POLLARD-FSP & HASHTRONAUT: Mind out of Time (2010)
Updated: Jan 14
“Every time I listen to this music ... I still fall under its spell”
1 Shadows and Fog 37:36
2 The Upper Chamber 23:17
3 "Option C" (Slight Return) 18:12
(DDL 79:10) (V.F.)
One could never dissociate the compositions, as well as the music, of Free System Project and Brendan Pollard from the electronic and scenic prowess of a Tangerine Dream frozen in our nostalgic musical memories. And the addition of Michael Daniel (Hashtronaut) does nothing to mitigate these memories of an analog musical universe that seemed at the time borderless and timeless. MIND OUT OF TIME is the answer to Time out of Mind! Improvised and recorded during the Time out of Mind sessions; FSP, BP and Hashtronaut are undeniable proof that art survives time. Because even with a music constantly revised, corrected and replayed on its same precepts, MIND OUT OF TIME will find a way to seduce and awaken the vestiges of an EM that many believe has had its day.
Shadows and Fog is the reflection of its title! A long track of almost 40 minutes that offers a slow and very atmospheric intro. A morphic intro where a plethora of electronic sounds wraps itself in a wall of dreamy poetry made of shadows and fog. Electronic chirps unravel around these dark walking layers, while an abandoned flute hums a lyrical ode in a 1,001-sound forest. Floating spectral layers of synth and guitar move slowly with dark roars, whirrs and intriguing reverberations. The pattern is pretty much what you find on the track Time out of Mind but in a much longer format. A little too long even! In fact, this is the disadvantage of large format structures exceeding 25 minutes where the intro seems to be an improvisation pact. But clearly, we move forward as we can hear with this hesitant pulse that beats nonchalantly among spectral streaks and a clearer flute, around the 22nd minute. A sequence that finally comes out of its indecision and provides a rhythm that shakes the inertia of Shadows and Fog. A rhythm of which the long ascending curves undulate fiercely under symphonic flights of the synths and rather discreet guitar solos, self-effacing in a vertiginous rhythm mechanically pounded by a hungry bass pulse. The ambiences that encircle this rhythmic rise call upon the immense possibilities of the synths that also perfume it with tender flute tunes by a divine mellotron and with those chthonian voices that give this gothic appearance to Berlin School. This rhythmic explosion is spread over a distance of 12 minutes, allowing to forget its slow introduction.
It's under the illusion of hearing a metal bow plucking the strings of a fragile cello that the opening of The Upper Chamber emerges from the speakers. There are certainly other sound effects unique to the analog EM that excite my B&W, but that bow makes the opening screech and rumble under a cloud of electronic day birds. We have a lusciously strange atmospheric introduction whose reminiscences of an embryonic Phaedra cannot be ignored with stray synth layers and spiral filaments accompanying the soft mellotron flute. Unlike Shadows and Fog, this intro doesn't feel eternal and is well balanced between its ambiences and the sharp rhythm that emerges from the fluty softness around the 7th minute, with a sequence nervously tapping a minimalist cadence. A sustained cadence of which the powerful and abrupt resonant bass-pulses which hover before subtly splitting to intertwine and pair in a good rhythmic permutation. This fraction amazes our ears under a misty mellotron and whose flute tunes waltz with the ethereal layers under a sky streaked with multiple synthesized warbles. The Upper Chamber maintains this feverish pace with this heavy sequence which pulses while resonating in a dreamy haze of the mellotron which has become hybrid and a synth whose discreet solos fly over a universe full of analog tonalities. As its title indicates, "Option C" (Slight Return) is a response to "Option C" from the Time out of Mind album. Longer, it explores in more depth the atmospheric ambiances which deviate on an undulating and spherical sequential movement. A feverish and nervous sequence which gallops under a mellotron with dense misty layers, chthonian choirs and enchanted flutes airs as well as a synth with nasal solos and whose cascading layers encircle this circular movement. Obviously, the whole thing breathes Tangerine Dream, but from the Encore period with very symphonic synths that blend harmoniously with mellotron strata and minimalistic sequences that hammer a good hypnotic rhythm. The finale is very beautiful with its solitary piano notes that hang around this mist enveloping an imaginary forest where centaurs charm the birds while accompanying their chirps with fine fluty odes.
Free System Project, Brendan Pollard et Hashtronaut still manage to plunge us into these nostalgic atmospheres that a legion of fans of Tangerine Dream's early years definitely seem to miss. MIND OUT OF TIME is the reflection of Time out of Mind and of the need of a whole generation to relive the magic of morphic intros, full of heterogeneous sounds, which lead to the same sequenced movements evolving on the desire of our memories. Structures heard hundreds of times, and which always succeed in subjugating. Why? I have no idea. All I know is that every time I listen to this music ... I still fall under its spell. Like that first love that was full of innocence and reverie. Too bad that the opening of Shadows and Fog is so long and slow to develop, otherwise I would give it a good 4 stars...
Sylvain Lupari (December 22nd, 2010) ***½**
Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp