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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Node Singularity (2023)

The album I needed to get me going again in writing about the unique dimension of EM

1 Fast Forward 10:28

2 Continential Drift 7:05

3 Parallax 13:19

4 The Kraken 14:20

5 Cycles 5:18

6 Terminus 16:16

(CD Digipack/DDL 66:49) (V.F.)

(England School, Dark Psybient)

Fast Forward timidly begins this recording of an album lost in the vaults of Ed Buller and Flood. A haze of metallic particles floats between two spheres while chimes tinkle in the disorder of static pulses that run like small lost steps. The mellotron, that worthy ambassador of vintage tones, pushes as much mist as celestial effects while the synth throws twisted lines and drone effects loaded of this dark psybient mood which surrounds the rhythms and the more melodious passages of this excellent album that is SINGULARITY! This opening, where the chthonian and seraphic ambiences border our imagination as much as stigmatize the musical signature of Node, prolongs these delights for ears avid of particularities and sound colors up until the door of the 3 minutes. From then on, the rhythm gets activated around oscillating pulsations that trace a long and sinuous cadenced line that goes up and down displaying its contrasting colors. Cymbal rattles help propel this momentum, reminiscent of the basics of On the Run from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album. Electronic percussions enliven this rhythm that has just hit a rubbery wall, creating a pulsating echo effect. The synths weave harmonies that ululate and hum like a choir of disordered specters in a second part that is further energized by the contribution of percussions and percussion effects that are simply ahead of their time, such as the vibrating echo effects that overdrive the rhythmic scope of Fast Forward and the other tracks on this new album by the legendary English quartet. New album!? Not really. SINGULARITY is taken from the sessions of Node's 1995 self-titled album. The whole thing is mastered with today's technology, without any overdubs, and preserves that avant-garde sound dimension catapulted by those walls of modular synthesizers and a few hundred wires that give that filter of ecstatic colors to the EM of Dave Bessell, Gary Stout, Ed Buller & Flood. The gothic atmospheres and harmonies, as well as these rhythms with mystical dimensions are as much the prerogative of Fast Forward as of the 4 other tracks which follow it.

Thus, Continential Drift is born from a static turbulence imposed by sinuous waves of drones where tinkling sounds inspire a Buddhist meditation. Gothic breaths, coming from sinister mellotron layers, and foggy emanations, filled with industrial sputters, adorn a nightmarish procession atmosphere amplified by the presence of ghosts' laments, gnomes breathes and other mythical characters of the Middle Ages where the keyboard chords have that tone of the 70's prog bands, notably that of Rick Wright, Pink Floyd's keyboardist. We continue this descent into the underworld of a paranormal creativity with Parallax and its atmospheric opening under the sign of an orchestra tuning its strings. Our ears are soaked in sound swirls that get deafly excited in a more or less cacophonous vision. Whimpers, like whale chants, temper these atmospheres to bring a more angelic vision after the 3rd minute. For the second time, our senses agree to submit to Node's will when rubbery pulses challenge the sublimity of these magnetizing seraphic loops. The rhythm that follows is bouncy, almost hobbling, with a fusion of these pulses and the hypnotic loops. The echo of the rhythm is built on an industrial and metallic response in an atmosphere that becomes dominated by the caresses of chimerical violins. From a rhythm that makes us dream, the structure of Parallax intensifies its traps around the 8th minute when the pulsations and the sequenced artifices multiply shadows and knocks in a second part more dynamic without being more rhythmic. Art for ears!

And this sentence applies equally to the majestic The Kraken which is simply the pinnacle of this SINGULARITY and the kind of title that will make you fall in love with this more creativity, of this diversity art. With a little imagination, we manage to put in image a scenario that sticks to the birth, growth and attacks of this mythical sea monster. Lyrical flute, synth layers of a blue to induce drowsiness and vibrating buzzes, the opening chanted a laborious birth that agitates the underwater currents in this duality between these dark and seraphic visions that paint the multiverse of SINGULARITY. A rhythm that gives this sensation of galloping from the darkness to suck a breath of oxygen propels the first momentum of The Kraken a few seconds before its 4th minute. This rhythm will evolve and change, it will even break in some places, almost flirting with the momentum and the forward movements of this big monster from the tales and legends of the first storytellers. Bending its spine under mellotron layers that intertwine their cinematographic poetry, it emerges from its static veil to shake itself in a violent thrust to annihilate its prey. A series of cracking metal bones roll over this rhythm that gallops as it runs down a corridor where water has become absent, leaving a vacuum effect that creates an illusion of echo in a clash of multiple metal hoops. This sublime texture where metal copulates with an organism is the central point of this track which is a real creative gem for the ears. The arrangements are also divided between this light orchestral vision and the more tumultuous one of simply acrimonious synths that weave this subtle probability where paranoia is the last refuge of this track that wears its long distance of 14:20 wonderfully. Once the beast is repelled or its anger appeased, The Kraken returns to the unfathomable mysteries of the ocean depths. And if you have this illusion that EM has become weariness to your ears, a track like The Kraken, and even an album like this SINGULARITY, is the best antidote. Brilliant all the way. The rhythm of Cycles quietly emerges from an opening worthy of a Steve Roach divided between his serene and angry visions. It beats nonchalantly under a sky lined with metallic buzzing shadows to end up offering a lively and bouncy flow, like rubbery jumping keys. Other sequences and electronic percussions bring to life a more frenetic structure, like the dance of a tribe of jumping keys that haven't eaten an ounce of rhythm in decades. Those who have been following Node's career since their first album in '95 will know the track Terminus, which was circulating illegally in the circle of the English band's early fans. This track from a concert at the London's Paddington Station represents Node's true worth with a structure closer to the Berlin School of the vintage years. Tangerine Dream's fingerprints are more present here than elsewhere on the album. The rhythm follows an evolutionary growth in its power, not in a danceable excitement. It progresses slowly with the resilience of a stubborn one, where crackles, metallic residue effects and synth arrangements oversize a psychedelic depth that is more tentative here than in the whole of SINGULARITY.

It must have been about 2 weeks since I last wrote a review about an album of EM. In addition to the chronic pain that is starting to eat my fingers, a weariness effect had taken hold of my ears. It took this new album of old music from Node to get me going again. SINGULARITY is a beautiful album offered both as a download and as a CD manufactured in a digipack. A collection of 8 photos immortalizing the members of this band that became legendary over the years adorns a small waxed paper booklet. Yes, a very nice production made possible by the DiN label, along with some excellent EM!

Sylvain Lupari (April 7th, 2023) *****

Available at DiN Bandcamp

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

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