PERGE: Mutually Assured Destruction (2022)
“This is TD’s 81 Tour that is well aimed here. To me, this is the best of Perge”
1 M.A.D. 9:27
2 Orientation 6:25
3 Epicentre 11:42
4 Rotate 17:53
5 Ascent 6:33
6 Midpoint Marigold 18:14
Bonus Tracks (100:55)
1 Oxynoxe 8:08
2 Infrequent Modulation 4:24
3 Pivot 6:22
4 Bodyssey 7:47
5 The Furthest Point of Light 4:57
6 The Chaos Before The Storm 17:04
7 Sassauna 12:14
(CD/DDL 70:20 + 100:55) (V.F.)
It was during a conversation with a fan at one of Tangerine Dream's recent concerts that the idea of making a new Perge album began to occur to Matthew Stringer. The fan in question had just mentioned that his favorite TD album was Cyclone. An odd choice, considering the lack of enthusiasm of the critics, and a majority of the trio's fans, towards this album. By far his most fascinating track, Madrigal Meridian has that little something around which Matthew could build his idea. Hence the title of the very fiery Midpoint Marigold that closes this MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION. But it was not a foregone conclusion! He had to convince Graham Getty who was becoming more and more reluctant to invest himself in another musical project since the last Perge albums. Since Catharsis in fact. No problem! Matt sent him a draft of Midpoint Marigold and Graham replied with sequences that would lead to the titles Epicentre and Rotate. Quietly, the best Perge album was being built...
An atmospheric, high-density track, M.A.D. alone explains Matthew Stringer's struggle to bring Graham Getty back into the Perge adventure. Waves of the Cosmos sweep over our ears, enveloping Ripley's voice in Aliens who consistently refuses to return to these gentle beasts. The parallel with Graham's refusal to continue the Perge adventure is simply delicious. The musical texture is filled with drones, giving a dramatic presence to this opening that fills with organic wiisshh and woosshh. The ambiences get kind of gritty metal where a fauna of static percussive elements swarm, accentuating an urgency to move towards Orientation. The origins of Perge stem from the Tangerine Tree project, and Tangerine Leaves, the live recordings of the Dream that are shared among fans of the mythical Berlin trio. It was after the project was completed that the two English musician-synthesists have decided to create the illusion and energy of these concerts. Here, Perge brings us to the famous 81 tour which was going to make us discover unreleased tracks like Bondi Parade, Digital Times and the opening track of the 81 UK tour Undulation. And Orientation is neither more nor less a wink, a personal version of Matthew of it. The live ambiences are well defended with a certain enthusiasm of the crowd and the rhythm structure that stirs under an avalanche of synth layers is in the spirit of Undulation. The first 15 minutes of MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION are a prelude to the wildest thing I've heard from Perge! Epicentre features a rhythmic structure woven into two lines of sequences that undulate while being closely linked. The result is an uplifting electronic rock structure that jumps and rolls under a sky of spectral waves and organic sound effects. The rhythm sequence subtly accelerates under areas of undulating electronic vapors of a steel blue. The sequencer modulates a new and more zigzagging approach just before the 3rd minute. A latent velocity takes hold of the rhythm which becomes even more alive when the percussions beat it nicely about 20 seconds after the 4th minute. The falling keyboard riffs make no doubt, we are in the spirit of the Dream's 81 tour. These riffs trade their effects for those of a guitar that will definitely light the fire of Epicentre. Fiery until the 10th minute, the track starts to build this legendary atmospheric bridge which was used to unite 2 very wild tracks during these concerts. Rotate needs a big 4 minutes to take off. Less wild than Epicentre, it is slightly more musical with nice textures from the synth and the guitar. The music softens to move towards Ascent and its delicate piano whose melody will resonate until these mellotron blows. A wink also to Johannes Schmoelling who ends the 1st part of MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION.
Structured almost identically to Madrigal Meridian, Midpoint Marigold remains nevertheless the core of this new Perge CD. The evolution of the track follows the one found in the Cyclone album, that is to say an atmospheric opening which is followed by an electronic progressive rock structure, and which ends with a delicate intervention of a harpsichord in a oneiric finale. It is therefore variations on the same themes with a more contemporary sound envelope and a wilder rhythm structure. The purchase of MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION entitles you to nearly 101 minutes of music composed by Matthew Stringer alone. That's the equivalent of getting 2 CDs for the price of 1! If you like Jean-Michel Jarre you will love the cosmic ballet that is Oxynode which is indeed a nod to Oxygene. The track develops with a slow to slightly driving rhythm structure. A very musical track, Infrequent Modulation is an electronic ballad that flirts with the Schmoelling style. The keyboard is honored with a beautiful melody on a light rhythm. A track that digs its hole in our ears! Pivot sounds like good Perge. I think Graham made the structure of the sequencer on it. The rhythm is catchy, and the harmonies are built around very good synth solos. Bodyssey has a long atmospheric phase with bouncy sequences that resonate as they spread out loops. The synth is quite intense with a cosmic vision in good harmonious solos that flow on a texture knotted with jolts. The Furthest Point of Light is purely atmospheric with Ronald Reagan's voice in the background, explaining the tragedy of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. We stay in the very atmospheric cosmic with The Chaos Before The Storm which reflects rather well the meaning of the title. Interstellar winds and space effects dominate its opening until a machine noise starts to fill also the pool of ambiences of a music that would go very well with a science fiction movie. The chaos is not rhythmic but rather musical with beautiful synth lines. Sassauna concludes this album-download only with a structure inspired by Silver Scale. The synth solos are powerful and in abundance.
MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION continues where Perge left off in 2020 with the album Out, The Way We Came In. Except that the environment in which it plunges us, the 1981 tour of Tangerine Dream, gives it more arguments to know that this is undoubtedly Perge's most beautiful album to date. There is no weakness in this album, and everything fits as if we were at a real concert of the Dream of that time. And I must admit that Midpoint Marigold goes better in the ears in this context than Madrigal Meridian in the Cyclone's. Hats off to Matt and Graham! And as a bonus, you get a nice solo album from Matthew Stringer. What more could you ask for?
Sylvain Lupari (September 3rd, 20220) *****
Available at Perge Bandcamp