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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JAVI CANOVAS: Hidden Path (2014)

Updated: May 18, 2020

One of the good surprises in 2014, Hidden Path does admirably the link between vintage and contemporary Berlin School

1 After Midnight 17:02

2 Coverage 11:44

3 The Outsider 13:52

4 Nature of the Inexistence 14:02

5 Credence 9:42

6 Through the Mountains 4:09

(CD 70:45) (V.F.) (Berlin School)

How not to fall under the spells of an album which immerses us in the heart of our memories while making this delicate link between a retro and contemporary Berlin School? If there is one artist who has risen to the ranks of Berlin School's new ambassadors it's Javi Canovas. Nearly 10 years and a dozen albums further, the Spanish synthesist leaves the lands of anonymity to radiate in the country of the Dutch label Groove. Faithful to its trademark and with its manitou Ron Boots, Groove excels in the art of reshaping the borders of vintage Berlin School. And those who follow Javi Canovas' career know how much the synthesist of the Canary Islands likes the heavy movements and the dark gothic atmospheres of the trio Franke, Froese & Baumann as well as the leaks of ether from Neuronium. So, the union between Canovas and Ron Boots was bound to give brilliant results. At this level, HIDDEN PATHS will exceed the expectations of many.

After Midnight perfumes our ears with lines of white noises and lamentations of fed gargoyles. The moods are psychotronic with these organic synth lines which float such as clouds deriving in a radioactive zone. A heavy more musical synth pad pierces these ambiences, introducing especially the first stammering of the sequencer. After Midnight gallops then awkwardly on this first sketch of rhythm pierced by synth chords lost in our memoirs. The rhythm becomes more precise but remains charmingly incoherent. Skipping like a cat on a boiling groundwater, it bursts here and there with touches sequenced keys to the jolts as unexpected as very customary, while that a soft flute caresses these jumps which aim to be more and more violent. Quietly, it gets as heavy as dark and stays as much minimalist than violent with sequences to the chaotic musical cabrioles which are splashed by fluty beams. Motionless rhythms, with an approach based on sequences in forms and movements in constant permutation, and ethereal atmospheres which are weaved in the mysteries of a Mellotron full of mystic breezes and fluty melodies; such are the bases of good retro Berlin School, such is the recipe of HIDDEN PATHS. After a more celestial intro, an introduction which reminds me the flights of ether from Neuronium, Coverage explores the infinite rhythms of the crisscrossed movements of sequences. Rhythms which rise and come down, go and come in a torrent of sequences which compares with After Midnight but with more nervous movements and less Gothic ambiences. It's doubtless the track which is closer of a fusion of Tangerine Dream's two eras.

The Outsider continues this mode of ambiences stuffed with mystery which furnish the major part of the tracks in this album. This radioactive intro evaporates with floating synth pads, leaving a very crystal clear atmosphere for a delicate ballet of sequences which dance furtively with chords of an electric piano in a harmonious duel which is reminiscent of Redshift's vibes. The rhythm is heavy. Vibrating with its resonant sequences, it sneaks its way along a resounding vibe in order to eventually fly away with crisscrossed rhythmic caresses of which the deep still movements cut out the delicate harmonies of a solitary piano and of an enchanted flute. Nature of the Inexistence also adopts this structure of introductions and finales filled with striations which are crystallized in vapors of iodine. The rhythm which pops out is wilder on the other hand with a pattern of sequences which flutter violently, intertwining their deep lines of static rhythms into some oozy ochre clouds and some fragments of solos from a synth more inclined to forge atmospheres than to draw solos. Credence moderates the elements with a rhythm which spins such as a bunch of snow in a beautiful night-storm. Poetics, the rhythm defines itself a little more as the title shells its seconds in good Mellotron clouds to offer a movement of sequences where the keys agglutinate and dance like a trail of marbles stuck in a bowl. Through the Mountains ends HIDDEN PATHS softly with a meditative reverie where a very nostalgic piano lets itself tamed by the charms of a more black flute. That reminds me of the very melancholic moods of a more contemporary Bernd Kistenmacher. This is really beautiful, and it concludes an album which makes admirably the link between vintage and contemporary Berlin School with the so stylized musical signature of Javi Canovas. Undoubtedly one of the nice surprises in 2014.

Sylvain Lupari (June 9th, 2014) ****½*

Available at Groove

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