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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

INDRA: Interactive Play (The Essential) Vol. I (2011)

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

Interactive Play is a beautiful compilation of titles lost in the erosion of time...

1 Sequence (Kingdom of Light) 2:12

2 Beduins and Camels (excerpt from Tales from Arabia) 3:38

3 Colosseum (excerpt from Colosseum) 5:37

4 Prophet (excerpt Plenitude) 5:21

5 Clairvoyance (Self Game) 5:31

6 Malini (excerpt from Kingdom of Light) 2:57

7 Dynamic Trance (excerpt from Magic Collection)

8 Higher (excerpt Self Game) 3:22

9 Up-to-Date (excerpt from Self Game) 4:03

10 Coming in the City (excerpt from Maharaj) 5:13

11 Temple (excerpt from Plenitude) 3:38

12 While in Oz... (Bonus track recorded in 2007) 24:24

(DDL 68:35) (V.F.)

(Oneiric, Minimalist, Roumanian School)

Indra's career is booming considerably. Over the years, the albums and the shows, the Romanian synthesist has collected a legion of fans who devoured his discography with passion, asking him to dust out his archives in order to hear his first works. Which he did with the reissues of Turning Away, Kingdom of Light, Parallel Time, Plenitude and Cosmic Sound. Except that the other recordings suffer from the wear and tears of time. They are partially, if not completely, destroyed or impossible to re-edit. INTERACTIVE PLAY (The Essential) Vol. I is a compilation which brings together precisely fragments of melodies that he has managed to recover from these recordings lost in the magnetic erosion of the audio tapes. If the quality of the sound varies, that of the compositions shows a very good progression of Indra who spreads his influences to finally master them and find his identity in rhythms and ambiences which intertwine to make room for melodies which are the heart of its sibylline approaches.

Indra's musical caverns open with Sequence from the Kingdom of Light album and its drops of metallic keys falling into a reverberating pond, moving caustic waves that breathe life into a delicate iridescent harmony. In contrast, Beduins and Camels offers its arpeggios plucked in the strings of a celestial harp which flow in vapors of Arab violins on a heavy bass line whose threatening notes oscillate like the introduction of Pink Floyd's One of These Days. It's heavy, powerful and deafening with fine nuances in the strength of the sound that good orchestral arrangements cover of an Arabic veil. Veils which also envelop the swirling rhythm of Colosseum and its poly-forms sequences which crisscross in a rhythmic crossover wrapped in enveloping layers. A rhythm strangely reminding me of the claustrophobic atmospheres of Remy and Klaus Schulze which hides in a good morphic melody dominated by a melancholic piano and angelic choirs. Prophet continues to exploit the dark and nightmarish ambiences with an intro paved with synth gasps which gaze at the layers of organ tones. Without sequences the rhythm is assumed by the jerky synth blows which intersect with good modulations in the movement. It's a well-crafted track that reminds me of Sequence with its creative approach. Clairvoyance is a very nice melody in which Indra's dexterity on the piano is beyond doubt. The limpid notes flutter and flirt with innocence near fine lines of flutes, on the edge of the caustic resonances which surround this cosmic melody with an aura of malevolence. Beauty and beast, day and night captured in such a short time! Malini is a superb track from the Kingdom of Light album. The proposed short excerpt shows the clear influence of Schulze on Indra. Quick as lightning, Dynamic Trance twirls with a sequenced approach based on a bassline with ferocious undulations and synth layers which undulate with the strength of the winds. The rhythm is fiery and the approach reminds me of a cross between Space Art and Edgar Froese with synth solos and very vintage cosmic tones and Mellotron settings which release clouds of astral choirs. A nocturnal melody reminiscent of the musical poems of Bertrand Loreau, Higher flows with its melancholic chords which dream in layers of mist and sparkling feather pillows. Despite a sound that has aged badly, we cannot hide the beauty and the sensitivity of this title which floats on stars, pushed as it is by the mists of Venus.

Another extract from the Self-Game album, Up-to-Date coos with the same melodic fluid than Clairvoyance and Higher. Chords skip with candor on synth lines with silky tones. If some sing, others are playing the flute above this bundle of sequences which palpitate according to their resonant and limpid tones, ringing and resonating with the duality of their harmonies. Coming in the City from the Maharaj album is another little gem on this Ali-Baba's style collection that is INTERACTIVE PLAY (The Essential) Vol. I. It's a captivating title which lies on a minimalist structure that only Indra knows how to adorn them with insertions of tones as seductive as unexpected. Thin woodpecker-type tams-tams initiate the introduction. Strikes of xylophones with glass tones dance around these tams-tams, while bows rock the hypnotic rhythm in order to trace the guideline of Coming in the City which is inundated by the massive arrival of percussion with random keystrokes. Enchanting the rhythm hobbles with its alloy of percussions and its superb orchestral arrangement up to the notes of a surprising acoustic guitar which courts a flute, displaying all the know-how of Indra to draw both solitary and poetic ambiences on evolutive minimalist structures. After the waves as well as the abstruse and iodized sounds of Temple, the sequences which alternate with their muffled strikes to shape the sequential marathon of While in Oz ...bring us back to a more contemporary era. The intro is teeming of arrhythmic palpitations which pulsate in all directions while a stroboscopic line undulates and opens the rhythm to percussions which hammer a heavy and lively tempo, very close to a techno trance, before running out of steam and fading to be caressed by the astral waves of a singer and dreamer synth. A lyrical synth whose iridescent layers float and undulate like the chants of cosmic mermaids before the rhythm takes back its rights with percussions which resonate on the irregular flow of echoing pulsations. A superb synth wave covers this rhythm with so much influence that it seduces the ardor. But the pulsations escape and plunge between two realities, wandering in an ambience of emptiness before having fun in a passage of circular trance where everything pulses and whirls in a movement marked by static. And While in Oz ... tempers the ardor of its pulsations in the din of an illusory void, at around the 13th minute, with synth waves that float in a nothingness nourished by eclectic laments, cosmic breezes and intergalactic disturbances. An empty passage of a long sequenced marathon which finds a 3rd breath around the 17th minute with increasing sequences whose soft tones blend with those of glasses to jump in all directions under the breaths of a synth which extends its morphic melody until the dawn of its last ocher breaths.

INTERACTIVE PLAY (The Essential) Vol. I is a nice compilation of tracks lost in the erosion of time that will certainly please to Indra's fans. As far as I'm concerned, it allowed me to discover the remains of an album that seems very interesting to me; Self-Game. Too bad it's impossible to re-edit it. It's also an excellent overview of his early works which have been reissued. And the bonus track is a great addition. Far from being out of tune with the compilation as a whole, it's quite representative of the rhythms, ambiences and melodies which adorn this first compiler phase. While respecting its sequenced structures of the time, While in Oz ... also shows the evolution of the Romanian synthesist in its rhythms and ambiences with nuances in its structures that distinguish him today from his initial influences.

Sylvain Lupari (March 29th, 2012) ***½**

Available at Indra's Bandcamp

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