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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MINDPHASER: Hydrological Cycle - A Water Adventure (2022)

I had to pinch myself, so much the creativity of the Felix Perez to create the past flirted with perfection

1 Arise Waters from the Ocean 8:48

2 The Hydrosphere 5:42

3 Isotopic Fractionation 6:52

4 Rain Percolation into Groundwater 3:54

5 Surface and Groundwater Interaction 9:39

6 Advection and Hydrodynamic Dispersion 7:20

7 Contaminated Water 5:20

8 Artesian Aquifer 4:08

9 Glacial Melting 7:52

(DDL 59:37) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

It is often said that it depends on moods! Take for example this new album-download from MindPhaser. The first listening was a disaster for my ears. I found the waves of drones very intense. Too much! Even the ear pads of my headphones were vibrating with a malicious pleasure to make my eardrums tense. True that I have listen a lot of music on that day and having really enjoyed the excellent In Time of Lockdown, I decided to try again the next day. A wise decision since this HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE- A Water Adventure is a musical adventure in the land of the vintage years. Attempting to link his experiences as a hydrological engineer to his fascination for the electronic music (EM) of the 70's, Felix Perez offers here an album at the dimension of his ambitions.

A synth wave with an outline filled with the drones of a sort of reinvented bagpipe opens Arise Waters from the Ocean. A collection of electronic tones gets grafted onto this sonic buildup that unleashes more twisted lines of reverb effects once the second minute is up. A line of rhythm makes hear a series of muted beats within rumbling swirls, pounding a structure that immediately disappears under this mass of crackling sputtering sound mist. Undulating with that tonality of Klaus Schulze's atmospherical years, the synth layers accumulate in an oceanic panorama tinged with a dramatic vision where a sequencer movement belatedly bursts out just before the 5th minute. Magnetizing, the rhythm relies on 4 main chords that jump around in series, forging a sequence of undulating rhythm whose echo, sounding like a rubber defector, and iridescence, molded in metal dust, weave a long stroboscopic filament zigzagging in a circular shape over a beautiful distance of more than 2 minutes. Respecting the order of things established in the field of EM for ages, Arise Waters from the Ocean occupies its last 2 minutes on the same atmospheric concept of its opening. Contrary to The Hydrosphere which starts to move as soon as what sounds like organ strings attack our eardrums. Structured like the opening track, its rhythm rises and falls with a series of sequenced chords whose depth effect is born from this series of sequenced synth pads that follow the same rhythmic drive. A fascinating aerial melody replaces this orchestral drizzle that surrounds this creative magnetizing rhythm structure that will further enchant us when the synth lets go of ghostly melody snippets after the 3rd minute. And to think that the day before, this track didn't sound good to me! These rhythmic structures, designed on the basis of canon effects in music, are a source of hypnotic bliss in HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE- A Water Adventure. And they are even more seductive in short tracks like Rain Percolation into Groundwater and Artesian Aquifer, although here the sharp and abrupt rhythmic jolts dominate its soundscapes even more. Isotopic Fractionation invades the sonic space with synth waves describing horizontal arcs that multiply collecting harmonies of a psybient nature. Conceived on sound effects, these melodic bits create an atmospheric rhythmic vision where luminous arpeggios start to tinkle. The effect creates a slow-moving carousel that is overtaken by a seductive sequencer movement that mimics its approach but with more weight and snarl and a thin layer of white noises in its slow upward motion.

Serene is the very atmospheric opening of Surface and Groundwater Interaction and its synth layers drifting between our walls with that old Tangerine Dream tone of the Rubycon years. Gradually filling up with the electronic chirps and shimmering sound effects of that era, the ambient landscape occupies the first 5 minutes of the track. It's the synth that first weaves this ascending movement with a prismatic tone of the vintage years. The sequencer follows with a similar structure that is heavier and becomes more vivid under a storm of magnetic elements that reduces its tension, letting Surface and Groundwater Interaction drift between its undulating structure and the atmospheric elements that surround it. Felix Perez keeps us in these delicious ambiences with the very strong Advection and Hydrodynamic Dispersion which, after a slow introduction filled with the ether scents of Schulze's first albums, I think of Cyborg and even Irricht, takes advantage of these undulatory rhythmic structures built on the principle of rhythmic cannons which decorate the soundscapes of this very beautiful Mindphaser album. On the other hand, here, the abrupt jolts are seeking this small electronic convulsive side of Artesian Aquifer. The sizzling contour and bell effects add a well-dosed psybient texture to this excellent track tattooed with vintage Berlin School influences. Dark circular waves drive luminous particles into the murky opening of Contaminated Water and its roaring wind lassos. An embryonic melody emerges, pondering its fate as the sonic radiation effect continues to rise and fall in this opening that unlocks on another violent spasmodic rhythmic movement of the sequencer. It sounds like Redshift crossing the universe of ['ramp]! And that explains a bit better the violence of Artesian Aquifer. It is with a beautiful sequenced movement of moiré arpeggios emerging from the circular reverberations of its opening that Glacial Melting ends a superb album that should please aficionados of retro Berlin School. The rhythmic melody meets the chthonian aspect of this throat-singing reverb-filled wind slingshot with a slow, seductive circular approach that is as mesmerizing as deliciously hypnotic.

I must have listened to too much music the day before because there was no reason to have denied myself the pleasure of continuing to discover this other impressive MindPhaser album. But it doesn't matter, the important thing is to have picked up where I left off and to discover almost 60 minutes of pure auditory happiness. Felix Perez does the right thing by creating atmospheres that add a vintage context to these compositions where the flavors of Schulze and Dream flirt with their influences in the heavier contemporary Berlin School style, thus closer to the roots of the trio Baumann, Franke & Froese. There are passages in this album where I had to pinch myself, so much the creativity of the Chilean musician-synthesist to create the past flirted with perfection. Solid from A to Z!

Sylvain Lupari (June 14th, 2022) ****½*

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

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