PYRAMID PEAK: Symmetry (2020)
Updated: Dec 20, 2020
“This is very good Pyramid Peak that requires a little more love and a few more listenings than the other albums...”
1 Countdown 12:04
2 Transformation 15:36
3 Symmetry - Transfer - Constellation 24:26
4 Dimension X 14:32
(CD/DDL 66:43) (V.F.)
(Minimalist New Berlin School)
An aggressive wave comes to me in both ears to flatten out in a structure that wipes the multiple leaps of a sequencer in mode for a bouncing rhythm with a certain nervousness in the flow. A flow which will later be linear and the host of arpeggios scintillating with harmonies. Meanwhile, a voice in a vocoder initiates a countdown so that percussions come to beat this rather sober opening. The synth trumpets like an elephant in a spasmodic structure with these percussions which constantly turn upside down the ambiences woven by a keyboard with limpid and melodious arpeggios. Countdown puts the brakes on in an industrial bellowing around the 6th minute. We go back to square one since it sounds strangely like the opening. The arpeggios continue to float, while a layer of wooshh imposes a cosmic presence of a short length, cause 30 seconds later the rhythm is reborn with a line of sequences which frolic under the eager eye of a layer of bass. The solos resume their Pyramid Peak identity, announcing another countdown which will also have the mission of further bludgeoning this rhythm which this time borrows a lento movement with cosmic arrangements that make us dream of angels. Even if the rhythm is strong and catchy like a lunar down-tempo painted with these superb solos with a unique signature to the Peak. Finally, I talk to you about the new Pyramid Peak album which became a duet on SYMMETRY. Finally, because I wanted to be sure that my writings reflect my state of mind. I, who am a fan of this group, had to take a step back from Zen and Selected Pieces (1999 - 2009) which made me dive back into the fabulous universe of Axess. It was time needed! And it's already a 10th album for the group initially composed of Andreas Morsch and Axel Stupplich. I remember that each album used to hide a gem that encouraged its full discovery. That is not the case here! Constantly playing on the philosophy of symmetry, the German duo projects long structures, like on the Roots album, with a musical synchronism linked to repetitive structures where synths and percussions must inject genius to hang us, not without difficulty, to structures that we can guess in advance. But there comes a point where the Peak takes our pants off with something we had lost in our ears listening to symmetrical music. But before, an elastic woowoo line unravels its reverberations in the opening of Transformation. From then on, an impressive tonal fauna makes its diversity heard under the breezes of a prismatic synth. At times we think we are in the water while at other times we are in the forest around a campfire or drifting in the cosmos. It's a little before the 3rd minute that the sequencer sculpts a line, as harmonic as rhythmic, which still welcomes the good moans of a synth whose unique timbre can only charm. Percussive effects start to rush in a stationary movement which gradually turns into an electronic rock exhilarating for our fingers, tapping what passes under them, and the neurons. The solos are beautiful and keep that fine spectral appearance as we enter an ambient phase around the 10th minute. A phase of more or less two minutes built on the precepts of its opening. The rhythm returns with nervous sequences which clash and collide in a static vision of bass pulsations and a 70's funk disco effect in a phase a bit between rock and EDM with fluty solos. This track is the perfect example of what we will be hooked on later after 3 or 4 listenings. Symmetry - Transfer - Constellation is the jewel of SYMMETRY.
A tender piano softens us in these ambiences where the mist solidifies on a cloud of violins flowing like a romance. A line of low sequences refuses to be moved by this cinematographic opening with a skipping flow nervously and to which will be added a line of percussive elements. The piano still trailing in the background, Symmetry offers a rhythm drifting in cosmos with an earworm fixed in the eardrums and where the solos have that tenderness usual to Axel Stupplich. The rhythm is good and sustained while making a first and long transition on the impulses of an organic bass and subsequently a line of chthonic voices. Then, the duo Morsch & Stupplich makes us taste the scents of their influences with bouquets of Poland in the synthesizers. The pace is pretty much in the same mold that introduced this long epic 25-minute track, except the moods have taken a 45-degree turn with those strong TD scents filling our ears. A phone rings around the 13th minute. We go to the Transfer period with a car ride that will lead our friend to an oasis filled with twittering birds flirting with sunny nature. Layers in astral colors lift the moods to make them as ethereal as the piano which screws a New Age melody into our ears. A skipping rhythm with tones of freezing water begins to ring, as to flow in the decoration of the piano. We forget this piano, but it's still so beautiful. We're waiting for an explosion somewhere. A line of bass sequences is added to the feverishness of the rhythmic cradle, as well as solemn percussions which roll before abandoning themselves without a crash. But the beat picks up a bit more passion in our ears at the same time as an organic hopping adds to the intrigue. The piano comes back to haunt us with a beautiful harmonious proposal that raises even more passion in a very intense final in terms of emotions. A very good title that has reconnected me with SYMMETRY after the 3rd listening. And it was about time! Compared to other Pyramid Peak albums, there are too many vocals here. Like in Dimension X which goes from a good EDM segment, including the speaking voices, to a weird rhythmic twist around an explosion of thunders between the 5 and 6 minutes in order to propose a structure resembling a long coitus without conclusion and which ends in the same natural crash. This interlude puts down a static rhythmic structure conducive to binding tinkling chords without there being any harmonic contact. The last part of Dimension X fixes it all up with some good electronic rock, thanks to the addition of percussion and a more passionate keyboard here than in the last 5 minutes. There is a lot of emotion and intensity in these last 4 minutes which also succeeds in reconnecting me with SYMMETRY. Yes, we have to work hard, but in the end you will find that it is very good Pyramid Peak which requires just a little more love and a few more plays than the other albums of this group already legendary in contemporary EM.
Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2020) *****
Available at Axess-Music Bandcamp