NORD: Rings of Fire (2017)
“Always soaked of influences of some of the greater names in EM, the music of Rings of Fire is among the best in Nord repertoire”
1 Ring I 13:54 2 Ignition 7:09 3 Ring II 7:35 4 The Scorpion 7:28 5 Ring III 11:38 6 About Life 6:26 Nord Music
(DDL 54:14) (V.F.) (E-Rock a la Jarre)
A sequence! Its echo and its shadows which gallop a short moment guide the introduction of Ring I in a sort of fragrances which float like the vapors of a Jazz and of a Lounge ambient. Always in evolutionary mode, the music of Sztakics István Attila constantly arouses a curiosity which is transformed into an enthusiasm as soon as that Nord makes hear its charms. The first 2 minutes of Ring I are tinged by a melancholic approach as intimate as a piano-man in a Bar who floods our conversations misted by alcohol of a nostalgic envelope. A pulsating line presses the melancholy to get converted in approach a little more in the style of ambient progressive rock, as this impeccable work of Rick Wright in the Animals album. In spite of this line, the ambiences, weaved in good floating layers and of a seraphic choir, smother this deaf rhythm which continues to beat until this pulsatory line frees a twin. These two lines which beat at the door of the 6 minutes hunt these moods with a good French School approach where the rhythm gets adrift in a cosmos decorated with good synth solos. The percussions arrive in order to boost a little this approach which always remains a bit floating and where the solos sing and spin on a beautiful carpet of layers soaked of these delicious astral waves.
Contrary to Pendulum, which contained good some nice electronic hymns fit to be heard on FM radios, Nord offers here an album which will ask more than a listening to satisfy those who have savored this album. In the other hand, the fans from the very beginning will be on familiar ground because RINGS OF FIRE dives back into these more intimate and more fragile ambiences where the essences get dissolve in order to crystallize in those very nice evolutionary structures. Ignition is not really difficult to tame. Its introduction is more funeral and nibbles the same seconds at the meter than Ring I. This opening is set ablaze by other beautiful solos which coo with acuteness on a line of sequences of which the lost keys seem to draw a first approach without backbone. These solos float in a very Klaus Schulze atmosphere for the first 120 seconds. The rhythm which follows always stay rather docile in its envelope of standstill, leaving all the place for solos and cosmic sound effects of the French School movement. The pulsations get more and more pressing and the ambiences get smother in this very dense sonic veil. These moods explode around the 3 minutes, letting escape a line of lively and pulsatory sequences as well as good electronic percussions. Conquered we are! The melody settles down a short time later. A poignant melody which sings in an intense atmosphere where the sequences skip like a herd of fleas on a blazing fire and the percussions explode in the thunders of the big boxes and of their dramatic influences. This is a superb 2nd part, but not as much as that of Ring III which is the highlight here in my humble opinion. Ring II follows the same bases that Nord presents on this album with an introduction heavy of its ambiences always soaked into essences of the cosmos and with its 2nd part which explodes of a rhythm sometimes stationary, like here, and sometimes explosive like in Ring III. The Scorpion borrows a more or less futuristic bend with feminine voices which recite sentences in English to the strong Germanic flavors in a sound veil filled up with special effects. The solos float, as well as bass pulsations and lines of sequences there which try to weld a rhythm which will succeed when it stays hardly 2 minutes in the meter. About Life is the answer to The Scorpion! Except that here the voice is a male one and that the ambiences gather themselves on a line of sequence which goes up and goes down in a shroud dramatic sound effects. The synth solos are more harmonious there, as well as the line of sequence which weaves a pretty nice hypnotic movement. Percussions give more of biting to a structure which suddenly caresses the minimalist charms of Indra. And always this synth and its beautiful solos which come to the rescue of a rhythm became more ambient. Solos which are at the heart of an album where the ambient moods are passing in transit between the music of Jean-Michel Jarre and Klaus Schulze, the vintage periods, and Indra, for the minimalist hymns. A little less strong than Pendulum, it’s true that the bar was very high, RINGS OF FIRE remains a solid album of Nord and an album pleasant to listen to, the ears well wrapped in a headset. That's EM my friends!
Sylvain Lupari (March 21, 2017) *****
Available at Nord Bandcamp