KELLER & SCHONWALDER: Red (2012)
“Red is a wonderful opus of a surprising sweetness with progressive and evolutive rhythmic and harmonic structures”
1 Red One 32:07 2 Red Two 14:44 3 From Red to Green 20:22 Manikin | MRCD 7095
(CD/DDL 67:13) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School)
Oh, how good it is to reconnect with Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder! Not that the Repelen adventure was not good. Far from it! But I was still looking forward to hearing the sequel to Orange and, above all, to Blue. And the wait was worth it. I'm not at all wrong when I say that RED is the best album from the German trio since moons. More melodious and clearly more poetic than Blue, RED presents 3 long minimalist structures where BKS does honor to its reputation as master architects of evolving musical structures with interchangeable rhythms which also trade inverted melodies as catchy as dreamlike.
Percussions fall with noise. Their sharp and resounding blows awaken a latent iridescent synth wave which makes circular chords dance to initiate this long minimalist river that is Red One. From then on, a bed of sequences settles which swarm under different tints and tones on a delicate movement with fine permuted nuances. We have the final impression that the rhythm is galloping, yet it barely moves. Pecked by the tips of sequences that chirp and buzz finely, it hops slightly under warm and morphic synth layers. Layers which crisscross and fly over this ambivalent rhythm which wriggles without jostling anything and which quivers without disturbing anything. A rhythm divided between its dreamlike sweetness and its chaotic jolts, linked by this union of sequences/percussions which subtly deviates from its mesmerizing hypnotic axis towards the 15th minute with a more ethereal passage. A short passage where the percussions always hammer the insistence but where the sequences run out of steam, leading Red One towards a hybrid rhythmic structure with a pulsating line and another more harmonic which draws a melodic rhythm enveloped by an electronic mist, resonant cymbals and thoughtful some great synth solos. We easily let ourselves be lulled by this rhythmic passage, morphic at some points, but the cymbals which tinkle in the distance announce more unbridled percussions which pile up more and more, falling shortened arms on a final which resists this assault of electronic drums to resume its hypnotic rhythmic course. More aggressive, Red Two gives birth to a variegated intro where Tabla style percussions and sequences with alternative strikes emerge to weave an astonishing tribal rhythm which pulsates with a frenzied cadence under the howling layers of dark metal. On a mixture of electronic percussions, drawing tribal rhythms, and a bass line with buzzing chords, the rhythm bursts under a scarlet sky where solos and harmonic breezes bicker the tranquility of spaces and the melancholy mists with a few screeches of crumpled metal which scream sparingly, spreading out all the splendor of the paradoxes of this minimalist structure painted in red. From Red to Green comes to put the final touch to this solid album, from start to finish, with an ethereal intro where floating choirs wander in astral decorations. A beautiful piano melody emerges. Letting its nostalgic notes slip in the eye of a whirlwind of metallic prisms, the piano hears chords hopping with verve molding a line of nervous sequence. A fine melody ensues which nestles in the hollow of a spasmodic movement. A movement which accentuates its crescendo with sequenced riffs and more insistent percussions that suave twisted solos embrace with their spectral twists, making forget the piano notes which have gone astray on this amplified rhythmic structure. This curt and hatched rhythm, spurned by screaming solos, revives the harmonic ashes of these nostalgic piano notes which re-emerge iridescent mists of an intro that we had forgotten on the banks of this intoxicating minimalist procession.
Can the art of repetitive music get boring? The question arises each time our ears are confronted with minimalist structures which flow like long calm rivers and shaken by some harmonic torrents. Well no! In any case not the music of Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder! which is all in nuance and of which the fusion sequences/percussions brings an unexpected rhythmic depth to a work built on structures in repetition. RED is a wonderful opus of surprising sweetness where the rhythms, whatever their forms, serve as atypical cradles to melodies as enchanting as morphic. Rhythms and melodies overflown and flogged by twisted and enthusiastic synth solos imbued with mists and chthonian choirs. In short, the whole universe of a real good New Berlin School minimalist and melodic. I like it a lot!
Sylvain Lupari (April 9th, 2013) *****
Available on Manikin Bandcamp