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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

HARALD NIES: Cryptic Labyrinth (2009)

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

“This is a fair album that is not Harald Nies' best but with some solid tracks which make that we enjoy it quite well”

1 Cryptic Labyrinth 17:24 2 Loftsoft 6:02 3 Faghora 7:00 4 Delay Rama 5:12 5 Hopefull Visions 7:30 6 Open Senses 7:44 7 Pensive Times 5:41 8 Wazniu The Sylph 8:34

(CD/DDL 65:23) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School with Dance&Rock phases)

It's in a genre of Electronica, like Ambient House with a touch of Groove, that the title-track infiltrates a panorama of cosmic dance music. The sound is smothered in a strange waterproof membrane, a bit like listening to music in a neighboring room. The sequences are stormy and form a static rhythmic cluster that is gently pecked by sober percussions. An up-tempo wrapped in wadding what! From where stroboscopic filaments, almost enveloped in felt, and brighter lines of arpeggios which are fluttering in their wake. Creative in this minimalist presentation, designed for a variety of multitrack recordings, the synth creates many sound effects which are chirping in floating layers that unfurl mist thresholds while throwing musical solos whistled like a walker in the dawn of a Sunday. The guitar and its solos get in the dance around the 9 minutes, giving a rockier shade to Cryptic Labyrinth which remains however still danceable. This phase is very Ashra by the way. Cryptic Labyrinth then embraces a brief ambient phase before diving into a kind of semi-heavy ballad. And suddenly, everything clears up in the soundscape of CRYPTIC LABYRINTH. The rhythm is more dynamic and the tone more radiant. I must admit that this opening proposal to Harald Nies' 7th album has left my ears to neutral. The muffled rhythm, which would have been much more enjoyable in a sound element worthy of its stature, of the first 10 minutes annoyed me more than pleased! Opening thus the doors to a good album that is not his best but that one listens quite well. The sparkling bed of arpeggios, whose iridescent tones sparkle in a minimalist sequencer stride, sounds very Tangerine Dream from the Jive years in Loftsoft. The clashes of the crystal balls shape a static virtual rhythm. Lively for the fingers, the structure is doubly attractive with the harmonic synth solos that coo such as an electronic nightingale while finding the space needed to scatter pads of ethereal mist whose seraphic reveries melt with layers of absent voices. My ears get more comfortable in these tones which make of Faghora a true electronic rock that flows on a river of stormy sequenced oscillations in order to support the road of beautiful musical solos with shades of rock and of dreams. Delay Rama is a quiet little title that highlights Harald Nies' guitar and its bluesy chords in a delicate cosmic fragrance. We hear here that he is a (very?) good guitarist! Hopefull Visions comes with nervous arpeggios and percussions (boom-boom) in an Ambient House with a plethora of synth solos. A music that reflects its title too well, Open Senses is a nice poignant title made emotional by an incisive piano, tears of very moving synth and orchestrations weaved in a high degree of hypersensitivity. This is a good lunar and morphic slow which gives a good dose of chills. This is one of the many jewels of tenderness in Harald's catalog. Pensive Times offers a good mid-tempo haloed of interstellar effects. The percussions and the bass sequences hobble and hop under the reveries of the arpeggio lines forged in the delicacy. The line of bass sequences throbs more vividly in the second half, giving the strength to the guitar which throws many solos tinged with a vision of electronic rock. It takes more than 90 seconds before Wazniu The Sylph begins its rhythmic journey in a New Berlin School pattern which sounds like Software. Less cold and less mathematical, the rhythmic flow is guided by a sequencer that spits its jumping keys in Indian file. This lively and very Berliner movement carries a series of solos with more or less flute tones, as in the 90's. The last seconds fuel a good rock, a touch that saved the music a few times in this CRYPTIC LABYRINTH.

Sylvain Lupari (March 28th, 2019) **½***

Available at MellowJet Record shop

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