KELLER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Noir (2003)
Updated: Feb 5, 2021
“The magic of Noir lives in the evolution of its three movements that should appeal to dark ambient lovers”
1 Movement One 25:45
2 Movement Two 29:03
3 Movement Three 10:43
4 Dédier À Papathanassiou E. Vangelis; Movement One 5:20
5 Dédier À Papathanassiou E. Vangelis; Movement Two 4:56
(CD/DDL 75:47) (V.F.)
A wind coming from the void blows dust on the first seconds of Movement One. It crosses a long terrestrial corridor before landing on the ice floes of nothingness, where chimes ring, strike percussions and growl long tortuous riffs which wander in this intro woven in the supernatural. Drones display their reverberations and float alongside the voices of galactic mermaids, electronic chirps and cosmic streamers which echo their tones and chords in an intense movement in suspension. Slowly the atmospheric soaring of Movement One is preparing with good synth waves rolling in an increasingly cosmic ambience. Welcome to NOIR! NOIR is black! It's also the first opus by Keller & Schönwälder dedicated to colors. An intensely atmospheric album if I may underline. Not my type but in the end it's a philharmonic cosmic ode to Tomita (Kosmos) and to Vangelis carried by synths which swap their solos for intense layers of morphic violins.
The more Movement One progresses, the more it sinks into a bewitching cosmic symphony with violin tears that float and encircle these reverberations which have become more and more poetic. It's a slow cerebral waltz that chases away fears and cradles the soul with infinite tenderness until the first rhythmic stammering of Movement Two. But the rhythm of this second musical act is constantly trapped by this dense atmospheric envelope which surrounds the first two movements of NOIR. It's a static rhythm forged in electronic chirps which hiccup and whirl in a strange, finely jerky spiral, like a slow staccato-shaped vortex. It twirls in its furrows, amassing the various tones and percussions which roam in these winds without ever seeking to amplify its measure. Quite the contrary! It lets itself be caught up in the poetic approach of a wandering piano, timid pulsations and a synth with vagabond whistles dragging its cosmic melody in winds with vocal breaths to implode a slow stationary agony. These breaths become haze and iridescent fog before returning the title to its deep cosmic sleep.
Movement Three continues this reflection on NOIR between rhythms and ambiences, as proposed by the two German traveling companions. After two long ambient and atmospheric tracks, Movement Three enters the minimalist spheres of the Berlin duo with a light and slow rhythm which is based on the sober and methodical percussions of Bas B. Broekhuis. It's a processional title with drum rolls and the clicking of scattered cymbals which ring among breaths of angelic trumpets trumpeting in ethereal mists. Marrying the evolving rhythmic structures that the duo has been shaping wonderfully for years, Movement Three follows a bouncy curve with a beautiful piano line from Detlev Keller, drawing a sweet melody that travels in the reverberating mists of Dédier à Papathanassiou E. Vangelis - Movement One. A title which breathes the ambiences of Noir-Movement One but with an approach strongly influenced by the Greek magician, in particular towards the finale which is very melodious. Dédier à Papathanassiou E. Vangelis - Movement Two brings us to the very abstract territories of Vangelis.
The magic of NOIR lies in the evolution of its three movements. From atmospheric and purely ambient to hopping rhythms in a bewitching static implosion, the music develops with a minimalist rhythmic approach that has made the mark of Keller & Schönwälder since 1996. The synths are honeyed and draw dreamlike phases that embellish an album that is much more than a simple album of dark ambient. It's an orchestral ode to spatial darkness which brings us as close to our interior as to cosmic nothingness. It's a must for lovers of NOIR ambient!
Sylvain Lupari (June 2nd, 2012) *****
Available on Manikin Bandcamp