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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JIANNIS: Plugged (1997)

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

With great sequencing, solos and inspired vintage tones, here's an album that every Berlin School fan of the 70's must discover

1 Erstes Schattenspiel 30:05

2 Zweites Schattenspiel 17:57

3 Drittes Schattenspiel 25:18

(CD 73:31) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

In 1997 Klaus Schulze astonished his audience with Dosburg Online. Tangerine Dream made its former fans rage with titles with sanitized rhythms, abandoning sequential evolutions for percussion in boxes. In short, the universe of EM in Berlin School style found its evolution through more harmonious rhythms and CDs with shorter and more dynamic titles. The advent of digital synths was not unrelated to this new orientation. For the diehard, the days were nostalgic. We regretted the long musical ceremonies with soaring sequels interminable and deviant. It is in this context that Jiannis' PLUGGED fell into the bins ... far from my home. With three long titles with very vintage flavors from the mid-70s, Jiannis reopened the Berlin School story books. But, musically speaking, who is Jiannis? Jiannis Zedamanis is a Greek synthesist who has been doing EM since 1986 and who has not been heard of since the late 90s. He has played with Lambert Ringlage in 1988 on Timeless Visions and has produced three other albums, including the latter, on Spheric Music.

Erstes Schattenspiel introduces us to his music with an atmospheric start and the chants of interstellar whales and voices on a vocoder that reminds me of Neuronium's Chronium Echoes. It's very calm, the mellotron fuses its airs of flute in a dense cloudiness where the synth is crying out its laments on a very Tangerine Dream's dark visions of the mid 70's. Softly, a captivating Body Love kind of sequence dictates the pace beneath superb synth solos that hover around this minimalist rhythm line up until the twentieth minute when a suave mellotron pushes a lower and more animated line which merges on the first, subtly modifying the course of Erstes Schattenspiel which ends in the atmospheric meanders of its introduction. Zweites Schattenspiel is more lively. After the usual drifting intro, with a mellotron whose essences of flute are drowned in dark choirs, percussions come alive with a vision of Kraftwerk's Man Machine beat. A more lively sequence beats under an enveloping synth main-line which deviates and divides into several small melodious, hypnotic and languid lines. The mellotron imposes an arabesque orchestral line, giving an unexpected depth to a rather ambivalent title. The ending is superb with a mixture of nervous percussions and a more melodious synth with orchestral scents which is subdivided into very lively multi lines.

Drittes Schattenspiel ends this first Jiannis album with a very ambient intro which is weaved in dense and dark synth layers. Very sharp synth solos cut through this dark environment. The sequencer creates an already convincing rhythmic line behind this more or less sibylline ambience. Imposing a nervous rhythm, it runs along the synth main line. The two elements merge and end up forming a throbbing and haunting symbiosis. From then on, Jiannis takes us into the sumptuous universe of drums and rhythms of Klaus Schulze with Harald Grosskopf. The music captivates us with a slow evolution where the rhythm is the basis of a particularly good synth and its twisted and treble solos. These are great moments of vintage EM that end in the calm of its atmospheric essences.

An album that every Berlin School fan of the 70's must discover, PLUGGED stuffs our ears with vintage inspired tones. The album brings nothing new. One shouldn't be expected that the spheres of the Berlin School have been revisited with new ideas. This an exact carbon copy of what was done at the time. And that's fine! This is what the diehards are looking for; good old Berlin School with main synth lines that subdivide its fragrances into solos and misty layers on evolving rhythms cut by an analog sequencer. Great electronic music!

Sylvain Lupari (February 2nd, 2014) *****

Available at Spheric Music

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