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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Updated: Jan 2, 2022

This is an excellent Berlin School Revival with a superb musical richness

1 Hampshire I 17:22

2 Hampshire II 20:05

3 Hampshire III 16:00

4 Hampshire IV 8:23

5 Hampshire V 11:34

(DDL 73:24) (V.F.)

(Classic Berlin School)

Let's imagine synths, as many Mellotrons, sequencers and a guitar as smoking as cosmic. Let's take another synth that fills in the rare holes while drowning the introductions and the finales of ingenious sound effects with analog tints. The result is a huge wall of electronic sounds that waltz, undulate, float and drift in a cosmic universe where random and subdivided rhythms are wrapped in thick clouds of symphonic synths and celestial mellotrons. This is what the audience was treated to at the 8th Hampshire Jam held on October 31, 2009. For this occasion, the Pollard Daniel Booth trio was accompanied by Jerome Ramsay (Brendan Pollard's partner in Rogue Element) as well as Ruud Heij and Marcel Engels from Free System Project. The result was a huge musical immersion in a rich and dense electronic universe that breathes the fragrances of Tangerine Dream, era Ricochet to Encore.

Hampshire I opens this concert with sound effects that buzz, like dragonfly wings, in a cosmic pond soaked of vintage sound effects. A solitary keyboard releases keys that gravitate in suspension. Keys that cross a fluty Mellotron and medieval monks' voices. Slowly, Hampshire I lets discover its sound fauna sleeping under a thick mellotron layer and comes to life little by little on a sequence with feverish keys. The sequencer adopts a wriggling, bouncing rhythm that follows a linear, cascading movement wrapped in a mellotron with good breaths of blowpipes on a cold, monastic choirs and mystical mist that let filter its intoxicating sound effects from a distant analog universe. This sequencer movement transforms while striking a bass line, carrying the track into a heavy swirl of oscillating sequences that jiggle under Michael Daniel's languid and incisive guitar solos. These solos fly over a rhythmic storm flooded with synths that spit out symphonic, spectral and twisted solos on a rhythmic race that ends its journey on keyboards chords that slowly fade away to make room for a morphic finale. Hampshire II offers a splendid, dreamy intro where the mellotrons draw splendid cosmic auras. This electronic dawn still starred of good sound effects paves the way to an approach of the sequencer which subdivides its rhythm under the laments of synth's ochre breaths. A superb heavy and aggressive rhythm whose chords twirl with strength and constancy under the biting guitar of Michael Daniel. The synths bubble with apocalyptic and undulating solos that cross a synth universe full of heavy reverberations and psychedelic streaks.

After an introduction of varied tonalities where the world of darkness opens under our feet and in our ears, Hampshire III offers a percussive sequenced movement that tears this introductory veil with multiple sonic strangeness. The sequence is heavy and undulates with power, spawning among a wall of synths and mellotrons whose solos and enchanted flutes are spreading a mystical haze that fails to stifle the ferocity of a movement that gravitates and meanders with the strength of its cadenced approach. Hampshire III ends in the tumult that gave it life. A superb way to conclude a magical musical performance worthy of the musicians in place. Hampshire IV is the first encore. An encore that begins ferociously with a heavy sequence that moves into a powerful cascading movement which is surrounded by gorgeous mellotron flutes and mist-soaked synths. Frenetic and teeming with an intense rhythmic activity, Hampshire IV swirls in a sea of heavy enveloping mellotron layers that Daniel's guitar manages to invade, like do superb synth solos. A big heavy track that will delight fans of Tangerine Dream but also Redshift. Hampshire V introduces itself with a delightfully psychedelic approach where a panoply of heterogeneous sound effects gravitate around an introductory structure without beat, like in the psychedelic years of the Dream. A heavy resonant sequence pierces this vintage canvas. A rhythmic assault contained by a wall of synths and mellotrons rich in cosmic essences. The sequencer gradually decreases its intensity to offer a fragmented rhythm which finally infiltrates this torrent of synth and mellotron blasts from which the analog effects engulf it. It then gradually crumbles in this torrent where electronic goes along cosmic.

Like in the good years of the Dream, POLLARD DANIEL BOOTH Vol. 2 is as simply divine than magical. This concert at Hampshire Jam 8 is an excellent Berlin School Revival with a superb musical richness where rhythms and harmonies are prisoners of the Mellotron's splendid dreamy and wispy layers. Overall, it's a great album and one of the Top in 2010 in terms of vintage Berlin School.

Sylvain Lupari (October 8th, 2010) ****½*

Available at Pollard Daniel Booth Bandcamp

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