POLARIS: Way Out (2014)
“Way Out is a beautiful album of Chill, of smooth down-tempos where Polaris perfumed his soft beats with scents of Berlin School”
1 Entrance 3:56 2 White Horizon 8:03 3 Unstoppable 9:33 4 Stained Glass 7:58 5 Maps, DNA and Spam 5:00 6 Three Suns 6:32 7 Way Out 7:07 8 Taklamakan 7:40 Polaris Music
(CD 55:53) (VF) (Modern synth-pop and Berlin School IDM)
It's been a while since we heard new music from Polaris and of its purveyor in sounds; Jakub Kmiec. The one who has literally surprised the EM planet with the amazing Collision, released in 2011 and stemming from a memorable evening of synth improvisation with his fellow countryman Krzysztof Horn, comes back with a logical suite to his Background Stories, his last real studio album realized in 2008. If WAY OUT is a new release, the tracks that inflate its rhythms of a honeyed synth-pop approach melted to a soft and morphic IDM have been written between 2009 and 2013. Tracks which pour towards a kind of smooth and cool Electronica with influences of Jean-Michel Jarre (well his modern twist) and Spyra that can be heard on structures where sequences, percussions and pulsations are builder of rhythms, while the synths subdivide their tasks by taking care of the harmonies which are as diversified as attractive and also lively with some rather avant-gardist nuances.
Entrance starts things with its rhythm as heavy as sharp. Isolated arpeggios spit rhythmic resonances with keys which stagnate in ambiences fed by a synth and its layers of mist. A synth flavored in the fragrances of a good old Berlin School and whose moods, as harmonious as floating, are being modernized by more contemporary perfumes. Heavy reverberations snore at the same time as the percussions fall. And the rhythm of Entrance intensifies its presence and diversifies its race between a nervous up-tempo, a kind of break - beat, with jerks and gusts, as well as a melodious synth-pop with a synth which evaporates constantly its contagious harmonies. The tone is given! Polaris will put in our ears a pallet of rhythms which swarm nervously inside their nuances. The electronic envelope and its ambient shadows remain very present. Moreover, it's with this approach that White Horizon finds a room in our ears. The intro is relaxing with synth lines which float in tones of cosmos all above spirals of sequences, dreamy arpeggios and echoes of metallic percussions. Little by little the percussions pound in a form of a clanic approach while White Horizon refuges its harmonies in a mixture of Lounge and a quite relax Chill-out with muted pulsations which resound and pound under a thick cloud of sonic shooting stars. Unstoppable follows with an also long structure where the rhythm is playing tricks from by its unstable phases. Soft and melodious, in particular with the harmonies of synth which coo in loops, like the chants of lunar nightingales, it sparkles and shivers by the jingles and the strikes of metallic percussions very Jarre before melting in stroboscopic strands with very silvery outlines. It's never violent and it's a very Berliner EM pattern with very beautiful synth solos. The singings of synths hail to you? You like these rotary loops which warble in the colors of serenity? They will fill your desires with the soft and nostalgic Stained Glass. The rhythm is smooth and cool. A mixture of down-tempo and IDM a la Bowie on Let's Dance stuffed with stroboscopic serpentines which interlace in muted pulsations of which the magnetic resonances crumble the coat of arms of ambient electronic music. Maps, DNA and Spam is in the same style whereas Three Suns is the track which shines the most in this collection of smooth Electronica. The introduction breathes of these intergalactic tones which made open wide our ears at the beginning of the 70's. In fact, one would say a mixture of Kraftwerk, for the radioactive waves, and Software, for the cosmic approach. The structure of rhythm settles down with metallic jingles which peck at two lines of sequenced percussions from which the militarized debit of one reminds of the soft creative madness of Richard Pinhas in his sublime East-West. The percussions which strike a soft pace are locking-up an ambient approach subjected by some slow synth pads perfumed of black. Although limping more than skipping, this rhythm remains very fascinating with a pleiad of elements which interlace to create a pattern as imaginative as these sequences which are panting and choking in dense and enveloping cosmic fog floes. The title-track feeds also of these percussions / sequences a bit organic which decorated the structure of Three Suns. It's a beautiful lascivious down-tempo which exploits a bit the style of psybient, while Taklamakan is more incisive, more danceable with a flow jerked by silvery lines.
WAY OUT is a good album of Chill, or something like soft down-tempos, perfumed by rather scents of Berlin School. It's an unpretentious album which flow in our ears with all the wealth of its harmonies. If the structures remain sober, they attract nevertheless this taste of ambient, of lunar dances. Jakub Kmiec wanted absolutely to present WAY OUT in a format of manufactured pressed CD that he also presents with a beautiful inner notebook. An initiative backed by the Ricochet Dream label which aims to be a kind of recognition, of gratitude to these fans of EM who really care about the physical conception of the music.
Sylvain Lupari (January 6th, 2014) ***½**
Available at Polaris Bandcamp