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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MIDNIGHT AIRSHIP: A River Once Flowed Here (2014)

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Peaceful prog rock creates from EM equipments; A River Once Flowed Here possesses all the attributes to please the fans of Pink Floyd

1 A River Once Flowed Here 8:48

2 Money for your Soul 11:38

3 Midnight Airdrop 10:46

4 Making it Right 5:29

5 Glimmer of Hope 8:53

(DDL 52:19) (V.F.)

(Electronic progressive rock)

There are a lot of things going on in the world of Borders Edge Music. This small independent label based in Ontario Canada is piling releases over releases, where the music created and computer-aided takes the forms which can please to many ears. As we say; there is something for all tastes, for all purses! Midnight Airship is the last project of Ron Charron, the one-man band behind this worldly brotherhood of EM musicians, who, this time, abandons the ethereal ambiences and the chronological rhythms of the New Berlin School for an approach closer to the one of the progressive rock. Incredibly inspired by the music of Pink Floyd, A RIVER ONCE FLOWED HERE possesses all the attributes to please, and to the fans of the mythical English group, and the fans of a light EM which nevertheless has not all of its characteristics.

And yet the spiral of chords, as bright as harmonious, which swirls on the spot at the opening of the title-track reminds unmistakably the influences of Tangerine Dream, the Rockoon years, on the music of Ron Charron. The rhythm which settles down is heavy and jerky. Soft but still heavy and a bit bumpy. A kind of mid-tempo with a scent of ambient funk and with a good line of bass of which the resonances are fitting to the hammering of the percussions. Ethereal, the guitar leads us towards the more vaporous moods of the second part of A River Once Flowed Here. It floats with very beautiful solos which mix in subtlety to the breaths of choruses, while its light riffs, scattered in the tears of the solos, speak to the more curt riffs of the keyboard and later in the lonely notes abandoned by a rather melancholic piano. All the improbable universe of Pink Floyd lives in a new address. The rhythm weighs down its senses and caresses our ears with an approach which will call back the memories of US and Them to overflow on Money for your Soul. This is nice, and the cloning is very incisive. From Dark Side of the Moon to the post-Waters years, this album fills our ears with these rhythms softer than violent which are disguising behind an approach made up by a tepid psychedelism vision. Here it's the guitar which is the king and fills our ears of David Gilmour's charms and wisdom. The synths occupy a supporting role by drawing and by enriching the ambiences and the sequencing pattern is rather sober. Everything is mainly sculptured around a fake guitar by the magic of the Korg synths and some very tasty plug-ins. So, the fiction goes beyond the reality. This synth six-strings is simply charming on Midnight Airdrop which is the most creative, the most dynamic and the most electronic track. Between a sort of cosmic blues and an ambient funk, the 5 tracks flow into our ears with some frustration. Something is missing there, the voice of Gilmour or Waters. And it's a stumbling block which annoys the listening. The music being intensively traced upon the roots of Floyd, we are always expecting to hear the voice of David Gilmour all the times. Instead, it's the guitar. And the whole thing sounds exactly like Pink Floyd. Even this saxophone in Making it Right is really in its place, while Glimmer of Hope sees its psychedelico-progressive and electronic touch be stolen by a more cheerful structure of rhythm where the guitar still continues its domination over the ambiences.

Peaceful, relaxation prog rock creates from EM equipments! I buy half of it. In fact, I'm half in earnest, half in jest in front of the fruits of this album from Midnight Airship. Even if a part of me raises my hat in front of all the work of composition which structures the bases of A RIVER ONCE FLOWED HERE, I believe that rock, as progressive as pure rock, belongs to a real guitar, a real bass, a real drum kit and, especially, to voices. Even if very melodious, the music of this last Ron Charron's opus never reaches the depths, or this invisible link which cements a music among which the essence and the feelings doesn't apparently belong to the spheres of EM as such. Set apart this thing which annoys me, the potential to resuscitate the soul of Pink Floyd is very present and rather effective at times. We swim in it at full ears. Even that the atmospheres of the last album, The Endless River are outstandingly present. And let's give to Caesar what returns to him; Ron Charron's talent at the level of the composition, and also as musician, is undeniable. His boldness and his perspicacity make of him an artist who is establishing some robust foundations for a very diversified career. But I would well give another chance to A RIVER ONCE FLOWED HERE with a real just band to see and hear.

Sylvain Lupari (January 13th, 2015) *****

Available at Midnight Airship Bandcamp

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