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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE: Changing Images (2019)

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

“In a train which travels to Phaedra to nowadays, Changing Images proposes evolving sequencing soundscapes in a progressive Berlin School style”

1 Chaos & Awareness 26:52

2 Changing Images 11:45

3 Hypnotic Images 11:58

4 New Perspective 12:25

(CD-R/DDL 63:01)

Progressive Berlin School

Sometimes life is strange. The planets line up to make coincidences for the least strange. At a time when the fans of EM, more mainly of Tangerine Dream, speak only of this huge box In Search of Hades, here that Perceptual Defence balance at us an opus directly inspired by the Phaedra era. An opus that could easily fit into this huge box, thus foiling several pairs of ears. It was on a train, traveling the distance between Rome and Switzerland, that CHANGING IMAGES took shape. Gabriele Quirici takes this train every week and thus sees the images scrolled and metamorphose before his eyes filled with notes and ideas. It's around the analog Grp Synthesizer A2 and the Grp Synthesizer R24 sequencer that these notes and ideas have landed, adding a new musical texture to the Perceptual Defence universe. Offered in HQ-Release CD-R and in downloadable 24-bit format from Syngate's Bandcamp website, the train of CHANGING IMAGES brings us back to Phaedra Station and into the golden years of 72 to 74 of EM.

A rustling of a creek lost in a little waterfall and ghostly chords that circle for almost 2 minutes seal the introduction of Chaos & Awareness. It's at this moment that a circular movement of a bass pulsation extends its branch of oscillations which roll in vertiginous loops, recalling the universes of Phaedra and Ricochet. The movement remains ambient, even with this skeleton of pulsations which is disordered by letting pass a more melodious ephemeral movement that goes and comes. Am I dreaming or the water becomes percussive splinters? This is the 27-minute plot of Chaos & Awareness! Between chaos and the consciousness of chaos that takes many forms, such as images that change, the sequences of rhythm undulate to make work our neurons and not dance our feet. The loops of rhythms and its essences of discretion, if not ghostly, paraded in a shroud of nebulosity with their discrete presences which at times flirt with ambiences of Pink Floyd. Like centipedes that take shape and tonal colors between our ears, Chaos & Awareness unties several rhythmic filaments which grow like the underground's blooms of plants filmed in accelerated. We are literally in the golden age of EM here. After the chirping of birds trapped in the interstices of the synth, the title-track expands a structure of rhythm more sustained and accentuated. Fingers tap with these loops of oscillations which come and go at high speed, replacing the previous one with always a little more velocity. The sound fauna consists of sequenced electronic tweets which flutter in a rhythmic tumult organized by rhythmic echo effects and electronic effects peculiar to analog years. Changing Images is literally like looking through the window of a train whose constant change of scenery ends up structuring a phantom rhythm in our head. At times, filaments of spasmodic sequences escape with a more melodious approach. They are eagerly caught up in the metamorphic image race, while the rhythm observes a parallel movement which flees and oscillates just as vividly.

Each title is tied to the final of its predecessor. It's therefore from the ambient finale and its heavy dark breaths which blow a thousand sound graffiti towards endless tunnels that Hypnotic Images takes shape. This time, we are in the very dark Doombient universe of Stephen Parsick. The sound mass is dense, beating timidly with these pulsations stifled by this half-light and these voiceless vocals and effects. These ambiences are overflowing towards New Perspective. Darker than Chaos & Awareness, the introduction bathes in water which escapes from the endless corridor where scintillate isolated arpeggios which gradually take shape to create a circular axis that rolls like an eternal shimmering. Voice effects and lines of machinery which purr and produce reverberant effects upholster the background, while the sequencer restructures the harmonic portion of the rhythm by juxtaposing another line that does as much rodeo as the main one, but with a slight offset. Gradually, the rhythm and the moods of New Perspective drift towards a structure, well thought out I must admit, which imitates the speed of a train arriving at destination. The lines that ululate sound like those muddy whistles which announce the next arrival. Psychedelic elements from Atem, of Tangerine Dream, and Pink Floyd's Ummagumma years add darkness and ingenuity to a chthonian-like setting. This doesn't prevent the rhythm from unraveling other evanescent rhythmic forms which get grafted onto the sovereign structure, creating nice effects that testify to the meticulousness of Gabriele Quirici to reconstitute an analog universe which has all the ingredients to satisfy those who have devoured the golden years of Tangerine Dream, a little of Klaus Schulze too, and Pink Floyd.

CHANGING IMAGES is an intelligent and well composed EM album. So, an album to whom we must tame with this desire to discover a universe that always has surprises to offer. That of music from the edible experiences of the early 70's. Titles like the title track and New Perspective are worth the detour! The sound quality is exceptional and does justice to a concept album imagined during journeys aboard trains.

Sylvain Lupari (June 20th, 2019) ***½**

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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