GETTY & WHITLAN: Higher Green Session (2014)
Updated: Feb 14
“Higher Green Session is in this same vein of excellence for those aficionados who are never replete of the great Berlin School style”
1 Higher Green Session Part One 14:47 2 Higher Green Session Part Two 13:21 3 Higher Green Session Part Three 11:43 Retrochet Records | rr107
(CD-r/DDL 39:49) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
Graham Getty is resolutely becoming synonym of excellent in the circles of the aficionados of Berlin School EM style. We knew him for being strongly inspired by the Tangerine Dream model of the Schmoelling years. But in the light of the last albums of Perge, we feel him more and more comfortable with an incursion in the more retro genre. The genre of the 70's. After his association with Michael Neil, for the excellent Retrochet series, and Matthew Stringer, for the Perge albums, the English synthesist adds new cards in his play by teaming up with Stephan Whitlan, a veteran musician of Sheffield guided by driven sequencing patterns where the melodies and the synth solos remain the privilege of his musical approach. Both musicians met for a session of impromptu EM which was recorded on December 30th, 2013. HIGHER GREEN SESSION is the fruit of this meeting.
Jingles of steel peck at the quietness of the wide sonic cloud banks which drift and ripple with their load of pastoral waves and of multicolor prisms. The movement of these jingles becomes bumpier, while other sound fragrances escaped of the chinks of the synth which is always on an ambient/floating mode. And little by little, these jingles get transformed into abrupt movements which propel Higher Green Session Part One towards a stubborn rhythm which goes up and down in a pattern as much syncopated than a train which drives on the valleys of the infinite horizons of a plain. Firstly, hesitating in its envelope of techno for marinated zombies which is well fixed on a sober meshing of percussions and bass pulsations, the embryonic rhythm of Higher Green Session Part One takes a hesitating way before exploding for a steadier rhythm with the addition of sequences. Their blinking nature is sizzling like electric fireflies and add an industrial weight to the very Berliner rhythm of Higher Green Session Part One and of Higher Green Session Part Two, so much both structures are molding to the same rhythmic parallelisms. We stamp of the feet much more than we roll of the neck here with this rhythm pattern which reminds the brief explosions of the movements of rhythms and sequences of Tangerine Dream, period Rubycon to Phaedra. Minimalist, like the route of a linear train, the movement of both structure glitters with an almost identical sonic fauna. If Higher Green Session Part Two continues its road without major interruptions, Higher Green Session Part One remains just as much flooded with this Gothic mist which floats like gloves of iodized cotton over a movement which loses its spirit around the 9th minute. Moment where the rhythm remains stuck on a sequence which bombards as an one-legged man who wants absolutely to stay up and where the variations, both in the tone of the synth layers and of the sequencers, restructure finely the ambient harmonies of Higher Green Session Part One towards a more musical kind where some keyboard chords, a little bit organic, and sequences, filled of metallic rustles, hesitate to built a more harmonious structure. Both parts stand on great hypnotic beats and will tie firmly your ears to your earphones. Higher Green Session Part Three begins with chords which dance an ambient cha-cha, like in a very non-coordinated choreography. Beatings of percussions frolic such as mocking drum rollings which will accompany a more electronic structure where some nice layers of old organ are floating with these soft scents of those ether years. Little by little, the rhythm becomes again as much jerky as in the first 2 chapters of HIGHER GREEN SESSION. Except that here, the illusion of a train, even if always perceptible, is slowly buried by an armada of very chaotic beatings from where are escaping some more attractive and more rebel lines of rhythm which take the shape of the melodic structure coming from the layers of organ and effects of synths. Clearly more progressive in its approach, Higher Green Session Part Three finds all its charms in these layers which make us travel in time, while the structure of rhythm always remains so much imperceptible than the charms of its multiple beatings as unpredictable as a derailment of a ghost train.
To well placed the reader, I wrote this chronicle having got wind of the Getty/Whitlan collaboration when Even Higher Green appeared on Bandcamp in Mars 2016. I already knew that HIGHER GREEN SESSION had a suite. Thus, my conclusion can seem to you biased, but I believe that the main part would have been the same. So, for an album made in the improvisation, HIGHER GREEN SESSION shows that its two creators were definitely on the same page. We feel a delicate permutation, a quiet inversion which feeds the passive fury of its first two movements while the third gives free rein to the identity of two musicians which discover themselves in the biggest of respect which they have for each other. And yes, I would have written: I hope that there will be a suite! Like with Michael Neil and as with Matthew Stringer.
Sylvain Lupari (March 24th, 2016) *****
Available at Graham Getty Bandcamp