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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PATCHWORK: Connect (2007/2012)

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

“Connect is a fair EM opus with a great sequencing mood which is not without recalling the harmonic rhythms of Tangerine Dream”

1 Enter Now 9:51

2 Connect 5:54

3 Dawn 12:02

4 Orbit 6:49

5 High Clouds 8:10

6 Out of the Dark 7:45

7 Flyby Wire 10:18

8 Final Approach 8:07

(CDR 69:12) (V.F.)

(Melodious rhythmic new Berlin School)

There is little information about Patchwork except that it is about a Dutch duo consisting of Rene Jansen and Ruud Heij. If one, Rene, is strongly inspired by the music of Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis, the other, Ruud, is very influenced by the sequencer-based style of the Berlin School as evidenced by his collaborations with bands such as Kubusschnitt and Free System Projekt as well as his duo career with Gert Emmens. Except that Patchwork is more a project than a band! This is the result of recording sessions in Ruud Heij's studio in the summer of 1994, for an eponymous debut album released on Quantum Records in 1999. And in the summer of 1995, Udo Scheyka joined the duo to perform the main lines of CONNECT which went out in 2007. Always in its quest to resuscitate interesting albums, invalidated by time and by a lack of promotion, SynGate makes available to EM fans, especially those who love the harmonious side of the Berlin School, the fruits of this fascinating recording sessions which has all the appearances to come straight out from the studios of…Tangerine Dream.

Arched on a sinister approach, with its threatening synth waves floating like ether gases, Enter Now presents a docile rhythmic approach which makes its herd of sequenced keys frolic in the wakes of electronic percussions whose passive structures constantly remind us that we do listen to studio sessions. Flowing and floating, this rhythm awakens harmonic keys which go here and there over the docile harmonies of discreet synths. The title-track plunges us into the Logos era of Tangerine Dream, even if the intro and its vocoder awakens reminiscences of Neuronium, with limpid sequences that alternate their delicate strikes on the charms of soft and musical synths, combining solos and harmonies under a delicate rhythm. Dawn is a superb track that plunges us into our memories of the Peter Baumann era and of his excellent album Trans Harmonic Nights. The rhythm is always forged in this duel of percussions with the cracking of an electronic whip, of these muffled pulsations and these sequenced keys which skip in a symmetrical anarchy, while another fascinating melodious approach rests this time on synths and keyboards which divide and scatter their harmonic solos and mellotron breezes under a calm cadenced magma. Minimalist the title offers delicate variations both rhythmic and melodic which stretch beyond Orbit.

High Clouds is a monument of hypnotism with its heavy ascending sequences which struggle to whirl in an intense synth mist where melodious solos bring nostalgia with a sound of old Moog. Sneaky, the rhythm of Out of the Dark flees auditory imprisonment with ample sinuous movements that bypass the river torrents played by a synth with aromas very close to the terroirs of Edgar Froese. If the first part is elusive, the second accepts the offering of a passionate listening with a good approach which borders on the nice electronic ballads of the Dream. It's a sturdy second track on CONNECT which continues its seductive momentum with Flyby Wire and its hybrid tonal chords which zigzag in indecision before borrowing a more stoic pattern where electronic percussions and pulsatile sequences exchange cadenced tunes on a rhythmic structure with contours as indefinite as the mists and fleeting harmonies of discreet synths. Final Approach ends CONNECT with this cocktail of keys and sequenced pulsations which throb with heaviness on the delicate synth harmonies always so discreet. Thus, concluding a musical universe which is more focused on sequences and their rhythmic embryos with latent tortuous evolutions than the melodies and ambiences of synths which are more than discreet in this ode to the sequenced works of Tangerine Dream.

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

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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