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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RAINBOW SERPENT: Live @ Liphook 2007 (08)

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

A CD filled of creative music and varied rhythms that leave room for amazing melodies

1 Le Vent dans la Plaine 9:37

2 Twelve Celli 12:36

3 Tangram 10:03

4 Calais 4:35

5 En Passant 19:20

6 Memories 4:58

7 Rückblenden 9:55

(CD 71:06) (V.F.)

(Progressive Berlin School)

When you listen to LIVE @ LIPHOOK 2007, it's hard to imagine that this album was recorded in concert, so much everything fits together with an amazing complicity. Because the music of Rainbow Serpent is not easily tamed. It's a kind of progressive and experimental Berlin School which is in constant evolution. Compositions structured around heterogeneous sound elements to which are grafted beautiful harmonious passages. Recorded live at the 2007 Hampshire Jam, LIVE @ LIPHOOK 2007 presents us a Rainbow Serpent in great shape. A Rainbow Serpent accompanied by Thomas Kagermann on violin and Eva-Maria Kagermann on ethereal vocals. And true to their signature, the Berlin band offers us their complex music with electronic melodies broken up by sound effects and noisy intervals, like thunderous percussion strokes, creating a stunning musical paradox where powerful melodies abound in unsuspected contexts.

Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht don't waste time! From the very opening of Le Vent dans la Plaine, RS plunges us into a musical world full of imagination. Le Vent dans la Plaine starts off like a badly calibrated motorcycle. A motorcycle having a cold that a huge synth wave covers with cold metallic sounds. Synth noises that wears out its din in atmospheric-cosmic layers before brutal percussive blows sound a rhythmic awakening with a slow and sensual pace, topped by a synth with spectral waves that undulate lazily. Le Vent dans la Plaine then unfolds its beautiful melody with piercing synth lines that make coo hypnotic circles and make wander sinuous lines that charm and sing over heavy percussions. Synths that break up their lines creating melody upon melody that are layered with intense mellotron strata, shaping a highly emotional dramatic approach to a structure pounded with a heavy pace. A little bit more and I'd think I was listening to Frank Specht's sublime Sebastian Im Traum. Le Vent dans la Plaine slides towards Twelve Celli and its ambient structure that reminds the universe of Bernard Xolotl on his album Procession. This is a very atmospheric slow movement where the violin and the spiritual incantations of Eva-Maria Kagermann fly over an arid structure that awakens on heavy Amerindian percussions. A slow procession that gains in rhythm with good sequences that flicker on an always indecisive structure, bitten by a hesitant violin. Tangram starts with chiming keys that flutter in a sphere of colourful reverberations. A good sequenced movement emerges. It undulates with limpidity, recalling the worlds of Tangerine Dream on Tangram, while the fluty mellotron recalls the poetic-cosmic universe of Software. Another very good track which sails on the quirky faces of Rainbow Serpent, while respecting this so melodious touch which is his. Calais offers, in less than 5 minutes, the multiple facets of Rainbow Serpent. An ambient intro embellished by Eva-Maria Kagermann's soft dreamy voice cooing in a dark cosmos, while percussions and a bass line sculpt a fine languorous rhythm that ends its run with a drum roll, plunging Calais into the caustic darkness of its introduction.

En Passant is the main title of LIVE @ LIPHOOK 2007. A synth with symphonic layers that flow like sighs from the soul, a bit like the lonely saxophone of Vangelis in Blade Runner, opens the introduction. A poignant intro with the angelic vocals of a mellotron but also with strange percussions which croak and drum randomly with cymbals flickering in an eclectic mist. In short, a universe worthy of Rainbow Serpent which awakens with an uncertain movement of the sequencer to zigzag in a heterogeneous sound universe. Beautiful symphonic synth layers cover this rhythmic finely hammered by superb sequences which fit marvellously with all the percussions paraphernalia gravitating around En Passant which dives into heavy atmospheric passages, but never atonal, with brief sequenced awakenings and hammered by a snoring bass line. A long track as beautiful as strange that undeniably suffers from a melodic bipolarity syndrome. After a soft melancholic ballad in Memories, Rückblenden emerges from a soaring cosmos saturated with atmospheric strata à la Klaus Schulze. Composed with Mario Schonwalder, Rückblenden stands out with its sober structure that comes to life on a good hypnotic movement of the sequencer, coated with fine ethereal strata. A pulse bites the rhythm that grows slowly, like in KS' Moondawn, before crossing a passage where the percussions modify the rhythmic structure... as if we were listening to some good old Klaus Schulze.

LIVE @ LIPHOOK 2007 from Rainbow Serpent is a monumental work that I missed and rediscovered with Stranger. A superb album filled with creative music and diversified rhythms that leaves a lot of room for amazing melodies. Progressive Berlin School with nods to Tangerine Dream, Software and Vangelis. A whole range of musical memories that furnish a pleasant moment of contemporary EM.

Sylvain Lupari (October 14th, 2008) *****

Available at Manikin Bandcamp

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