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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GUSTAVO JOBIM: In Search of Berlin (2012)

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

For a home-made album, In Search of Berlin is a surprising discovery

1 Echoes of Berlin 9:33

2 Underground Train 10:35

3 Midnight Mists 7:50

4 The Ascension 10:25

5 The Inner Outer Space 13:33

6 Hallucinations 11:20

7 Berlin Endless 14:57

(DDL 75:39) (V.F.)

(Indie, Berlin School)

IN SEARCH OF BERLIN is a kind of back to the roots of the Berlin School. It's a musical journey in the heart of Gustavo Jobim's influences and the first movements on the sound experiences linked to the beginning of this musical movement, exception made of Underground Train. For his 6th opus, the Brazilian synthesist weaves long titles with experimental ambiences painted of lugubrious and Mephistophelic approaches where rhythms give way to ambiences rich in mellotron textures, like in the heyday of Phaedra, and in floating organ layers, resetting our memories of a certain Klaus Schulze.

Moreover, it's with a line spitting pulsating and resonating waves that Echoes of Berlin opens. From the first sound scents we are imbued with these caustic waves which adorned the stagnant ambiences of Cyborg, except that the rhythm is of lead. Pounded by sequences and keyboard-synth chords with resonant echoes, the rhythm becomes a furious static race. Breathless pulsations crisscross in stubborn polyrhythmic structures stuffed with wild sequenced key's double-beat before calming down in an atmospheric passage where Phaedra's Mellotron floats on a piano with melancholic notes that draw a dark haunted finale. It's very good! And if this legendary Tangerine Dream album calls out to you, you will fall in love with the very beautiful Midnight Mists and its synth waves which wave like floating threats on meditative piano notes. The organ layers are heavy and intense, shaping a claustrophobic mood worthy of good soundtracks for dark movies. With Underground Train we dive into the territories of KS and its digital era with chords that skip under the tinkling of glockenspiel. If the introduction is somewhat abrupt, a nice silky wave covers this jerky movement to wrap it in a good harmonious shroud, shaping the effect of a sequenced train which makes scrolling its Teutonic chords in the astral corridors of a long minimalist structure and its harmonic nuances. The pulsating rhythm of The Ascension sticks a little to that of Echoes of Berlin. Less resonant and stormy, but all the same quite frenetic, the movement is covered with a suave layer of synth with tones of old organ which undeniably recalls the paralyzed atmospheres that Klaus Schulze weaved on Picture Music. Ambiences which isolate the sequences to stifle the rhythmic envelope which is reborn from its unpredictable heaviness and its ambulatory rhythm.

The Inner Outer Space is a very atmospheric track that transports us to the roots of albums as dark and experimental as in Zeit and Alpha Centauri. It's a long lifeless track made of an alloy of hot and iridescent breaths which spit out threads of metals in a long cylindrical passage stuffed with oblong quivering synth layers which cover the chirping of aliens. When we say experimental...And the corrosive universe of this second portion of IN SEARCH OF BERLIN continues with Hallucinations and its intro stigmatized of sclerotic laments. A long, very black and acid track made for headphones, Hallucinations continues its quest for irritability with cries of anemic mermaids that reveal the echoes of very nice pulsations, plowing a rhythmic phase of lead as stubborn as Echoes of Berlin to finally lose this beat in a mess of deviant and buzzing layers, on the edge of a melodic hell where snatches of melodies survive in a musical cataclysm of incredible intensity to loose decibels. Berlin Endless moderates somewhat the corrosive ardor with an astonishing sequential approach that takes shape like dragonfly wings beating at zoo tropic speed. Pulsating chirps support these frantic beats as a sequence emerges to undulate from its crisscrossing oscillations, creating a rhythmic confusion where roller coasters race against stationary pulsations. Faster than the blink of an eyelash, this torrent of polyrhythmic sequences continues its mad course by dodging limpid chords which skip and twirl under the aegis of a synth with ghostly waves and eclectic sounds. A breach in the movement diverts its frenzied rhythm to marry a more linear form, a little after the 6th minute, with sequences muffled under layers of metallic synth which pound a heavy and symmetrical rhythm. And Berlin Endless to fall into a disproportionate madness where the rhythm jumps on the spot to stumble in the meanders of a synth with layers of an extreme corrosiveness, concluding an album as surprising as dark and powerful.

For a homemade album, IN SEARCH OF BERLIN is an astonishing discovery. Bold and creative, Gustavo Jobim offers the best of both Berlin School worlds with an album where sound experiences rub shoulders with memories of yesteryear on rhythms and ambiences that are extremely powerful, both in sound and emotion. Available in downloadable format and at a very attractive price, it's the best way to learn about this movement that few dare to unearth its true roots.

Sylvain Lupari (June 4th, 2012) *****

Available at Gustavo Jobim Bandcamp

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