PAUL NAGLE: Beyond E-Ville (2011)
“If you are hoping to hear something else while staying connected to the roots of England School, you have to try this!”
1 E-Ville 15:01
2 MoogyLan BogeyMan 9:06
3 Spybot 13:31
4 Erksome 10:15
5 Dirkness 8:05
(DDL 56:31) (V.F.)
(England School, Psybient, Electronica)
I know! Are you going to say to yourself another album that is in the 5 stars? Yes ... and it's so deserved because Paul Nagle is part of this category of artists who make an EM with another vision. His rhythmic patterns are evolving and flirt with a soft techno, a sort of psybient harmoniously blends with an England School style (which is harder than Berlin School). The ambiences and the layers of synth abound in a sound fauna as much diversified as implausible. BEYOND E-VILLE is a nice surprise, because it has been a long time since the man hadn't performed solo. You have to go back in 2000 with Red Book / Blue Book to hear an original solo work from this chameleon of English EM who has embraced several styles with as many groups or duets such as Joint Intelligence Committee, Cosmic Smokers, Headshock, Binar, Spank the Dark Monkey and more recently Ideation. It's within the framework of the annual English festival of EM, Awakenings presented on March 19, 2011, that this superb composer and very avant-garde musician came out of his den to use his new machine, the sequencer Sequentix Cirklon, which controls several synths all by releasing a daring sound flora over multiple sequences with very rich and diversified cadences. BEYOND E-VILLE is a 56-minute long improvisation set, divided into 5 acts, based on short canvas that he has been working on for some time. And the result is surprisingly lively and cohesive with constantly changing rhythms and subtle permutations on which some pretty good lines of melodies are tied. An album difficult to describe so much the musicality and rhythms are rich. An album which is well worth the price of its download.
E-Ville begins with long breaths with hybrid sounds and twisted reverberation imprints. We are already in the sound jungle of Paul Nagle. A bit like in an abandoned city where vestiges and desolations reign with an ambient intro fed by a disparate musical fauna, withering the borders between the doors of paradise and those of hell. We hear heavy metallic clicks, strident synth impulses, multiple sound effects of analogous hues, ululations, the crackling of crystalline streamers, apocalyptic sirens and reverberations of all kinds intermingle among light shimmering of jingles whose crystal-clear chords stand out in this glaucous universe. A muted rhythm emerges to throb and nervously undulate a syncopated line which crosses the doors of an industrial zone under synth striations, insane howls and other tolls of chimes which trace a curious musical paradox. The rhythm accentuates its growth with jerky oscillations which pulsate under intense layers of mellotron to bloom with a brief melodious limpidity fed by lines of interlaced sequences, a hypnotic pulsation and keyboard chords which gravitate with uncertainty on a rhythmic structure still in formation. A superb sequence stands out and pounds a rhythm supported by percussions/pulsations and cymbals with tschitt tschitt lost in these unctuous mellotron layers. Navigating between the England School and soft techno, E-Ville flies with its agile sequences, drawing a superb melodious line among the deaf oscillations of a minimalist sequenced hopping with an ascending and circular movement which sways in a light whirlwind very melodious and catchy, breathable a strange gaiety in an obscure universe slightly crazy. MoogyLan BogeyMan emerges from the metallic dust of the E-Ville finale with a slightly jerky tempo which pulsates under the metallic thunders and the ordered cymbals. A strange sequence offering some curious hybrid and multifaceted chords is spreading an inbred rhythm where everything is related without really creating homogeneity. It's a rhythm full of sequences bursting constantly, like popcorn in a microwave, whose harmony is traced with piano notes strolling under rumbling thunders. Little by little, this rhythm finds a kind of cohesion to slide right into a complete disharmony where scattered and solitary piano keys try to create harmony in a galloping sprint on a minimalist axis. Spybot is the gem of this tasty album from Paul Nagle. Like E-Ville, it begins in a atmosphere in fusion with a multitude of composite tones from which strange grumblings escape among some strident synth breezes. Piano chords twirl nervously to awaken a feverish sequence which undulates with heaviness before tripping over clapping of giant hands and a heavy sequenced pulsation which molds a slightly soft techno pace. Spybot struggles in a superb fragmented rhythm where hybrid sequences dance and twirl in an incoherence of progressive jazz, surrounded by very beautiful twisted solos, to end its disjointed race in the keys of a piano free of all constraints which dances and sing under the rubble of an electronic city.
Erksome takes us to another level with a very beautiful melodious intro à la David Wright where delicate arpeggios are sparkling in the hums of dark choirs. Both gentle and jerky, its rhythm slyly evolves on an ascending structure which is guided by the piano. This piano line winds the progression of Erksome whose approach subtly permutes with percussions which trace a sustained rhythm. The piano makes its notes dance in circle, in the middle of a structure which constantly changes of axis. And so goes the musical universe of Paul Nagle; cohesion in the inconsistency where the melodies are the cradle of a strange madness without limits. Both graspable and elusive, his music evolves often in a very harmonious context but in a paradoxical universe with the sensitivity of its harmonies. Here, the piano is superb and unpacks a very nice melody with its limpid notes which melt in the ear while being surrounded by sumptuous mellotron layers. And the percussions hammer against current under these misty layers whilst a syncopated line directs Erksome towards a static Techno vibe. It's a very good title which evolves on a bipolar structure, like each of the titles of BEYOND E-VILLE. The metallic vapors that feed the introduction of Dirkness fly away with a furious Techno rhythm which is undulating fiercely alongside a brilliant sequenced rhythmic line filled with rattling and arrhythmic strikes in order to hammer a heavy syncopated pace whirling at high speed. Curt and jerky lines of rhythms surround this static movement that unruly percussions harpoon from all sides and all senses, taking Dirkness out of its impulse of Techno but nourishing it with an intense musical schizophrenia of which Paul Nagle has all the ingredients, since we are in full territory of Binar, Spank the Dark Monkey and Joint Intelligence Committee but with even more fury and mordant.
Strange by its curious schizoid sound fauna and also unexpected by the power and constant evolution of its rhythms, BEYOND E-VILLE mixes melodies and bewitchments in a psychedelic context which fits rather well with the lines of sequenced rhythms and minimalist pulsations. It's a powerful, imaginative and magnetic opus full of rambling, unbridled and unleashed rhythms which evolve on unstable structures but where the melodies always end up making their way to our emotions. Paul Nagle hasn't lost his hand and has concocted us a splendid album for commensurate with his talent and the excess of his imagination. This is an album that I highly recommend to those looking for something else while staying connected to the alternative rock style of the England School.
Sylvain Lupari (August 5th, 2011) *****
Available at Paul Nagle Bandcamp