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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MIND OVER MATTER: Trance'n'Dance (1990-2001)

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

With a huge EM piece of anthology, Trance'n'Dance is the fulfillment of Mind Over Matter

1 Children of the Midnight 22:06

a Night of oblivion

b The march of the seduced children

c In search of the sunlight

d The dawning of bliss

2 Spacelab 8:10

3 Jack the Bear 7:31

4 Mahatma 10:30

5 The Silence (Bonus track from Music for Paradise) 7:14

IC 710.090

(CD 55:31) (V.F.)

(Ambient, spiritual, tribal and Berlin School EM)

What is hidden behind a cover where a Hindu is calmly holding a guitar? A huge contrast compared to a title letting sweat the possibility of dance and trance music. It's a bit like Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock! Flamboyant German guitarist and mellotronist, KH-H gives himself a platform to create an EM that transcends the borders of the Berlin School to adopt more esoteric and hovering movements that go to the confines of a progressive New Age with Hindu tribal influences. At the time, it was a very progressive vision that fueled beautiful albums. Albums that jumped from one extreme to the other with a level of difficulty high enough to tame them, like this little masterpiece that is TRANCE'N'DANCE. Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock's guitar is simply breathtaking. And when it invades the drifting synth layers and mellotron's orchestrations to give more tonal colors with its incisive crises, it carries us as far as our imagination accepts to follow. Even today, this third album of Mind Over Matter is a must that I listen to regularly and which is part of my Top 25 list!

A distant procession is heard. And from afar, from very afar Children of the Midnight takes shape. A very beautiful virgin voice, almost astral, emerges from it to make its soft moans heard on a mesh of chords of bass, guitars and keyboards finely scattered. We are in a virtual meadow where the sheep graze peacefully while their bleating merges with the distant chirping of cherubs. The guitar rolls its chords in repetitive loops, while the sound field amplifies its presence by increasing its intensity which hammers a hypnotic rhythm. The guitar bites this rhythm builds on big jerky riffs in a kind of boosted bolero worthy of big heavy and thunderous progressive rock. The Stratocaster is incisive. Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock cuts his solos, like a jeweler his diamonds, with sharp and strident flights. His solos twirl and tear the moods with curls sharpened like the edge of a razor. It bangs and pounding with ferocity until the tenth minute. Where Children of the Midnight flows towards a more atmospheric passage and where various filaments of reverberations and otherworldly sound effects await us. An atmospheric passage with strata of guitar which welcome a voice reciting its odes in a dark corridor, like a witch communicating with the beyond. Lightning falls and a soft flute emerges. Its song radiates and evaporates when bells tinkle to initiate the last phase of Children of the Midnight. The rhythm resumes. It' more balanced and even lascivious. It waddles in a surreal environment where roaring cries and tribal percussions accompany the chords of a guitar repressed in territories more New Age. It all ends with Hindu odes in a tribal incantatory dance inspired by a Hindu god. It's like the hells which pass by purgatory in order to reach paradise. You know what I mean? Quite a classic. A monument in the history of contemporary EM.

Spacelab is superbly atmospheric. Composed with Peter Mergener, it's a cosmic title which is an extension of Software and where the guitar is dreamy by floating on a discreet movement of the sequencer. Superb and magnetizing, both instruments suspend the time with guitar solos well pinched between two phases, two visions that complement each other in a lunar setting. Jack the Bear is another story that shows the great diversity in this album. A slight fluty breath gives off. Lively, the rhythm is sunny with a harmonious flute and very lively Indian percussion. A female voice bewitches the moment and leads us to a saxophone boosted by an increasingly lively cadence. A fluid movement that takes all its splendor with aggressive guitar riffs which are drifting among heartbreaking and incisive solos. A totally brilliant moment where KH-H's six-strings multiplies the chills. Mahatma is a slow wavy movement with the essence of Hindu spirituality. Slow and sensual, the movement progresses on flute breaths as well as a solitary saxophone and serpentine chords of a sitar. A very nice synth layer cloaks the structure with warmth, giving to Mahatma a pleasant depth. Added as a bonus-track to this CD reissue, The Silence is an ambient title powered by reverberation lines which comes from the Music for Paradise album produced 3 years ago.

If you are a fan of progressive EM, TRANCE'N'DANCE must find its niche in your collection. A powerful album that will stand the test of time and take on a whole new dimension when you listen to it with headphones. Each track is a pure jewel, even when the ambiences put the rhythms to sleep, so much emotion and sensitivity are there. Lovers of progressive music, you have to hear this majestic Children of the Midnight. At least once!

Sylvain Lupari (February 15th, 2015) *****

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