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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Neuronium & Vangelis In London Platinum Edition (2022)

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

This improvised session is more aiming to Neuronium fans than of Vangelis'

1 In London 20:05

2 In London (After Hours) 18:32

3 In London (Radio edit) 3:19

(CD 41:46) (V.F.)

(Improvised ambient music)

IN LONDON, also called A Separate Affair, has always been one of those mythical albums of electronic music (EM). Mythical because it featured the great Vangelis and a band that was gradually beginning to expand its vision of psychotronic EM, Neuronium. Two of its members, Michel Huygen and guitarist Carlos Guirao, visited Vangelis' Nemo Studios in London back in 1982 where they played an improvisation session with the Greek musician. By a fascinating coincidence, a Spanish television crew was visiting Nemo Studios at the same time for a special report. This improvisation session was recorded on film and was broadcast on Spanish television as part of a program called Musical Express. From then on, pirate recordings of very dubious quality of the TV show and the music invaded the market of the EM fans' circuit. What we didn't know is that Michel Huygen left with these recordings! We had to wait up until 1992 to have a better quality source with the single and the maxi single that followed afterwards. But still and always, the whole of these sessions remained the business of the bootleggers. A Separate Affair, released in 1996 on the Swiss label Tuxedo, was the first recording to reproduce the entire session. This CD included the tracks In London, with a first version of In London (After Hours) as well as the track edited for radio. I have this version that Michel sent me many moons ago and I have taken it out of my collection to make comparisons with this IN LONDON PLATINUM EDITION that was remastered with the latest technology in the field of mastering music by Michel at the very famous Abbey Road Studios. Obviously, the audio quality is enhanced with a better definition of the sounds and their provenance, especially in In London (After Hours). It's the MIG label, famous for its reissues of Ashra and Klaus Schulze's works in the field of Electro-Music, that will officially launch this old improvisation session that plunges the listener back into the torments of a floating atmospheric music where the sharp shapes of the synths, the harmonies of Vangelis keyboard, and the guitar converge towards good moments of emotivity. I remind you that we are in 1982. In the period preceding the album The Visitor of which one hears the soul quite often in this session.

The opening of In London is under the sign of meditation with the ascending push of a celestial synth layer where the shadow of a seraphic voice sets a mood conducive to meditation, or to our dreams with our mind focused on the past. We are in the territory of this psychotronic atmospheric music of Neuronium here. The synth layers spread their sibylline wings, sometimes high-pitched and sometimes morose, that Vangelis sprinkles with his keyboard chords sounding like a surreal harp or with his rather discreet orchestrations in these dense sonic flights of Michel Huygen's synth and Carlos Guirao's guitar. And so it will be for the whole of IN LONDON PLATINUM EDITION, as for its previous editions. There is no rhythm in this recording, no sequencer momentums, perhaps muffled implosions that redefine the sedative impulses of the synths. Impulses paired with areas of whirring turbulence. What we call today drone music. On the other hand, it is rather melodious with these brief series of luminous arpeggios, released by Vangelis, and these harmonies of a synth/guitar fusion that provide its dose of shivers to come and that give the moiré reflections to this music whose essence flirts with the dark ambient genre. The epic moments are quite numerous with peaks of tonalities where the 3 musicians tune their thoughts, their visions in dramatic segments where certain tones of trumpets project an apocalyptic aura. The reverb effects and the sharper guitar wails also accentuate this vision rather precursory for the time. In fact, I hear a lot of sound waves and arrangements that probably influenced Bernd Kistenmacher's symphonic turn on his 2001 album Un Viaggio Attraverso L'Italia. In London (After Hours) is a cosmic remix of In London. This is the first time that this new version, mixed and mastered by Johannes Scheibenreif who worked closely with Klaus Schulze, is released in its entirety. For Michel Huygen, the idea behind this mix is that people disconnect from the world and its hazards. I would say that it is very successful because you can hear better those distant sounds in the opening track that gave it its melodic appearance. The piercing sounds, the iridescent wails and those philharmonic arpeggios of Vangelis have a much better definition here than in In London. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most beautiful segment of this IN LONDON PLATINUM EDITION which concludes with a small segment, for radio purposes, which indeed makes you want to discover a classic EM of the meditation kind, or to fill the spaces when our eyes devour a good book.

Although Vangelis is an integral part of this improvisation session, IN LONDON PLATINUM EDITION is more aiming to Neuronium fans, I would say even more; for the fans of Michel Huygen's meditative music, than for the Greek musician. The latter is more a guest musician in this session than the one who builds the framework of a music conceived as a poet throws his prose into the wind in order to reach the largest number of ears. A good release of MIG which will also release two albums of Neuronium, Quasar 2C361 and Vuelo Químico, remixed and remastered, I heard the artworks will be very beautiful, in January 2023. Available on vinyl and CD from November 11, 2022.

Sylvain Lupari (November 10th, 2022) *****

Available at MIG Music

(NB: Words in blue are links you can click on)

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