MYSTICAL LIGHT: Beyond the Horizon (2013)
Updated: Apr 10
“Beyond the Horizon is a strong album by Mystical Light which, from now on, sets the base for the newcomers in the field of modern Berliner EM”
1 The Awakening 6:52
2 Coko's Theme 8:58
3 Sequencing the Elements 6:43
4 Quantum Lounge 5:50
5 Secrets of Taklamakan 7:23
6 Aurora Borealis 6:49
7 Eternal Peace 7:21
8 Return to Skye 9:03
9 Between Galaxies 8:56
10 The Clava Cairns 4:49
11 Hymn 5:47
(Based sequenced Berlin School)
Remember Yog Sothoth? Or if you prefer of Michael Wilkes? Of its heavy and powerful rhythms that terrorized our ears in Prehistoric Dawn? Well, that's a half of Mystical Light. The other one being André Willms who, under the name of Astral Cookies, develops an EM closer to ethereal cosmic atmospheres. Mystical Light is the fusion of the two genres and their first album, BEYOND THE HORIZON, breathes of these two opposites in order to give a powerful EM album with some very cosmic dimensions. Electronic cosmic rock in the purest of traditions from the analog years where the shadow of Vangelis-style's arrangements overlooks tracks where melancholy and anger coexist in a surprising harmony that Ron Boots has finely orchestrated.
It's with a line of sequences which makes swirl its keys in a stifling oscillating spiral that The Awakening extricates itself from the freezing nothingness of a new skeud. A dull pulsation is tied to this line while insidiously another line emerges to make silver keys fluttering. The pulsations accelerate the pace of a static rhythm which receives thin layers of a morphic synth and cosmic riffs, permuting its passivity for a cosmic funk with strikes of unleashed drums. Return to Skye continues on this rhythmic vision with spasms of a line of sequence whose metamorphosis went unnoticed in this intense electronic broth. Coko's Theme is a very cosmic title à la Vangelis where the synth layers draw clouds of ether floating among attractive morphic voices. There are a lot of ambiences here and it feels to be like a space shuttle, the window of the porthole open, contemplating the stars singing in silky astral layers. It's very beautiful. After this very nice and sweet cosmic interlude, Sequencing the Elements takes up the great rhythmic lines of The Awakening. Electronic melodies more present in a vision developed with more vigor and heaviness. Quantum Lounge erases the reverberations left on our walls with a good atmospheric down-tempo. The tempo is slow and rests on sober percussions where delicate lost arpeggios draw the lines of a melody fragmented in the dense morphic veils of a synth which also spreads hovering coats of ethereal mists. Intense, Secrets of Taklamakan resembles to a war hymn with its big drums that roll and thunder in a hoarse voices. The orchestrations are superb. Their undulating and hatched layers are adding a theatrical depth to this intense mythical ride which heaves with heaviness in the great Mongolian plains where arpeggios tinkle like those which one heard formerly in a military parade. Titanic and impressive!
Aurora Borealis follows the same ethereal paths as Coko's Theme. The synths sing a delicate morphic melody which joins the murmurs of angels whose celestial serenades float in tender orchestrations. It's very beautiful. And if we play these two titles back-to-back, it simply takes us elsewhere. It's with chirps of birds singing above a monasterial choir that Eternal Peace embraces our sensitivity. The synths draw caresses of Vangelis while spreading a dark veil in which a line of sequences waddles. The atmospheres get heavier and the percussion strikes are harpooning an ethereal softness which pours its tears on a rhythm become heavier. It's a slow gallop where the synths harmonize their angelic breaths in a more austere and more symphonic vision with a timid harmonic thread. Do you remember Michael Garrison? It was the first thing that struck my ears when I heard Between Galaxies. A heavy title, well timed with a sequenced approach that clings to a good crescendo by sustained percussions. It's a lively rhythm hammered under a bed of stars whose sonic bursts spice up a good harmonic approach programmed by whistling synths. After a short empty passage, Between Galaxies springs up with more sparks in a rhythm where the percussions and the sequences strike and dance in a rhythmic resonance which let's escape harmonies weaver of earworms. This is a very good cosmic rock that breathes the fragrances of yesteryear. The Clava Cairns is forged in a heavy structure of more contemporary electronic rock whose outburst pours towards a tasty anarchy. Hymn crowns this very good album with a cinematographic structure à la Vangelis where the bass drums resonate in synth breaths with the fragrances of an avoided apocalypse.
I enjoyed every second of BEYOND THE HORIZON. This is a powerful album that will appeal to fans of Tangerine Dream, as well as fans of Jean-Michel Jarre and Ron Boots. I loved this symbiosis between the ambient poetry of André Willms and the big hard rhythms, the big resonant sequenced impulses of Michael Wilkes. Mystical Light offers almost 80 minutes of pure delight where we hear all forms of musical memories melt into a powerful album where passion, like tranquility, are wrapped in an orchestration with sonic tentacles strongly inspired by visions as seraphic as dantesque of Vangelis.
Sylvain Lupari (September 7th, 2013) ****½*
Available at Cue Records & Groove NL