NORD: Pendulum (2016)
“Thumbs up Nord for this solid album of electronic cosmic rock loaded of retro sounds and of Jarre influences”
1 Amplitude 7:34 2 Clockworks I 8:27 3 Gravity 8:36 4 Clockworks II 7:10 5 Horologium Oscillatorium 7:37 6 Clockworks III 7:00 7 Pendulum 7:53 8 Another Gravity 11:39 Nord Music
(DDL 66:01) (V.F.) (Retro cosmic E-Rock a la Jarre)
The music of Nord always continues to charm me! Since that my ears have discovered the music of Bells of the Sun at the end of 2015, I wait for each of his albums, the man is very (too much?) prolific, with this small craze when we wait for a little gift. PENDULUM is the 5th opus that Sztakics István Attila made available in a downloadable size on the Bandcamp platform this year. And contrary to the other albums, which offer between 2 to 4 titles, this album offers us a small brochette of 8 titles which make us travel between some good Jean Michel Jarre, the years Oxygene/Equinoxe, and Software with synth solos with a very Klaus Schulze's fragrance at times. A delicious album with a very retro sound and with wild rhythms.
Amplitude begins this journey with a beautiful line of sequences of which the keys rise and fall with the grace of a skier making an astral slalom. A line of bass sequences makes these delicate oscillations tremble and suddenly Amplitude runs and jumps up with the fury of a starving animal. The conflict between these two movements is covered with a soft veil of ether. That is when a 3rd line of sequences slams its keys like snips of scissors and that is when the density of the veils populates the backgrounds as the effects of cosmic mists from Jean-Michel Jarre. Rollings of big boxes make divert the structure which stumbles over a bed of hyperactive sequences a la Software. And the perfumes of Jarre abound. And the solos are tenderly charming. And the castanets of woods mixed with percussions add a sonic perfume to which we would listen at infinity. Inspired by the moments of tenderness with his grandmother, the music of PENDULUM is filled with a soft melancholy which floats over some good cosmic electronic rocks. As in the good time of the 70's! Clockworks I proposes an ambiosonic overture with noises of a pendulum and the rustles of winds charged of astral dusts. The synth sounds the alarm at a heavy but static structure of rhythm which swirls without adding of swiftness but rather with restraint, being inhaled by a thick cloud of cosmic sound effects, by melancholic solos and by palpitations of which the jumps stay prisoners of a minimalist membrane. Gravity is a solid electronic rock a la Jarre. We roll of the neck and we tap of hands on the thigh. The effects of percussions are completely charming, and the synth solos make very Klaus Schulze. That would pass easily on FM radio. Splendid!
More dynamic and clearly more livened up, Clockworks II rocks the house down with a real electronic rock. It’s more powerful than Gravity, but not so harmonious, with good synths which gargle over some very good solos and over also of some wide banks of mist which add an esoteric dimension as well as cosmic. Horologium Oscillatorium is as great as Gravity, notice that the percussions rattlers help a lot, with its slow rhythm which is abundantly pecked by good orchestrations. Strange fact, Clockworks III dives into the influences of Tangerine Dream and the somber era of Phaedra. The rhythm is heavy, slightly more aggressive, with beautiful effects in the movements of the sequencer but also with a synth full of fluty harmonies. The first listening puts us in a suspicion mode, but we eventually like. The title-track begins with a lively line of sequences which oscillates of a shark sleep transparency and of which the deep sparklings interlace in a fluid movement of electronic cosmic rock. As powerful, but clearly more melodious, than Clockworks II the rhythm grows heavy of synth effects and of layers of mists as well as percussions which plough fiercely in countermeasure, giving the impression that both parallel structures fight in symbiosis among all the sonic beauties of PENDULUM. Another great track! Another Gravity ends this last opus of Nord with a slower, a more floating version of Gravity. It’s not useless, I like, and that ends a wonderful album of Sztakics István Attila who definitively feels at ease out of his long minimalist corridors. It’s one of the best albums of electronic cosmic rock this year.
Sylvain Lupari (January 4th, 2017) ****½*
Available at Nord Bandcamp