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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MOONBOOTER: Beyond the Neon Lights (2020)

Once again, Moonbooter succeeds to drag new fans in his EMD with closes links to Berlin School

1 Zeittunnel 5:41

2 Alone in Neon Light 4:58

3 First Time at Kings Castle 5:44

4 Big Disgrace 6:42

5 Sequential Moments 5:24

6 Einschlaf 5:30

7 Planet VHS 7:31

8 The Magic of Heroes 8:58

9 Fernweh 6:28

10 Goods Melody Part II 3:54

11 Don't cry my young Boy 7:20

(CD-R/DDL 68:15) (V.F.)

(EDM, E-Rock, New Berlin School)

Zeittunnel wastes no time getting into the EDM moods of BEYOND THE NEON LIGHTS. The rhythm is lively and the sound very heavy with percussions which jump from one ear to the other, involving a series of percussive elements which sparkle in accordance with the pleasure of our listening. The title is in pure dance mode with a sound fauna which is as lively as the strikes of percussions and with a strong dance synth-pop flavor that fills our ears to the deep. The sound of Moonbooter has changed since Groundcontrol and the Victory of Mankind! It's heavier, but also denser in these effects, making his EDM music and Techno sound noticeably tastier. But it depends for whom! It must be said straight out that this album has very clear commercial aims with titles such as Big Disgrace, Einschlaf and the very surprising Fernweh. There are also more vocals here, the vocoder and its lyrics are from Bernd Scholl, in addition to a track that is sung by Xanna, than in any other Moonbooter album. But the roots of the Berlin School are also much more present there, especially in the furious The Magic of Heroes that will saw your legs! In short, very strong moments which become even more so with each new listening. Big Discrage is the best example.

Alone in Neon Light is one of those catchy ballads that show up with each new Bernd Scholl album. The rhythm is an up-tempo flirting with a down-tempo in a futuristic ambience due to the presence of the Vocoder. Everything is in the norm, even these organic effects which lurk behind the violins' arrangements with fluid staccatos. There are these sweet things, like there are big Techno-boom-boom-tsitt-tsitt at First Time at Kings Castle which is part of the trance tracks of the album. Big Disgrace is a tasty track that requires more than listening in order to capture all the essences it cherishes. It starts with the backbone of the rhythm which exploits a good dose of Queen (We will Rock You) as an element of percussions, while the melody of the Vocoder sounds like Depeche Mode. The surprise is undoubtedly all this essence of Tangerine Dream which goes unnoticed at first listening, too obsessed by the rhythm sequence we are, and which is nevertheless very present at the level of the sequencer, keyboards and synths with harmonious solos. It remains a heavy down-tempo riddled to the bone by heavy music under a beautiful melody all puny on keyboard. Sequential Moments is a straightforward track that flaunts all the influence of the 80's on Bernd Scholl. The same goes for Xanaa's voice that makes of Einschlaf a kind of heavy synth-pop with a stroboscopic and spasmodic rhythm that is not far from a Break - Acid dance. It sings, but the music and the bursts of keyboards that sparkle as much in the ear as these percussions which make my eardrums vibrate make it very acceptable.

Sound waves come and go, suck us in and spit us out! All this while someone is walking up and down the stairs with a sequencer step as heavy and reverberating as these sound waves. The opening of Planet VHS is more of the sci-fi cinematic genre, with no rhythm and lots of vibes. Certainly, there are rhythmic patterns, but they remain elusive in search of a more tangible form, which arrives around the 4th minute, to hang on and to spin around. And Planet VHS becomes a robotic dance hymn with slamming percussions and vocoder in an EDM background rather melodious for such a colorful fauna. We do not know on which foot to dance with The Magic of Heroes! The Berlin School is in Trance mode and makes us whirl around to such an extent that we forget those huge synth solos that we end up really noticing after the 7 minutes peak. In short, a big hellish thing that flows in good Berlin School via splendid very lively solos. And there we enter heavy with Fernweh which enters in our system a rowdy and dizzying rhythm, like in a solid techno where lurks a phantom melody hummed by a synth in mode minimalist chorus. The music is progressing continuously with a panoply of effects by adding to a very theatrical level of intensity, which has the upper-hand of our hearing, and the acoustic guitar is hot here, than the beat can get the better of our feet. I like it when Moonbooter uses evolutionary dance anthems, it gives a bigger dimension to his EDM. Luckily, Goods Melody Part II is short! It's acid House in a dizzying rhythm designed to shatter the eardrums of those who idolize the DJ a little too close to the front of the stage. I like the keyboard riffs… And always very ingenious in the art of placing his tracks on an album, it is with a great electronic ballad that Bernd Scholl ends his new album. With a tenderness all his own, he lays down a little gem of tenderness in Don't cry my young Boy. The rhythm is ambient with bass pulsations which make its bed, while the piano and the mellotron, a superb and unexpected flute here, weave its threads of tenderness cast in silk. The rhythm, always ambient and melancholic, progresses with slamming percussions that layers of violins charm by caressing in order to keep them in a stationary state. And always, this flute which returns to bewitch and tell us; dance music? Really??

That is Moonbooter. Once you have grasped style, he transforms it to present it with new assets. It is his signature that shines brightly on this very beautiful album which follows this line of small jewels that he has been making since Teralogica in 2005.

Sylvain Lupari (November 30th, 2020) ****½*

Available at Mellow-Jet Records

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