JESPER SORENSEN: Dark Star (2018)
“Very musical with great synth lead lines and soft driven sequencer-based rhythms, Dark Star is this kind of EM easy to tame but not necessarely easy to built”
1 Prologue 5:14 2 The Red Moon 9:30 3 Dark Star 10:12 4 Cosmic Waves 6:18 5 Communication 6:44 6 Exploration 6:50 7 Resurrection 6:01 8 The Awakening 5:34 9 Far from Home 7:43 10 Returning to Orbit 5:46 11 Rendevouz 6:19
(DDL 76:13) (V.F.) (Melodious and catchy EM)
Jesper Sorensen is a musician native of Denmark who lives now in England, York more exactly, since 2007. It's important to underline it because his roots are at the origin of some nice duels between his English influences and those a little more progressive of the Scandinavian style. Telling himself to be influenced by the music of Mike Oldfield and of Jean-Michel Jarre, this self-taught musician has just put on his Bandcamp site the albums that he composed and realized since 2007, that is 10 in all. I cannot pronounce on his 8 first ones, he sent me his 2 last ones, but I discovered in Outer Limits, his 9th opus, and in DARK STAR, his very last one, a lively and very harmonious EM where the styles of David Wright, Robert Schroëder and John Dyson are soaking in structures of compositions which flirt literally with these small music jewels which belong to Mike Oldfield's universe. What a fascinating meshing of styles where the Danish musician doesn't lose at all his personality.
Prologue begins with a vaporous melodious approach which awakens in me the splendid Walking with Ghosts from David Wright. The arrangements are very good with orchestral layers and rivulet of sequences which shine of its thousand luminous reflections. Another delicate line of melody extricates itself from this magic landscape that a beautiful layer of voice wraps of a suave harmonious breeze. Here is a nice lunar melody which shows the romantic touch of Jesper Sorensen. We like to make games of comparisons when we discover an album and especially a new artist, a question to know the pond of his influences. And by listening to the austere approach of The Red Moon, we cannot refrain from thinking of the spheroidal structure of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams Are Made of This. If the rhythm is rather in a robotics style, the harmonies and the solos which revolve there make very Jarre. The rhythm is lively and Jesper Sorensen scatters his harmonious threads with a good tonal mixture between his keyboard and his synth. Lively, The Red Moon is a good mid-tempo with just what it's necessary of heaviness to appreciate the elaboration of the good tunes and solos from a synth always very methodical and harmonious. A strange thin line of breezes extracted from a panpipe from an Elfish kingdom blows the delicate introduction of the title-track. A line of sequences warms the atmospheres in the background, letting a total freedom to another very nice effect of feminine voice to charm our senses. The heavy movement of the bass sequences sculpts a good Berlin School which remains dominated by a sizzling chant from the synth. The percussions which follow change the situation and plunge Dark Star into a good E-rock always very Berliner where the sequences and percussions revitalize their symbioses for a heavy and lively structure. Cosmic Waves follows with an oblong zigzag from the sequencer where hangs onto it a line of bass sequences and its vampiric shadow. A synth releases an undulating movement which adopts the minimalist approach of the rhythm, whereas a language and electronic chirpings confirm the cosmic approach and the wave-like dance of Cosmic Waves.
Communication proposes on its side a slow spheroidal pattern which reminds me of some rhythmic approaches of Robert Schroëder whom the imprint for sound effects serves the very evasive harmonious cause of the title. From delicate, with its chords of glass blown by sandy breezes, to solid and finally very lively, Exploration sneaks between our earphones with a greater dynamism which is one of the charms in DARK STAR. Sat on another very good interlocking of sequences and percussions, Resurrection spits a rhythm chewed which is hopping and slightly jerky on where are spinning more fluid solos but surprisingly melodious. The Awakening is a beautiful and very morphic ballad with a cello which cries in a phantasmagorical cosmic decor. The arrangements are rather moving, but not as much as all the tenderness and the very romantic side of the music. My kind of ballad! From far Home proposes another structure which skips with an effect of jerks, a little as an electronic Hip-hop. The crossing of sequences and the percussions make limp in reality a lively rhythm where sings a good synth, as well as its tenderly romantic solos, in a lunar setting. There is a festive scent behind this music whereas Returning to Orbit brings us back towards the Berlin School territories with a good line of bass sequences filled of organic tones. The sound effects of the synth also spit this organic honey while the title undoes its spasms in a kind of Dance and Trance which is torn between its strong presence of Breakdance and its Berliner E-rock. Here, as everywhere in DARK STAR, the multiple sound effects fill out the ears which are going in the opposite sense of the feet. Rendevouz is built on two movements of sequences, a rhythmic one and the other one harmonious, on which get grafted sober percussions. An electronic language gives a psybient side to another good E-rock. This language becomes more musical and follows the harmonious curve of the sequencer, sculpting in the end this kind of thing that sticks onto our ears. And that, there are legion of this here!
For a first rendezvous with the music of Jesper Sorensen , I would say that it had go very well, because DARK STAR is an album easy to tame. Very musical, thus very melodious, the EM of the Danish musician also exudes this endearing colder and more bohemian vision of the Scandinavian art. I had good flashes which reminded me the best moments of Sverre Knut Johansen or yet Nattefrost at the level of the sequencing. The range of the influences gives an album on where hide pearls of tenderness and good electronic rhythms which flirt with the dancing tendency of the England School model and the Teutonic hymns of the Berlin School. A beautiful album which won't disappoint your curiosity!
Sylvain Lupari (February 2nd, 2018) ***½**
Available at Jesper Sorensen Bandcamp