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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

NORD: My Christmas Collection (2018)

A 2CD for the price of one that contains the best of Nord and all of his styles? A must…

1 Berlin III 14:14 2 Memories Part 1 & 2 6:58 3 Hypnotic Trancemission 10:40 4 Remember Christmas 6:33 5 Movement VIII 4:22 

6 Silence 9:44 7 Electronic Oratorio Part II 7:07 8 Seconds Before Midnight (Remix) 11:56 9 Nihil sub Sole Novum Nec Valet 7:18 10 Rain in my Dream 17:31 11 Sonic Wave Rider in a Christal Prism 11:32

12 Sunrize 7:40    

13 Licht und Schatten

14:18 14 Angels from Heaven 5:36 15 A New Beginning 6:54 Nord Music

(DDL 142:27) (V.F.) (Berlin School, Electronic Prog Rock)

It gets off to a flying start! The sequencer unleashes a line of bass sequences whose fluid and undulatory flow, paired with electronic drums of the tam-tams genre, stigmatize a driving rhythm which rolls to flee its shadow under a shower of sound asteroids. This sound mass also abounds with white noises whose liveliness settles at the rhythm of the sequencer while the synthesizer injects allegoric pads which shimmer with staccato effects in the spreading of its charms. From an album titled Berlin, made in 2014, Berlin III is a real bomb of sounds which pours its overflow of energy and intensity on a lively rhythm and its subtle ephemeral deviations. The electronic cadence scrolls fast under a plethora of solos, phantasmagoric litanies and synth effects which immerse the music in atmospheres of supernatural and fantasy. A superb title straddling several borders of EM that will fill our ears with its rhythmic fury and which begins a solid compilation of the Romanian musician Nord. Going as far as on foundations of his first album, Trilogy / Electronic Oratorio, released in the spring of 2010, MY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION offers nearly 2:30 hrs of a very solid EM, for a downloading format, which strolls between the many facets from its author Nord, who loves both the Berlin School style of EM and a good big progressive rock. And even EDM if we rely on the new compositions (3) found on this compilation. Romantic in his own moment, Nord also offers these titles that bring us to the doors of daydreams. Like Memories Part 1 & 2 which is a beautiful slow tempo embellished with a melodious ritornello whose tinkling carillons are charming on a cloud of pulsations which goes against the vision of a dreamlike and contemplative approach. The romance is here, as well as on Remember Christmas and its orchestrations to make shiver a reindeer. Among the most romanced titles, there is also the very calm and lunar Silence, as well as the very intense Electronic Oratorio Part II which sounds like the prog-rock band Triumvirat at times. The rest of this compilation features a fusion of Berliner-style of electronic rock and Nord's more progressive penchant, who even offers his vision of EDM with the 3 new tracks on this compilation. The first Nord albums, from Trilogy/Electronic Oratorio (2010) to Landscapes (2015), are albums I have not heard so far, so the opportunity was good for me to capture this compilation with my ears always hungry for EM…even over 40 years after discovering Stratosfear...

Hypnotic Trancemission follows with a good theatrical electronic rock and its rhythm carved on a long odyssey on horseback through several plains of orchestrations. The rhythm is constant, the arrangements well dosed and the synth solos are well proposed. Ditto for Movement VIII whose solos are more romantic. For this era, which has 12 albums, the sound and mixing are very acceptable, even in the sonic explosion which surrounds Berlin III. One continues in this period with an excerpt from Trilogy/Electronic Oratorio, which is officially the first album of Nord. Electronic Oratorio Part II is therefore a good title with a very progressive essence, because of this pairing of harmonies between the piano and the synth, on a structure of ambient rhythm with some noisy impulses. It sounds great and the mix of Nord's two ideas, electronic and progressive, goes pretty well, especially that Seconds Before Midnight is purely electronic in the genre of Klaus Schulze in his 80's-90's. Nihil sub Sole Novum Nec Valet is one of these 3 unreleased titles here with a great hint of EDM visions. This one is more lunar, Sonic Wave Rider in a Christal Prism is more romantic whereas A New Beginning closes this compilation with a vision of the Dusseldorf School imbibed into the perfumes of New Berlin School. Longest title of MY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION, Rain in my Dream evolves in a Berlin School romantic mode. The sequencer frees a line which hops while spinning, releasing isolated sequences which sparkle by metamorphosing their new tonal blooms. But the movement remains quiet, even with another line of sequences which jumps on the spot in the background, respecting these slow evolutions of electronic minimalist movements. Other sonic ornaments get grafted here and there, such as these layers of blue mists and harmonic filaments that get lost in these mists. An opposite movement of the sequencer gets fiercely imposed around the 9th minute, controlling a fluid rhythm with a very Chris Franke sequencing structure, the album Poland, and electronic percussions that raise these layers of mists became more musical in a final focused on the role of the sequencer. Another good Berlin School! Rather inspired by Vangelis, Sunrize is a nice title which concluded the The Hidden Garden of Sémiramis album in 2017. Licht und Schatten is a title that Nord signed under the name of Andreas Meyer and which is part of the Cavaliers de l'Apocalypse compilation, released by Kontinuum Productions in late 2015. Its introduction is mysterious with elements of peaceful cosmic moods. A delicate pulsation emerges after 3 minutes, sculpting a linear movement in which sequences and their circular movements are grafted. The rhythm continues its course by cutting out a crescendo which progresses in a sound fauna well imaged with very harmonious solos. Angels from Heaven is a sober electronic ballad easy to tame and to like.

As you can see, there is of everything in this impressive compilation that is more than just a wish for this Christmas coming from Nord. It's a real, and very honest, sonic expedition into the Nord universe whose talent extends across his different palette of styles. I like the fact that Sztakics István Attila focused on his first albums, thus showing the beginnings of a career he had already planned well before arriving at classics like Pendulum, Rings of Fire and The Hidden Garden of Semiramis. A double album for the price of one that contains the best of Nord and all of his styles? I call that a must ...

Sylvain Lupari (January 3rd, 2019) ****½*

Available at Nord's Bandcamp

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