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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

LIGHTFORM: Circadian Rhythms (2021)

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

It's a good album from Lightform whose scattering of influences gives the illusion of hearing a solo album by Chris Franke

1 Spiral Toucher 4:56

2 Zephyr Trace 6:17

3 Magnolian Bliss 6:11

4 Thermophore 3:28

5 Ova-Coda 5:10

6 Belief Inversion 6:35

7 Dovepath 8:36

(CD-R/DDL 41:15) (V.F.)


Spiral Toucher espouses the ideology behind its title with a sequencer in spiral mode which spins its keys in issshhh switching for an esoteric layer. The sequencer brings back its herd of keys which jump on the spot, waiting to be strafed by beat-boxe's percussions pitching its percussive bursts. Suddenly branching off into 80's synth-wave mode, Spiral Toucher extends its arrangements in a musical structure that is more dance than rock mode. Let's say, synth-pop from the pink-platinum years! Don't run away! This first invitation to discovery the album does not always happen with a look at the English synth-pop years. CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS is here to explore the rhythms with everything that ties Lightform's music to the roots of its influences. Offered in CD-R format as well as in download, even including a 24Bits FLAC format, this new album by Tim Darbyshire is an invitation to stretch your legs on structures dominated by sequencers and their multiple rhythmic algorithms in a short 41 minutes strongly influenced by the sequencers and rhythmic melodies of Tangerine Dream. The Johannes Schmoelling years!

So, the opening of Zephyr Trace can awaken memories of Love on a Real Train with a handful of sequences fluttering in an invisible circle. A bassline supports this static movement whereas the harmonies flow into keyboard riffs and the musical breaths of synths are blending into those of a voice-filled mist. But what we remember the most about Zephyr Trace is its artistic promiscuity with the ambiences of Risky Business. This framework will be taken up with a little more velocity in the opening of Magnolian Bliss. The rhythm becomes more jerky with the flow of spasmodic sequences that the bass line tries to regroup under nervous percussive clicks. The synth is superb with a too beautiful melody which haunts me since the first listening of CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS. Thermophore exorcises as best as possible its demons of Logos who make fun of a rhythm structure very close to the Düsseldorf School. Ova-Coda is an electronic rock dominated by the multiple layers of the sequencer which unties its lines of rhythms and harmonies independent of the synth which serves more to fill the decoration. The track also exploits a circular structure jerky by a sequencer which deploys its arsenal of convulsive sequences, like those which are more harmonic, while being well supported by sober percussions. Belief Inversion is another very original track dominated by the polyrhythmic vision of the sequencer. A series of rhythm lines is loose in a musical plain to spin around a core whose harmonic expression reminds me of Robert Fripp's vision in the development of Exposure. You can even hear the word in the short ambient phases of a catching rhythm in its electronic rock'n'dance vision. A very good title! We are already at the end of CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS with Dovepath. This longest title of the album offers lines of circular sequences which are attached to a pulsating structure. This electronic rock for neurons can make us move our necks, while it's rather the ears which have fun discovering this choreography of sounds in tune with our emotions. It is like hearing the stars sing with these arpeggios sparkling like pearls which harmonize their charms with melodious elements sparkling in these gyratory impulses. Voices from an absent choir add more depth, as all of that electronic beauty fades around the 5th minute, leaving Dovepath without rhythm. No rhythm, but there is always this ball where the shimmering arpeggios dance with the sequences in an ambient choreography always having a light sibylline veil around its charms.

CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS is a good, a solid album from Lightform whose scattering of influences gives the illusion of hearing a solo album by Chris Franke. It's close enough to believe it, so much the music breathes that of the Dream in its 83-84 years, but with a nice personal twist from Tim Darbyshire which gives him more latitude in the exploitation of his influences. A beautiful and more complex album which is made to please from a listening to the other.

Sylvain Lupari (March 16th, 2021) ****¼*

Available at Lightform Bandcamp

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