HARALD GROSSKOPF: Synthesist 2010 (2010)
Updated: Jan 22
“A bomb! A heavy and powerful album, full of life and wild decibels”
1 Vivacissimo Con Moto 5:56
2 Andante Amoroso 10:27
3 Allegro Con Fuoco 5:44
4 Largo Con Dolore 8:32
5 Moderato Giusto 8:31
6 Vivace Risoluto 6:34
7 Vivacissimo Con Brio 5:35
8 Allegro Marcato 6:27
9 Presto Ma Non Troppo 5:22
10 Vivace Lugubre 9:11
11 Andante Mosso 5:24
(DDL/CD-R 77:13) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, IDM, EDM)
Expect the Unexpected! That's what it says on the inside cover of this 6th studio album of the famous German percussionist. And it's absolutely true! SYNTHESIST 2010, which has nothing to do with Synthesist 2008, is a violent album with up tempos, EDM and few Synth-Pops. Full of rhythms in constant movement on minimalist and linear structures sat on huge bass-lines, SYNTHESIST 2010 sways between wild and intelligent techno with a touch of melancholy that betrays the nostalgia of the mythical character. Drummer for Ashra and a few other EM bands and artists, including Klaus Schulze and Bernd Kistenmacher, Harald Grosskopf has built a solid reputation as a percussionist and electronic rhythm machine in the fields of electronic music and Krautrock. I had the chance to hear his Digital Nomad album and I was quite impressed by his very melodic vision of EM and his very diverse approaches towards his rhythmic modulations. SYNTHESIST 2010 is a CD that complements his evolution over the years and his affiliations with different bands (Sunya Beat, Wallenstein and others). The music exceeds the capacity of our ears to assimilate everything in the same listening. But we were warned: expect the unexpected!
From Vivacissimo Con Moto onwards, the musical universe of SYNTHESIST 2010 takes shape with heavy minimalist rhythms hammered out by solid percussions beating in a heterogeneous sound universe. A strange cosmic reverberation opens the first measures. Mellotron layers float and cross guitar chords trapped in this heavy sound whirlpool. A heavy zombie-like waltz undulates as the guitar chords turn into ethereal loops, forcing a rhythm that explodes with heavy percussions pounding out a heavy and lively beat, embraced by synth layers that waltz around a furious structure. We think our ears are full? Wrong! Even smoother strata envelop the power of Vivacissimo Con Moto, which pulses frantically over a rhythmic structure interspersed with brief, more moderate passages, hooked by sonic coils and strata that squeak like flaming violin strings in a frenzied rhythmic pattern. A good track, just like Vivacissimo Con Brio which is on the other hand heavier and more incisive, whose piano notes merge with xylophones to give a completely different technoïd dimension. More balanced, Andante Amoroso is a fine romance that evolves on a structure with dark waves. Loops that go on and on and ululate like an owl in the moonlight on a minimalist cadence. A long track of almost 11 minutes, Andante Amoroso constantly shifts on a hypnotic rhythm, The music takes melancholic airs with its soft nostalgic piano, ethereal breezes with the spiral loops of a synth that wraps a structure constantly oscillating between a quiet hypnosis and a semi techno. The same phenomenon, albeit more eclectic, can be observed on Vivace Lugubre.
Heavy percussions, tribal tam-tams, syncopated sequences and big snoring bass line, Allegro Con Fuoco follows a furious movement, so the course is drawn with a raging piano that zigzags madly in permutation with a heavy jerky line. A vivid track contrary to the slow and very heavy Largo Con Dolore which advances with big bass strokes, shaping a rhythm undulating of heaviness on nice synth layers. Just as heavy, with a biting bass, Moderato Giusto is livelier and is a nice mix of Allegro Con Fuoco and Largo Con Dolore. Ingenious and punchy, Presto Ma Non Troppo takes us into a more techno universe and still full of good sound effects. The rhythm swings and jumps on percussions that croak and giggle strangely, as well as other percussions that always add this strange impression that we fly over a surreal jungle. The synth spits out layers of choppy violins over layers of enveloping mellotron. The duality of rhythms and melodies, which is assaulted by a crowd of sound effects each as delirious as the next one, is as delightful as disturbing. Just when you think you've heard it all, Andante Mosso adds to it with its spectral intro, where interlocking percussions court cymbals and a slow, stuttering synth stratum unlocks and spits out an Irish party beat. The rhythm quickly becomes a kind of techno with fractured movement and chiseled synth solos.
SYNTHESIST 2010 is a bomb! A heavy and powerful album, full of life and that spits decibels at the same speed as Harald Grosskopf harpoons his percussions. Filled with rhythms fractured by amazing permutations, this is an intense album that demonstrates he has sense of rhythm as well as affinity for sound samplings that teems with 2010 heterogeneous sonorities. To be listened to at full volume...if one dares!
Sylvain Lupari (December 16th, 2010) *****
Available at Mellow-Jet Records