JOHANNES SCHMOELLING: Wuivend Riet (1987)
“A major and intense work that even Tangerine Dream has never equaled since the departure of Johannes Schmoelling”
1 Matjora is Still Alive 5:01
2 Zeit (For Stephan) 6:38
3 Kneeplay No. 9 4:00
4 Walking on Wooden Legs 3:58
5 Wuivend Riet Part I 6:20
6 Wuivend Riet Part II 12:49
Erdenklang IRS 971.160
(CD/Spotify 38:46) (V.F.)
(Progressive Berlin School)
The departure of Johannes Schmoelling was a shock wave for aficionados of Tangerine Dream. Because since joining the duo Franke-Froese, the music of Tangerine Dream became more accessible and more melodious under its cover of complexity. And that's exactly what we find on his first solo opus. Buried under a fauna of samplings which multiplies the effects of distorted voices, of iconoclastic noises coming as much from a jungle or a universe of abstractions and finally from an organic macro-universe, WUIVEND RIET is, and by far, his biggest album and the one that comes closest to what he did with Tangerine Dream.
Matjora is Still Alive begins with a vaporous intro. A stealthy bass line structures a beat that responds to its echo. Fascinating voice effects and a finely jerky synth layer infiltrate this synthetized misty while the piano spreads a luscious melodious line which is all in contrast with the atmospheres that one can so much interpreted in different ways in this title which will become a classic in the repertoire of the ex- Tangerine Dream member. Zeit (For Stephan) puts us in contact with the lush tonal dryad of WUIVEND RIET. Its opening is woven into a surreal sound fauna where rustling of metal chewed forms an attractive call to concentration. Without precise rhythm, but in a bolero which combines its intensity with a greater tonal flowering, the line of bass sequences directs us towards a paroxysm which explodes in a bewitching ballet where a princess extends its last breath in a percussive tumult. Brilliant! Another classic that will be sorely lacking punch when performed in concert. But the important thing is to have it here. We don't miss Tangerine Dream that much up to here, even if Kneeplay No. 9 offers a much more classical approach with a little fondness for Free Jazz. Schmoelling is brilliant on piano in this hyper-melodious title! The bizarre approach of Walking on Wooden Legs is simply brilliant in its envelope of bizarre voice samplings. This other brilliant title brings us to the classic of Johannes Schmoelling's timeless classic.
As soon as we hear the opening lines of Wuivend Riet, we know that we are in the middle of Tangerine Dream's long musical explorations. On Wuivend Riet Part I, Johannes exploits the sounds of nature with a percussive assurance that borders on the ingenuity of Hyperborea. Some effects in Zeit (For Stephan) nest here as we dive into a surreal jungle with samplings of amphibians, of monkeys and of a generous avian fauna including a very effective mockingbird sharpening its airs on the symmetries of spiritual dances. Crossing the imperfections of the ground, a bass line creeps and joins its nasal effect to the croaking of the mockingbird in an exhilarating atmosphere quite difficult to describe, but delicious to undergo. The hobbling rhythm, Wuivend Riet Part I brings us to a phase of atmospheres that we experienced during an evening with friends where we tried some drugs in a field flooded of locusts. The voices of our friends seemed distant and muffled to us. Exactly as in the finale of this first part one where the deformed voice of Hans Bosch recites a poem with a voice coming from beyond the grave. Wuivend Riet Part II rises with the magnitude of its complexity. Intense and dramatic, the synths blow a symphonic call to a world of perditions. A crumbling world, which seems motionless. In this dense atmosphere, they light up with spiritual chants that rise like trumpets of hope. A dense atmospheric veil seizes the opening by injecting a threatening climate with a bass wave that spreads its misty carpet. Virginal whistles push harmonies muffled by the tumult of barrings coming from misshapen elephants and synth lines exploring the jungle with its gyratory gaze. Percussion effects hammered on a xylophone animate a very fragile nervousness. And bang! The 8th minute brings us to the culmination of Wuivend Riet Part II and this first solo album by Johannes Schmoelling, revealing harmonious lines that intersect their differences in a percussive tumult of intensity that give me goosebumps. A major and intense work! A work that even Tangerine Dream has never equaled since the departure of Johannes Schmoelling.
Sylvain Lupari (August 22nd, 2004) *****