GRÜM~PÉ: The Danger In Dreams (2020)
“Two hours of pure happiness for frenzied rhythms on polymorphic structures”
1 Crossing Etherwaves 11:22
2 Unknown ETA 23:42
3 For Keith... 27:15
4 There is a Danger In Dreams 12:38
5 Bacillus Extremis 17:49
6 The Tyranny of Distance 11:17
7 A Sepulchre on Ruined Ground 15:48
8 Circling the Universe, Forever... 7:20
(DDL 127:16) (V.F.)
A lively movement of a pulsating bass line forcefully propels Crossing Etherwaves between our ears. Playing on fine, barely perceptible undulations, the rhythm rises and falls, proposing another line of more harmonic sequences that shimmers like the playing of a xylophonist striking his blades with frenzy. Already, the presentation of Grüm~Pé is unequivocal! The sequencer borrows this very Tangerine Dream path from the early 70's with a beautiful palette of tones that adds a rhythmic as well as atmospheric and musical depth to this big electronic rock dressed in the Berlin School coat of arms. The rhythm is violent and sustained with its mirror effect that takes another sonic tangent. Its bass sequences are juicy with an organic element in its elastic effect. Keeping the course, Maurice Gallagher plays with finesse to give good ascending curves to his rhythm while taking away, for a few seconds, its sparkling effects, accentuating even more this undulating effect that turns into lively crystalline flickers. On this armada of frenetic sequences, Crossing Etherwaves crosses an atmospheric bridge about 15 seconds before its 8th minute. Isolated and in a movement reminiscent of Ricochet, the limpid sequences twirl and flicker while following an ascending corridor until, some 40 seconds later, they dock with another powerful line of bass sequences that secretly begins its ascent.
Like a good consumer of Berlin School style electronic music (EM), my eyes were riveted to a Grüm~Pé post on Synth&Sequences' Facebook page during a Bandcamp Friday, an event where musicians cash in on their sales. Already haloed by the catchy title THE DANGER IN DREAMS (say it fast in your head), this album-download promised a compilation of dynamic, thrilling, Berlin School-style sequencer-driven tracks. And for Maurice Gallagher, it's a great introduction to Grüm~Pé's music. What the musician-synthesist from Cumbernauld, England, failed to write was the length of this invitation, 127 minutes and some dusts. That, my friends, is a lot of EM! In a style similar to his album A Strange Uncertain Light, released last year on Cyclical Dreams, grum~pe keeps his word by offering nothing less than 2 hours of pure happiness of frenzied rhythms on polymorphic structures, except for the very cosmic Circling the Universe, Forever... For the rest, this 2 hours of EM contains a panoply of convulsive rhythms and rhythmic explosions provided by a sequencer that likes to feed a panoply of lines intersecting in rhythmic crossroads that are the prerogative of this EM where our ears pay a heavy price for the rare moments of serenity. The Cosmos ambiences feed the first minutes of the long Unknown ETA which also propose lunar orchestrations to make our thoughts drift. Moreover, the step of an electronic drum structures a very lunar downtempo through the azure density of these orchestrations for a short moment before the cosmic atmospheres the take over. In fact, one has to wait 30 seconds after the 8th minute to hear two rhythmic lines confronting each other in a slightly spasmodic texture. Unknown ETA hobbles and twitches on this tangle of sequences which twirl without momentum, and which gradually gather around the electronic percussions. The chthonian voice layers envelop this passage which lives on the rushes of the sequences before transforming itself into an electronic rock filled with cosmic effects and Vangelis' dark synth blades style on a structure to make our neurons rush. From the top of its 27 minutes and its slightly dramatic opening, For Keith... takes us to another level. True that its opening is dark with winds ululating of pain. The touch is always cosmic, a bit like if Keith was now residing in the stars. A nice movement of sequenced arpeggios in a silvery prism color starts to tinkle after the 3rd minute. Sumptuous synth solos envelop this unborn cadence with passionate outbursts, putting in the background the birth of a rhythm that zigzags from its interweaving between the movements of the sequencer. Another line is added in parallel. This first combination of rhythms leads to a structure that always wavers under the weight of these huge synth solos with weeping harmonies. For Keith...reaches a first atmospheric zone after the 12th minute. The rhythm that emerges is more vigorous, but still suffocated by the weight of this morose synth that cries its solos and that shouts its emotions in a texture where rage and pain are mixed on a rhythm structure that always tries to justify itself. The 20th minute brings a zone of turbulences where a fully bouncing rhythm will come out under solos and hazy effects of a synth that recovers a form of serenity. Let's say that these last 2 titles, more complex, are of size with the always impressive A Strange Uncertain Light.
As much as Crossing Etherwaves opened THE DANGER IN DREAMS with strength, it's the same with the title-track which unfolds a sequencer structure that inserts its panoply of sequences between our ears astonished by so many diffusions and sound rays. This frenetic movement of the sequencer is like watching the race of hungry centipedes in accelerated sequence. A bass line runs its undulations over this magical dance of sequences, giving a musical power to this violent exercise of the sequencer. After a rather usual opening to the genre, Bacillus Extremis roars its synths before taking us into a spiral of rhythm fueled by bouncing bass sequences and brassy metal clanking effects. The structure is more dynamic than in For Keith... while being stuffed with more luscious synth solos that like to expand the murky horizons of this static Berlin School with layers of chthonian mists. Less violent, the opening of The Tyranny of Distance is similar to the one of There is a Danger In Dreams with swirls of synth lines that structure a rhythm fed by these loops scrolling at high speed. The effect is a rhythmic pattern that jumps around in a finely stroboscopic vision to get sucked in by the blossoming of a pulsating bass line some 3 minutes later. Its gallop clings to the vitality of the percussions and percussive rattling, structuring a rhythm that is too fast for the feet unless you're into trance. Here as everywhere on this album, Grüm~Pé decorates its structure with additives and sound effects that allow for an awakening listening experience with this avalanche of arpeggios, sounds and sequences to come out of this rhythmic ride adorned with a line of sequences that waddle in an innocent magnetizing harmonic line. I love the opening of A Sepulchre on Ruined Ground and its pulsating rhythm under a dense layer of intriguing haze. The alternating motion of the sequencer makes the rhythm jump from ear to ear while taking care to give it a moiré sheen to further cut into the aural pleasure. The haze becomes a screaming texture while the rhythm displays a gallop that can no longer contain itself in this stifling atmosphere where horror sings in our ears. Always accelerating, and the tone as its power, the rhythm makes elastic jumps that leap ever faster in a track that wraps itself in a Berber finery of a tribal EM. And this, as much in the rhythm as in the ambiances and the melodies of the synth. Now imagine a track having a title such as Circling the Universe, Forever... and you get exactly what you expected! Yes, there are a lot of words for those big minutes of Berlin School sequenced EM in this impressive album-download that is THE DANGER IN DREAMS. To be enjoyed with ears wide open!
Sylvain Lupari (May 28th, 2022) ****¼*
Available at grum~pe Bandcamp