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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Paul Ellis Interstellar-Nataraja (2019)

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Creativity at the top of its art! This is what comes to my mind in order to better describe this amazing comeback from Paul Ellis

1 Interstellar-Nataraja 10:03

2 Interstellar-Nataraja 4:45

3 Interstellar-Nataraja 9:38

4 Interstellar-Nataraja 19:38

5 Interstellar-Nataraja 12:28

6 Interstellar-Nataraja 8:37

7 Interstellar-Nataraja 12:34

(CD/DDL 77:47) (V.F.)

(Ambient, cosmic, prog EM)

Creativity at the top of its art! This is what comes to my mind in order to better describe INTERSTELLAR-NATARAJA. I was convinced, after reading one of his posts, that Paul Ellis was done with EM. The lack of press interest and the level of sales, which is unacceptable for so many hours of creating music, had finally got the better of his moods after the excellent Moth In Flames in 2015. It's thus with amazement, mixed with a great pleasure, that I read that the American musician was making a comeback. And what a comeback! Built primarily with analog equipment, Paul Ellis offers a complex album (are we surprised?) that will captivate you from the first listen. All the perfumes of the great masters of contemporary EM perfume this album which will enchant you little by little until its final which literally took me by surprise. And INTERSTELLAR-NATARAJA doesn't start that easy.

Two notes fall to form an introduction thought in nostalgia. These notes are struggling to dance, or even to sing. Except that the ballet very uncertain of its melodious approach is quickly surrounded by a rain of arpeggios without direction and by synth pads which launch jets of flutes and reverberant snoring. Chaotic, perhaps even cacophonous, the first moments of Interstellar-Nataraja Part 1 are enveloped by dark atmospheres which all the same flirt with a faint seraphic gleam, hiding in the misty flute jets, and with crystalline arpeggios which illuminate at times this sound mass rich of its tangles of sound textures. While this ambient rhythm gets built and deconstructed itself, the decor advances with its herd of unruly arpeggios and gradually transforms, even imbibing an amphibian texture with chords soaked in water and in organic viscosity. A glaucous texture is added to these ambiences of which some jerky synth pads stimulate in silence an ambient electronic rhythm. But in all of this, arpeggios and synth pads are exchanging with short harmonic filaments that will haunt you the second time you listen to this track which embraces a heavy finale with its sound mass and eclectic tones in an intense poignant vision. The latest chords of electrified juice take us to the colorful structure of Interstellar-Nataraja Part 2 and its thousand jewels dancing on circular wooshh soaked in the cosmic textures of Jean-Michel Jarre. A synth chant, like a mechanical elephant trumpeting, rises between the clicking of sonic jewels, thus continuing this cinematic vision of a blockbuster movie that sticks to the music of this amazing comeback album from Paul Ellis. Our journey among the 77 minutes of INTERSTELLAR-NATARAJA makes us hear of all sound colors. Interstellar-Nataraja Part 3 offers a structure like part 1, but with a more musical and cosmic vision. The flow is also slower, making it more melodious. These harmonious filaments that we heard here clearly form the main melodic line of the album. Our ears, like our senses, are therefore able to grasp all the tonal subtleties of this good cosmic progressive electronic rock. The ambient mass dominates the few rhythmic implosions which merge with a tonal richness which is constantly renewed. Like with its swirling and gurgling effects, without forgetting the essences of Pink Floyd and those vaporous gas effects which add to the decor of Interstellar-Nataraja Part 3. Meditative chords, resonant like gong effects, bring us at the pinnacle of INTERSTELLAR-NATARAJA, Interstellar-Nataraja part 4.

Its opening rests on a buzzing machine and chords floating in a cosmic atmosphere with a symphony of wooshh and wiishh. The decor reminds me of Set the Controls for the Heart of the Mother from the The Dark Side of the Moog series by Schulze/Namlook. The wooshh and the wiishh whistle hard above our heads, mingling with dense textures of organic resonance where wolves are hiding, and whose ululations pierce a sound membrane that whisk our senses with streams of orchestrations as jerky as unexpected. This opening ideal to portray a nightmare, follows the progression of the arpeggios which trail Interstellar-Nataraja part 4 since its 4 minutes, bringing it to the brink of a sonic disorder driven by the pulses coming from a rhythmic implosion which is lost in a final full of uncertainties. Both in terms of the evolution of Interstellar-Nataraja part 4 and our feelings towards this album which from time to time awakes souvenirs of the album I Am Here. This tonal storm gone, Interstellar-Nataraja part 5 opens with a wave and synth songs as attractive as those of Ulysses' bewitching mermaids. We are in a superb phase of ambiences that will remind to some of you this delicious ascending choir of Michael Stearns in Chronos. This movement stretches its charms beyond the 7 minutes when giant resonant pulsations forge the opposite of the ethereal beauties of this ascent which ends in a heavy rhythm, resonant and effective like good old Redshift. A storm of synth loops set up after a failed rhythmic attempt in a wall of variegated tones. Wolves are coming back! Suddenly, everything emerges to offer a rhythm which flirts with the down-tempos of a good full-bodied psybient with these reverberations that move like big sound snakes since the genesis of INTERSTELLAR-NATARAJA. This phase of Electronica à la Arc evaporates in a final full of nostalgia. We recognize these uncertain chords which now pulsate in a melodious fabric, while other chords come to dance an ambient cha-cha-cha. The movement is lost in a fall of resonant drones, like a hungry Redshift, to conclude in an acoustic final where Nathan Youngblood and Will Merkle join Paul Ellis to add another dimension to this album which could not have hoped for a better final. We make play another time INTERSTELLAR-NATARAJA! And already, some things that annoyed us take all of their meanings, testifying that all these areas of turbulence and inconsistencies that made circulate the tunes of this album are thought and designed with an astonishing power of seduction, of attraction. A great album composed, played, mixed and mastered with master's hand.

Sylvain Lupari (23/01/20) *****

Available at Groove NL

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