NORMAN FRIEDENBERGER: Talisman (1996)
“This is a very nice EM album loaded of melodies and percussive effects which rock between ambient rhythms and some good e-rock”
1 The Ivory Tower 1:58 2 Through Imaginary Landscapes 5:02 3 Dance of the Hydra 4:23 4 The Divination 2:59 5 Corona Borealis 5:28 6 Memories of You 4:16 7 Talisman 2:47 8 Escape from Tartaros 4:36 9 Desire & Delusion 5:10 10 Fathomless 4:14 11 Emotional State of Mind 4:34 Spheric Music – SMCD6001
(CD 45:14) (V.F.)
(Melodic e-rock in the vein of TD and David Wright)
Norman Friedenberger is part of these names who came to make vibrate our eardrums in the 90's and who have disappeared after some laps in the big circus of contemporary EM, leaving behind him 2 albums, both appeared in 1996, Mind Odyssey and TALISMAN. It's with the Logos tour that this German musician fell in love with EM. His adventure began in 1993 with the purchase of a first synthesizer. Then a first album, Mind Odyssey came, which was praised by the criticisms. A few months later, in autumn, TALISMAN landed in the tubs. At that time, the Berliner EM style wasn't available in America, unless you knew a good record shop owner who knew the style and was able to import it. With the arrival of Internet in the early 2000's I learned that this kind of music was well and truly alive on the other side of the Atlantic. Over the years I amassed an impressive collection. One album often came during the discussions with the aficionados of the kind; TALISMAN! The years passed and I forgot this name. While going through the impressive catalog of Spheric Music I saw it. Lambert Ringlage then had the extreme kindness to send me a promotional copy. The first contacts were so/so…So it took some listenings, because I was somewhere else in my quest of EM, before to seize well the dimension of an album which is very inspired by the Miramar years of Tangerine Dream as well as of an EM of the more accessible vein such as Software's post- Syncode years.
Breaths and buzzing breezes lift the veils of an astral orchestra which feeds the mysteries of The Ivory Tower. It's in softness that the album begins. The voices and the winds of ether go up to Through Imaginary Landscapes and its little jingles which do the rodeo on a bank of ethereal breezes. The synth is splendidly soft and throws layers filled of tenderness and of voices that are easy to guess. A line of sequences gets loose and tortures its keys which drum like nervous fingers doing ta-ra-ta-tam on a table. This slightly animated structure stays in the background of a sonic decoration rich in silky textures which extend such as ink stains over a blotting paper. And it's towards the end that the synth becomes more of Tangerine Dream's reminiscences. Each title of here is linked in a suite of electronic saga which clocks the 45 minutes. And each of them brings its level of intensity. Thus Dance of the Hydra, which has some difficulty to get out from the cocoon of Through Imaginary Landscapes offers a rhythm which is more accentuated and more pulsatory, but which always remains smothered by the immensity of the layers from where sparkles a tiny reflection of harmony and shine some good electronic effects. The Divination changes the course of things with a more ethereal approach. The synth is more melodious but also more moving with airs of sadness which sleep on a bed of tribal percussion effects and others which are more metallic. I like this opposition! The rhythm is soft and the harmonies are sibylline. I have the impression to hear David Wright. Even if my ears had already perceived a good melodic and ethereal approach, it's with Corona Borealis that this desire to rehear TALISMAN arouses our senses. The rhythm is soft, like a lascivious tribal dance where a female dancer and her physical charms bewitch the next meal of the gods. Layers and voices which float over this mesmerizing rhythm are as moving as the most beautiful secrets of Walking with Ghosts. Very good!
Memories of You is a nice morphic ballad which offers a very sweet melody which is sometimes charming and sometimes nostalgic. And always these layers crowned of celestial voices which float like these stains of black ink. The title-track is an ambiospherical refuge which guides us towards the very lively rhythm of Escape from Tartaros. The bass line is especially fluid and very alive while the melody is as evasive as ephemeral. Ephemeral because Escape from Tartaros dives rather fast into a universe of jingles and of sonic hoops which roll and clinch in an effect of weightlessness. Percussions fall and they plough a structure without guides. Little by little, our ears slide towards the wonderful Desire & Delusion. A lot of noises but no rhythm, this title is a dose of heterogeneous tones with its alloy of percussions and effects of percussions which is a delight for the ears in search of aestheticism percussive. The last tom-toms are fading out while the album takes a 3rd direction with the very beautiful Fathomless which is a superb melody. The rhythm is as lively like a good rock, with good effects of percussions, which roll and clink under the mysteries of a very nice spectral melody. This is very good. And this melody flies away on the spheroidal structure of Emotional State of Mind and its swarm of harmonious sequences which flows as a trickle of water in a mass of airs and of ethereal voices. It's a real nice ending which urges us to listen again to this TALISMAN which in the end is a very beautiful album which was lacking in my collection. To discover absolutely if we like the kind of soft electronic rock from TD, period of Turn of the Tide and of Tyranny of Beauty, as well as the very stylized touch of David Wright in Walking with Ghosts. I have adored!
Sylvain Lupari (November 11th, 2016) *****
Available at Spheric Music