GRAUGLANZ: Elected Pieces (2020)
Updated: Sep 7
“This is good compilation on a universe whose cabalistic style of Grauglanz gives a very particular spirit to Berlin School”
1 Am Anfang Irgendwo 6:02
2 Die Kreatur Hebt Den Blick Zum Himmel 11:51
3 Mantra 7:24
4 Tao of Night 5:54
5 Piripiri 5:25
6 Mjölnirs Kiss 6:18
7 Dark Entrance (Short Mix) 6:30
8 Ruined Perspectives 8:27
9 Am Großen Riff 9:10
10 Fragmented Notes 7:35
(CD-R/DDL 74:35) (V.F.)
(Progressive Berlin School)
Bernd Scholl shares with us his recent discovery in the EM universe; Grauglanz. This musician-synthesist, native of Essen, Germany, has nevertheless been active in the EM spheres since 2011 with a first album entitled Spurensuche. Ten albums followed until Zuflucht was released in CD-R HQ manufactured by MellowJet Records in early 2020. To celebrate the arrival of this artist who should appeal to dark Berlin School fans, Moonbooter chose 10 tracks from his repertoire which he structured in a long canvas of 75 minutes in a genre of Best Of… entitled ELECTED PIECES (2011-2019). A good compilation, a good opening on a universe whose cabalistic style gives a very particular essence to the Berlin School style from which he is literally inspired.
Am Anfang Irgendwo invites us to this collection of discovery with a fluid rhythm. Keyboard riffs explore a harmonic possibility while the rhythm structure, initially composed by bass pulsations, invites electronic percussions, curt wood clicks, spasmodic sequences and this synth which goes from a strange dialogue to join its sound harmonization. The sequences sound like a woodpecker on acid banging on a tube of imitation wood. These little finds, quite charming, point out in the horizons of this collection of Grauglanz. These ambiences and this musical envelope take on a Johannes Schmoelling cachet, which gives so much warmth to Grauglanz' structures. After a brief moment of hesitation, Am Anfang Irgendwo clings to a vivified structure which is covered by metallic mists and these hesitant chants in an ambience injected with an austere, if not dramatic, vision. This track coming from his first album Spurensuche is followed by Die Kreatur Hebt Den Blick Zum Himmel which comes from Zuflucht to which Bernd Scholl cuts nearly 9 minutes. I like this version better. Mantra is a very good track which consists of a good rhythmic vision maintained by good effects and whispers which plunges me into Tangerine Dream's Exit years. Different percussive effects stimulate a rhythm which travels well inside its layers more seraphic than sibylline, while the keyboard draws a melody which is made discreet in this good Berlin School. Tao of Night doesn't waste time in order to impose a structure more in EDM mode. Here again, the sound fauna is creative and above all addictive for ears eaters of tones, of creative tones. Let's say that this title, taken from the Electric Mandalas album, goes very well with the style of MellowJet. Piripiri offers a good morphic down-tempo structure with Middle Eastern ambiences. The synth is magical here with good solos that are in the minds of snake charmers. The rhythm speeds up the pace a little, but remains in the same mold, while the ambiences flirt with cosmos where an elephant plays of its trumpet.
Mjölnirs Kiss offers an opening of ambiences which is filled of good synth solos with these tones as high as the Theremin but in a more psychedelic version. The rhythm comes out gently with jolts which resonate in this chamber of reverberations. Its evolution follows the curve of its long spasmodic momentum which will remain stationary after all. It's pretty rare, but I like the 12 minutes of the At the End of all Paths' album better. An album made in 2016 that sounds a bit like Zuflucht. At least from what I've heard on Bandcamp! Dark Entrance (Short Mix) is an atmospheric track that bears its name well with a dark vision well established by a fatal rhythm. The mix of Moonbooter focuses, and with good reason, on the first 6 minutes of this track that we find on the album Inner Voices (2014). Ruined Perspectives is a good track with its elastic rhythm which gallops at half speed, while doing back loops, in a forest filled of sonic mysteries. Percussions are invited in order to make the curves rounder in this rhythm which is at the crossroads of an electronic rock or a vivified Berlin School. The ambiences are woven in these synth sails, which float and move like these ghosts dressed in traveling shrouds, and these sibylline harmonies which moan in concert with the removable sails. And once these elements work together, the new approach stagnates and forgets its 3rd step somewhere. Am Großen Riff also offers a stationary structure that hops like a gang of chums embarrassed to dance. A kind of cosmic EDM and designed for an invasion of synths with aerial solos, some even have scents of Edgar Froese, on this structure which eats a little vitamins to undertake its second part. The synth offerings are great here! A rhythm deliciously slow, Fragmented Notes, from the album of the same name, ends this ELECTED PIECES (2011-2019) with a rather discreet vision, like the ambient rhythms of Flashpoint or even of this period when TD bewitched Americans in 1977. The synths are still very nice here, and their solos moaning in the mists of the western deserts are quite simply up to the ambiences of this parallel universe which looks at us with hungry eyes.
Although well polished, this introductory collection to the world of Grauglanz doesn't live up to its introductory album on MellowJet Records; Zuflucht. Moonbooter has tried everything, but the music of the synthesist from Essen devours itself in a conceptual vision. Presented otherwise, that's like explaining the need to some long passages. But that gives you a very good idea of the potential of Grauglanz who deserves to get out from the unknown by exhibiting an EM mainly inspired by the great actors of the Berlin School. It seems that MellowJet will put its first albums on the market, debuting with Saudade, no extract of which was shown on ELECTED PIECES (2011-2019) ...
Sylvain Lupari (September 5th, 2020) ****¼*
Available at MellowJet Records