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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PETER BAUMANN: Machines of Desire (2016)

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

“Let's be honest here; if it hasn't the name of Peter Baumann, a lot among us would had say that it's a brilliant album”

1 The Blue Dream 5:53 2 Searching in Vain 5:37 3 Valley of the Gods 4:13 4 Echoes in the Cave 3:55 5 Ordinary Wonder 6:00 6 Crossing the Abyss 5:58 7 Dancing in the Dark 5:57 8 Dust to Dust 6:24 Bureau B | CD 124952

(CD 42:54) (V.F.) (Classic Electronic Rock)

Did I have to speak about the coming back of Peter Baumann after more than a year that MACHINES OF DESIRE has landed in the trays? Synonym of big expectations, both for this solo album as for this huge rumor which circulated regarding the possibility that he may joined the survivors of Tangerine Dream, the name of Peter Baumann was on all the lips in 2016. Besides this album, there were also the reeditions of the first 2 opuses which was made in November 2016. In brief, a lot of hubbub around the name of the one who had given as mission to democratize, of soften the strong angles of EM by exporting it on the American continent in 1984. The big question was to know what would be the musical direction of Peter Baumann. New Age or Synth-pop? Berlin School or New Age and Synth-pop? Well, having listened to it more than once these days, I would say that this album is a nice fusion between the candy hymns of Transharmonic Nights and a bit of the boldness of Romance'76. And even if some pretend that this new album from Peter Baumann confirms that the one who left Tangerine Dream twice in the 70's hasn't really evolve, we cannot disagree because everything here inhales the structures of composition of Peter Baumann in that time. Me who had adored Transharmonic Nights, I however cannot complain. But a tiny more audacious bend here would certainly have countered the growing discontent of the dissatisfied ones. But at the end of line, this MACHINES OF DESIRE is as beautiful as its pouch can be useless. I think this says it all! A beautiful honest album which is a kind of return home of the one that nobody waited for.

As if his imagination had not taken a wrinkle, a short woosh gets out of the oblivion to be punched by insistent knockings. Tears of synth squeal on a structure more percussive than rhythmic where the glaucous atmospheres wrap our senses like at the time of the Dream's Dark Ambient zones. The rhythm is slow, theatrical and threatening. And suddenly, as coming out from nowhere, a melody sat on a synth in mode violins strings runs at a brisk pace like breakaways of a session of Vivaldi's 4 Seasons. The Blue Dream is the perfect opening to a comeback album with its catchy melody which jig between phases of dark moods. Searching in Vain seems to be a surviving title of the Transharmonic Nights sessions. The same goes for the slow, almost militarized rhythm, of Ordinary Wonder. I like! And Peter Baumann raises himself on his music as the brilliant melodist that he is. These two small jewels precede two titles with doubtful and effective ambiences, Valley of the Gods, one would imagine in Sorcerer but with a very fascinating rhythmic pattern and a splendid game of the sequencer. The line of bass bites this good electronic rock encircled by a melody from a shrill synth. Echoes in the Cave, even with its melodious intro stolen to The Blue Dream, stagnate in its ambiospherical cavern. This is another very good track filled of Sorcerer's sepulchral moods. After another introduction sculpted beneath the sign of dark ambiences, the rhythm of Crossing the Abyss, which is rather light, is transported by a nice fight between a fluty synth and another one more whistler. I swim maybe in a total delirious, but I have this vague impression that The Keep guided the black atmospheres which roll all over the protean rhythms of MACHINES OF DESIRE. The Keep and especially Legend for these moods of medieval dances, as in Dancing in the Dark which is well balanced between those great percussion designs, one of the many charms in this album, and its melody pinched on a little bit cold chords. The introduction of Dust to Dust is a small jewel of glaucous vibes. Throughout its evolution, we feel that the rhythm tries to conquer the ambiences. And when it happens, the circular movement of Dust to Dust drags us in a lively spiral where sings a wonderful synth solo always in mode harmonious seduction. Here, as everywhere in this last Peter Baumann's album, the percussions, the percussive effects and the sequencer unite their diversity to inflate rhythms which always keeps us a little bit speechless.

Glaucous atmospheres, melodies stylized in Baumann signature and rhythms as surprising as very creative, MACHINES OF DESIRE has all that it needs to satisfy those aficionados of EM and of course of Tangerine Dream, era 77 to 86. And if we are honest just a little bit; if the name of the artist wasn’t the one of Peter Baumann, more than a blogger-columnist or fan of EM would shout to genius here. A great album that I found a little too short, considering the fact that it took 33 years of maturation. And 33 years is very long to wait. I hope that Peter Baumann took good note of that. Because he is still very talented.

Sylvain Lupari (August 13th, 2017) *****

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