Nord A Red Zenith (2016)
Updated: Oct 17
“A Red Zenith is a fair album that will please before all the fans of Nord and I don't believe it's a way to start the discovering of Nord's universe”
1 Mystique Water 7:49 2 The Lost Oasis 9:19 3 A Red Zenith 9:47 4 Dunes 11:59 5 Seconds Before Midnight Remix 11:50 (Bonus Track) Nord Music
(DDL 50:47) (V.F.) (Roumanian and Berlin School)
I tell myself that Sztakics István Attila never sleep! The man must spend all his time behind keyboards, behind keys. Imagine! A RED ZENITH was written in 2015 while he released 4 albums along with his Andreas Meyer project. And considering the quality of his compositions, it's completely justifiable to ask such a question. Does he sleep? Well, we must think so! Not that this album is not good. There are good moments and others which are hollow. It's an album which is just a little bit uneven with 5 titles all very disconnected one from the other and among which some plunge us into the other hillside of EM; the one which is anti-music where everything justifies itself for some and which is condemn for others. Let's have a closer look ...
A distant wave is pairing with a rather acute synthesized song. This duet of disparate harmonies awakens a heavy line of sequences which deeply pulses, raising a linear pounding rhythm among which the shadows which get loose from it are running away in a series of aggressive kicks. Simple and effective, Mystique Water is in the pure Nord tradition with its minimalist rhythm where is grafted a sonic crowd of elements all so attractive for the sense of hearing than each other. The tears of synth are incredibly touching with their envelopes of mist and the arrangements which lull them tone up their emotional scale of these harmonies. The game of sequences and electronic percussions is in the tone by freeing, for sequences, tones always also near the organic world. In each of his album, Sztakics accustomed us to a very solid title. Here it's The Lost Oasis! A title which is in the purest Berlin School tradition with an introduction flooded of a very Arabian ethereal atmosphere. A small concert of carillons rings among winds of azure. Symphonic strings cry under the impulses of a bass line with a very furtive approach there. And a superb melody played on piano floods these atmospheres which are very near the repertoire of the unique Bernd Kistenmacher at the same time as the percussions fall to forge a slower structure than heavy. These notes of piano draw a plan which flirts with the improvisation, even if those rainy tear drops a la Rider in the Storm from The Doors can seem to us so near, under the discreet thunders of a bass drum. One would say a mix of Pink Floyd and The Doors wrapped in those dramatic arrangements of Bernd Kistenmacher. It's very good and it's getting better when Sztakics István Attila adds some pretty nice lines of flutes. A flute which is also very present on the pounding beat, which is rather ambient, of the title-track which dominates its floating moods at around the 6th minute to offer a good mid-tempo. Synths are very present and inject lines of harmonies into rather contrasting tints. Ringings of sound waves open the spatiotemporal lane of Dunes. Other sound waves ripple such as the caresses of ophidian on some hot sand while that pulsating sequences sharpen their acidified tones. This intro dissolves in a basin of rippling waves where perfumes of Pink Floyd's Rick Wright stigmatize the rather convoluted atmospheres of Dunes. The multiple chants of synths roll like a synthesized Mass where the choirs shouts in order to invent some spectral harmonies. And little by little, the curtain of iridescent ambiences dissolves to give way to a down-tempo on which it is necessary to imagine very languorous and where all the elements get entangled in a mace of waves which derives with its synthesized caresses more lascivious than lively.
An interesting compilation that I chronicled at the beginning of the year was one of Kontinuum Productions where was nesting the track Seconds Before Midnight, the first title that I heard from Nord. The Rumanian synthesist offers us here a remix which gives a livelier tint with a more percussive approach which hides a little the synths and the orchestral effects. The industrial perfume of Klaus Schulze's Dig It era is present just as much but in a more realistic. I prefer this version which Nord retrieves in his catalog. And still I believe that before all, A RED ZENITH is an album much more indicated to his fans than to a larger audience. In fact, I don't believe that it's the best way to discover Nord, although Mystique Water is very beautiful. There are average moments, like Dunes and the title-track as there are also very good moments. Yes, the fans of Nord are going to like this. Me? I heard better things from this friendly Rumanian musician who absolutely has to find the way to sleep a little... But I had a very pleasant time!
Sylvain Lupari (August 7th, 2016) *****
Available at Nord Bandcamp