LAMBERT: Drachenreise (2015)
“Fans of the Schmoelling & Haslinger eras of Tangerine Dream, you will be delight with this very musical EM opus by Lambert”
1 Corona 7:35 2 Stairs 5:58 3 Estranho 4:44 4 Hill 7:34 5 Call 4:48 6 Past 4: 56 7 Motion 4:44 8 Sunrise 4:55 9 Lonely 3:04 10 Source 3:17 11 Doucement 5:05 12 Drachenreise 7:30
(CD 64:20) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School)
Twenty years! It's been that long since that Lambert Ringlage has stamped the Berlin School genre with Trancesession in 1995. Of course there were those superb collaborations with Palentir, at the end of 90's, and with Wolfgang Barkowski (Hypnosphere), at the beginning of the new century. But in solo? Nothing! Zip! Nada since 1995. For the history, Lambert Ringlage has surfed on the waves of the Berlin School EM style since the beginning of the 90's with a sonic signature very soaked by the style of Tangerine Dream from the Schmoelling/Haslinger years. This decade will present to us some delicious collaborations with Jiannis and ['ramp], where he presented a more audacious, a darker style of music. In all, Lambert Ringlage released an amount of 10 albums between 1988 and 1998. Since then he takes good cares of his label Spheric Music which launched on the market some beautiful albums of EM, where the retro and new Berlin School styles live tastefully. Furthermore, he also collaborated with Wolfgang Barkowski (Alien Nature) for two albums of Hypnosphere. The low visibility and the little of interests of the media regarding EM have motivated these years of absence. His comeback thus arouses a great deal of interest, considering his imprint on the paths of EM. Timedrift was worth the waiting. And I do believe that this DRACHENREISE, although the styles are totally different, won't be an object of deception. On the contrary! It shows all the depth in the very harmonic writing of the German synthesist. So it's through a dozen of tracks which favor clearly a more harmonious approach than progressive that Lambert Ringlage explains the journeys of a dragon.
And that begins with Corona where the somber chords which fall down are spreading a sibylline resonance. The synth lines which also fall are drawing sweet musical footsteps in these misty trails, bringing the first hits of electronic percussions down. Beyond these voices which float in the spheres, the guitar of Gandalf titillates our ears with pleasant harmonious solos, while quite slowly Corona flies away with a beautiful play of sequences where the keys follow the knocks of percussions and the solos of synth follow the harmonious sketches of the guitar. A guitar which takes the spot and throws beautiful solos of which the shadows faint whereas the rhythm of Corona is wiggling on a bed of percussions and sequences to the aboriginal essences which remind strangely the tremulous rollings of Poland. Sounds appealing? We are just at the first moments of DRACHENREISE and better is coming on the way. The solos of Gandalf are crying like a lost soul, I have this impression to hear segments of Gallery of Dreams here, in an ambient phase. Then from ambient mood, the rhythm gets illuminated with these superb sequences which drum, such as balls on an extremely tightened skin, and with other keys which climb the walls of ambiences while that Gandalf's guitar, always so incisive, reminds to us how much electric guitar and synthesizer can make a good partnership in the universe of EM. Stairs will melt in our ears with a very beautiful approach of Tangerine Dream's Underwater Sunlight years. Moreover, this album is confidentially connected to this incursion of the Dream in its harmonious territories borrowed at the dawn of Exit. Short tracks, some are within the 3 minutes marks, where Lambert exploits more the rectitude of the harmonies than the escapades in the forms as much varied as its probabilities. To me this Stairs is the most beautiful track in DRACHENREISE with its light sequences which hardly dare to touch the ground. The rhythm is of silk with some sober electronic percussions but with beautiful synth solos, very well crafted by the way by Lambert, which roar like tears of guitar on a fluid pace moved by delicate oscillations. I like this fusion of ethereal breezes and voices blown of sensualism which remind me of Le Parc, as well as these solos which subdivide their harmonies between great illusions of guitar. This is a great track. The harmonies of Estranho are similar to it, while the rhythmic envelope is more fluid, more nervous. We swim in full period Lily on the Beach, here as in Motion, with sequences which alternate swiftly the pace from an ear to another one, unwinding so a sharp shimmering string. Except that here the shroud of the ambiences spreads a sibylline veil which gives a great deal of depth, that and the multiple synth solos, to some compositions which would have rung rather pale without these elements.
I like the nervous rhythm of Hill of which the bouncy movement of the sequences drags me in the most gorgeous passages of Flashpoint. The melody stays in the tones pastels, while the synth solos and their convoluted twists remind me of this duel between these harmonies and these ambiences, always at the quest of those of Hypnosphere, which torments Lambert. The progression of the track is magnetizing with these sequences which make roundnesses, like a kind of rodeo, in the shadows of some very heavy percussions. I'm telling you; that sounds a lot like TD. And not in the worst of its periods. Call is going to seduce you just as much with its tribal approach. The sampling of manual percussions spits a beautiful savor of East while the harmonies are tinted with a cherub romanticism. Here, as in most of the tracks on DRACHENREISE, the influence of Robert Schroeder's love of quirky tones and moods is very present. Lambert exploits marvelously the dramatic effects on this album and it's even more striking in Past where the ambiences, the orchestrations and the harmonious elements awaken some recollections of TD in Legend. Sunrise is a track which hooks on the first listening with these sequences which unwind some effects of rattlers on good strikes of electronic percussions. If the ambiospherical moments sound like some elements of anxiety, the melodies which run away from those are ending to sculpt an earworm in your eardrums. Lonely is a soft lullaby with a synth to tears of old accordion. It's very melancholic and the effect is very Jarre, very in the French poesy style, while that Source and Doucement are charming lullabies which border the repertoire of Vangelis in Opera Sauvage. Doucement is going to lead you near the doors of dreams, even if the spiral minimalist accentuates a soft pace as the minutes pass by. The intensity in this track is to be cut at knife. And the solos... Lambert amazes downright in hiss control of his synths and of their harmonies. I would say that it's one of the beautiful albums at this level. That and The Tape from Olivier Briand, except that there we are in totally different styles here. Surprisely, the title-track which ends Lambert's last album proposes a light rhythm a la Jean-Michel Jarre in his Chronology era. Can a dragon really fly away in the heights of the cosmos? It doesn't really matter! Because the 12 musical journeys of DRACHENREISE are small pearls of EM where Lambert shows that he was wrong to be out of the spheres for such a long time.
Sylvain Lupari (February 12th, 2015) *****