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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KURTZ MINDFIELDS: Gate of a New Dimension (2018)

“A solid mix of Jazz and Berlin School, Gate of a New Dimension is a great album and a breeze of fresh air in the universe of EM”

1 Aeolis 7:27 2 Crystal Cathedral 13:28 3 Equivox Seven 5:19 4 Heliosfear 5:13 5 Mooger Things 6:13 6 Gate of a New Dimension 6:24 7 Midnight Analog Plan 6:05 8 Ice Castle 8:06 9 Still on the Run 9:43 DVD 1 Laniakea Symphonia 30:34

(Live at Synthest 2018) Feverdog Music ‎| FD2018/2 (CD/DVD 99:07) (V.F.) (Berlin School, Jazz and Prog Rock)

Aeolis starts this latest odyssey in the wonderful universe of Kurtz Mindfields with a song of winds which is disturbed by a large wave of reverb. Keyboard chords fall shortly after 60 seconds. They forge an evasive melody that turns between our ears with a Keith Emerson progressive rock vision. Little by little, the music settles! Electronic effects remind us of the essence of Kurtz Mindfields. A bass line infiltrates its floating heaviness as the piano continues to dance between our ears. A little jazz in the electronic universe? Why not! The sequencer detaches its keys which run faster and faster with muted steps, while the piano invites the synthesizer to draw solos which follow the curve of its harmony. The sequencer rotates its keys with more velocity, while Jean-Luc Briançon continues to charm with fascinating solos which are the witnesses of the skill of this jazz keyboardist... above all. GATE OF A NEW DIMENSION marks a new step in the career of the French musician. For this album, the keyboardist of the jazz band Abigoba has chosen his own instruments, which are more in the hues of jazz, instead of using the synths and sequencers of Olivier Grall or Kryfels which have restored a universe more centered on EM in his previous albums. What does it change? It changes everything! GATE OF A NEW DIMENSION; a trans-aural sound experience in 3D is a fusion of instruments and ideas that brings a breath of fresh air to the world of Kurtz Mindfields, if not of EM in general. A highly qualified composer, Jean-Luc Briançon makes an amazing union with his alter-ego Kurtz Mindfields to create a jazzy and rhythmic EM with rhythms and solos which will turn your ears upside down.

In a more complex formula, Crystal Cathedral offers a long, very chthonic introduction with scary voices which scrape the walls of a long corridor emerging from the darkness. A dance of bells, the kind suspense one on Halloween, makes a little virginal melody twinkle which gradually becomes a demonic ritornello drawn by a sequencer whose heavy and curt steps structure a static rhythm. Solos infuse this texture of freedom, which is proper to jazz, while sound effects (kind of bat wings) and absent voices roam around this structure, which evolves quietly within its parameters which are somewhat more convoluted here than in other titles of GATE OF A NEW DIMENSION. After this title, we come across a superb collection of short titles all livelier and catchier one of each other. And it starts with Equivox Seven and its electronic percussions pecked by effects of rattlesnakes which brings the music near the paths of Jean-Michel Jarre. Heliosfear is another very catchy title with a sequencer which turns its structure into an endless of small and speedy eight. The rhythm is lively and the percussive effects as seductive as noisy. A kind of vocoder spits out one of those borderless voices of the 70's, while solos are always creative and as catchy as the rhythm. Mooger Things is even more striking with a flow of sequences whose lively and jerky approach hosts some evasive solos and keyboard riffs which sound very Tangerine Dream. I like this rhythm which evolves with fine permutations which always make my ears smile. The synth solo at the finale is downright great! The title track is in a good jazz with an always catchy rhythm where our fingers tap more than our feet. The electronic drum is very good, the sequencer is heavy and hyper-jerky and the many sound effects frame GATE OF A NEW DIMENSION in an electronic universe where rock, funk and jazz merge with unparalleled elegance. Midnight Analog Plan is another little gem flirting with the borders of Jarre. The comparison stops there, because the pace is more incisive, hard and not really obvious. The sequences and percussive effects are as charming as those in Equivox Seven and Mooger Things. Ice Castle has to go through a long ambiospherical introduction before presenting a rhythm closer to progressive rock with keyboards and harmonies which display the colors of the Italian group PFM. Still on the Run also takes a few minutes before taking off. Its approach is rather Pink Floyd (On the Run) and the synths are still tasty and creative. Presented in a Deluxe digipack, the artwork is gorgeous by the way, GATE of NEW DIMENSION comes with a DVD of a concert that Jean-Luc Briançon and Stephane Gallay presented as part of the SynthFest in spring 2018. The duo had interpreted the main lines of the Analogic Touch album. Lasting 30 minutes, the DVD offers Laniakea Symphonia. The images have a granular imprint, the performance was in the evening with an intimate lighting, where are inserted some psychedelic graphics and good visual effects. They allow us to visualize the creative approach and the agile fingers of Kurtz Mindfields and to hear a new track. Available in CD, a digital version will also be available from March 19th on QOBUZ and on the Bandcamp web page of Electrik Dream.

Huge and solid EM at all levels!

Sylvain Lupari (March 12th, 2019) *****

Available at PWM Distrib

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