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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PYRAMID PEAK: The Cave (2010)

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

The Cave is in line with the musical magic of the German trio

1 Range of Sound 33:44

2 Underground Movement 37:57

(DDL 71:41) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

A little less than two years after the release of Evolution, Pyramid Peak gave a concert in the Dechenhöhle cave in October 2009. For the Peak it was not their first concert in this cave since they had already left their sound footprints there in 2002. Since then, the German trio has returned twice more to let their music haunt the corridors of this tourist attraction in the town of Iserlohn in Germany. The Peak finally managed to master the elements of the cave, including its high degree of humidity, and to put on the market a quality recording. And this in spite of some distortion problems on Underground Movement which, I believe suits very well the sonic perversity of the track. Although THE CAVE is an underground concert, the music played represents very well the ambivalent universe of Axel Stupplich, Andreas Morsch and Uwe Denzer which embraces as much the cosmos as the entrails of a molten Earth. An album that was the biggest seller in SynGate's catalog in 2010.

Range of Sound begins gently with a track divided into 2 long segments and which bears its name well, as it is a feast of composite sounds. It starts with an ethereal intro where waves of synthesizer undulate while glittering among a panoply of breaths with celestial aromas. Notes of harps wander in a cosmos looking like an Eden in formation. And one can think of Jean-Michel Jarre and his famous Fishing Junks at Sunset as well as ['ramp] for its heavy intriguing ambiences. Ambiences full of strange gloomy sounds and heavy subterranean reverberations which disturb this feast of harmonies where slow synth strata à la Axess are floating among tearing and metallic streaks. From this din at the crossroads of 2 worlds emerges a fine sequenced movement whose chords drum in an alternating motion under a dark sky that is filled with fine explosions of firedamp. The musical universe of the Peak unfolds with its multi-colored synth layers which fly over a rhythmic increasingly heavy, animated by electronic percussions with metallic resonances. The rhythm well established, the synths deploy their multiple sonorities going of long sinuous layers which waltz near short spiral streaks, more metallic layers and melodious layers in suspension, whereas scattered percussions burst here and there, adding a rhythmic depth, already rather well furnished, to Range of Sound. The rhythm gradually wears off around the 17-minute mark, plunging this long track into a dark atmospheric passage where vocal samplings rise above a musical universe strewn of multiple electronic sounds. We float along, between Software and Tomita, before Pyramid Peak's clear rhythm awakens with crisscrossing lines of sequences that clash with finesse to form its magnetic rhythmic universe. This rhythm is languid with a superb duel of percussions and sequences under romantic synth layers that recall the poetic universe of Vangelis. Always as hesitant as its sequences and its strident pulsations, the rhythm hardly breathes in this universe with multiple sound colors. But it breathes and will go until its last breath that the synths so omnipresent and so multi-sounds smother with their metal breaths.

Underground Movement is more violent and offers different structures that are totally opposite to their evolutions. First of all, a cloud of beautiful arpeggios scroll and spin like a glittering spiral in the opening. A strange spinning ballet where other arpeggios cradle the movement which is embellished by a soft mellotron wadding. A choir wraps the intro with Gregorian chants. A dark choir where male and female voices merge around the shimmering chords and a thin bass line that escapes from muffled symmetrical pulsations. There is a brief moment of calm before synth sirens tear the silence, accompanied by multiple sequences that frantically leap over a structure that unravels in a jerky motion. The progression is clear and Underground Movement is seized with a furious movement of the sequencer whose chords jump and clash under streaks of metallic synth and fluid chords that seek to harmonize this furious movement with a soft catchy melody. The movement of Underground Movement intensifies and gets heavier with a corrosive synth and furious sequences that fiercely stomp a hellish rhythm filled of heavy strings, liturgical choirs and arpeggios that march like an inverted spiral. This furious rhythmic phase calms down around the 16th minute with a long atmospheric passage where bits of rhythms beat around huge metallic synth blasts that ululate in a cave closer to the stars than to the earth. A long ambient movement that awakens with a sweet Peak-like sequence, sprinkled with delicate and beautiful solos that float in suspension with fluty and melodious essences that the electronic percussions hit light up with a good melodious cadence. The beauty calm after the furious storm.

It's good to hear some good Pyramid Peak. Although different with its approach structured around long musical pieces, THE CAVE is in line with the musical magic of the German trio. A good album of an EM faithful to the sound imprint the band leaves since Ocean Drive. Except that this time the magic of Axel Stupplich, Andreas Morsch and Uwe Denzer is surrounded by a mysterious sound aura where the sequences at the same time soft and tempestuous, which are always used as bases to superb electronic melodies, soak in a musical universe covered with metallic sounds which overhang these splendid synth solos unique to the musicality of the Peak. Languid solos and melancholic layers over ambivalent rhythms. Yeah...when I say it's good to hear good Peak!

Sylvain Lupari (January 31st, 2011) ***½**

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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