PHROZENLIGHT: Black Week (2015)
Updated: Apr 12
“Black Week is for those of us who where in the front seat at the very beginning of EM where everything was made by instinct”
1 Dropout Time 22:29
2 Just an Sequence 30:43
3 Trying to let my Mind Explode into Oblivion 22:18
4 Changing Addresses 16:32
5 Dark Week Passed 24:32
(Vintage psychedelic Berlin School)
Bert Hulshoff is one of these examples of musician-thinker who puts on music all the fruits of his emotions. So, the more than very prolific Dutch artist has released nearly one hundred albums, for the greater part in downloadable format, since that The Beginning has landed in the tubs in 2000. Composed, played and recorded only few days after the death of the late Edgar Froese, BLACK WEEK is already his 5th album. And we are only in January! Following the principles of prolificity, he presents us with 5 long sonic rivers with an average length of 23 minutes which are all simmered on the principle of improvisation, presenting an EM very imbued with the influences of Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese then at the peak of their experimental years.
Slow synth pads, with the sonic outlines shining of electrostatic tones, are hardly brightening the somber ambient corridors which smother the introduction of Dropout Time. While that a translucent strand escapes from these alarming pads, a rhythm pulsing like an interstellar suction cup makes its keys pounding in a furious undulatory minimalist pattern. This is a big cosmic rock of the vintage years which goes in our ears. And this is pretty much what they'll get, as minutes pass by, in exploring this album made in homage to Edgar Froese. A Phrozenlight's tribute to the old silvery fox. Going up and down, such as a crazy train which has no fear of derailment, the fiery movement of Dropout Time maintains its infernal pace, allying at the passage sporadic jingles, by undulating fervently in delicious synth layers with the aromas of old organ, whose shadows shake some electronic chirpings, and in these delicious gases of ether filled by these psychedelic fragrances which have furnished the magic of our loudspeakers in the years of Klaus Schulze's Picture Music. Just an Sequence hangs onto our ears straight away with a rhythm, always pulsatory, which is clearly livelier. The oscillations dance furiously in parallel with the echoes of percussions gasified of iodine and of which the ringings spin in a structure which at times remind a Stratosfear boosted with electronic steroids and of which the crazy pulsations are loosening shadows which try to hang in a rhythmic pattern which eventually will gurgle like a big stomach starving for pulsations. Breathless, the structure ends by flickering on the spot, offering variants which ally a phase of motionless rhythm to some sinister ambiences where from are born the deep oscillations of resounding arpeggios.
With its structure of rhythm arched on a meshing of sequences in forms of chirping, pulsations and organic gurglings as well as electronic cymbals, Trying to let my Mind Explode into Oblivion, (what a title!) is not really for all ears. It's a long minimalist pattern which misleads the ceaseless chatters of its pulsations and where the synths experiment a very experimental electronic language on a movement which presents ambiospherical variants as attractive, its finale, as very noisy, like its passage in nothingness. Needs to be in the head of Phrozenlight in order to understand. And at times, we are very close to be. Changing Addresses makes a reference to Edgar Froese's famous quotation; « We don't die, we are only changing of cosmic address ». The intro is very floating with synth lines which waltz with a so very esoteric and sedative approach where prisms sparkle in a rather dark mood. The rhythm gets out of its ambient matrix at around the 5th minute, exploiting the same minimalist furies that we find all over this album, in particular on Dropout Time, but with more nuances in its velocity which remains after all relatively serene. A serenity which is even more present in Dark Week Passed, even if the finale resuscitates these violent storms of organic pulsations and the patterns of stationary movements that will shake the temples of your loudspeakers and will make jump up the hammer of your eardrums.
BLACK WEEK aims before all at the fans of the very beginning of EM, where everything was made by instinct according to the discoveries and the possibilities of synthesizers and of their oscillating loops which could forge rhythms that no drummers could follow. Fans of that time where the frenzied pulsatory beats were fed by these ambiences that only the analog instruments could dissipate. Except that listening to those 2 hours in a row turns out to be an exercise which proves that the tolerance can have its limits. If the 5 structures offer good moments, they also offer pretty good lengths. The discovery is more attractive if we taste the album track by track over the course of one week. This is what I did. And I was amazed then to want to hear the following one. Except that there, the pattern of redundancy erases the charm. Thus, one at a time! So, we shall appreciate this tribute to Edgar Froese. A tribute to his first glances on an art that will bloom thanks to his curiosity, his perseverance and especially his immense talent to put in music his Daliesque vision of the art.
Sylvain Lupari (February 26th, 2015) ***½**
Available at Phrozenlight Bandcamp