JEFFREY KOEPPER: Konnektions (2015)
“Konnektions is to Jeffrey Koepper what Skeleton Keys is to Steve Roach”
1 After Glow 9:46 2 Oracle 3:41 3 Pantheon 8:45 4 Trance Electric 11:10 5 Astral Mechanika 13:13 6 Mercury Circuit 10:45 7 Among Stars 5:10 8 Belief 8:54 Air Space Records 007
(CD/DDL 71:29) (V.F.) (Ambient Sequencer-based EM)
Listening to this Jeffrey Koepper's new opus is a little like to make a long upward pilgrimage towards heavens! Connecting the human emotions, the spiritual feelings with the analog synths and equipment. That's the main spirit behind this mosaic of sounds which starts to unfold with the warm rays of After Glow which irradiate of its floating arcs filled of cracklings. Larvas of synth untie their sonic ink, establishing a parameter of lyricism which infiltrate our ears with such a sweetness. Oh...that it feels good to take up with the music of Jeffrey Koepper! Because everything coming from this American musician/synthesist is weaved in a kind of sonic poetry. A fine movement of sequences shapes a structure of ambient rhythm. One would say a group of turbulent keys which make shine their crystalline tones by cavorting, by skipping, by getting entangled and by spinning with synchronized capers, and others more random, in a tight weaved schema where every forgery-step is fast returned in the magnetism of the movement. This is a sonic universe, a sonic poetry of a rare delicacy that a discreet bass line propels for the beginning of an astral procession. Quietly, After Glow establishes the parameters of KONNEKTIONS.
It's been a while since Jeffrey Koepper has gave us some new music to throw between our ears. Since Arctisonia in fact, back in 2011. The man played around and did other things among which having some jam-sessions with friends. And this long wait will result in a wonderful album where each track follows a processional tangent filled with ambient electronic rhythms which are weaved in the subtleties of the analog equipments. Our buddy Jeffrey uses here the Synthesizers.com Modular, that Steve Roach had so silky toyed with in his masterpiece Skeleton Keys. And that's the reference point of KONNEKTIONS. Everything is built, blown and rendered in analog tones. The result is an album where the sound background is incredibly rich and warm. The minimalist structures are constantly nuanced by a depth in the ambient textures where the allegorical singings of the synths are used as springboard to rhythms which undo the strands of their sequence patterns with effects of echo which are transformed at times into real vertiginous spirals. Assembled and mixed by Steve Roach (his imprints are everywhere) in the Timehouse studios, this album is to Jeffrey Koepper what Skeleton Keys is for his good friend. The rhythms, always very poetized, are wrapped up in rich electronic textures with a lot of soundscapes to the opposite contrasts. This connection between the souls and the machines is like a slow procession in cosmos with patterns of rhythms which are quiet and violent, passive and energetic. In fact, they adopt the visions as much of its author as the ears which absorb them with delight. Oracle hangs onto the last notes of After Glow, here the 8 tracks merge into a long mosaic of 71 minutes, with an ambient phase where are shouting these stars which shine with their thousand sound chants. Voices of astral nymphs are joining this sound choir where also flow tears of synth. The bass is shaping dramatic impetus that will feed the ambiguity of our feelings throughout this delicious processions cosmographical which is KONNEKTIONS.
The introduction of Pantheon roams like a beast lying in wait. Sonic hoops pile up and the bass line snores while that, far off, a more musical synth line unwinds the carpet where will parade hopping keys and their glass reflections. The movement remains rather celestial, even if a bass line draws incomplete arcs which form a passive structure of rhythm where are dancing some keys weakened by their crystalline appearances. I hear some Michael Stearns here. Kind of this pastoral procession in Chronos? We are approaching the jewel! After a delicious ambient introduction, where our senses float along the multiple synth layers, the gravitational rhythm of Trance Electric, the signature of Roach here is omnipresent, makes hear bass sequences which skip in the steps of a long ascending spiral. It's the kind of rhythmic structure which makes dance our hemispheres with these nuances which degrade in the snags of the synchronicity. This is splendid and intensely exhilarating to the ears. And little by little we are heading to what we can easily compared this section of this album to Roach's Empetus and lastly to Skeleton Keys. Behind the sonic filaments which deform, the keys make one thousand capers which split the rhythm of Astral Mechanika into a long stationary rhythmic skeleton which is forged by kicks, by spasms and by fitful jerks. It's the beginning of a trance monument. The head shakes softly and our fingers are on fire due to drumming of this static storm which risks to stun you. Minimalist, the structure remains not less generous with the additions of multicolored threads, striking strata and electronic chirping which push the violent and passive rhythm of Astral Mechanika into long caresses of sound braids and of intrusive bass waves. And trapped like a rebel which refuses the abdication, the movement escapes in order to contract its violence even more which oscillates this time with more serene synth pads.
We always stay in the field of static rhythm with Mercury Circuit and its multiple kicks which draw a strange cosmic rodeo. The movements, I would say rather the jolts, of the sequences leave no fraction of a second of freedom for the atmospheres which stand back, while drawing a beautiful cosmic soundscape. We are in the heart of a sequences tempest since 35 minutes and Among Stars moderates a little this storm of ambient rhythms which torments the music since Trance Electric with a structure of rhythm as much boiling like the one of Mercury Circuit, except that the elements which surround it (astral pads, dark waves, slow circular larvas of synth and other effects of sound camouflage) wrap it up in a clearly more ethereal phase. While we imagine that Belief is going to end this last Jeffrey Koepper's album by an ambient finale, it's rather a delicate structure of rhythm which infiltrates our ears by a dance of sequences, and their shadows in tints as much fictionalized than iridescent, which skip in an effect of echo (you know these kinds of sound cannons that Roach manipulated in Traveler and Empetus?), rooting even more this perception than we have literally here a pure jewel of analog EM between the ears. Yes sirs; KONNEKTIONS is to Jeffrey Koepper what Skeleton Keys is to Steve Roach; an album of a rare intensity which aims to be undoubtedly an inescapable in the chessboard of modern EM.
Sylvain Lupari (October 9th, 2015) *****
Available at Jeffrey Koepper Bandcamp