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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Paul Ellis The Last Hiding Place of Beauty (2011)

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

This is for those who love sequences and melodies in progressive ambiences of EM

1 The Unveiling Ravenous Evening 17:12

2 The Last Hiding Place of Beauty 16:17

3 The Note, the Walk in the Rain and the Umbrella 16:04

4 The Hydroelectric Spinning Heart 10:27

(CD/DDL 59:59) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, Prog EM)

Slowly, Paul Ellis has built a solid reputation in the wonderful and complex world of EM. THE LAST HIDING PLACE OF BEAUTY (what a great title) is already his 9th album, the 5th one on the Dutch label Groove nl. First of all, let's salute this superb artwork which presents an album sculpted in musical poetry where the American synthesist draws from his vast musical experience in order to mix all styles with a rarely exploited philosophical sweetness.

The Unveiling Ravenous Evening features a medieval-era folk intro with a good acoustic guitar backed by a soft, fluty mellotron. A delightful intro that soon gets lost in an amalgam of bass pulses and of drummed percussions that nervously jumps and flutters alongside a synth of which the harmonious chords are rolling in loops. Enchanting, the track progresses on the modulations of a good bass line which drops long and sinuous reverberations, increasing a crescendo fed by circular chords and more nourished percussions. It's a harmonious ascent on a slightly bolero-like structure where sequencers, synths, percussion and pulsations unite to forge a melodious gyratory movement. Around the 9th minute the rhythm hiccups feverishly on a more nervous and jerky structure. Chords are flickering and diving into pulses that are besieged by slamming percussions and harmonious synth lines that intertwine in a superb rhythmic crossroads. This fiery passage subsides, guiding The Unveiling Ravenous Evening into a more serene finale. After a short atmospheric intro, The Last Hiding Place of Beauty is a more ebullient track that vibrates on a nervous sequencer, lighting up a synth with twisted reverbs. The rhythm beats to the measure of bouncy sequenced percussions on an electronic structure reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre's early works, but with a much more progressive touch. The arpeggios flutter nervously as the sequencer surrounds the movement with an enchanting heaviness, driving the structure to a hypnotic, dizzying and aggressive crescendo. This passage explodes with an escalating rhythmic loop. It's a very good track full of energy on evolving sequencer movements and a synth that follows the rhythm, supported by beautiful sound effects that entice the sense of hearing.

Nervous scribbling on paper opens the nebulous and atmospheric The Note, the Walk in the Rain and the Umbrella. It's an intense musical novel that is heard on a suave fluty and violin mellotron waltzing slowly in a cosmic nothingness, under a fine rain and a dense veil impregnated of a cosmic haze. Slowly we plunge into a more progressive musical universe, with a good bass line that bites and cradles an always ambient structure where fine guitar loops shape a solitary harmony under a cloud of tinkling glasses. This fragile harmony dies in the breaths of a lonely mellotron and of fluty laments that wander under a fine rain and layers of chimerical violins, adding a nostalgic touch that continues on the strings of an acoustic guitar in the opening of The Hydroelectric Spinning Heart, another track where the progressive/electronic fusion is beautifully polished by mellotrons and its magical flutes and violins. But the quietness of the intro is jostled by an oriental-flavored rhythmic. A light and festive rhythm fed by drummed percussions and a good bass line whose resonance of the chords marry the sounds of bells. Very melodious, the synth is also very lyrical, and its melody is joined by a pleasant piano that also follows its rhythm. The Hydroelectric Spinning Heart embraces an ambient passage that the percussions reanimate and also reactivate a piano that makes flowing its last notes on a heavy and lively rhythm that is streaked with layers of a spectral guitar and a fluty mellotron.

In THE LAST HIDING PLACE OF BEAUTY, Paul Ellis has written an amazing musical journey where the rhythms have many faces. From purely electronic to distinctly progressive, the music evolves according to his imagination which matches the essence of its title. I was enchanted and amazed by this album that I rediscovered by listening to his latest one, From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness. Showing that his music survives its time and deserves to be known by a wider audience. An audience that loves sequences, rhythms and melodies covered with a fascinating musical fauna.

Sylvain Lupari (September 24th, 2011) *****

Available at Groove nl

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