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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Updated: Jan 1, 2022

“In an album which shows a more personal musical aura of the English trio, Eight stays what is the best of Berlin School style with some great sequencing patterns to listen to”

1 Return 17:24 2 Cell 17:16 3 Midges 17:15 4 Clockline 16:59

(CD/DDL 68:54) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

After 8 years of absence, Pollard-Daniel & Booth is back in strength with a EIGHT filled with original material. It was in July 2018 that the English trio decided to meet for a good recording session that this time had the support of new technology to better condense the improvised soarings of Brendan Pollard, Michael Daniel and Phil Booth. The music is always inspired by Tangerine Dream's 74-77 years, we even feel the breezes of Klaus Schulze in a title like Cell, and more precisely of their legendary concerts where from a note the mythical German trio arrived to produce a breathtaking electronic symphony. More than 50 years later, this prospect of re-hearing this musical genre still very popular with fans of EM remains well anchored in the nets of Pollard-Daniel & Booth, as evidenced by the previous 7 volumes and the incredible number of artists and groups that compose and/or improvise in these spheres. Offered as a download as well as a manufactured CD, EIGHT offers 4 tracks lasting an average of 17 minutes, where the Berlin School of the analogous years is still part of the English trio orientations.

Waves of electronic tweets and of organic distortion effects open the horizons of Return. Pads of oscillating winds roll gently, introducing a few seconds later guitar chords which flow like those of Manuel Gootsching in New Age of Earth. A muted pulsation resonates around the 4th minute. Metal elytra dance around this dull movement which accelerates its pace by receiving the support of another line of sequences. More vivid and limpid, it oscillates fluidly between layers of ether and of contemplative mists. These two structures of rhythms complement each other very well and form a big electronic rock with parallel impulses and just what is needed as a difference in order to activate our sense of listening. Synth solos with more exploratory than harmonic forms join this binary structure which undertakes a hovering migration where always stylized solos dance on, of which some gorgeous ones from a Mellotron filled with airs of a misty flute. The rhythm begins a frenetic phase, almost spasmodic, towards the finale with an influx of sequences which twirl in a rhythmic choreography bombarded by good electronic effects. Michael Daniel's guitar and Brendan Pollard's Mellotron reappear at the very end to bring Return back to its original port. Cell, as well as Midges and Clockline, also offers introductions stuffed with electronic ambience effects with tones that comfortably adjust to this hunger for electronic effects that grip the ears in mode listening.

Between Klaus Schulze and Pink Floyd, the chthonic migration of Cell towards rhythm takes almost 8 minutes, but the wait was worth it! The sequencer offers a lively movement with bass-pulsation keys which jump quickly into an oscillating and floating structure. Jinglings of metal elytra also accompany this structure which borrows unexpected turns in this mass of nebulous mist and of Luciferian voices. The synth solos are more discreet and take on an ethereal color with a vampire illusion flying close enough to its prey; a catchy rhythm which survives at its indomitable 5 minutes. The last 3 minutes of Cell are a magical moment with a flute song which is lulled by solitary and floating arpeggios. After an introduction coming from the satanic darkness, Midges explodes with a powerful rhythm. The title plunges us downright into the most beautiful period of EM analog years with a solid Berlin School boosted by synth chants in mode apocalyptic trumpets. The rhythm takes an even more energizing tangent after the 9th minute spot to head into a furious rock with a Michael Daniel in the skin of a Steven Wilson who tears the airs of solos that seem lost in the grace of those of a Mellotron and its airs a little flutier. Phil Boot returns with equally harmonious solos, guiding Midges to a final a little more experimental. This title is one of the best Berlin School I've heard lately. This title is one of the best Berlin School I've heard lately. An angelic choir circles our ears in the opening of Clockline. Elves' voices are humming and get silent when a thin stream of drizzle mingles the Mellotron lyric songs. The rhythm blossoms earlier in this title with a fierce dominance as in Midges, but with a clear attenuation in the tonal power. In fact, Pollard-Daniel & Booth flirts with the adrenaline rush, as much in the rhythm as the foggy pads, which have concluded Poland, especially with the title Horizon. Apart from some solos and Mellotron, the sequencer remains the dominant piece of this electronic rock like it's also dominates the 4 very good structures of this last of from PDB. EIGHT is an album that will certainly please their fans as well as all those who are looking for the best copycats of Tangerine Dream. Pollard-Daniel & Booth puts down a more personal musical aura here than in its other albums with a music which does a whole bunch of winks at the one of the German trio, while highlighting the contribution of other dominant artists of the time. The thing to remember the most is that there is an excellent Berlin School style in this album which is boosted by a lively and sometimes furious sequencer, making of this album the best of PDB and a great one in 2018.

Sylvain Lupari (March 7th, 2019) ****¾*

Available at Pollard/Daniel/Booth's Bandcamp

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