POLLARD & DOLENTE: Diffuser - The Rehearsal (2020)
Updated: Feb 16
“This is 44 minutes of pure and heavy Berlin School that went out like 20 so much it is good EM that the English duo has put on the table”
1 Diffuser - The Rehearsal 44:37
(CD / DDL 44:37) (V.F.)
I hate to start like that, but it's with percussive clicks à la Thru Metamorphic Rocks from the album Force Majeure that Diffuser - The Rehearsal begins. Straight away, it's with a The Keep atmosphere, muffled pulsations and a little muddled flute, that the introduction of this long 44-minute track takes place. An introduction that has ants in the beat with this limpid line of rhythm jumping with vivacity in an ambient envelope which however has all the rhythmic creativity to burst out. It's a bit what happens when another line of the sequencer destabilizes the one that has became a background harmony with circular rodeos that stigmatize the whirlwind rhythm of Diffuser - The Rehearsal. I am telling you like that, but there hasn't been 6 minutes to the meter that already DIFFUSER-THE REHEARSAL seems untameable to me. Singing mellotron mist and sequencer on the rout, this opening which peels like an onion takes a seductive rhythmic flight worthy of the great Berlin School of the past that Brendan Pollard has mastered since his album Expansion in 2005. Another line of the sequencer ended up slipping between the two firsts, accentuating the velocity of the kickings, a bit much like in Partitions from the excellent Prologue album before it changes skin and color to attempt a harmonic diffusion. Exploiting the polyrhythmic principle with a magic fingering, I remind you that we are hearing one and the only one rehearsal of this title, the lines of rhythms multiply in this opening of more than a dozen minutes while others dissolve in rhythmic and harmonic exchanges which put us between the years 73 and 78 of contemporary EM.
There is no way to denying it, but 2020 is the year of the great solo comeback of the English master of mellotrons. Prologue, Live and More and DIFFUSER-THE REHEARSAL are 3 albums released on the same day, June 5, 20. A few months earlier, friend Brendan offered a CD-R containing essays, outtakes and improvisation sessions with Isolated Passages. And for decades as we know it, and Pollard doesn't hide it either, his music is mainly inspired by the Virgin and Mellotron years of Tangerine Dream, that is to say from Rubycon to Force Majeure which is clearly at the heart of this DIFFUSER-THE REHEARSAL. And it's assisted by his long-time friend Adrian Dolente, who is the technician of the various synths that Brendan uses during his shows, that this album and Live and More are interpreted. We're past 13 minutes and Diffuser - The Rehearsal runs through these mysterious corridors where the sound of the void resonates with particles and effects engulfed in its huge hollow mouth. The whistles that the winds create have installed this artificial mist made of silver metals and of iridescent colors, while slowly the awakening of this long musical river settles for a second time. The percussive tones come from further away and the scrawny backbone that goes up and down, pushed by a series of two beats, has these attributes of phantom rhythm. But the train is heating up its machines! Layers of chthonic voices are grafted to this monotone rhythm until the 17th minute when another element of the sequencer sticks to the first line, making it livelier and even slightly more accentuated. After its layers of voices, the mellotron pushes its fluty layers which, stuck to the emerging rhythm, visit the spheres of Rubycon and Phaedra. Set with percussive elements of mist, the rhythm adopts the eternal ascending train of the dark and heavy Berlin School, barely faster than the rotations of our neck, with a small spheroidal tangent that we will notice after a few plays. To avoid the pitfalls of redundancy, the Pollard & Dolente duo plays with the velocity of the sequencer while injecting it a misshapen balls which attenuate its symmetry, thus giving the detail necessary to stimulate the interest of our passive listening. Quietly, this 3rd part of Diffuser - The Rehearsal wears out its energy in the depths of a huge buzzing effect around the 29th minute, where the title plunges into its second phase of atmospheres. Industrial atmospheres here with tinkles that sparkle on this big rustling tunnel in a short psychedelic phase that inspires us to hear Force Majeure again. If that's your case, tell yourself that the remixed and remastered version of Steven Wilson is worth all the money in your wallet. A livelier and more sober movement of the sequencer and of the fluty Mellotron places us in these exhilarating areas of Ricochet in a final where the 44 minutes of this title only seemed to have only 20, no more! Let's find out what Live and More has in store for us ...
Sylvain Lupari (August 19th, 2020) *****
Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp