MTA LAB: Synthetica (2016)
Updated: May 27, 2020
“Another good discovery from SynGate, Synthetica is an album which is going to please to the fans of Keller and Schönwälder and to those who like a more modern Berlin School”
1 ATM Resonanz 13:03 2 Scritti Funk 7:47 3 Complexion 7:41 4 Dawn Voices 16:37 5 Synthetica 16:05 6 Ice Dance 10:41
(CD-r/DDL 71:58) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School)
There are really good things happening on the side of SynGate. From electronic rock to a form of very cauterized ambient and this good old Berlin School, the German label is always lying in wait and ready to throw us a new refreshing thing. This time it’s about a new trio formed by Marcel Margis, Thomas Meier, the man behind TM Solver, and Andre Danker for the acronym MTA Lab. This new trio goes of a concept largely used for the kind with jam sessions which are recorded then edited in the studio of TM Solver. Thus to the menu, repetitive structures of which the long periods of times give all the latitude necessary to the 3 musicians to make them progress with hypnotic rhythms, even if they are nervous and shaken, effects and harmonies of synth under forms of solos tinted of sibylline airs. The meshing between sequences, as rhythmic as harmonious, and percussions is also efficient as the heat of the synth layers and solos.
Sequences jump up from an ear to the other. Hanging to some metallic jingles, the rhythm of ATM Resonanz accepts layers of dark voices before being rerouted towards a more technoïd beat with the coming of robotics percussions. Thin lines of sequences flutter around this motorik rhythm and the bass pulsations of the percussions resound underneath the chants of a bewitching caliph. Other percussions get in. And their random hits give an impression that the rhythm of ATM Resonanz evolves, while it always stays in its minimalist envelope. The solos of synth abound all over the musical arcs of SYNTHETICA. Here they sing and shed their sonic skin with a lot of musicality, injecting into this repetitive structure the arguments necessary so they flow with more ease between our ears. This hopping rhythm and these solos with delicious electronic dialects remind us, here as on Dawn Voices, the fragrances of Keller and Schönwälder in their beautiful years from 96 to 00. Strange Funk that is this Scritti Funk and its motionless rhythm which skips and stirs nervously around flickering sequences and bass pulsations, here the paradox with the style of Franke on the sequencer is rather obvious, haloed of beautiful ethereal layers and pretty nice solos filled of the analog warmth.
Complexion has more the looks of a cosmic Funk with a sharp and jerky rhythm which is always tied around this mixture of sequences and nervous percussions. The bass line resounds piercingly, and the synths are always so warm with more apocalyptic layers a la sauce Vangelis. The title-track is the most peaceful one of SYNTHETICA, although Ice Dance is not outdone. Always embroidered around these sequences which jump up from a sphere to another one and with this line of bass which gurgles by crawling, the rhythm is less nervous and flows slowly into an ambience as seraphic as cosmic. The harmonies of the synths are like those of interstellar whales which sing in symbiosis with those mermaids a little gypsy. If the 16 minutes of Dawn Voices pass better, because of its evolutionary formula, those of Synthetica show a length which does not escape to the cerebral dullness. The pattern of sequences on Ice Dance is also filled with Chris Franke's influences. More ambient title of SYNTHETICA, this last title of the first opus of MTA Lab is also the one which gets closer the most to the repertoire of Tangerine Dream. The rhythm is ambivalent and spreads a pattern of pulsating sequences in the background while the main rhythm hesitates between to sleep or dance. Synths are more musical here and inhale, as the effects and the ornamental layers, the fragrances of Edgar Froese. It’s this kind of track we have to listen more than once before catching it. But it worth it.
This first musical rendezvous with MTA Lab is rather promising. Sequencers and percussions are treasures of imagination which bewitch as much as these synths which are a surprise with their haloes of heat. The style reminds me a little that of Von Hallgath, blackness less. And at the end of the line, SYNTHETICA is an album which is going to please to the fans of Keller and Schönwälder and to those who like a more modern Berlin School with an approach of morphic dance peculiar to the long repetitive, but not boring, structures of dances for Zombies marinated in ether. Another good discovery from SynGate!
Sylvain Lupari (December 22nd, 2016) ***½**
Available at SynGate Bandcamp