GERT EMMENS: An Artist's Stroke (2012)
“An Artist’s Stroke is one of the best works of Gert Emmens, if not his best, and undoubtedly one of the jewels of 2012”
1 Cossack Temperament 13:53
2 The Long Walk (Towards the Black Sea) 13:14
3 Paintings-The Themes 16:44
4 Paintings-The Spirituality behind It 7:19
5 The Leningrad Years 12:2
6 Darkness Unfolds 11:40
7 Yuri Pugachov-In Memoriam 3:07
(CD/DDL 78:30) (V.F.)
(Progressive Netherlands School)
Inspired by the life and works of the Russian painter Yuri Pugachov, from whom one of the paintings (The Garden in Toulouse) decorated the front artwork of The Nearest Fareaway Place Vol.2, AN ARTIST'S STROKE is unfolding in 6 musical paintings of which the beauty equals the most beautiful creations of Gert Emmens. The Dutch synthesist has dug at the bottom of his emotions to deliver us a superb album where his sequences and synths, unique to his poetic universe, weave the main lines of an album with rhythms floating in the breaths and in the lines of a harmonious and nebulous synth.
Divided into 3 segments Cossack Temperament goes out of the limbos with an oblong breath of a nasal synth which loses its threatening character in the voices of a cosmic choir. The rhythm begins with sequences skipping into fine undulations, drawing a rhythm emerging beneath nice foggy synth pads. These flickering sequences harmonize their indecision to undulate like snips of scissors in space and bind themselves at sober percussions, structuring a rhythm oscillating into the layers of a synth with angelic vocalizes. An atmospheric passage smothers this first rhythmic flight with the short threatening lines of the introduction. This time they darken the horizon of a heavy ochre veil which lowers one's guard and let go a sinuous bass line which awakens sequences sleeping in layers of ether. They skip in deep oscillating loops, dissipating morphic clouds which draw a bewitching melody before the rhythm takes back its rights with some furious sequences which bounce and pound in a linear whirlwind. A lively rhythm that percussions harpoon of incisive strikings and that a synth dresses of a strange serenade with nasal solos. This structure of Cossack Temperament is the skeleton of the titles which compose this album, where the introductions and atmospheric passages engender evolutionary rhythms which progress and float like planes carried by winds. Choirs wandering within electronic tones, threatening sequence which gallops slowly around hesitating chords and fleeting synth lines; the intro of The Long Walk (Towards the Black Sea) is at both scheming as fascinating. The percussions fall and go astray among sequences which skip finely under a synth injected of an iridescent fog. Fluid but delicate, the rhythm of The Long Walk (Towards the Black Sea) hangs onto the slow gallop of a bass line, shaping a strange sensual blues of which the cosmic environment makes simply unreal. The chords of an e-guitar add a surprising and fascinating dimension of a western theme where we imagine a cowboy roamed in a plain full of living monoliths. The rhythm kicks back after a rather long atmospheric moment. Hardly more fluid, it gallops in a plain with a fog as harmonious as symphonic, drawing a superb floating rhythm which supports its delicacy into fine percussions of which the metallic jingles resound in a foggy angelic choral.
With its long structure with unpredictable outcomes Paintings-The Themes is one of AN ARTIST'S STROKE's jewels. An apathic sequential line pierces its dark introductory veil. Its keys waddle, leading sweet carillons which espouse the slow rhythm and sparkle beneath a dense cloud of a synth with hybrid tones where angelic voices roam in ethereal mists. A bass line emerges from it and makes dance its chords beneath the gyrating eye of a synth and its threatening waves, while slowly the rhythm takes the shape of oblong oscillating curves which wave under the spells of musical synth solos. The sequences are isolating to dance in solo, bringing Paintings-The Themes towards a short atmospheric passage where thunders and cosmic tones prepare the entrance of a heavier bass line. Its agile chords pulsate frantically on a long intro before bursting with sequences of which the alternate strikings dance beneath rippling synth layers. These sequences which skip in lanes of mist are the core of Gert Emmens' works. They shape a soft melodic rhythm on Paintings-The Spirituality Behind It, dancing a spiral ballet which gives itself to a superb synth with celestial harmonies. Sequences flickering with velocity pop out from the introductory fog of The Leningrad Years. Like the wings of dragonflies, they dance of a stationary movement before being harpooned by a good line of percussions, bringing The Leningrad Years towards a rhythm became languid. A rhythm which increases its intensity after a brief sequence solo where the harmonies and breezes of the synths move us closer to the melodic rhythms of Tangerine Dream in Paul Haslinger's era. Always agile the sequences beat of their frenzied wings a rhythm which wanders in the thin lines of a melancholic synth whereas that slowly the musical painting of Darkness Unfolds opens in an ambience tinged with nostalgia before espousing a rhythmic curve slightly more livened up, plunging this very beautiful title towards a kind of cosmic blues. Yuri Pugachov-In Memoriam closes with a good electronic ballad inspired by shadows and lights, rhythms and ambiences which embroider the wonderful universe of AN ARTIST'S STROKE, one of Gert Emmens' good albums, otherwise his best, and undoubtedly one of the jewels of 2012.
Sylvain Lupari (June 8th, 2012) *****
Available at Groove NL