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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JEFFREY KOEPPER: MantraSequent (2017)

“Frankly superb with its mixes of rhythms and phases of ambiences, the magnificent art of analog breathes from in each parcels of tones here”

1 Parallax 12:42 2 Aura 7:43 3 Mandala 2:09 4 Apparition 10:38 5 Aurora 3:51 6 Gateway 13:48 7 Halo 6:34 8 Equinox 5:46 9 Spectre 4:02 Projekt | PRO341

(CD/DDL 67:20) (V.F.) (Mix of French and Pacific Schools)

It's been a long time since I heard the very stylized music of Jeffrey Koepper. This exceptional artist is part of these pioneers who always believe in the virtues of analog synths and analog instruments. Which makes his music, his sonic prose and tone so unique. So alive! His last album, offered in manufactured CD and also in download format by the American label Projekt Records, is a journey segmented in 9 parts in the heart of the meditative trances with a main skeleton of sequencer which undo a lot of spasmodic hymns as others more peaceful in a pattern of polyrhythmic structures that are coated of immersive arrangements. Very livened up by a sequencer with some exceptional tones, MANTRASEQUENT releases known perfumes, which remain nevertheless forgotten in time, in a contemporary envelope. And a unique thing distances itself from his musical aestheticism; this ease that the American musician has to unite the cosmic essences of the French School, kind of Jean-Michel Jarre, Zanov and Space Art, into the Pacific School model where the influences of Steve Roach and Michael Stearns are solidly anchored.

This last Jeffrey Koepper's adventure begins with the very lively structure of Parallax. The rhythm is lively and of fire. It evolves by oscillating phases. And its multiple spasmodic rebounds are structuring an effect of rhythmic echo slightly drifting, if not slowly circular. Furious, the sequencer modulates some variations in its tones, as well as in its jerky chords, giving the illusion that two structure of rhythm are merging or dividing in this long unstable rhythmic odyssey. The ambiences are drawn by layers a little bit hoarse which buzz in a circular effect and in small unknown details which push our hearing curiosity to its last limits. These ambiences become more present with the arrival of the percussions which give an effect more in the kind of Dance Music of the future to Parallax. Aura follows with a delicious and more ethereal structure of rhythm. The arpeggios flutter lively, like the wings of a hummingbird. They flash and swirl around a rachitic sequenced skeleton which crumbles its sonic keys by interrupted jolts. There is a very vintage spirit behind this title that hooks from the first moments because of the transparency of the sequences which sound like knocks of hammers on an armored glass anvil. Layers of celestial voices accost this other spasmodic structure where the keys get loose to offer a tone more sharpness and more musical in this title which adopts a constant velocity when it goes, with more muffled jumps, into the gargantuan intro of Mandala.

It's a short moment of celestial rest in the 1st part of this album because Apparition follows with layers which zigzag in effects of mist. A pulsation hesitates in the background and tries to implant a rhythm. In so doing, the structure gambols delicately with more an effect of wandering than of domination. Another structure of sequences decorates the uncertain approach of Apparition which seems to be so well in the multiple caresses of the effects of ambient music. But little by little, the structure gets up with the multiplication of the keys which frolic with lightness in a finale which gets more and more furious. This torrent of irascibility pours in the ocean of serenity that is Aurora. And the rhythmic wheel restarts with the very good Gateway of which the wealth lies in the diversity of the sequencer tones and of its percussive effects. We are in the territories of great EM made with the spirit of his first designers. Halo is the longest ethereal moment in MANTRASEQUENT. Ethereal but rich in emotivity with layers of voices which float with intensity and with a light inflection in its ambient approach. Equinox is a wonderful track which seems to be inspired by Steve Roach's more or less ambient rhythms. The structure unwinds two and even three rhythmic patterns which skip in dichotomous phases and in luxurious decoration of meditative moods. And I like this way that Jeffrey Koepper has choose in order to guide the listener towards the finale of his last opus while Equinox wades in a brook to go to another very beautiful phase of serenity with the soft Spectre. This superb album could not have a better finale. Hat to you Jeffrey for this album without flaws. And how not recommend it?

Sylvain Lupari (September 9th, 2017) *****

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

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