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  • Sylvain Lupari

HARALD NIES: Fractal (2019)

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

“This is another pretty good opus which gives us a great blend between E-Rock, dance-rock and superb slow tempos that give us shivers to the spine”

1 Extent 7:09 2 out of the Dark 3:59 3 Recursion 6:33 4 geometric Patterns 5:49 5 Symmetry 7:27 6 Equations 7:27 7 Chaos Theory 6:28 8 Snowflake 6:49 9 Dream with me 6:25 10 Nightdream Part 2 6:17 11 Coming back to Earth 7:30

cdr-hn1901 (CD/DDL 71:59)

(New Berlin School, Electronic and Cosmic Rock) (V.F.)

Always very comfortable in his system of composition, I remind you that he has an excellent vision as a composer and programmer of rhythms, Harald Nies does not disappoint his fans with FRACTAL. Much more at ease with his synths than his guitar, the German musician offers a dozen of tracks inspired by the mathematical rhythms of minimalist EM. In doing so, he exploited his great compositional versatility by offering his clever mix of intergalactic rocker to that of a bard with ideas always a little confused. The result is good electronic rock always very melodious which is oriented in a diversity that only Harald Nies seems able to manage with a vision that gives us some chills. Extent starts things off with an upward movement of the sequencer. Keys come and go in order to structure these EM rhythms always a little fascinating. The synth blows a sweet melody in the background. Heavy percussions, but not too agile, adopt the rhythmic flow a few seconds before taking Extent on the wings of a good electronic rock still embellished by cooing of a synth whose effects and foggy layers serve more the cause of the rhythmic suspense which hesitates a little in the middle of the track. And bang! The mode electronic rock gets more velocity with superb synth and guitar solos which fly over a furious rhythm adorned of misty riffs. This is a solid electronic rock that is quite intense and whose fury of the sequencer overflows towards the borders of out of the Dark which is neither more nor less the extension of the contagious rhythm of Extent.  When you think about it, it makes sense! The riffs of fog and the pads of nebulosity do very Tangerine Dream, while the guitar borrows Edgar Froese's legendary hesitations before he attacks a dazzling solo. This is fiery rock from Harald Nies with his clever mix of guitar, always well dosed, and synth on a solid mesh of electronic percussions dynamics sequencer. After an ambiosonic intro of more or less 2 minutes, Recursion takes off with a repetitive upward movement where still get tuned TD's kind of foggy riffs. The music burst of heaviness with pulsations less than 2 minutes later. Drums and seductive percussive effects support this rhythmic pattern which flirts with a good cosmic rock, while the synth multiplies harmonic solos with varied tones that are more in the seraphic mode, if not, in the ethereal. A good title! geometric Patterns embraces its mists and floats in its ether particles. It's a rather static title with multisonic lines which intersect their tonal differences in a firmament filled of interstellar glitters. All these elements of lunar ambiences ignite a sound ceiling that flirts with phases of intensity on a bed of circular sequences that do not feel the desire to weld a more accentuated rhythm. As each track of FRACTAL is link each other, Symmetry also works on lunar orchestrations before some successive knocking molds a linear pulsating rhythm. Multicolored layers and seraphic mumbles escort this ambient procession that percussions change into a percussive structure surrounded by interlacing layers. The sequencer shakes a little bit its keys which get detach to form waves of fluttering oscillations and serve as seating for good solos whose intensity of the sharp tones gives shivers to the spine. Each album I heard from Harald Nies hides a beautiful jewel of tenderness in its packaging. Equations is that of FRACTAL! A good slow with a melancholic synth, the music pierces us through its multiple effects of romance a bit sensual, but never too carnal. The pace is slow! Well tied to a bass line as effective as the percussions, it whirls with a fragility well matched by arpeggios sparkling here and there, as well as sometimes ethereal synth lines and sometimes touching layers. Cosmic effects adorn this slow spheroidal procession with fascinating synth chirpings thrown like riffs into this sea of emotions. Even the female voice, for a brief moment, sounds good in this title made to dance tied-glued ...Dream with Me is the other slow tempo of FRACTAL. A cosmic blues, whose percussions and knits in the guitar solos add a touch of Jazz well concoct by good solos and glass arpeggios that flutter with fragility in all the spheres of this latest opus from Harald Nies. Chaos Theory is a good electronic rock sitting comfortably on a mesh of sequences and percussions. Jerky and fluid, this mesh gives an exciting life to the music, while the synth multiplies solos in a panorama adorned with large stroboscopic filaments and tender thin lines of arpeggio still so delicate. The percussive effects bring the music into an electronic mode, while the synth pads give a progressive rock tint. Snowflake is a title of ambiences with arpeggios hatching like snowflakes. A sonic bed shaped by colorful layers welcomes the idea behind the title where we can hear harp effects and the voice that tickled the senses in Equations. The musical envelope reminds me of the mysteries from Mind Over Matter. Nightdream Part 2 is a good mid-tempo drifting towards a solid rock full of big synth solos. The effects of slow motion in the layers and the rise of the velocity, activated by a sober keyboard, also add a touch of progressive rock. Coming back to Earth ends FRACTAL in two tempos. Its introduction is stimulated by a mass of nervous sequences and teeming with static life as well as exciting percussions in mode dance. Its evolution follows an almost cinematic tangent with a dramatic gradation in the survival of its rhythm. The synth pads give a silver metallic reflection to this structure always ambivalent and always well decorated of effects, both percussive and synthesized. The solos are well orchestrated with adrift that are enveloping for the senses. This semi-dynamic rhythm evaporates its instincts in a short ambiospherical phase before coming back with more tenacity in a 2nd part more in mode dance. Kind of when Moonbooter meets Berlin School. It's too bad that we don't hear about Harald Nies more often. Over time he has always given us beautiful albums that could compete without shame with the visions of TD, the TDI period, with a more emotional ability to create beautiful earworm (each album has a title that we cracked for) and structures that have a lot more soul. FRACTAL is no different! It's good New Berlin School always oriented towards a rock that never degrades the genre. Don' give up Harald, one of those days people will end up discovering your talent and your music!

Sylvain Lupari (March 27th, 2019) ***½**

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© 2019 by Alexandre Corbin for Synth&Sequences \ Sylvain (A.K.A. Phaedream) Lupari

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