Nord Celestial (2022)
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
“This is a fair release in a pure Nord tradition for mixing EM with prog rock”
1 Celestial I 8:43
2 Celestial II 10:47
3 Celestial III 12:28
4 Celestial IV 6:22
(DDL 38:21) (V.F.)
(Progressive electronic rock)
A silent wave, some twisted oscillations and intergalactic warfare sound effects open the first part of this latest album-download from Nord. A bass shadow spreads a powerful shroud of drones. Its circular rays precede an ascending rhythmic line with sequences that leap into a limpid tone. This opening to CELESTIAL is a real mishmash of sounds that exchange roles. They come and go in the intense atmospheric opening of Celestial I and its waves of apocalyptic sounds that surge with a whiff of Vangelis in the tone. Even though powerful and enveloping, even with its rhythmic line that comes and goes and gets lost in this sonic broth, the track remains static in nature with a rather atmospheric vision and powerful synth chants whose shrill emotions are quite poignant. The sequencer keeps its limpid and ascending nature in the second part. Its fugato movement even crumbling arpeggios whose sharpness is a counterweight to those droning waves that smear the finale of Celestial I. This last proposal from Nord's music has a powerful yet strident tone that can assault the eardrums. So much so that I adjusted the sound of my headphones down a few times. The arpeggios tinkle with a violence and some synth solos float with a very sharp tone to make all comparisons explode with stridency and sharpness. The music navigates between conventional electronic music (EM), i.e. the New Berlin School, and a progressive rock of vintage nature. Of the 70's!
A barely felt pulsing bass line dances in ascending oscillations in the opening of Celestial II. The synth releases some beautiful solos. Their plaintive moans glide over a sibylline haze, while the muffled rhythm continues to beat without creating a rhythmic dynasty. The layers of mist vibrate with more opacity, while arpeggios tinkle like weeping pearls and leap across this floating expanse of reverb. It's here that we sense a musical vision drawn to the progressive rock that lies in Sztakics István Attila's latest releases. In particular with an essence of Pink Floyd and Can. The organ layers vibrate, the arpeggios tinkle with more brilliance and the musical texture goes by in small jerks. We have just crossed the 6 minutes and the intensity eats away at the ambiences as well as the melodious texture of the tinklings which radiates with a strident crystalline effect on powerful waves of reverberations. It's at the 7th minute that the percussions hammer out a heavy and slow rhythm and the organ adds a 70's progressive rock dimension to Celestial II. Celestial III is the cornerstone of this short album-download offered by Nord. Its opening follows the same principle as the first 2 tracks, except that the sound texture is more amplified by the presence of a core of radiations that let filter gurgling effects. A superb texture of percussions, one would say clogs made of an alloy of wood and metal, resounds under the lamentations of a synth which scatters its solos with a sharp sound diffusion. A roll of percussions ends up structuring a heavy and slow rhythm where a beautiful melody of the keyboard nests. The first 8 minutes of this track are of a rare intensity with ferocious percussions which hammer a solid structure triturated by powerful guitar riffs and solos which mix marvellously the tonalities of an electric six-string and of synth. Powerful solos with striking harmonies. The track then dives into an atmospheric phase, which resembles those already heard in CELESTIAL, before bouncing back with a less powerful rhythm some 2 minutes later. This is THE track from CELESTIAL that ends with an atmospheric structure agonizing in its cosmic shroud. Its delicate and undulating rhythm leads us to a final all in classical EM. Style, Klaus Schulze meets the cosmic ambiences of Jean-Michel Jarre.
There are quite powerful passages in this new Nord album. I found the cosmic electronic and progressive rock mix quite judicious, while the percussion work and that splendid percussive effect of Celestial III add a seductive dimension to CELESTIAL. If the tinkling of the pearls that are the arpeggios is sometimes aggressive, the emotion that comes from the powerful synth solos balances this war between the stridency of the keyboard and the synth. For the rest, it's good Nord slightly superior to his last albums, Origins and Pictures from a Distorted Mirror.
Sylvain Lupari (October 15th, 2022) ***¾**
Available at Nord Bandcamp
(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)