NORD: Black Tears (2018)
“Sad in all aspects, Black Tears is nonetheless the most beautiful album of pure EM from Sztakics István Attila since Pendulum”
1 Grief 10:30
2 Sorrow 7:05
3 Deprivation 7:46
4 Daze 7:03
5 Resignation 10:16
6 Memories Left Behind 14:15
7 Life goes on and on... 13:07
(DDL 70:04) (V.F.)
“Music begins where words are powerless to express. Music is made for the inexpressible. I want music to seem to rise from the shadows and indeed sometimes to return to them” It's around these words from Claude Debussy that Nord has built his last album BLACK TEARS. This very personal album marks a return to more electronic bases for the Romanian musician who composed it with emotions that he could express in a different way but in music.
It's therefore with an introduction chiseled into his deepest emotions that opens Grief. Chords fall with a distressing heaviness. And from their resonances get escape some pads that widen the filter of an apparent pain. The music is as sober as it is dark, and the synth pads stream the threads of a nostalgic melody while the procession of Grief evolves in a setting where the esoteric aspect of death gravitates with celestial elements. Percussive noises lurk behind a heavy sonic procession from which emerges a movement of the sequencer. The following rhythms follow the usual standard of the Berlin School with a zigzag line which goes up and down, goes away from the auditory field and gets back, with a small swarm of percussion elements still attractive to the ears. The synth adorns this new rhythmic acceleration of anesthetic mists which follow fairly well a rhythm structure that receives a great ally with some sober and effective percussions. From its ambient embryo, Grief evolves towards a good electronic rock by passing through a more Berliner approach. This evolving principle, with varied emotional textures, applies for the next 6 titles of BLACK TEARS. Sorrow begins with a more striking ambiospheric landscape. Tears from a very Vangelis synth cry in a lunar scenery which accurately renders the feeling of loneliness that rocks us when a rough passage makes our world tips over. Alone in this universe, Nord seems to cry by his very expressive synth full of sobers which wear out our supply of oxygen. A pulsating movement emerges around the 4th minute, imitating a circadian flutter which calms down with the drying of our lacrimal glands.
Deprivation stands out by its lively sequencer movement that makes its keys jump as soon as the music breathes. These balls of beat are hopping into the fog of synth pads too quiet for this hyperactive phase of stationary rhythm. Daze gets tied up to this structure, by the vivacity of the sequences and by some very penetrating solos. The sequencer releases a mass of beat's balls which jump like a dozen balls on a conveyor, structuring a very static electronic rhythm which relies on solid percussions in order to ignite a bass line that goes up and down, dragging thus Daze in a solid ending of electronic prog rock. Nord is in great shape behind his synths, shaping solos as angry as tender which chisel huge banks of meditative mists. It's in a decor of supernatural ambiences elements that Resignation gets fixed to my ears. Keyboard chords twinkle, violin lines expire and masses of white noises purr in this passage filled by synth pads whose color and tone remain to be defined. A movement of the sequencer raises a line of nervous rhythm which plays with these keyboard chords, structuring an approach as evasive as these drifting synths and keyboard riffs that crumble like a series of drops fleeing the tap. The structure and its tension remind me vaguely Tangerine Dream's Silver Scale. Memories Left Behind puts to profile its 14 minutes to patiently spread out an electronic structure born of sounds' graffiti and strangeness, as well as white noises which sizzle in a landscape of ambiences flirting with the border of psychedelia. The title evolves by kaleidoscopic phases, among which a good one animated by a line of rhythm and of ambiences, before reaching a last one of big progressive and electronic symphonic rock. Built around the same mold, Life goes on and on ... is the longurest title of BLACK TEARS. After a short and very orchestral opening, a phase of pure electronic madness excites the ambiences as the sequencer draws the arcs of a rotary rhythm. Guided by this sequencer and supported by a still creative synth, the music oscillates between the ears with a rich texture and a lively rhythm structure but retained by a dense veil of sound effects and orchestrations that gives way under percussion attacks, guiding Life goes on and on ... in a solid and lively electronic rock structure, like in the universe of Let Them Float by the Polish musician Przemyslaw Rudź.
Sad in all aspects, BLACK TEARS is nonetheless the most beautiful album of pure EM from Sztakics István Attila since Pendulum. There are beautiful pearls in this album where the emotions of Nord roll thin-skinned.
Sylvain Lupari (August 25th, 2018) ****½*
Available on Nord Bandcamp