GEIGERTEK: Soundtrack for City Living (2011)
Updated: Jul 3, 2021
“All the essences of EM are found in good structures in constant evolution”
1 Beyond the Garden 11:31
2 Beauty in Decay 9:15
3 Underpass 8:21
4 Devil May Care 5:17
5 Moonlight Interlude 4:50
6 A Rainfall Moment 7:45
7 West 9 12:38
8 Fast Lane 6:09
(DDL/CD-R 65:47) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, Synth-Wave, EDM)
For Geigertek, the main idea behind SOUNDTRACK FOR CITY LIVING was to get away from the spiritual influences of his first 2 albums, The Garden in 2008 and The Timeless Mind released last year. A city man, Neil Fellowes shows all his influences and visions of cities on a surprisingly diverse album. Yes, I know that The Timeless Mind was already very varied, but he shows on this album that he has gained a lot of confidence versus his last one. An assurance and a confidence in his means which results in an album more powerful, more melodious and better built than his first two ones. He signs here compositions always so ambivalent, except that the harmonic links are tightly woven along wise arrangements that give shivers and sighs to our souls of dreamy wanderers.
This journey through the meanderings of a chimeral city starts with Beyond the Garden which is a good track with harmonies evolving on a progressive structure. A fine synth wave extends its ethereal breaths to the riffs of a synth that takes the appearance of a guitar to draw a rather Lounge ambience. An ambience which permutes towards a jazzy tendency with wandering keyboard chords and a piano which release melodious notes under a soft ochre haze. As rich as ever, Geigertek's universe unfolds with a good synth solo and misty violins that accompany a rhythm whose cadence evolves subtly. After a short passage where the silence is disturbed by fluttering cymbals and a waving synth line, a bass pulsates around disco-style wah-wahs and a piano running freely on the outline of a rhythm to come. And it does come! With twisting solos of incisive synth blowing around the neck of a heavy, galloping rhythm. It runs out of steam after 3 minutes of hellish dance in a night where shooting stars parade above the cars which are rare and of which a solitary piano is the only witness. After a dark intro fed with caustic and metallic synth waves, Beauty in Decay reveals its melancholy with a nostalgic piano whose notes wander among starry fairies that shimmer in the darkness. The rhythm moves. It draws a structure of greyness where the angelic voices and the breaths of violins cry and hover above a piano which stray its notes in the abyss of a world of sadness as well as sober and dark percussions. It's a beautiful track immersed in a dark mysticism, as is the dark Moonlight Interlude with its heavy piano notes that hang around the laments of a lonely saxophone. With Underpass we enter this zone where Neil Fellowes shows that he has a good and moving voice (for those who missed Endless Night) and that he is as much at ease in synth-pop structures, quite progressive, as in electronics. A nice nursery rhyme with a diabolical piano, like John Carpenter's Halloween, pierces a dark veil where the voices get lost among the dense synth waves. From then on, a catchy melody floods our ears with a structure similar to those of Ultravox and of his Endless Night album. Fractured by ambiences and hung to percussions with muffled and conventional sounds, the rhythm is slow and languorous. The melody is based on this famous piano line and a nice union of male/female voices that cross a dark ambience. Ambiences that layers of violins are amplifying.
It's a good piece of music, just like Devil May Care which is more mysterious and where the voice of Candice Wells is as touching as the saxophone which cries in a good synth mist. A Rainfall Moment is the most intense moment on SOUNDTRACK FOR CITY LIVING. It's an incredible electronic ballad with a melodious line that meanders in an ascending movement between the sober percussions girdled by poignant bursts of mellotron violins. A piano consolidates this ballad while keyboard chords trick our ears with a guitar sound. It's incredibly delicious and it's the kind of track that leaves a mark on the ears. Too beautiful and too good, I just wish it would have lasted longer. Taking good advantage of its 12 minutes, the structure of West 9 is more complex, going from ethereal and cosmic ambiences to a jazzy approach to finally end in a good electronic finale. After a slow and very soaring intro, the rhythm settles down. It's light and animated by some keyboard riffs, bouncy sequences and cymbals as well as a bass line with elastic chords. High-pitched solos turn into saxophone blasts, cradled by a good set of mellotron violins. Always so delicate, the rhythm is abandoned but the melody remains and is supported by a piano with notes as melancholic as jazzy. On a hesitant structure, flooded with trumpet blasts and heavy reverberations of a waking city, West 9 takes the rhythmic road again with a more electronic approach where the sequences pulsate by increasing the cadence while another line surrounds the rhythm which is embellished with beautiful solos with trumpet sounds and notes of a more cheerful piano. Fast Lane bears the weight of its title very well. A track sitting on nervous sequences, hypnotic pulses and good synth solos that wrap a synth-pop rhythm. After listening to the past cars, the rhythm comes back heavier with good percussions that frame flamboyant synth solos. Not to be outdone by the other tracks, Fast Lane unfolds on an ambivalent structure with a very varied musicality where the frenetic rhythm crosses some more atmospheric passages in accordance with the works of the synthesist and musical visionary that is Geigertek.
I liked SOUNDTRACK FOR CITY LIVING! Very confident in his means, Neil Fellowes aligns 8 compositions where all the essences of EM are found in good structures in constant evolution and where the melody is next to an astonishing diversity of the genres. There are several jewels on this last album of Geigertek. By far his best to date.
Sylvain Lupari (November 6th, 2011) ***½**
Available at AD Music