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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

LENSFLARE: Aurea Stamina (Sic volvere Parcas) (2022)

This is great Berlin School in its purest ways!

1 Clotho 6:03

2 Lachesis 16:34

3 Atropos 19:16

(DDL 42:53) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Andrea Lensflare Debbi took almost a year to complete AUREA STAMINA (Sic volvere Parcas). Inspired by a universal principle of natural order and balance defined by the role of the Parcas, this new opus from Lensflare walks in the footsteps of the Berlin Nights download album with solid retro Berlin School well fattened by a splendid mellotron whose rich ghostly tunes are reminiscent of old flavors of Tangerine Dream and more recently those of Brendan Pollard and Free System Projekt. We understand that the mellotron is omnipresent! And the rhythms are as much with good structures evolving subtly to unwind stationary rhythms sometimes unleashed. In short, a good 42 minutes of vintage electronic music (EM) that, like Berlin Nights, has everything to please the hardcore fans of Berlin School.

Howling winds get melting to a buzzing wave in the opening of Clotho. Early on, the warm tonal caresses of the mellotron radiate a fluty air that disperses the sibylline approach of this opening. This electronic chant increases its degree of emotionality by becoming higher pitched, and its fight with the dark shadows of its introduction brings us into the Mephistophelian territories of TD from the Phaedra years. This mellotron and the reverb-laden drones insidiously skirt our ears to also compete in the atmospheric opening of Lachesis. The approach is both dramatic and esoteric with muted restrained bursts of a bass layer from which eventually emerge chords that fall with heaviness. They create circles of sound that irradiate the soundscapes which get enriched by a layer of chthonian voices. The sequencer activates a rhythmic phase some 30 seconds after the 3rd minute with two jumping keys that sway, creating a stationary rhythm somewhat stifled by the synth solos hovering over this structure that recalls the early electronic rhythm movements of the Ricochet and Rubycon albums. The rhythm remains divided between a sober phase and another that, under its elastic effect, makes dribbling the sequences around in a delicately spasmodic vision. More slow than livelier, it rolls and even skids in an atypical confusion in a landscape where the synth and the mellotron unite their charms to plunge the listener in a universe at the crossroads of the Dream and what became the repertoire of Brendan Pollard. The haze of the mellotron also reminds us of FSP music.

More intense, both in terms of ambient elements and rhythm, Atropos is built on the same Berlin School principle with a structure of sequences that significantly modify its rhythmic axis. Its opening is topped with electronic tones from the Cosmos that lie on a good buzzing bass layer. It reminds me a lot of the psychotronic openings of Neuronium. A heavy layer of singing mist covers this opening at the beginning of its 2 minutes. The bass spaces its exhalations on this undulating movement which remains in the temperature of a chthonian Berlin School of the early 70s. The ambiences remain very musical with fluty orations, orchestrations and voices whispering an air as sibylline as absent. It's under the airs of apocalyptic trumpets that the sequencer activates its first rhythm sequence. Linear and pulsating, it jumps briskly along a slight drifting axis similar to a glider caught in southwest winds. The structure becomes pounded with more vigor and evolves under these trumpets and then under powerful flute tunes, which sound like synth solos, where it unleashes a more spasmodic phase that will roll at high speed to get evaporating beneath clouds of drones about 20 seconds after the 12th minute. The rhythm then changes its skin, for a short time, in order to gambol in a soundscape smothered by a heavy mass of drones. It returns to its original phase which is delightfully unleashed to bring the track full circle, ending with its psychotronic vision of its opening.

There are no weaknesses in AUREA STAMINA (Sic volvere Parcas)! Its atmospheric phases are not too long while being musical. The sequencer is heavy and lively, structuring minimalist rhythms that subtly modify the paths embellished by a strong presence of the mellotron. Like in the good old days! A very nice opus from Lensflare.

Sylvain Lupari (July 3rd, 2022) *****

Available at Lensflare Bandcamp

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