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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Updated: Jan 1, 2022

This trio is synonymous of pure retro Berlin School style of EM

1 Envelopes 30:40

2 Skaters 10:36

3 Ladders 25:30

(DDL 66:46) (V.F.)

(Progressive Berlin School)

For electronic music (EM) fans, Brendan Pollard is synonymous of pure retro Berlin School style of EM. His solo works, as well as his work with Rogue Element, are all superb gems of EM that tenderly embrace the roots of the analog years, specifically those of Tangerine Dream. Recorded in one day, live and without additional takes, this self-titled POLLARD DANIEL BOOTH album is no exception. Brendan Pollard, Michael Daniel (Hashtronaut) and Phil Boot deliver an album that exudes a somber tranquility drawn from sumptuous mellotrons and a sweet improvisational madness that is close to the Dream's repertoire and to early RMI albums.

Envelopes opens with a warm mellotron flute that gently rides on a heavy linear movement flavored with a Rhodes piano notes and electronic sound effects. From this atmospherical start PDB drags us into the depths of Phaedra to Force Majeure eras with a good and misty nostalgic intro that feeds on a secretive ambience while bordering on a spectral approach with its reverberating waves and enchanting flute melting into intriguingly resonant oscillations and an enveloping synth loop. A slow crescendo develops with a chthonic vision, creating a slow rhythm that grows without sequenced bursts up until the 10th minute. At this point, a solitary sequence zigzags over fluttering cymbals, forging a hypnotic beat that gradually plunges us into the oversized rhythms of Envelopes. Hoop waves rolled of caustic reverberations draw a heavy rhythmic pattern from which clear sequences that straddle opposing ascents and heavy sequences with random rhythmic directions escape. A heavy and spasmodic rhythm which rolls in loops on a guitar with well tapered solos forms a vitaminized 2nd part that slowly fades away with its rhythms that have become anemic and wrapped in the soft vapors of a fluty mellotron that also made the charms of the introduction. At the opposite, Skaters constantly drifts in a sea of corrosive sinuosities which is also full of undulating mellotron spectral waves. A track with post-nuclear ambiences that gives off an unsettling aura, somewhat moving due to the lamentations of the synth.

Fine notes of a melancholic piano open the troubling first measures of Ladders. A black intro where the synth arcs its sounds like the cries of a feline from the underworld in a singularly icy ambience. A pulsation emerges from this chaos filled with circular reverberations and animated by cymbals fluttering like metal dragonflies. These limbos become clearer through a fluttery mellotron and a sequence of spiral flows that forge a rhythm supported by a synth with symphonic odes. Continuously fed with sequences, Ladders finds a sustained cadence between aggressive solos and a synth with corrosive resonances. This ends to be a good progressive Berlin School, even psychedelic, which borrows well-structured switching cadences, feeding itself with furious guitar solos on a sound background quite ethereal. Especially towards the finale with its subtle organ sounds floating on circular cymbal flickers, signifying the end of a surprisingly bold and furious track for an improvised Berlin School.

The POLLARD DANIEL BOOTH trio offers a very nice opus inspired by the Berlin School style. But a more adventurous Berlin School where the simultaneity with tribal elements thwarts the tongue-in-cheek with a bold and distinctly progressive approach. It's a pity that it is only available in 100 copies. But there is always a way to download it!

Sylvain Lupari (October 16th, 2009) *****

Available at Pollard Daniel Booth Bandcamp

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