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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

NEIL & GETTY: Retrochet II (2010)

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Retrochet II plunges us in the heart of good old Berlin School

1 Cascade Effect Part 1 31:24

2 Cascade Effect Part 2 30:05

(DDL 61:29) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

I'm telling you straight away, RETROCHET II has nothing to do with Retrochet I. Because even if the sequences are still loud and frenetic, this second Neil & Getty collaboration embraces two long and rather paradoxical musical corridors where the melody is buried in electronic approaches that are experimental and psychedelic filled with a melodic duality pushed by a good sequencer. This is the opposite of the more structured and much less improvised tracks on Retrochet I.

Divided in 3 parts, Cascade Effect I starts very slowly with its strange electronic dialect submerged by vague and delicate notes of a solitary keyboard. A half aquatic and cosmic world where delicate flutes emerge from this introduction, melting their breaths to superb undulating strata of an ethereal mellotron that will form the melodic portion of Cascade Effect I. One feels the movement taking a darker approach with frenetic pulsing sequences around the 5th minute. Sequences which are frantically beating under dark reverberations and fine tinklings that will get lost in the oscillations of a heavy bass line, while the sequencer's chords overlap and line up in furious double-hits worthy of ['ramp] and Redshift's heavy and lively movements. But the power is fragile because even if Cascade Effect I is going full speed ahead, the movement is overlaid by layers of a hazy mellotron and layers of a lyrical synth which has kept in mind the fluty breaths of its intro. Violence against tenderness, the track rolls in full duality with its tempered impulses under metallic ambiances. Towards the 13th minute the sequencer's hits fade away to get lost in a brief moment of seraphic ambience. The sequences oscillate in a metallic haze before re-emerging with a more weighted waddling to fill Cascade Effect I with an equally heavy rhythm. A rhythm with a more spaced-out impasto and filled with nasal distorted streaks and synth layers ululating in a haze that drowns out the light tinkling of gongs. In short, a howling sound universe whose strangeness resound in a gloomy play of the sequencer that seems to run out of steam near the 21st minute. And slowly, Cascade Effect I pushes the last beats of the sequencer beyond the dreadful howls that have constantly chewed up its hypnotic path.

Although built on the same precepts, the universe of Cascade Effect II is more ethereal even if at times its approach can be just as murky. Gongs and chimes tinkle in a fine glassy-toned swirl. A mystical haze of mellotron synth envelops this opening. Monastic choirs wander in and exhale breaths of mercy over the implosion of a bass line that slowly animates the opening of Cascade Effect II. Chords from the sequencer muffled under chiming tinkles, mournful breaths and a bass line with slow hesitant movements. An effervescent musical world sets the beat ablaze with a Tangerine Dream-like sequence that pounds out a sinuously undulating rhythm. It becomes a heavy rhythm that straddles the musical plains with tones just as eclectic as on part 1. Constantly flirting with this setting, Cascade Effect II distances itself by having a rhythm closer to the roots of the Dream. A rhythm which pulses intensely in a universe full of streaks and strata as gloomy as nasal, proper to the characteristics of Cascade Effect I. A symphony of a sequencer beating on the same themes, with a few variations, and which follows the same tangents and structures but with sharper and clearer sounds. Yeah, it's Cascade Effect II all right. It's even RETROCHET II

If Retrochet I innovated with a Berlin School sculpted in still virginal ambiences, RETROCHET II plunges us in the heart of the good old Berlin School with 2 long tracks where the improvisations seem to merge so well in coherent structures. A bit like those crazy Tangerine Dream concerts. It's an extravagant trip to the heart of the Dream, the den of the 70's. A solid album that should please fans of Ramp, Redshift and Pollard/Daniel/Booth genre.

Sylvain Lupari (January 18th, 2011) ***¾**

Available at Retrochet Bandcamp

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