“That’s good Berlin School with dynamic sequence lines and great synth skills which crisscross panoramas filled with the usual textures”
1 Mind Control 12:14
2 Interactivity 12:08
3 Grand Illusion 13:27
4 Reverse Evolution 12:43
5 Inner Alchemy 14:00
(CD/DDL 65:33) (V.F.)
The Californian label Synphaera Records is beginning to take more and more its place in the spheres of the contemporary EM with productions of a sound signature in high definition. After Spinnet's fascinating and somber ambient journey with Syzygies, the Exosphere division of the American label offers nothing less than an album from K. Markov; INTERACTIVITY. This musical tale is about the conflicting relationship between man and machine. Who dominates the other? The answer belongs to our imagination that is lulled by K. Markov, a synthesist from Croatia who is highly regarded on the web, through his Bandcamp activities. Inspired by the Netherlands School, where the sequences are heavy, juicy and harmonic, his music here travels in the gardens of Tangerine Dream and Synergy through Emmens & Heij and also the audacity of Syndromeda. This gives a complex album in the union of its rhythms, ambiances and effects with a cinematic vision where the nightmare attaches its links with our reality.
It's by a shower of chirpings and of very variegated effects that this first album of K Markov on an established commercial label infiltrates our senses. After this introductory din, a glimpse of bright sounds casts its very Software sound aura with this kind of astral contemporary ballet that we found in the time of Chip Meditation and Electronic Universe. Behind, the hum of the machines is still active, throwing thin lines of reverberation that oscillate until the sequencer. There, a line of spasmodic rhythm binds with another and its bass sequences that pound an austere approach. It's this movement that deploys a fluidity. The ambient rhythm goes up and down the peaks of Berlin School, while the synth blows good snatches of harmonies that already have an idea of what will be the solos. Nested in a dynamic structure, as much for rhythm as ambiances, Mind Control exploits its 12 minutes with a vision of changes within its structure. This first INTERACTIVITY title is a very good Berlin School. The title-track follows with an introductory approach faithful to the slow deployments and to the complex sound textures of this last opus of the Croatian synthesist. If lines of tenderness sculpt its horizons, good percussive effects ennoble a beauty that slow effects of reverberations taint with this ominous vision which is at the base of INTERACTIVITY. Chthonian layers chase these sibylline vibes after the point of 4 minutes, awakening a sequencer that then sculpts a very good movement Berlin School. The movement is playing with its nuances and percussive effects, pulling Interactivity towards a lively structure highly watched by synth lines with always threatening ambiences. I like the sequencer here which doesn't hesitate to forge a vitriolic approach with marbles that roll by jerks, and others which gambol by making dance their shadows in a complex rhythmic vision under a shower of solos with analog cosmic essences.
Grand Illusion proposes a structure tied around an avalanche of intergalactic rodeos whose minimalist combination supports an armada of solos from a synth which also likes to draw sonic graffitis, like in a game of spirographs. The rhythm is sharp with a spasmodic flow and adjacent lines that intertwine to create a wild structure nourished by shadows and rodeos. Percussive elements, like metal clappers, try to keep this horde of frenetic sequences within the parameters of the minimalist structures. The synths and keyboards caress opposite dreams with both musical and airy approaches, as evidenced by this synth and its many enchanting solos. It's a huge cosmic rock with a constantly moving structure, à la Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij! Speaking of this solid Dutch duo, Reverse Evolution is drawn into the mold of their best compositions. Inner Alchemy ends INTERACTIVITY with a different, but still effective ,rhythmic energy traced in the shadow of the 70's. Huge patches of wooshh and waashh sweep the dusty ambiances to give a more post-apocalyptic appearance to this structure whose nuances in the oscillations and the addition of percussive elements consolidates it in its more rhythmic than harmonic vision.
This K. Markov debut on Synphaera Records is a remarkable entry, and for the label and its new artist, in the spheres of Berlin School. The sound aesthetics of the Californian label is strongly solicited by the multiple textures of rhythms and moods of an album that pushes the Berlin School's boundaries further and further into the territories of creativity. Because INTERACTIVITY is everything, everything, but everything of Berlin School, both modern and vintage. A Berlin School sometimes complex and especially attractive that will require some listening to charm our ears. Sign of an album filled with surprises and structural pathways constantly changing. Dynamic sequence lines that weave through multiple rhythmic intersections and between good percussive effects, as well as synth solos that crisscross panoramas filled with the usual textures, with a slight bit of outrageous creativity, make of INTERACTIVITY one of the solid albums in 2019.
Sylvain Lupari (October 23rd, 2019) *****
Available at Exosphere Bandcamp