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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Graham GETTY & Michael NEIL: Retrochet I (2010)

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

My best album in 2010, this ain't no imitation but pure skill from 2 musicians fond of TD's in the 70's

1 Cirrus Strata 9:50

2 To Close My Eyes 6:04

3 Schulzephonic 15:26

4 Flughafen Tempelhof 11:37

5 In the Realm of the Senses 7:08

6 Karl Marx Allee 11:13

(DDL 61:18) (V.F.)

(Ambient, Berlin School)

Retrochet is a musical project which embraces the roots of Berlin School with modern-days technologies and communications. A synthesist having a vast experience of more than 25 years, Michael Neil touched all EM spheres from experimental to ambient while Graham Getty comes back from an absence of 17 years to presents the sequenced rhythms. Both began to compose an album without meeting each other in person. An album that would respect the Berlin School basis and would be made via Internet. It results in a surprising album indeed filled of aromas of a Berlin School, forgotten and found again. It's more than an incursion that several artists undertook successfully in a musical quest to reproduce what Tangerine Dream had abandoned after Encore. It's a fairly melodious opus with sequencer movements sometimes violent and sometimes level-headed which forge splendid structures that are both ambient and ethereal. A perfect union between 2 musicians whose distance has never affected their complicity. Here is my album of 2010, here is RETROCHET I!

Tenderly violent Cirrus Strata waves with strength, such an ethereal locomotive on the rails of a unrealistic sky. The intro there is soft and vaporous with its fine mellotron pads drawing clouds which float in a sidereal void. Some will hear soft ethereal atmospheres of Steve Roach's desert skies, while others will hear these Tangerine Dream sequences on Ricochet. The rhythm of Cirrus Strata gets loud and violent. It beats a furious and frenzied measure with sequencer chords which gallops and zigzag, such as uneven cascades, beneath breaths of a mellotron with chthonian mist that wraps of a strange electronic aroma this superb sequential fury. A violent movement with chords which skip and explode with a taste of freedom, deviating subtly and slightly of its minimalist axis. Explosive, the heavy rhythm gets blurring gradually, breathing sequenced fragrances of good old Tangerine Dream to merge in To Close my Eyes' intro; the clam after the storm. We still hear breaths of this nasal synth which form a delicate ethereal maelstrom with its synth and mellotron layers which invade a blue cosmos, filled of oneiric sweetness. Breaths of flutes pierce this atonal waltz and revolve among states of minds of To Close my Eyes which is mainly poetic and sometimes dramatic. Schulzephonic moves on with breezes of a hybrid synth which sings behind a brilliance of twinkling arpeggios gamboling feverishly beneath an ethereal mist. The title offers a sequential movement lighter than on Cirrus Strata but unfolds in waving with tight chords which skip in a kind of echo where the multiplicity of sequential lines appears with diverse tones. Chthonian choirs are delirious behind this curtain of mist blown by mooing and banging at once felted and metallic on a sequence sometimes violent and sometimes more subtle. A progressive movement which embraces, a little after the 7th minute, a sequential strength like Cirrus Strata's which roars beneath the lines of a synth with spectral breaths.

Flughafen Tempelhof is deliciously mesmerizing with its delicate sequencer chords which skip and gambol among fine analog serpentines. A splendid minimalist melody is slowly dressing with parallel musical suits, such as this reverberating wave and these delicate crystalline arpeggios which are dancing as well as this jumping synth line. A melodious symbiosis that never stop to dress in variable tones up until the percussions pound a soft rhythm, adding a more profound hypnotic dimension beneath a sky stuffed with analog tones. The movement is increasing and the sequences modify a little their axes under songs of a somehow nasal synth, while Flughafen Tempelhof crosses its 1st portion to become heavier with more sinuous sequences which flicker heavily on laments of a synth with a nursery rhyme for a harmless cherub. It's a great track which leaves its traces such as earworms. Delicate, In the Realm of the Senses is a nice musical intrusion in the wonderful world of mellotrons. A charming flute is blowing its most beautiful airs on delicate waves of an unreal world stuffed with delicate and luxurious mellotrons pads which float on a delicate sequential movement that won't be disturbing the morphic extent of In the Realm of the Senses. Spectral cooing illuminate Karl Marx Allee first measures. Echoing sequences are jumping here among slow and rippling strata of an ethereal synth, plunging this last track of RETROCHET I into a melancholic atmosphere. Pulsating percussions emerge from these waddling sequences and flickering cymbals to pound an ascending rhythm where random sequences skip in the shade of mellotron dark choirs and a synth with splendid melodious strata. The rhythm becomes heavy and the rhythm resounds as in Cirrus Strata on hypnotic pulsations, while the synth spreads superb lyrical layers. It's another very nice track which gathers all the melodious, cosmic and disruptive elements which surround this wonderful album.

RETROCHET I is my most beautiful album of 2010. An album imbued with tones of the 70's with its lot of originalities which distances the duo Michael Neil and Graham Getty from an image of simple imitator, but indeed of composers and musicians inspired by the Berlin School of those vintage years.

Sylvain Lupari (January 17th, 2011) *****

Available at Retrochet Bandcamp

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