KI COMPANION: Wayfarer (2022)
“A nice album which exudes the pleasures of listening to good, creative and lively EM”
1 Black Brook 4:09
2 Moorland Moonrise 6:51
3 Holloway 4:43
4 M25 North 5:50
5 Renaissance 3:33
6 Port of Youth 3:15
7 Dance in the Downs 6:53
8 Find your way Home 6:21
9 White Cliffs 2:46
(DDL 44:24) (V.F.)
When the sound of yesterday, the ideas of yesteryear are married to those of today, it gives a very good album of electronic music (EM) whose perfumes of the past are resurrected in contemporary textures. Do you remember Music for Cars? This Ki Companion album released in 2020 on MellowJet Records, still getting up from those terrible floods occurred in Germany in July 2021, was designed to accompany our car rides. Well, Andreas Meyer does it again with a download-album designed to accompany hiking enthusiasts. Hence the title WAYFARER! And like his first album, this opus has all the ingredients that make of EM a tasty art for the ears and also for the feet. For if the melodies are fiercely catchy, the rhythms are just as much in a subtle mix of cosmic electronic rock and EDM.
Black Brook starts this odyssey in the land of Teutonic rhythms and catchy melodies with an atmospheric introduction embellished by the sounds of a nature bordering this stream located in Lancashire in the North of England. Snippets of fluty melodies and percussive tinkles take over the music portion, gently guiding the track into a slowtempo's first step. This essence of fluty melody makes undulating its charms over a more accentuated presence of percussions where percussive effects are invited, structuring a more bouncy rhythm. The synthesizer also spices up its melody bits in a texture that radiates an ever denser musicality. The track offers a good movement of arpeggios shimmering in an ambient mode about 15 seconds before the 3rd minute, effectively stigmatizing the reflection of water dancing in symbiosis with the winds. Like the vast majority of tracks in WAYFARER, the music moves a lot while subtly evolving within its rather limiting time frame, offering a more animated finale. With its sequences jumping around in a lively alternating motion, Moorland Moonrise offers a bouncy rhythm like a braggart's walk. Keyboard riffs add a counterweight that balances this driving rhythm on a string of twinkling arpeggios that flutter into the void towards the middle of the track. This movement highlights the alternate sequencing pattern and also sets the stage for a livelier reprise, just before the 4 minute mark, with a hip-hop-like structure over a distance of 90 seconds. The track ends then in a cosmic atmospheric phase. Offering a rhythm that evolves on an atmospheric texture, Holloway makes first hear the echo of its sound effects that resonate in a gutter. A rubbery pulsing bass line seizes these elements which flutter around to structure a slow progressive rhythm that is ringed by ever so sparkling keyboard and synth riffs and effects. For a hiking activity, the rhythm of M25 North is as driving as a mountain biker's. The rhythm chews up our ears with a nice rubbery organic effect, like the sound of a Gargoyle belching while hopping. This superb track is graced with keyboard riffs riding on a rhythmic structure very close to Kraftwerk in the Tour de France album with an excellent passage of a mini solo of percussions around the 4th minute. A short passage that revitalizes the rhythm. Very good for the nostalgic like me.
Light with percussive effects a la Jean-Michel Jarre, Renaissance captures our interest right away with a superb eardrum-eating rhythmic melody. It sounds like yesterday in a contemporary tone, and it digs quite a whole earworm. We ask for more! We are squarely in the heart of WAYFARER with a very nice track of cosmic ambiences in Port of Youth that follows these two little gems. We are entitled to an atmospheric track of an unheard of scale with a texture as refined as that of Renaissance but in a more meditative mode. The music and its effects undulate in suspension, drifting with its shimmering tones in an interstellar void filled with inert stars. Dance in the Downs puts us back in the rhythmic axis of the album with a rhythm jumping of its elastic texture. The synth elaborates a form of electronic language with croaking chords like in the universe of Robert Schroeder on synthesizer surges comparable to the cosmic ones of JM-Jarre. A very playful title which does not hesitate to make dance its arpeggios in the same diapason as its bouncing sequences on a structure which presses the step with juicy sequences, nourished with latex, which resound and whirr once the chord has been crushing the ground. After a short opening fueled by concept noises, Find Your Way Home starts to twitch with tribal percussions that brings back memories of Mind Over Matter's Avatar album. For a pedestrian ride, the pace is fast with sequences and arpeggios that follow the rhythm of the percussions and to those synth and sequencer rushes that undulate in the signature of the one who gave us Magnetic Fields. Very catchy, the rhythm reaches its cosmic atmospheric phase after the 4th minute to explode with thunderous orchestrations that show how much Jean-Michel Jarre's influences dominate this most recent Ki Companion album. In a cinematic finale and a more atmospheric vision, which breathes the rhythms built on Vangelis' echo effects of Antartica, White Cliffs ends this WAYFARER with a melodic approach as haunting as Renaissance, but with more vitamin in the rhythm just to give us the taste to start again the adventure.
Never has the hiking activity has been so catchy as when listening to WAYFARER! In an electronic musical signature which joins the perfumes of Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and JM Jarre, Andreas Meyer proposes a nice palette of 9 tracks which radiate the pleasures of listening to good, creative and lively EM. We are far from the complex structures of Berlin School here, but it remains an extremely delicious guilty pleasure easy to assimilate and pleasant to hear. For everyone!
Sylvain Lupari (May 29th, 2022) *****
Available at Ki Companion Bandcamp