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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

IVAN BLACK: Remember The Dream Goes On (2015)

This is more than just a simple homage to Edgar Froese. It's a solid album that will lead you beyond the gates of your expectations

1 A Return to the Berlin School 18:53 2 Morphological Echo 8:53 3 Ode to the Dream 17:27 4 Remember the Dream Goes On 18:51 5 The Dream Within a Dream 15:24 Ivan Black | Music Zeit

(DDL79:28) (V.F.) (Sequencer-Based Berlin School)

Another tribute album to Edgar Froese? Yes! It's raining all over the web. And like the rain, it sometimes happens that it is refreshing. With the series of names of the five tracks which fill the artwork, rather sober need to say, of REMEMBER THE DREAM GOES ON; the perspective that we fall in the real fragrances of Edgar and of his sonic vessel seems more than likely. But is it only that an illusion? Ivan Black is an English musician who is part of this wave of very prolific synthesists who have no filter and who put quantity of music online of which the styles fit to the humors of the everyday life. His style caresses a lot of ambient and sometimes a more sequencer-based one, as this last album which in the end is a real surprise and undoubtedly the most stylized tribute to the music of Edgar Froese.

The arpeggios which sparkle, spin and dance shyly behind the opaque curtain of the Mellotron mist in A Return to the Berlin School lead to predict no doubt when in the musical direction that Ivan Black intends to take. Like a rivulet of sequences, the introduction flows with a scent of melancholy. Our ears perceive another line of sequences which makes its keys waddle in background. Soon this approach will take the guideline of A Return to the Berlin School where fall riffs of keyboard to the aromas of you know who. A sweet flute line releases a charming air which throws us now in the Peter Baumann years or still in those of Epsilon In Malaysian Pale. The agitated sequences and the ambient harmonies merge marvelously both Edgar's poles while protecting the identity of its author. Because here, Ivan Black makes not only an Edgar Froese's imitation, nor of Tangerine Dream. No! He merges both entities in a surreal envelope which brings us beyond Dream. Accosted by percussions, the rhythm becomes more fluid. It hiccups as it undulates. In fact, three movement feed its long minimalist route; a line of crystal clear sequences knotted around spasms and kicks, another which rises and comes down (soon its shadow imitates its movement) and electronic percussions among which the random hits and the metallic elytrons are only decorating an almost furious rhythm which will bend its ferocity beneath the uncountable solos with the perfumes of a six-string. The structure unfolds its long skeleton of Centipedes under the caresses of the synth pads, of which some wiggle with kinds of murmurs in the ambient harmonies. Only the absent choruses are missing! And they come. They roam peacefully and hum some discreet airs on a structure of rhythm which is a true sonic prayer to the best of the times of the Berlin School periods. Morphological Echo proposes an ambiocosmic intro with beautiful and rather melancholic orchestrations. A rhythm crawling as a wildcat lying in wait is taking shape around the 2nd minute. It will roam all over the track, amplifying even its threat around the 5th minute without taking out the atmospheres of their ethereal envelope. Even the fluty voices come to root the profound desire to let Morphological Echo in its ambiocosmic cocoon. A quite track.

Ode to the Dream is the strong moment of REMEMBER THE DREAM GOES ON. And in a sonic universe where too many elements eventually sound alike, it's probably about the best piece of EM to have court my ears in 2015. It's wild but easy to tame. First of all, you know how much I like the movements of sequences? It is the essence of Ode to the Dream! The intro transpires a little the atmospheres of Silver Scale. An introduction which stretches a little its ambiospheric strands with clouds which sizzle of organic tones. Oscillations sparkle here and there. In fact, it looks like they click in the unknown when a line of grave sequences shakes its keys which have difficulty in finding a rhythmic direction. It's at the end of the 5th minute that a steadier line of sequences makes skip its keys which are dressed in the colors of darkness. Riffs of keyboard are falling. As well as smothered percussions, but not their elytrons, which drum such as a condemned person hammer his walls of isolation in the darkness. Sequences and percussions engage a whole duel of rhythm under the bites of keyboard riffs, the soft foggy caresses and synth lines which hesitate between solos and vampiric harmonies. We are always subjugated when a line of more crystal-clear sequences makes its keys glitter like a xylophone of a parade in a delicious din which flows with so much musicality. Simply fantastic! This is a well placed seventeen minutes, bloody well exploited. Hat to you Mister Black! The first moments of Remember the Dream Goes On are also quiet, even quite ambiospherical, with jingles of cymbals which clink over sometimes quiet and sometimes warlike synth layers. The rhythm develops very slowly, increasing and decorating its presence of good percussions and effects of rattlers. In particular in its last phase. But the whole thing stays in the relatively ambient mood. It's rather the harmonies scattered well over the 19 minutes which attract the hearing with Edgar Froese's delicious perfumes, as in solo as with the Dream. This is a nice ambiospherical track which would have a more impact in an envelope of a dozen minutes. But it's important to go in the 14 minutes section because the best is here with good solos which complete rather well the very Froesian ambiences of Remember the Dream Goes On. Less complex than Ode to the Dream, The Dream Within a Dream frays its structure of sequences a bit jerky in the bumps of a good morphic down-tempo. This is a very good track filled with spectral vibes, with kind of murmurs, with riffs and twisted synth layers which coo such as some night caresses. The last 5 minutes are simply superb with a continuation suite of crystal-clear sequences which draw a stroboscopic strand and with bumpy keys of which skip in of the wrapping of a synth to the strange sibylline perfumes. It's isn't TD, nor Froese. But Ivan Black who is simply inspired and inspiring.

In this year of surprising artists emerging from the Net, REMEMBER THE DREAM GOES ON is to fans of Edgar Froese and Tangerine Dream what Sequentia Legenda's Blue Dream is for those of Klaus Schulze, period Mirage. But beyond this comparison, Ivan Black's work breathes of a contagious originality. Certainly, Edgar's perfumes roam in some places, in particular by the notes of a Mellotron or what sounds just like. But the rest? Nada! We only make a link with the Dream because of the vocation of this album, but not because it sounds so much like the music of Edgar, nor of his Dream. It's an Ivan Black's album which pays tribute and not which copies the style. Excellent! Ode to the Dream and The Dream Within a Dream are monuments. You have to get this!

Sylvain Lupari (May 13rd, 2015) *****

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