• Sylvain Lupari

PYRAMID PEAK: Evolution (2007)

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Evolution flirts between electronic dance music and its Tangerine Dream influences

1 Gravity 11:06

2 Evolution 29:21

3 History 11:56

4 Sequenced 11:44

5 Dive 2007 9:33

PP1017

(DDL 73:48) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

Distanced and dripping with fine refractions, the first chords of Gravity fall in a vaporous atmosphere where mysticism thrones with beauty. A superb flute emerges to merge with a soft keyboard that makes cascading its chords on a limpid melody from Tangerine Dream's era of Underwater Twilight or Tyger of Tangerine Dream. A little before the 5th minute, the tone of the so particular synth of Pyramid Peak draws a solitary sound arch even more melodious, juxtaposing 2 harmonious lines with poetic waves which waltz on the soft rhythm of sober percussions. Axel Stupplich describes this last release as a return to the roots for this band that gave us the amazing Ocean Drive in 1999. And indeed it is the case! EVOLUTION is a superb ode to Berlin School. A New Berlin School I would say. More musical, melodious and accessible. For the complex side of the structural elaborations gives way to a progressive and captivating sequenced minimalism, crisscrossed with those unique tones of the Peak's synth. Based upon Darwin's theory, EVOLUTION transforms itself from the changes of orientation of the trio since its foundation. Thus, we find a mixture of segments already played live with a fascinating remix of Dive.

Evolution is a long epic thirty-minute journey that begins with a sinuous wave whose rumbling sound hides the whispers of oceanic mammals. These whispers are sandwiched by two layers of synth, the very last of which is more musical. Thin filamentous lines hiss a harmonious snippet at the same time as a sequence sounds like a marble bouncing on a rubbery surface. This sequenced movement may recall some of the rhythmic phases of Tangerine Dream in Hyperborea, as in the Flashpoint soundtrack. Hypnotic, this rhythm phase stumbles and releases a handful of jumping keys that accelerate the pace while even the synths are obsessed with TD influences. It's quite a contrast in the stylized universe of the Peak. The sequencer in Chris Franke mode and the synths with the spectral Dream's coat of arms, Evolution traps us with a sentence thrown in a vocoder. A sentence that will come back a few times and that leaves a taste of creative naivety in this superb track that digs deep into the roots of Axel Stupplich, Uwe Denzer and Andreas Morsch. The sentence is still repeated at the 12-minute spot. This time, it is followed by a Machiavellian sneer, also meaning that the track leaves its influences to move into a phase where the New Berlin School embraces a form of electronic dance music for a period of more than 5 minutes. Then we are entitled of an atmospheric phase which lasts barely 3 minutes before Evolution finds the true identity of Pyramid Peak with a sequenced rhythm floating under the most beautiful attractions of its synths.

An odd and fascinating track, History proposes a heavy introduction immersed in a mass of sounds and its reverberations that shake the membranes of our eardrums. The synth layers that emerge are as imposing as intense. A background rhythm comes to life under this atmospheric blanket that feeds itself of sonic elements and solos. The structure then adopts a fascinating texture of electronic rock heavily entangled in a musical sound mass that refuses to falter, even for a moment. Sequenced proposes the best of both extremes by featuring a very atmospheric entrance where the synths float in a haunted opacity. An unruly sequence pierces this mystical veil to explore a whirlpool whose curves give birth to a multitude of spinning cycles that waltz over a beautiful, tender and moving synth. The 2nd part is corrosive with a solid techno rhythm whose movement is as jerky as a strobe effect on a fiery music. Dive 2007 is a remix of a track found on Ocean Drive. Its introduction is more atmospheric with more effects while its rhythm is also more dynamic. Only the melody seems untouched...and with good reason!

EVOLUTION gives us a Pyramid Peak that flirts between electronic dance music and its Tangerine Dream influences. An album whose title track is a real identity theft. One of the good albums of 2007 that can't go unnoticed and that will please the fans of Berlin School and especially of Tangerine Dream, period White Eagle to Tyger.

Sylvain Lupari (September 24th, 2007) *****

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