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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

LA PONTO ENSEMBLO: The CERN Diaries (2022)

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

A sound venture whose rough and explosive edges are leveled by the visions of its story

1 The CERN intro 11:04

2 Known Unknown 10:06

3 Kneeplay 1 (cut me) 4:11

4 Dancing of the Protons 7:07

5 Dr. St. Jacque's Lull 3:50

6 Kneeplay 2 (equations) 3:59

7 Song of the Wonderer 3:13

8 Horizon 44 8:36

9 Kneeplay 3 (equinox) 4:10

10 Water Wall 9:04

11 Welcome to the Multiverse 5:21

(DDL 70:48) (V.F.)

(Art for Ears, Experimental)

Various beats, some muffled and some more precises, adorn the slow processional opening of The CERN intro. A metallic synth layer throws itself over these beats, initiating this lift of slow, morphic synth waves that overlay an ambient rhythm. Influences from Steve Roach and his Desert Solitaire album are clearly present on this hypnotic procession swept by long, winding reverb lines. Synth pads lay down brassy masses on this introduction which reaches a new point in intensity after the 5th minute. If the percussions slightly increase the cadence, the accumulation and the density of synth layers with protean colors annihilates any proposal of overflow. Introduced in January 2021 as a CD-R, The CERN Diaries, by the duo La Ponto Ensemblo, lands on the Cyclical Dreams label platform. It's the first album-download of a trilogy that will be completed at the end of February. A concept album that revolves around an experiment that brings the Earth to move in a parallel universe where the laws of physics are slightly different. It's called The Rupture! Following the rather disarticulated vision of the Eniwetok Suite, the music sways between ambient and episodes of orchestral fractures in a vision of a more experimental electronic music (EM), sometimes abstract. In short, this is art for the ears of those who are able to imagine this slide of the Earth towards its parallel universe.

It's with rumbling buzzes that Known Unknown comes out of the silence. The reverberating shadows feed off of these synth waves that come and go, injecting a healthy dose of dark ambient music into this long, rhythmically lifeless track. The music travels by the impulses of the layers, some of them have this threatening tone, with this impression of musical cataclysm that prowls over our ears. However, Known Unknown hits a breakthrough somewhere after the 5th minute. The moods become a bit more orchestral with keyboard chords nibbling away at times. A weeping violin joins these chords sounding like Rick Wright in a more airy finale, except for the very last moments. After a chaotic start, Kneeplay 1 (cut me) launches into our ears with solid percussions supporting a jazz band whose wind instruments push a solid improvisational texture. A very intense and energetic track that comes out very well on a Hifi system. After this rhythmic bomb, the protons don't really dance in Dancing of the Protons which is a meditative ambient track with a violin like synth following a slow progression of scarlet whistling strings. Dr. St. Jacque's Lull counters this meditative aspect with a track animated by various chord tones sounding like chimes. Ordinarily, a Kneeplay serves as an interlude between two acts. Not so on The CERN Diaries, as Kneeplay 2 (equations) is just as furious and corrosive, but with a touch of dissonance that makes it less appealing than its first act. It guides us to Song of the Wonderer, a track buzzing of its winds and where an orchestral texture guided by an equally hesitant piano nests. Its ambiences stick to the opening of Horizon 44 which continues on this momentum. Except that gradually, the chords and the instruments are welded in a fascinating symbiosis which holds us on hypnosis. There is a lot of synchronization work by Hans-Dieter Schmidt and E-Clark Cornell, even with some echo effects towards the finale, in this track that starts from nothing to create a slow and haunting rhythmic approach. Offering an organic texture, Kneeplay 3 (equinox) is the softest and most musical interlude on this album. It leads to the intense synth falls that fall on the first 7 minutes of Water Wall, which ends with a simply melodic piano. The music of Welcome to the Multiverse lives up to its title with an orchestral texture interspersed with explosive bursts, guiding the track towards a more electronic and cosmic finale.

The CERN Diaries is primarily for those who are adventurous with music and its universe of sounds. There is little room for melody, at most there are dramatic episodes that shake the temple of the imagination. A little more progressive and adventurous than Eniwetok Suite, it remains a sound adventure whose rough and explosive sides are leveled by the visions of its story.

Sylvain Lupari (February 11th, 2022) ***½**

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

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