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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Moonbooter Still Alive (2014)

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

I really enjoyed this album where Moonbooter mixes all the styles in EM with a great symbiosis for such opposites

1 Until Eternity 9:34

2 Dont Move 7:00

3 Number 43 5:02

4 Eternized in Crystal 7:55

5 Impact of Mind 6:30

6 Transition 6:07

7 Still Alive 8:02

8 Automode 7:29

9 Born 4:39

10 Tranquility 5:24

11 Adieu! 5:21

(CD/DDL 73:03) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, IDM, Electronica)

I think that I'm evolving! I do not know if it's this crush that I had for the Ultimae Records albums, but I quietly migrated to the psybient and towards a kind of trance EM. IDM will say some people, electronic trash will say others or simply Electronica! I am not a big connoisseur in the domain. I would rather tag the style in New Berlin School IDM. But no matter, I know just that it is as much energizing as beautiful! The link with Moonbooter? Well, the alias of Bernd Scholl does in a musical genre which unties the borders by unifying all the styles in a mosaic of rhythms charmingly rested by beautiful moments of atmospheres. Dedicated to the memory of his mother, STILL ALIVE is a concept album on the painful passage towards the afterlife. If there are rather ethereal moments, even touching by moments, the music leads us where Moonbooter feels at ease as well as a fish in the water with this mixture of up-beat, dance, psybient and even synth-pop knotted in the nebulosity of the Berlin School and/or its by-products. And I heard wonderful small jewels there...

Until Eternity starts this sonic adventure in the land of varied rhythms with an approach as much hazy as ambient. Lines of synth intertwine their passive energies in a cosmic landscape tinted of metallic colors where the stars are ringing. They agglutinate in an immense ambient mosaic. A movement of rhythm is emerging. It makes spark its jumping keys in an elongated stroboscopic strand which sneaks among the slow caresses of a bass line. Darker layers draw a gloomy approach while we sense those muffled pulsations to try of awakening the ambiences. There is a good dose of intensity in this track which wakes up with samplings of manual percussions and electronic groans that we could confuse with a guitar which spits long riffs rather ethereal. Although slapped by these percussions, the structure of rhythm of Until Eternity splits up its approach between evanescent jolts and meditative atmospheres, just before embracing its last 3 minutes with this meshing of percussions and of nuanced pulsations which are whipped by metallic bangings while welcoming a soft melody hummed by a dreamy piano. What strikes the most in the music of Moonbooter here is this attention to detail. The sound is rich and decorated with a thousand of subtleties which increase the pleasure of the hearing. The passage between the furious rhythms and the morphic moods calm the anxiety provoked by these ardent beatings and restore also the taste to hear them. Like a good Chef, Bernd Scholl knows to measured his recipes. Even if sometimes we dive downright into Electronica, like in the pulsatory rhythm of Dont Move and its stroboscopic lines which encircle a brusque and lively tempo where roams a melody struck on a glass anvil. It's kind of very Orbital (In Sides), except that the lines of synth and the strands of sequences which swirl all around remind constantly the sources of Berlin School. Berlin School which is strongly present on the superb Eternized in Crystal and its magnetizing minimalist movement which invades the senses. The introduction offers two lines of sequences, one which winds of its crystal-clear keys and the other one which chirps of its electric tones. Both are crisscrossing in a cosmic ballet which is tickled by a pleasant spectral voice. The line of crystal-clear sequences gets loose and draws a slow hypnotic spiral whom we constantly feel a threat of blowing up with a crescendo which will explode at any time. The arrangements, the orchestrations will hook a tear on your soul. And, after a delicate oneiric moment, the sequences flutter with strength, entailing the wonderful Eternized in Crystal into a strong up-tempo where the pulsations reverberate on sober technoïd percussions, and others which would make jealous a rattlesnake, while that synth layers float such as ethereal caresses and among which the tenderness and the arrangements accentuate the depth of a finale that we do not wish at all. This is a great music piece which found the road to my IPod; section best tracks of 2014! Moonbooter can also exploits purely ambient approaches. Like with the very ambiospherical introduction of Number 43 where a cello and a piano are exchanging bits of melodies which stroll in sonic walls oozing of droplets. If the rhythm settles down little by little, it's quite the opposite with the very somber but serene Transition and its ectoplasmic choir.

This mood can also be heard in the intro of Impact of Mind. A track which is more or less static with its thick cloud of silvery sequences which skip ardently while jesting of a very metallic tone. These keys go up and come down in huge sound effects which place the track in an intense envelope of emotionalism while the tempo, tinted of nuances, tries to pierce a rhythmic approach which wraps itself, just like the strummed melody, in a dense blanket of foggy voices. The title-track is some crushed dynamite. If Dont Move showed some restraint, Still Alive is more the kind of track that will make burst a dance floor in a Rave party. My ears are still bleeding! Jumping from a style to another without too much difficulty, Bernd Scholl masters marvelously the fates of STILL ALIVE. After the powerful and explosive title-track, which is filled of sound effects which will make tremble the walls outside the dance floors, Automode calms a little bit the ambiences with a beautiful down-tempo, although rather lively, tinted with a lot of Tangerine Dream tones, during their years on Miramar. The rhythm is charmingly bumpy and offers to our ears these percussions stolen in the tail of a rattler as well as a soft cosmic melody whistled by a dreamy synth. Let's say that it feels good after the relentless rhythm of Still Alive. Except that Born does it again with a rhythm which is as much furious. Tranquility wears quite well its name by offering a nice peaceful structure where the sequences are astride, like riffs in a desert flooded with atmospheres of a Far West, beneath a sky which suffocates of heat and where rattlers are waiting for the meals. And finally, Adieu! What a beautiful, a great track! Never dance music will have been so attractive in my ears. The percussions are superb. Rattlers glitter in a bumpy rhythm soaked with a cosmic approach where the sequences eventually forge a melody, but not as so catchy as these violins which will mold a wonderful earworm; deep, deep in your eardrums. The progression is delicious, and the arrangements are exhilarating. The beat pulses, the music moves, and we feel here a soft melancholy floating. That track is also in my IPod! And I don't know if it's because my ears are still soaked with ashes of Adieu!, but I quite like, and a lot, this album from Moonbooter. An album where all styles get intertwine with a surprising symbiosis for all of those antipodes. Very good!

Sylvain Lupari (March 30th, 2015) *****

Available at MellowJet Records

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