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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Imaginary Landscape Undiscovered Landscapes (2021)

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

This is an album that surprises on first listening with a promise of more charms to come

1 The Barren Land of Kepler 1649c 7:12

2 The Silver Rivers of Ross 128b 5:19

3 The Windy Hights of Tau Ceti f 8:56

4 The Golden Desert of TOI 700d 3:36

5 The Rainforest of Teegarden b 7:41

6 The Cold Ocean of Wolf 1061 c 6:30

7 The Hills of Proxima b 6:17

8 The Velvet Swamps of Trappist-1d 6:02

9 The Deep Space Between 7:17

10 The Mercury Seas of Gliese 667Cc 5:51

11 The Caves of K2-72e 7:42

(CD-r/DDL 72:42) (V.F.)

(Tribal ambient, modular synth music)

It's on a luminous synth layer that the timid arpeggios of The Barren Land of Kepler 1649c chose to lay down their shivering choreography. The musical structure borrows a form of ambient progressive rock with a keyboard that throws its chords as its intonation effects. These arpeggios tinkle with a melodious ability and lead us to the tribal drums that initiate a meditative rhythm some 30 seconds after the 4th minute. A good phase where my ears play tricks on me as I hear an acoustic guitar docking at this delicate structure caressed by the warm cavernous breezes of a whispering synth. UNDISCOVERED LANDSCAPES is the second album of Imaginary Landscape. Both in CD-r format and/or downloadable on the German label SynGate. This album, which is quite different from Nothing Left Behind, is an interstellar journey to the discovery of the multitude of exoplanets identified in recent years. Moreover, each track corresponds to one of them with a musical approach that flirts with dark psybient evolving towards good structures of Berlin School with a Steve Roach's style of tribal vibes. The orchestrations play a preponderant role in this album which perfumes its ambiences with good organic effects. Its second half is the most solid with a good mix of ambiences, tribal percussions and sequenced rhythms without forgetting the very interesting orchestrations. This is the kind of album that surprises from the first listening with a promise of charms during subsequent listenings. In short, a very nice album!

The Silver Rivers of Ross 128b develops its intensity with a furious battle between the two personalities of Hans-Dieter Schmidt on piano. The atmospheric envelope remains dark as the notes march and echo between our ears until violins transpose a more serene climate in the middle of the track. This new climate resists the onslaught of the piano that shakes up the ambiences with some tormented intrusions. The Windy Hights of Tau Ceti f is the first track to give us a real insight into the dimensions of UNDISCOVERED LANDSCAPES. A sylvan synth wave with ochre-like green colors is the instigator. This opening of barely 90 seconds opens the door to a series of bumps whose boisterous thread undulates with a strange harmonic vision that is quickly dissolved by an ogress synth layer. Its resonance dances with that of the electric piano notes in a jazz phase slightly tinged by a cosmic mood and divinely led by a delicious bass line. This lunar jazz ends spoiling our ears a minute before the finale of The Windy Hights of Tau Ceti f gobbles it all up in a great cavernous aspiration. The howling winds in The Golden Desert of TOI 700d don't stop the arpeggios from feasting on their sparkling tones. The sequencer line swinging vividly through the background cements the charm of this delicately agitated lullaby. After a slow, long opening under the signs of rain and rainbow, The Rainforest of Teegarden b develops a spasmodic ambient rhythm structure. The sequencer is rather fluid with a good rhythmic vision that is slowed down by orchestrations and its swarms of violins in lento mode.

The more we go further in UNDISCOVERED LANDSCAPES, and the more we discover the work of the modular and the sequencer in a universe always so nebulous. Thus, the opening of The Cold Ocean of Wolf 1061 c is filled with these organic tones which crackle in a mass of enslaving voices. Moiré arpeggios escape from this grip to form a fragile circle that swirls in a pattern quite similar The Golden Desert of TOI 700d. The Hills of Proxima b is a nice find with its Berlin School structure charmed by a violin and percussive elements with that tasty tone of a hammer hitting an anvil. An excellent title which raises the artistic quality of this second half of the new Imaginary Landscape album. And this valley of charms seems to have no horizon when The Velvet Swamps of Trappist-1d besieges our ears like a very good track of Steve Roach in his Australian aboriginal period. A little more lively, The Mercury Seas of Gliese 667Cc is in the same vein. The indigenous percussions on this track are very good. With its mass of sounds full of reverberations, buzzes, The Deep Space Between is an atmospheric track pushed by cosmic winds. It's in a cinematographic vision that Hans-Dieter Schmidt has chosen to end his impressive musical saga about exoplanets. Cosmic winds over slow staccato momentums, The Caves of K2-72e moves ahead like a camera shooting over stalagmite ruins scrolling as far as the eye can see. We can hear the fauna crackling, like veins of rock bursting in a dramatic ambience brought to our ears by the more jerky salvo of the synthesized violins. The second half of the track brings an ambient sibylline vision that can also be found on a stunning album concocted by Imaginary Landscape and produced by SynGate. As I wrote above, a very nice album!

Sylvain Lupari (December 11th, 2021) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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