MORPHEUSZ: Days of Delirium & Nocturnal NightMares (2010)
“This is a powerful and punchy album that has no flaws to my ears, and which combines melody and complexity on vaporous structures of rhythms”
1 Between the Barriers or Reality 10:50
2 Daylight in a Nocturnal Scarescape 12:57
3 Prophecies of a Pagan 11:45
4 Sandman's Journey Through Sanity 14:03
5 Drowse at Dawn 7:11
6 Fearful Awakening 6:59
(CD 63:47) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, Space Rock)
Do you remember the striking Derby!? An album in concert from Ron Boots that brought together Harold van der Heijden on drums and Frank Dorittke on guitar to the Dutch synthesist, thus giving one of the powerful albums of 2009. Well MorpheuSz is this trio that is enriched now by Eric van der Heijden who seconds Ron Boots on synths, giving even more substance, more heaviness and a fluid musicality to a superb album which transcends the territories of the Berlin School to encroach heavily on the paths of progressive space rock. DAYS OF DELIRIUM & NOCTURNAL NIGHTMARES is a powerful and punchy album that has no flaws to my ears, and which combines melody and complexity on structures as much vaporous than furious.
Between the Barriers or Reality opens the album with a nice synth line that winds lazily in an oneiric Milky Way and in a Pink Floyd-style synth à la Wish You Where Here stretching its line in a stellar constellation studded with sound stars. A heavy reverberation puts an end to this cosmic reverie and initiates a weak sequenced beat which pulsates with energy under the misty breaths of a mellotron and the clicking of electronic cymbals. Another line pulsates with feverishness, filling the rhythm with voluminous subdivided pulsations which pound like a heavy bass under a sound sky ruffled with sinuous synth solos. So far, Between the Barriers or Reality flows like a cosmic rock. But at the point of 5:20 minutes the rhythm explodes with heavy guitar solos and solid percussions which roll and hammer a hybrid structure like Klaus Schulze and Harald Grosskopf knew so well how to do so. The solos are strident and roll in loops under a rhythm which undulates with heaviness, fusing wonderfully the electronic and progressive art where solos from synth and guitars get entangled in a furious musical combat. Like in the final of Daylight in a Nocturnal Scarescape which begins with synth waves waving with chords sounding like prism that sparkle in a cosmic nothingness. It's a brief intro before the music rolls over minimalism arpeggios that jump nervously. Arpeggios that sparkle and spasm under muffled percussions which are surrounded by a line of syncopated sequences. The rhythm revolving on a circular movement, fed by stroboscopic hoops, Daylight in a Nocturnal Scarescape unfolds its music with musical synth solos in its decor which make me nostalgic for Vangelis. Warm solos that come up against solid incisive orchestrations, screams of panic choruses and unbridled percussions, propelling its second part towards a more rock approach with heavy guitar solos which fly over a curt riffs and frenetic sequences. Keyboard riffs and sequences with rolls boosted by their feverish echoes, joining the drums strikes which pound an undisciplined cadence by the dramatic tearing effects of the brief orchestral strata. Prophecies of a Pagan takes us into the dark corridors of DAYS OF DELIRIUM & NOCTURNAL NIGHTMARES with a dark misty intro where the faint pulses of machinery resound around a dark mephistophelic voice. A strange atmospheric intro that takes a form of musical life with random strikes from a furious drums, strata of a roaring guitar and solos of a mellotron synth. A curious amalgam of sound filled with duality, both melodious and atmospheric, which stagnates in a cosmic musical broth from where muted pulsations of a bass line sculpt a cadence going up. Delicate arpeggios, like Tangerine Dream on Tangram, emerge from this intense sonic magma where the hatched strata of guitar shape a dark world and a bit corrosive where warm synth solos bring a touch of musicality, thus depicting the two paradoxes of Prophecies of a Pagan.
Sandman's Journey Through Sanity keeps its way on the musical duality undertaken by Prophecies of a Pagan. We can hear a synth line whistling a sweet melody that will obsess us throughout the evolution of this title which seems to come out from the territories of Frank D Project with its slow minimalist tempo à la Mike Oldfield. Lonely guitar chords get lost among bursts of percussions, sinuous reverberations and chords that collide sharply, vestige of a disorderly sequential universe reminiscent of that of Rainbow Serpent. A fine sequence, more minimalism, pulsates a light cadence which spawns with clear chords, molding more and more this soft and innocent synth line. Synth solos fuse, while Heijden's drums roll and hammer a more sustained cadence. And quietly, Sandman's Journey Through Sanity comes out of its hypnotic torpor to embrace a rhythm divided by the drums and an increasingly animated sequencing pattern. A synth spits out heavy symphonic layers, sounding the rhythmic charge that bites to the brim with incisive guitar solos and enchanting synth solos that envelop this innocent and frail melody from the dark galactic caves of its intro. A very strong title! Drowse at Dawn and Fearful Awakening are two titles which are tied to each other, but which have totally paradoxical universes. Drowse at Dawn evolves smoothly on a mesmerizing minimalist structure. Delicate arpeggios jump there, forming a cadence which feeds its nervousness on the multiplicity of chords hopping in loops. A fine sequential minimalist and hypnotic movement flows like a stream of prisms under a sky shaded by a synth both hazy and spectral releasing nebulous gases. The movement is amplified with the addition of percussions which sculpt a hypnotic cadence where keyboard chords roam with a jazz approach. Hopping on a discreetly syncopated line, Drowse at Dawn sings under a sky covered with solos from a languid synth and a misty mellotron. A title that reminds me a little of the Who's universe on Who's Next and which continues its progression in the tumultuous Fearful Awakening where heavy and furious guitar solos as well as crazy percussions are unleashed around solid synth solos, bringing DAYS OF DELIRIUM & NOCTURNAL NIGHTMARES towards a final that it couldn't just avoid. A final that equals this impactful album which is without a doubt the best of 2010. At the very least from what I heard so far. And to say that it's chapter 1… I am already salivating at the idea of putting chapter 2 in my ears!
Sylvain Lupari (January 13th, 2011) ****½*
Available at Groove NL