Bandcamp