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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MIND OVER MATTER: Avatar (1998)

An absolutely brilliant album full of joy and hope in life put in music

1 Thunderchild 7:07

2 Magic Garden 11:40

3 Freak Street 7:51

4 Avatar´s Dream 6:20

5 Avatar 20:36

6 Beyond - live 23.8.1996 at Hamb-City 7:03

7 Thunderchild (The Radiocut) 4:06

IC Communication 87 2328-2

(CD 64:45) (V.F.)

(Progressive Electronic Rock, Ambient)

Mind Over Matter, or Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating artists in the field of EM. One never knows what to expect from the astral guitarist who draws his ideas and stories from his many travels and experiences in Asia. In the Hindu religion, an Avatar is a human being sent by God. He appears on Earth when the Divine creation is threatened by fanaticism, injustice and deception. KHH has seen pictures and representations of Avatars, which inspired him to write this album. From psychedelic to progressive, passing by these superb mellotrons invested with an electronic fluid, the vision of this musician-synthesist, guitarist and mellotron adept defies time and styles while remaining faithful to the Hindu roots that inhabit him and make him so special. AVATAR is purely in the image of the character; an album with complex compositions where the serenity of the moment is torpedoed by heavy and stormy passages; an album where the structures evolve in contexts at the same time harmonious and disturbing and which finish in a festive air.

Thunderchild starts with a bang. Thunder and lightning introduce a big church organ that spits out layers of swallower of emotions and or provider of goosebumps in the style of Phantom of the Opera. Their reverberations leave an imprint that MOM modulates with subtlety to make a tune that couples with a superb fluty mellotron. Her serene breath is lulled by rattles dancing the clappers and bongos drummed nervously and a good orchestral vision coupled with the bass layer of the synth pushing its muted pulses. This festive rhythm is ideal for Dagi Daydream-Hoffmann to lend her voice to sing a tribal ode. The rhythm becomes an instrument of trance with a feverish agitation of the tribal percussions. DDH's voice rises in intensity along with this rhythm that explodes into a big progressive rock around the 4th minute. Another hazy chorus emerges and its sharp tone pours over this diminishing rhythm returning to its trance-like formula to explode again in a striking finale. Counterbalancing the violence of Thunderchild, a wave blown by a synthesizer deposits a cloud of electronic mist at the foot of Magic Garden. Caressed by a floating mellotron, the intro progresses slowly on a movement in order to reach weak beats. Pulsating beats that get covered with a bluish layer and an astral humming. Much like in Thunderchild, the pulsating rhythm becomes heavy and influential to become a hypnotic ritual fueled by delirious chants with bass-sequences and tom-toms rolling in an intense spasmodic pattern. Freak Street is one of MOM's classics. After the enumeration of a menu in front of very happy guests, a waving bass and military style drums roll a light rhythm. The drums push for a more sustained rhythm and the mellotron blows a superb thematic melody that sticks instantly and stays between the two ears for a long time. A track for celebration and freedom where people are singing on a lively rhythm, swollen by a superb mellotron and bitten by a furious guitar solo in a night that doesn't want to end.

Avatar's Dream is slow, like a dream where everything turns in slow motion. The falling percussions resound in a blue haze under a streaky sky shared between the guitar and the synth. The echo of the percussions create a steady ambient rhythm which hobbles in a static whirlwind provided by the misty effluences of the mellotron. Incantations are invited when the rhythm dissolves to let us hear an astral cloud marrying the forms of the wind. With the long title track, we enter the complex universe of Mind Over Matter. Sumptuous, synth and mellotron surround us with growing nebulosity where the choirs blow light astral modulations that form curled spirals, sucked in by powerful magnetic pulsations. This stationary rhythm sucks us in and spits us out on a slightly spasmodic heavy structure. The sequenced hammering intensifies in an intense whirlpool with sharp embraces. And then it all falls apart! The guitar chords coordinate riffs on a hellish rhythm that shakes under a bass spring that gallops like an electronic cavalry, draped in a thick mellotron straight out of the darkness of ['ramp] whose master Stephen Parsick plays synth on Avatar. A track that increases in intensity, even if we think it can't go any further, for an explosion hold by a heavy sequencer that is covered by strident synth solos. A track of a violence equal to its heaviness and that ends in the arms of Morpheus. Beyond is a dark ambient track performed during a concert in Hamb-City at the end of the summer 96. The ambiences stick to a nest of reverberations which undulates under an artificial fauna with soft manual percussions and the tearfulness of a weeping synth. Dark and intense! Thunderchild (The Radio cut) closes AVATAR with the first part of the track ending just before the explosion bringing us into the warm lands of MOM's electronic progressive rock.

To be honest, you have to like Mind Over Matter's music, the style and the tone, to embark on the 8th musical adventure of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. And yet, AVATAR is purely impressive. An EM that keeps us constantly on our toes with this mixture of violence and passion released in explosive phases to say the least. It's a clever mix of Berlin School, electronic-progressive rock, tribal music and wordless poetry to tell us how the Earth is suffering. An absolutely brilliant album! The death of KHH in October 2017 has resulted in the albums of this remarkable human being, I know this from having spoken to him on several occasions, went off the map. Some albums can be found at record stores, there are a few at Groove nl and AD Music, or on various streaming platforms. But I didn't get any traces of AVATAR...Too bad!

Sylvain Lupari (April 21st, 2007) *****

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