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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

HARALD GROSSKOPF: Yeti Society (2004)

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

Harald controls rhythms as much as melodies and synths as well as percussions

1 Circumspection 7:20

2 Bravery 5:22

3 Elephant Island 6:34

4 Endurance 5:42

5 South Georgia 5:30

6 Broad Liquids 5:25

7 Endeavourance 8:11

(DDL 44:05) (V.F.)

(EM Electronica EDM)

YETI SOCIETY for a world of ice! A world where courage and bravery can be read through the story of the boat crew Endurance, and which can be listened to on 7 tracks and 2 videos where the curt and jerky rhythms are flooded of percussions and sequences as nervous as unexpected. Flanked by his colleague Steve Baltes, Harald Grosskopf has woven his 5th solo album inspired by this amazing historical epic. A dramatic story which is not however depicted with the same musical approach, because even if the German percussionist throws good synths and mellotrons layers as melancholic as dramatic here and there, he privileges an approach radiating with sustained, lively and technoïd rhythms in astonishing musical structures where duality is always the prerogative of his wild rhythms.

A tribal chant over a waltzing synth wave opens Circumspection. A brusque rhythm, fed of sequenced sudden stops and starts, breaks this strange oration that loses its shamanic chants that have turned into a popular clamour. Already, one guesses that the titles of this album will be wrapped in a heterogeneous sound world where harmony will cross multiple samplings. Incisive percussion strikes hammer out a nervous pace and shape a jerky rhythm that spasms in a strange echo, while keyboard chords circulate over a nervous and frenetic structure. A bit like some vague musical loops undulating on a sea of harmonious contrariness where the raw rhythm swallows up all the harmonious snippets twirling behind this strange cadenced canvas. Bravery follows with a heavy sequence, full of chords with harmonies that echo on an avalanche of percussion that bursts out like in a sulphurous progressive jazz rock. The rhythm swings from syncopated loops that revolve around clear, melodious chords, over a structure fractured by nervous percussion that strikes unrulily among varied samplings. A thin ethereal wave awakens the first jolts of Elephant Island that roll over tabla percussions and a pulsating line with jerky cooing. Varied-sounding electronic percussions and tribal chants animate a structure that flails in a brief moment of frenzy before embracing a duality, both in harmonies and rhythms, with layers of intoxicating, enveloping synth mellotron that grip with a hesitant forging of a soft and lustful echo.

With arpeggios looping over an edgy musical structure and drums pounding out a heavy, steady, and weighty rhythm, Endurance is a good techno interspersed with a brief atmospheric passage. A soft harmonious passage before the rhythm resumes more vigorously with a syncopated line that wraps itself around heavy dull hammerings, forging a rhythmic worthy of rave dancefloors, as on Broad Liquids which is on the other hand more in a lounge style. A distant tribal-like reverb opens South Georgia. Guttural loops unroll in musical hoops, while clear chords stroll around heterogeneous percussions on an ambivalent structure, half stationary and half lively. The pace picks up in the second part with resonant riffs and percussions drumming a gentle structure clothed in a short catchy melody. Endeavourance closes YETI SOCIETY superbly. A sweet electronic ballad starting with a delicate avalanche of intertwined layers that dissipate to make room for a beautiful female voice that blows a tribal ode on a dramatic organ background. Delicate crystalline arpeggios flow through an air invigorated by reverberating synth waves and dreamy choirs, while hesitant percussion falls, as if tolling the bell. Quietly, but mostly dramatically, Endeavourance breaks free of its motionless grip to embrace a slow tempo driven by flickering percussions. Percussions which slam under heavy synth layers. A synth whose thick dramatic cloak will never have extinguished these so fine and delicate arpeggios which turn like crystal tears in a sea of bitterness.

YETI SOCIETY shows once again that Harald Grosskopf controls the rhythms as much as the melodies and the synths as much as the percussions. Although the rhythms are based on percussions, both acoustic and electronic, and samplings, there is a subtle mix of keyboard/synth and percussion/sampling that modulate nice melodies that are often carried away by the constant rhythmic flow that develops on each tracks of an album with emotional antipodes.

Sylvain Lupari (December 10th, 2010) ***½**

Available at Harald Grosskopf Bandcamp

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