NORD: Vortex (2016)
“Even in his clothes of massive EM maker, Nord always manage to draw the best of his imagination”
1 Circles 13:06 2 Spirals 18:06 3 Rotation 19:24 Nord Music
(DDL 50:28) (V.F.) (Roumanian School)
Among the artists I discovered in these last years, Nord is unarguably one of the most interesting. An artist who has a lot of experience, Sztakics István Attila knew how to develop a universe of minimalism EM where are grafted a panoply of rhythms, lively or ambient, and of electronic elements which always follow the mainstreams of his ideas. Inspired by the rotation of the Universe, VORTEX is already a 3rd album in 2016 and proposes 3 long evolving titles with as background a cosmic and filmic vision where the style of Nord brushes slightly the kind of The Dark Side of the Moog series and that of Otarion in his very good Genius.
A wave of sounds reveals a thick cloud of tonal waves which appear and forge a dense sonic tapestry which floats like these layers of ether in Wish You Were Here. A piano gets loose from this wall of interstellar atmospheres, drawing a deformed melody of which the main attraction is to awaken a line of sequences with its keys which skip as a centipede with a multitude of broken legs. The rhythm limps in a dense synthesized coating. And a heavy effect of orchestration whips it in order to energize it in a rhythmic structure which meditates between trance and techno. The background regurgitates good cosmic effects which swallow this first brief structure of rhythm in Circles which leaves shyly its place to this piano which repeats its melody with a beautiful melodic schema where every note, strongly hammered, leaves its imprint in our ears. The atmospheres are rich and wrap this first title in a wealthy cosmic cloth with a very beautiful synth which draws solos from which the forms derive such as the crumbs of a vessel which dissolves in the coldness of cosmos. The rhythm returns a little before the point of 9 minutes. More acid than its first part, I hear the sequences being wilder here, it proposes a static approach decorated with very good solos of a very creative synth. As much in its harmonies, its acrobatics as its atmospheres. This is good Nord!
The first waves of Spirals are feeding an ambient rhythm knotted in a cloud of static oscillations. The synth is very airy and throw some brief solos, like a solitary being who whistles improvised melodies. The rhythm becomes as lively as the 1st part of Circles, but with a very beautiful play of sequences which draw rhythmic circles like in a game of spirographs. The fusion of cosmic techno and of the movement of sequences is very successful. Especially with the effects of a synth which never stop to fill our ears. We note a light crescendo in the power of the rhythm which keeps however the same spherical swiftness. And the more the sequences are going and the more I hear Chris Franke in the 80-81. The first 8 minutes are of fire, while the second part of Spirals proposes a circular melody, always fed by good electronic effects, at both cosmic and organic, which reminds unambiguously the minimalist approach of Mike Oldfield in Tubular Bells. A synth and its fluty breezes accompany this ritornello which fattens its harmony of effects and crystal-clear sequences. This movement shrink its harmonious spiral which will burst in a more livened up structure in its last minutes. Rotation is a little built on the same minimalist melodic mold, but this time it's the guitar which leads the game. Its notes get melting in a structure of sequences which makes its keys cavort in layers of a synth perfumed of melancholy. Tears of synth (guitar?) weave a soundscape where spectres are lamenting over a movement which rolls more and more in squeezed loops. The game of sequences is as much appealing as that of Spirals, except that the rhythm goes more and more towards the explosion. The synths always remain as magic and creative while the guitar of Makkai Kálmán is eventually throwing airy solos which sound so much as those of Frank Dorittke. The solos turn into riffs, guiding Rotation and its cosmic effects towards a rhythmic evolution which will reach its peak at around the 13 minutes with explosive percussions rumblings. A fine strummed melody escapes from this rhythmic torrent, freezing a melody which will pierce time while quite slowly the last moments of Rotation are ending among some other nice incisive guitar solos and a surge of a more temperate rhythm, more in ballad mode.
There is some music in the imagination of Nord! And some rather good for a synthesist who aligns albums like a cat makes kittens. VORTEX is a good album intended for those whom the coziness of the minimalist structures comfort. And Sztakics István Attila is rather strong in this game. The way he creates crescendo, relatively quiet, around his structures makes of his music a musical box full of charms.
Sylvain Lupari (June 20th, 2016) ***½**
Available at Nord Bandcamp