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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

OLIVIER BRIAND: Light Memories (2013)

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

There are a lot of winks to Vangelis behind this Light Memories of which the sound evolution creates a lot of melodies

Light Memories Part I –XV 72:59

(CD-r 72:59) (V.F.)

(Experimental and melodic Vangelis style EM)

The influence of Vangelis on Olivier Briand's musical development and experimental orientations is at the heart of his evolution and of his open mind on the art of the EM. Conceived in the interstices of the epic tones of Yamaha CS80, LIGHT MEMORIES wants to be an interlude in the career of the Nantes synthesist where he pays a sound tribute to Vangelis. Flanked of the Fender Rhodes Mark II piano, OB develops 15 tracks which are inspired by oriental melodies from which the aromas flee the musical panoramas of Blade Runner and beyond.

Light Memories Part I starts things up with an ambiospherical approach. Scattered notes, sounding like a mixture of an acoustic guitar and a Japanese koto, ring in industrial mists which remind of the black universe of Blade Runner. At first evasive, the part gives birth to a nice melodious approach which flows like stars whistling in a black sky. Each of the 15 parts is knotted by a delicate sonic thread which makes the link between the various styles of this commemorative symphony in respect of the Yamaha CS80 such as toyed by the Greek self-taught musician. Light Memories Part II follows the lunar sweetnesses of Part I before stirring of some symphonic jolts which recall the period of China. Part III follows with pulsating keys jumping with their resonances under prismic clouds soaked with cosmic chirping. The rhythm is slow and pulses stubbornly in the banks of nasal lines, while another line of synth vocalizes an electronic dialect. The rhythm gets loose from its morphic influence with other sequences which sparkle and skip freely, braiding a figure of static rhythm which swirls in a more electronic structure where sings this synth and its fascinating robotics vocalizes. Then comes the beautiful Part IV and its Fender Rhodes piano which makes sing its forsaken notes in the mists of melancholy. It's a beautiful light track which floats in our brain with a lot of melancholy. Part V moves on with a cosmic electronic march where are pulsing some enormous organic suckers of which the noise of suctions spreads its magic towards the tones of silky tssitt-tssitt. The synth embroiders a litany of cosmic serenity which sounds out of tune in this static rhythm closer to the din and of some sonic explorations. Part VI is a beautiful melody where the sequences flicker in circles and the synth sings freedom. Light Memories Part VII loops the loop of the first half of the album with a pretty nice electronic serenade filled by an absolute tenderness.

Adopting a little the approach of the slow pulsing beat of Chariots of Fire, Part VIII eventually embraces a beat of lounge music with synth solos which borrow the scents of nasal trumpets. The Rhodes spreads syllables with a fine harmonious prose deserving of improvisations that we can hear on evenings of free-jazz. Light, Part IX shows its celestial chants of which the breaths of Pan flute bind themselves into the cosmic dusts of the very tearful Part X. Part XI finds its inspiration in the Asian prose of Part II but with a more steady rhythm. Part XII is another good lunar serenade which whistles on the edge of solitude. Delicate and pretty moving its melancholy plunges into the surprising down-tempo, which sounds strangely like a soft jazz, that is Part XIII and of its surprising line of bass. There is almost an Arabian perfume on this track. We move forward towards the finale and to do it, OB offers us his jewel in Light Memories Part XIV whose magnificent ballad gets lost in the souvenirs of Direct, a more contemporary album from Vangelis. This is very good and we never heard it coming. Light Memories Part XV encloses this sonic fantasia with an immersion of oddities and analog/digital heterogeneous noises which remind all the work of accuracy which surrounded those great electronic works.

LIGHT MEMORIES is a more intimate album to Olivier Briand who indulges himself by working with the instruments of one of his main sources of inspiration. There are a lot of winks to the works of Vangelis behind this fascinating electronic dawn serenade where the noises and the strange atmospheres assemble to create a multitude of melodies which bind themselves in imaginative rhythms. And even in the sound experimentation, OB always manages to embroider melodies which make the ears smile. Mainly for the fans of Vangelis, it remains a fascinating album for those who want to understand the progressions of electronic structures.

Sylvain Lupari (December 19th, 2013) ***½**

Available at PWM Distrib

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