NODE: Node Live (2018)
“Without weaknesses and without a single second of lost, Node Live is the quintessence, the summit of the creativity in the universe of the contemporary EM”
The comeback of Node in 2014 was undoubtedly one of the biggest happening in the story of EM these last years. Only the death of Edgar Froese aroused as many reactions. Why to make this link? Because it's further to a concert of Tangerine Dream in 1975 that the sting for this kind of art began to germinate in the mind of Mark Ellis, alias Flood. And a concert of this English quartet is the equivalent of these legendary concerts of Franke, Froese & Baumann in the 70's, in the sense that the level of improvisation is rather high. This concert, one of the very rare of the English band, was presented at the prestigious London's Royal College of Music and proposes more than one hour of totally new music where the sound fragrances of Ricochet, Phaedra, Stratosfear as well as the last album of Node are floating through the heavier England School style of Node. Take note that the 5 tracks of this concert are divided and mixed as individual title and the applauses were removed, giving the illusion that NODE LIVE is a studio album.
Thus, it's through some recollections of the mythical album Encore, the Cherokee Lane track, that the ambiences of Shinkansen North are opening. We can say also that it's almost similar to the opening of Shinkansen East. A synth layer, of which we bind easily its tone to that of a train floating on its rails of marshmallow, gathers fellow lines to weave an opaque wall of atmospheres from which the graceful movement remind those of a waltz in heavens. Celeste and sibylline, the departure of the Shinkansen Japanese train for the North sets in motion near the 4 minutes' point. The movement of the sequencer is heavy and fluid while the veils of synths make very TD of the 76-77 years. One swims in the fury of Shinkansen West but with good additions to its breakneck pace. Huge jingles decorate the race while the movement of the rhythm widens its zigzagging tentacles in a hallucinating sound decor where every second is filled to the full. Vintage electronic effects become allied to those more contemporary while the rhythmic bend rolls at top speed, being whipped by wonderful percussive effects and making even more pleasant this title which originated from Node 2. The universe of Shinkansen North remains chthonian with effects of synths and layers with a hint of voices which sound as hooting of specters. Always in movement, the rhythm stays in waiting for the convulsive movement of the sequencer and the percussions which restructure it for a heavy approach of a Techno for one-legged people on amphetamines. As for them, the synths take the shape of this evolutionary structure of the sequencers and of the rhythmic pounding percussions by adapting their solos and their ambience's veils to the accelerations and the decelerations of a rhythmic structure which is very far from the minimalist approaches that we usually associate to EM. My ears buzzing and the walls resounding, Perpertuum Mobile 1 comes along with its mass of ambiospherical and ambiosonic elements. The movement of the sequencer structures an oval ascent while the synths free some anesthetic perfumes. Decorated with very good sound effects, one of the big strengths of this album, the structure evolves slowly through the chants of the synths. Another line of sequence gets in. Its keys get grafted to its contiguous movement. The adding of castanets and of percussive effects create an imperfect rhythmic double shadow which beats with more vigor, while being sober, but very effective in the background, the synths continue to spread a chthonian veil. Arrival is a title of atmospheres unique to Node's repertoire. Muted knockings, one would say rustles of metallic doors, chants of extraterrestrial locusts, hoarse breaths in an effect of didgeridoo and voices mumbled by a synth; these ambiences put down a luciferian aura where sparkles a rosary of arpeggios glimmering in the electronic effects of the Exit years. Bass pulsations give a perception of Groove to this structure which limps with a hypnotic effect, while percussive effects, another element of indisputable charm in this NODE LIVE, stimulate a structure which stays in the field of the floating rhythms as such which flirts between a classical Node and the surrounding areas of Arc's aerial melodies.
Shinkansen South concludes the course of the Japanese train with an introduction of electronic ambiences of the vintage years. The rhythm which develops is built on sequences which flicker in the trail of a good line of bass and percussive delights. It goes up and comes down in oval loops with fragrances of the golden age of EM. Synths are unchained as well as the sequences and percussions which never stop to amaze our sense of hearing. They are in symbiosis with the phases of rhythm and sculpt strange aerial airs as well as ectoplasmic harmonies, such as a concerto for specters which are drag down from the oblivion to hell. One can even hear the effect of a guitar and its loops which echo in a tumult more and more controlled by Node. After this peculiar rock, Shinkansen South lands in a long ambiospherical finale where the Mellotron reigns in absolute master within its mythical mist. Some great Node that is! Perpetuum Mobile 2 also arises from a broth of ambience elements before following the curve of a floating rhythm sits on a meshing of pulsations and motionless sequences. Synths are totally intrusive with layers and jets of chthonian sounds while multiplying many effects which divert our ears of a rhythmic formation which offers itself like in a state of collective hypnosis where dozens of torsos rock themselves in the unconsciousness. A little like a big feline following its prey being dying, the rhythm takes the various angles of the moods without ever really exploding. The beast won't eat after all, containing its fury in an atmosphere which reaches the summit of our waits.
It would seem that there have been never so many analog synths and sequencers on the same stage during this concert, and we can hear, we can feel it. I have already written it in my review about Node 2, never I would have thought that so many sounds, tones, elements of ambiences and rhythms could get out of these machines and this in such a cohesion. For me, that is beyond belief! Without weaknesses and without a single second of lost, NODE LIVE is the quintessence, the summit of the creativity in the universe of the contemporary EM. A pure masterpiece and a delight for my ears! I am convinced that it should be the same thing for the very great majority of aficionados of the Berlin School style, heavy and livened up by a brute force! Available on May 18th in a limit of 2000 manufactured CD by DiN Record.
Sylvain Lupari (May 5th, 2018) *****
Available at DiN Bandcamp