LIGHTFORM: Retreater 2015-2020 (2020)
“A very good album which confirms the influences of the Dream in the artistic approach without compromising the value of the compositions”
1 Sensemillia 6:21
2 Lowtide 6:18
3 Octangles 5:40
4 Eastern Corona 5:50
5 Monoglider 7:50
6 Dawngazing 6:37
7 Sanguinelle 6:09
8 Sun Spirit 5:40
9 Meridian Mellows 5:09
10 Patchoulicious 6:19
(CD-r/DDL 61:56) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, New Berlin School)
Lightform is one of the interesting discoveries that I have enjoyed following in recent years. Tim Darbyshire's project is very interesting for Tangerine Dream fans who can't get enough of hearing the Johannes Schmoelling era, especially the Logos album. What is special about the art of drawing inspiration from a universe, since Logos is a universe in itself, is that the Canadian musician-synthesist integrates little bits into his compositions which are enhanced by it. At this level, the arrangements and the way of reworking these little jewels of rhythms and/or harmonies always lead us to question their origins. So, we are very far from the cut and paste principle here. Offered for free on its Bandcamp page in 24Bits, RETREATER 2015-2020 is a compilation album of more than 60 minutes which includes the albums Realize There Is Nothing To Realize until the last album of 2020, Flora Luna. Surprisingly, there is no trace of the Superluminal album that put me on the Lightform track in 2018. You don't know Lightform? Have you heard of it but weren't charmed at the thought of spending your money? The barrier of all possible reasons falls and you just have to click on this link RETREATER 2015-2020 and it's yours's for free...
If you have read my review on the Flora Luna album, this Lightform retrospective album contains 3 tracks from this album, including the very good Lowtide while Sensemillia and Sun Spirit are rightly selected, being the most accessible tracks of this album produced in 2020. I have not yet heard the album The Only Place For Us, nor the others by the way. The album seems very well done here with 4 selected tracks; Octangles, Eastern Corona, Dawngazing and Meridian Mellows. Octangles is a good and pure EM title. A kind of ballad based on the circular and spasmodic movement of the sequencer that percussions (boom-boom) try to attract in a mellow rock. The floating harmonies of the synth have this TD scent without clearly defining the period, ditto for the beautiful mellotron. A good title which sounds like TD and which is not! Eastern Corona is livelier with a nice sequencer playing which is as tasty as in Ova-Coda from the Circadian Rhythms album. After a nebulous introduction, Dawngazing crumbles the influences of the Dream much more, especially at the level of the soundtracks, with a good percussion and sequencer mesh as creative and precise in its increasing flow than the magic of Chris Franke, Logos and Poland era. Meridian Mellows finally makes me regret not having discovered this album earlier. The track grows with a zigzagging and spasmodic vision of the sequencer, creating an illusion of a moonwalk which lets itself be drawn into a good electronic rock very catchy for the neurons. And this rhythmic part clears rather well to migrate in harmony that a layer of voices is caressing of a suave hum. We move to the Embryonica album with two tracks, Monoglider and Sanguinelle. If the latter is a good ballad guided by percussions with nervous sticks dancing the tap on a wooden board, Monoglider is a good electronic rock with great ideas in terms of percussive sequences. A good creative rock with this little harmonious thing that itches our ears for a couple of days whereas the synth bursts with alarmist trumpets. We can't be against that! Patchoulicious comes from an album called Realize There Is Nothing To Realize, made in 2017. Like Embryonica, I never heard it. The selected track reminds me of Faber, pre Dark Sun period, with a mellow rock approach aiming for a smoother dance vibe. Synth solos, they are rather rare in the world of Lightform, are raining and are very beautiful on this track. Harmonious and creative in terms of musical acrobatics, they demonstrate that Tim Darbyshire is a complete musician whose influences do not prevent him from composing his own music.
For the asking price, RETREATER 2015-2020 is an excellent investment! Lightform demonstrates its potential by offering a dozen of titles which confirm the influences of Tangerine Dream in his artistic approach without compromising the value of his compositions. And it is so for each of his albums where a piece of sequencer, a breath of synth or a fragmented harmony are applied for decorative need but not to sell his identity. A great compilation if you like electronic rock. But at that price you can fall in love without the risks ...
Sylvain Lupari (March 17th, 2021) ****½*
Available at Lightform Bandcamp