RAINBOW SERPENT: Pulse (2000/2015)
“Pulse is a great EM album which mixes marvellously two poles, the old as the new Berlin School”
1 Pulse Trancemission 15:12 2 Part I 13:25 3 Part II 10:45 4 Part III 10:28 5 Part IV 4:17 6 Alien Nature 14:23 7 Part V 9:50 SynGate Records | RSX-4 (DDL/CD-r 78:28 ) (V.F.) (Vintage and Contemporary EM)
WoW! I completely missed this album! And this is one of the good reasons that I appreciate the re-releases of SynGate. Year after year, this German label resuscitates an album forgotten in time on its download platform. An album which very often is a must, and which has remained well nestled within its borders. PULSE from Rainbow Serpent is that kind of album. Poured into 7 tracks which overlap in atmospheres as convoluted as its rhythms woven in a creative complexity, but which flow so well between the ears, this 8th album of Rainbow Serpent is the perfect example of the duality between the harmonious approach of Frank Specht and the slightly bolder one by Gerd Wienekamp.
Pulse Trancemission begins very slowly with sighs from computer machines whose resonances amplify the presence of vacuum. Electronic effects draw a computer language, bringing the first title of PULSE to the outskirts of cosmic psychedelia. A layer of voices spreads a vintage fragrance. It precedes the first pulses of Pulse Trancemission which follow those of a peaceful heartbeat. The synths divide these layers between effects of voices and mists, not forgetting to extend an orchestral veil which serves as a primer for a rain of cracklings and for ambient drums that resonate in the distance. Topped by a cosmic choir, the rhythm of Pulse Trancemission thwarts previsions with a heavy and lively approach. It deploys its parallel curves which undulate with fluidity in the tumult of ambient percussions, percussions of the genre trance tribal from Klaus Schulze in the Picture Music years, as well as electronic effects and synth solos whistling like a mechanical nightingale with a changing voice. Sometimes a pulse goes astray and tries to escape. It loses its vitality in big heap of interstellar layers loaded of electronic chirps and of extinct voices as well as pulsations which bring us to this fascinating electronic dialect whose well-tied loops forge a surprising sequence of rhythm. The movement of Part I resembles that of a fun fair that can be heard in the distance. Far away in the cosmos! Again, the movement is fluid. It clings to its oscillating loops which rely on sober pulsations and the noises of cymbals. The chants of the synths are piercing and draw acrobatic figures which spin above these tireless loops of electronic rhythm. The percussions flow around the 4th minute. Their scattered clatter structures an ambient rhythm, a bit like Harald Grosskpof in Schulze's atmospheres. A nice movement of dark sequences escapes while Part I is enveloped in mist around the 7 minutes. The rhythm becomes fluid and heavy, like in the Phaedra years, under layers of mist and of voices before more lively pulsations bring it not far from a techno morphic. One of the charms of this album is undoubtedly this fusion of organic tones and ambient percussions which sound so much like the unfathomable rhythms of Klaus Schulze in Picture Music. Except that the contemporary envelope of sounds plays trick to our memory, so that the impression of deja-entendu gives way to a form of dazzling.
Part II fuels its moods in this mesh of tones and of retro tom-toms. Little by little the rhythm gets organized around a kind of cosmic Groove whose swaying of our body undulates in an intense cosmic phase. The synths and their effects are very melodious and come very close to Frank Specht in Sebastian Im Traum. It'sa beautiful moment of slightly more heavenly ambiences before the lively and fluid rhythm of Part III brings us no more no less in lands of Ramp, Redshift or if you like better of good old Tangerine Dream. The percussion game, both in rattling and Bongos, adds a more contemporary electronic depth to this rhythm buried under a good chthonian choir. It's very good. That's the track that grabs our attention the most in the first exploration of PULSE which then plunges into a very ambiospheric phase with Part IV and its vocoder which seems to recite a prayer over the bitter findings of a battlefield and its mist of sweat. It reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd's Animals with Sheep. The machine's dialogue continues with Alien Nature, a complex title that deserves to be discovered. The first listening can displease a bit with this mechanical voice which quizzes a secret language that only people from very old nomads' countries seem to understand, if we trust this structure of rhythm which adopts a kind of clan trance with gasps blowing in loops. It reminds me of the aboriginal structures of Steve Roach. The first 3 minutes of Part V extend this ambiospheric phase with a synth that releases multi-sonic twists above the clicking of cymbals. A bass sequence pulses a little after the 3rd minute, lighting up a structure of nervous rhythm where sequences and percussions flutter without precise rhythm before plunging the last title of PULSE towards an electronic rock leaded by a technoid approach hidden in this universe of Teutonic rhythms. Rhythms of these German bands that have always known how to take their sonic jewels of the Berliner style towards other skies. Yeah ... a damn nice album. Not easy to access to, but of an incomparable richness.
Sylvain Lupari (January 24th, 2016) *****
Available at SynGate