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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GUY-LIAN: Solar System Part 2 (2021)

Having been dazzled by Solar System Part 1, I was one of those who awaited its sequel...

1 Jupiter V 14:35

2 Saturn VI 12:27

3 Uranus VII 6:36

4 Neptune VIII 7:43

5 Pluto IX 6:06

(CD/DDL 47:48) (V.F.)

(Symphonic Cosmic EM)

Having been dazzled by Solar System Part 1, I was one of those who awaited its sequel with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Would it be as good? Could I feed myself with the wildest hope that it would be better? For a softy, a romantic like me, SOLAR SYSTEM Part 2 has all the assets to make me ecstatic at each track. On the other hand, I remain aware of the similarities between these two albums of Guy-Lian who blows hot and cold by presenting an album which flirts with a rather similar harmonic development on cinematographic structures woven with the philharmonic side of the synthesizers. And yes, there are chills! Playing constantly on the extremes, the Belgian musician exploits the symphonic orchestrations as more electronic structures as well while notching up a harmonic bone which develops from title to title. And yes, it is as good as Solar System Part 1, but not necessarily better! Danny Gijbels also exploits a more progressive musical flavor that he introduces right away on Jupiter V, a track at the height Earth III that we find on the first part of this cosmic electronic symphony.

The rising wave unveils a first layer of futuristic sound elements whose connection with Blade Runner is reinforced with those more orchestral whose apocalyptic vision brings us to a light crash of symphonic percussions. For those who are looking for musical reference points, this first track is composed of a bouquet of Thierry Fervant, Kitaro and Vangelis in a symphonic track that constantly seeks its emotional equivalence in an electronic vision that is not without reminding the complex works of David Wright. After this theatrical opening, Jupiter V offers a cosmic organic texture that precedes a soft melody played on a keyboard. These 30 seconds of softness are jostled by a cosmic burst that redirects the music to an orchestral core dominated by wind instruments and later by violins. Another roll of the timpani and another tenant shows up to blow this soothing melody that makes us dream with open eyes. The orchestrations are made of silk and the tenderness is present. The surges in mode lento feed our sense of sorrow while slow staccato leads us to the top of a cinematic turmoil. No sleeping or dreaming with your eyes open though! The 7th minute brings this astral melody with a galloping rhythm on the musical paths of Jupiter V. The electronic vision of the main melody changes to a more symphonic approach. Guy-Lian restructures the track into a fanfare movement that realigns Jupiter V on a warpath with an appropriate musical vision in symbiosis with its evolution. A dramatic element sets in again, a celestial harp guides this other form of the melodious link to a Cosmos whose concept had almost been forgotten since the symphonic orientation of the title. We reach a zone of ambiences with a synth line that starts to waltz alone. Two minutes later, Jupiter V reactivates with a beautiful piano line that accompanies a suite of bass-pulses trying to structure another war anthem. A much more theatrical hymn with the timpani rolls that accompany the puny melodic backbone played by the piano from now on. The military roll accentuates its cadence, surrounded by angelic trumpets in a cinematic choreography where the march of Jupiter V has always flirted between two visions, two universes.

Less complex, Saturn VI follows a harmonious tangent dedicated to provoking our feelings. Its opening is adorned by fragile arpeggios drawing a harmonious approach that is nevertheless rather evasive. The first orchestral impulse is intense and shakes a musical signature inspired by the cosmic spells of Mannheim Steamroller, project Fresh Aire. These first arpeggios are reborn from their smothered embers with a distant fragrance of Vangelis from Ignacio's time. This superb lunar melody is presented with the conscience of its fragility. It clings to a slow tempo, like a repentant musical soul. The percussions, slamming in a style close to the Electronica, stabilize this harmonious approach which turns into singing synth solos on a bed of orchestrations in ambient staccato mode. The next symphonic surge does its job by making our emotions capsize some 15 seconds before the 8th minute. From then on, and with the melody well flowing, Saturn VI continues its evolution on a sequenced staccato style, like the growing rhythm of Chariots of Fire's title-track, always pushing its emotional paroxysm on orchestrations that reach a celestial level. The winds of Uranus VII awaken this harmonic link, which is played with more restraint here, making it more fragile towards our emotions. The track develops a more electronic vision after the 3rd minute, even blowing some very good synth solos whose fluted tint collides again on the reefs of the timpani. Getting up again, Uranus VII clings to a sequenced march in a more electronic 3rd part that the pan flute of the synth even makes more New Age. Neptune VIII reappropriates this melody, which has become a solid earworm in spite of its different shades, in an electronic ambient structure where the shivers abound through these multiple orchestrations which have nothing to envy to the magnificent universe of David Wright, the most beautiful artist in the world of symphonic EM. Let's face it, the finale brings a tear to my eye! Pluto IX ends this short series of tracks giving an ultra romantic dimension to SOLAR SYSTEM Part 2 with a segment of barely 3 minutes vegetating in the fragrances of Vangelis before exploding for an electronic rock à la Thierry Fervant. The organic texture gives it an appearance of Funk flirting with Electronica to fade away not even two minutes later in the winds that blew on the opening of this magnificent musical story about the planets from the Belgian artist, Guy-Lian.

Sylvain Lupari (August 28th, 2021) *****

Available at Groove nl

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