JEROME FROESE: Neptunes (2005)
“As much heavy Neptunes is, as much melodious and torn between ethereal passages it is, its FM rhythms, its nice melodies and its Guitartronica”
1 Radio Pluto 7:30
2 Friendship 7 10:35
3 The Fade from Death to Afterlife 4:32
4 My Reality at 52 Degrees of Latitude 5:47
5 Sky Girls 6:29
6 Decoding with Celine 10:12
7 Through the Moving Light 5:21
8 A Room in the House Closed to the Public 6:33
9 C8 H10 N4 O2 (Re-stirred 2005) 7:34
10 The Murder Mystery Dinner Train 6:56
11 At Marianas Trench 5:17
12 40 Sublunary Seconds 0:40
(CD/DDL 77:53) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, Electronica, Guitartronica)
Phew! That there is juice and power on NEPTUNES. An opus that I found brutal and very rock but in the end, and after several attempts, which I ended up loving. It turns in loops in the car since! Understand that I am no longer really fond of heavy rhythms that unscrew the floors, but if we compare this work of Jerome Froese to TD's 220 Volt Live, we then discover all of its charm. Heavy rhythms are at the heart of ambient phases with a good mix of sequences, chords and keyboard riffs as well as well-colored synth pads. The percussions, in rock or in IDM mode, and finally the guitar, which is heavy and harmonious even ambient at some points, are at the heart of an electronic rock album full of nuances. It's written inside the cover that NEPTUNES is mainly built around guitars in a vision of heavy electronic rock that Jerome calls Guitartronica. Yes, there are a lot of guitars! And big six-strings filled with incisive solos and especially heavy riffs, making of NEPTUNES his first album that brings together all the ingredients to please both EDM and electronic rock lovers. We are far from Berlin School… but it's Jerome and I love Jerome!
The first 2 tracks of this album can also be found on the Radio Pluto E.P.. They are two titles with ambivalent structures where the rhythms flirt with more ethereal approaches and The Fade from Death to Afterlife follows this path by offering a music with more sibylline ambiences. These ambiences are heavy with a stream of shimmering arpeggios which is surrounded by buzzing layers and angelic voices. Contrasts attract in this floating title like At Marianas Trench, and its guitar chords which replace the voice of the angels, and the short 40 Sublunary Seconds. These two titles conclude a first solo album from Jerome. But before, there is rhythms and riffs! The openings of ambient phases are quite recurrent here, creating confusion and hesitation in some titles, as in the fiery My Reality At 52 Degrees of Latitude which needs 150 seconds to spread its heavy structure filled with thunders on drums and agitated percussions, to activate a good fat bass and a guitar which multiplies its many riffs and solos emerging from these riffs. A big and loud track with a poignant ambience planted by an inspired and inspiring guitar. It has become a classic in Jerome Froese's repertoire, just like A Room in the House Closed to the Public which presents a little more seraphic passages with these layers of schoolgirl voices inserted between phases of heavy rock swirling with a fury that is fed by these big riffs. In fact, can there be heavier than these passages? A layer of a misty synth and its fluty breaths, as well as light riffs of a dreamy guitar, initiate Sky Girls. A zigzagging line of the sequencer sculpts long eight a little intoxicated, while a beautiful seraphic voice sings above a guitar which cannot contain the fury of its riffs and of the raging solos crumbling in this structure which is finally animates by these nervous percussions and its percussive effects. The main structure undulates in this static rhythmic mass which is the basis for this guitar and its Guitartronica effects. Between heavy static rock and soft rock, like Radio Pluto, Sky Girls follows this ethereal rock bend which is floating on nervous percussions and good melancholic guitar solos.
Decoding With Celine is another title that takes us into the 220 Volt Live era. Everything is tied around a sequencer and its jerky and spasmodic rhythm which hops on a long and wavy line of misty synth. The percussions start an awakening of the rhythm which is quickly joined by melodious chords of a sober guitar and a synth with plaintive solos. Always nervous, the rhythm reaches a breaking point where more drifting ambiences and synth layers fly over percussions always as lively. And the rhythm resumes with chords that frolic and are harpooned by furious guitar solos, feeding the ambivalence of the rhythms in Decoding With Celine. Chords from an acoustic guitar a bit a metallic are opening Through the Moving Light. The percussions tumble to hammer a frank and curt rhythm, while a piano and a guitar throw nice chords and melodious solos on a slow and heavy rhythm. It's a good rhythm and a superb melody like if the Beatles were turning electronic with a melodious vision subdivided by several instruments, but it's the guitar which dominates with nice chords, ethereal layers as well as good solos which remove sighs from my soul. A superb title than this Through the Moving Light! After the improbability of the roles and their phases in A Room in the House Closed to the Public, C8 H10 N4 O2 (Re-stirred 2005) is slightly modified here. It takes on a nice techno-rock tangent, which fits into a rather ambient structure. The Murder Mystery Dinner Train immerses us in ambivalent structures where the powerful rhythm is interspersed with quieter passages. Furious and heavy rhythms, hammered by good percussions, a solid bass and guitar riffs as well as heavy incisive solos which tear its rhythmic canvas.
As much heavy NEPTUNES is, as much melodious it is and torn between ethereal passages, FM rhythms, nice melodies and heavy and brutal guitar riffs that are the source of beautiful solos of a guitar that manages to move us. But I was especially surprised to note its importance in the rhythmic approaches of Dream. Alone and freed from the shackles of Tangerine Dream, which at the time sought to conquer 2 audiences, Jerome is much comfortable in this heavy, ethereal rock where the guitar is as important as the many shots of beat-boxes. There is a lot of Tangerine Dream hiding behind each construction of a title, as the opposite can easily be applied. In the end, this NEPTUNES is a solid album where the creative rage of Jerome Froese will conquer you.
Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2010) ***½**
Available at Jerome Froese Bandcamp