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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FRANK SPECHT: Sebastian im Traum (1999-2008)

Sebastian im Traum is a wonderful musical adventure. A Classic of contemporary EM!

1 Traum 1

(Traumhaft klingt die Nacht) 9:11 2 Traum 2

(Helle Töne in dünnen Lüften) 3:18 3 Traum 3

(Unter Sternen) 9:24 4 Traum 4 (Wanderer im schwarzen Wald) 6:38 5 Traum 5 (Die steinernen Stufen des Mönchsbergs) 4:34 6 Traum 6

(Der blaue Quell im Grund) 10:48 7 Traum 7 (Schon winkt zur Sternenreise die Nacht) 13:50

8 Traum 8 (Erwachen im kindlichen Garten) 12:11 Syngate CD-R 2083-2008

(CD-r/DDL 69:54) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

Oh, here is another splendid album from the New Berlin School movement. Inspired by a Georg Trakl's poem about the 8 stages of Sebastian’s dreams, Frank Specht (the other half of Rainbow Serpent, the other one being Gerd Wienekamp) concocted a wonderful musical album where melodies weavers of ear worms bind themselves to silky and dreamlike rhythms. Frank Specht makes a success of an impressive challenge by putting in music a collection of poem which represents with accuracy the meanders of dreams and its extravagant ramifications. In the facts, the unpredictable and indomitable rhythms as well as the melodies tangled up in dreamlike fogs which lull the lyricism of SEBASTIAN IM TRAUM has privilege only the character immensely poetic which surrounds this sublime musical work of Frank Specht. It's another out of print album that the SynGate label reedits in a very beautiful remix where the sonority is more crystal clear than ever. Small shimes ring while an immense thunder tears the oniric intro of Traum 1 (Traumhaft klingt die Nacht) and from then it’s a wonderful sound world which opens to our ears. For the next hour, our ears will be enchanted by a much diversified rich musical fauna where poly-formic layers of synths will flood rhythms fed by sequences on crisscrossed juxtapositions. Synth waves float and cover this nest of tinkled arpeggios which ring in a fine whirlwind of romance when a superb synth line whistles for a wonderful melody which tears us the soul. A fine pulsation frightens it, letting catch a glimpse of the thick cloud of cosmic waves which float in a delicious moment of inertia. Cymbals resound. They ring in a sphere smothered by synth waves which undulate with an ethereal slowness. And the rhythm of Traum1 carries away finely. Holding to this fusion of pulsations and cymbals it espouses the oscillating curves of his romantic evolution, dragging its breaths and harmonies which will still haunt our ears many hours later. We haven’t stop dreaming that the superb piano of Traum 2 (Helle Töne in dünnen Lüften) comes to cradle our ears of a magnificent night lullaby. The arrangements are poignant and denote an influence of Vangelis to this cinematographic approach of Frank Specht. It’s simply splendid. All the titles are interlaced in a long musical journey filled by melancholy and romance. Traum 3 (Unter Sternen) pulls us towards a morphic universe with synth breaths which roll in loop on reverberant breezes. Choirs roam on this abstract structure which sees a crescendo settling down as the loops pass by. A slightly hasty pulsation, as an indecisive riff, hangs on to skip of a gallop in a place where the dreams persist; in a wave of mist where only choirs hum an absent-minded air while the tempo fills up its intensity by exciting sequences to gambol into an incandescent mist which hides a fine harmonious envelope. Traum 4 (Wanderer im schwarzen Wald) pursues the bewitchment with chirpings suspended in a halieutic universe. The intro stagnates in an ambient shell where the chirpings go astray in the echo of the resonant bells. An indecisive sequence emerges. It takes the shape of percussions which drum under a sky filled of threatening streaks and fluty strata which sing with acuteness over a hypnotic rhythm which teams up with strummed sequences and skip ardently under suave synth solos. The enchantress flutes of Traum 5 (Die steinernen Stufen des Mönchsbergs) awaken tribal percussions which beat a robust clanic tempo wrapped of somber synth layers which float of a threatening approach with the hoarse breaths of Didgeridoo. Superb the synth subdivides its lines, mixing its harmonies with acute flutes which sing above a thunder from the tom-toms of war. This appealing rhythm crashes on the stumbling blocks of abandoned bells, going astray towards a Gregorian approach which does not manage to annul this increasing rhythm, nor its aboriginal flutes. It’s a rhythm which stops dry to become soaked by water and emigrate towards the dreams of Traum 6 (Der blaue Quell im Grund) and of its static rhythm which sparkles among the drummed percussions. On a stunning pattern of sequences which pound and sparkle in a surprising rhythmic symbiosis, Traum 6 is as much hypnotic and attractive as Traum 3 but offers a rhythm which waves in a surprising way. It’s a little as a brook of sequences which laps in a static movement but of which the droplets are inhaled upward. A discreet melody pierces this rotary sequenced veil. One can think of a blend of guitar and piano which goes deep to mold a hearing attraction and winds all around the tom-toms fed of timeless striking. Cosmic tones which couple to subdued choirs floating among echoing hoops introduce Traum 7 (Schon winkt zur Sternenreise die Nacht). This longest title of SEBASTIAN IM TRAUM offers an intro as ambient as romantic which sees its tranquility perturbed by distant tom-toms. The movement increases with slowness, flooded that it is by these wandering choirs which breathe in the strides of the dense synth layers while from nowhere appears a train which knocks down Traum 7 towards an oniric cosmic passage. There where sequences pound in crisscrossed lines under the wonderful breaths of philharmonic synth. This static rhythm swirls under a thick cloud of celestial choirs, leading this 7th part towards a poignant harmonious final. Hesitating synth layers are floating in a cosmic echo à la Jean-Michel Jarre, pushing Traum 8 (Erwachen im kindlichen Garten) and its wave-like sequences as well as its wooden percussions towards rattling cymbals. Slowly the rhythm settles down under a bed of polyrhythmic sequences. Sequences which boil a static rhythm while others draw an oscillating melodious line to finally formed a symbiosis cadenced under lines of synth to breaths of clay. SEBASTIAN IM TRAUM is a wonderful musical adventure where the rhythms and melodies forged straight from Frank Specht's lyrical sensibility go deep in our eardrums to create a fascinating introspective journey which will mold our dreams and its fantasies. It’s also an impressive weaving of synth layers which form rhythms and ambiences but also very beautiful melodies with angelic airs which are courting some rhythms weaved in an impressive pattern of sequences to strikes and tones as varied as harmonious. In brief a splendid album which always attracts me and still, sign of a timeless work deserving of the major musical and harmonic works of Vangelis and Mike Oldfield, on a background of Berlin School.

Sylvain Lupari (May 10th, 2012) *****

Available at SynGate

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