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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

['ramp]: synchronize or die (2017)

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

“This is a great comeback from Stephen Parsick who rapidly repatriates his crown as the Prince of the Doombient vibes and of the dark and tenebrous sequencer-based style”

1 synchronize or die 15:00 2 2600 10:34 3 hanging gardens 21:27 4 torque 11:09 5 godzilla 18:00 Doombient.Music | ramp010

(CD/DDL 76:21) (V.F.) (Doombient style & Berlin School)

What a surprise is this completely unexpected comeback of ['ramp]! After the too long silence which followed the Astral Disaster album, I thought that Stephen Parsick had put an end to ['ramp] And bang! I received an e-mail, followed by a promotional CD. And what a comeback my friends! The least that I can say is that the man in black of an EM of the styles of Doombient, experimental and\or Berlin School is in great shape. After a so said creative absence of 5 years Stephen Parsick delivers an opus which starts right where the complex rhythms and the Mephistophelian vibes of Steel and Steam and Return had engendered this small jewel which is Astral Disaster. And our chummy Stephen has lost nothing of his ardor, or his creativity by presenting a wonderful album without burrs. An album built around these multilayers of rhythms which get wind up and twist in intrusive magma without ever flooding the leading structure. And the ambiences? ['ramp] goes even farther by injecting a modern psychedelic approach where the border between the reason and the insanity is constantly offended. A majestic album my friends, which covers with shame those who had lost sight, from eyes to ears, the music of this brilliant artist for whom Berlin School has never had of secrets, nor borders.

The title-track uncorks this SYNCHRONIZE or DIE with delicate oscillating sequences which alternate their skipping in a passage where the void is eroded by a thin layer of crackling. A heavy sequence makes roar its pace like a mobile staircase which goes up the endless skies. Stephen Parsick has become a master in the art to sculpt and to stick into a symbiosis those multilayers of rhythms which come out of nowhere. This signature is coming to mind when a 3rd structure of rhythm flickers all over the eternal ascent of the main rhythm. Stephen Parsick also reminds us that he knows very well how to handle the minimalist structures by adding effects which dance lightly and gambol around the progression of synchronize or die. These effects add a dark dimension and give even an impression to modify the pace of a rhythm which is losing some of its sonic fluids. These fluids breakup of the main movement to forge small harmonious buckles which go and come pecking at this big rhythmic anaconda of which the hypnotic charm becomes even magnetizing with the subsequent listening of this small jewel from ['ramp]. And if this long introductory title-track refuses to give itself to a melodious approach so attractive that we could whistle it, 2600 brings this attractive dimension to the music of the man dressed of coal. Nevertheless, its rhythm is heavy and resonant. And its step is hopping is melodious. A strange melody which shivers and hesitates to reveal its charm in a fascinating universe of white noises and other noises as vaporous than the murmurs of ectoplasms roasted by electricity. This harmonious pace which rolls in loops also scatter its strands which melt themselves in a surrealist décor amplified by an electronic fauna as much rich than creative from where is born, at the gate of the 5th minute, another melody which will eat your eardrums. The arpeggios flutter in a hypnotic pattern which is reminiscent of those of Redshift or Arc, except that the ambiences get out of the chthonian abyss unique to ['ramp].

hanging gardens is the cornerstone of SYNCHRONIZE or DIE. The main sequence is heavy and resonant in a structure which allies all the vibes of the Doombient style in a crossroads of secondary rhythms which roll up and attack the vibrations of the master rhythm. The cracklings of the opening are quickly chased away by the turbulence of the rhythms which wind and spin throughout the 21 minutes of this title and where the major skeleton plays innocently with its ascending and motionless pace and of which the static effects fill our ears and the humming makes tremble our walls, at the point to worry the neighbors. Even in its minimalist shell which moves forward with difficulty and by groping, hanging gardens irradiates constantly of new phases of rhythm and neighboring melodies which sparkle like in a 3rd dimension and scatter jewels of tones with elements of charms which make that these 21 minutes pass without sigh of boredom. This is a solid track which will bring back ['ramp] and Stephen Parsick to their place in the firmament of EM. Slendid! As so improbable as that can appear, there is some music on this album which could plays on the waves of a FM radio. I think of torque which distances itself with a very good melody blown in the fluty charms of a Mellotron. The rhythm is structured on a meshing of pulsations and percussions. Skipping vigorously and tenacity from an ear to the other one, it takes great care of this melody which reminds the universe of Tangerine Dream in the years of Ricochet. With a title such as godzilla we expect something monstrous. Prince without laughing, Stephen Parsick proposes an introduction weaved in the analog mist and fog of the 70's. Playing on the same theme of fright as in Jaws, but slower, he sculptures the threatening pulsations of his beast. And godzilla emerges quietly from the deep a little before the 4th minute. I let you imagine what is coming! In a structure of rhythm which comes, disappears then comes back with this feeling of threat, godzilla roars with all the power of the analog tones. The sequences are fat, juicy and they crawl with heaviness while the ambiences are just like the universe of this beast that we still don't if we like it or not.

SYNCHRONIZE or DIE marks a triumphant comeback of Stephen Parsick in the wonderful universe of EM. It's heavy and dark with nests of rhythms which hang onto the long minimalist movements of the main rhythms. I know that there is not just ['ramp] which succeeds very well in this universe of complexity, but Parsick is the best one that can harmonize all these patterns which teem like the exodus of a nest of snakes into some phases of even more complex moods and always well imagined in order to fit to the forms of the initial rhythm where always are hide some harmonious thin lines. A huge album my friends. And I have to underline that with recent comebacks of Node and Lambert, as well as the last albums of Arcane and Arc, EM is very alive and well and has never felt better! Go get it before the 300 CD go out of print.

Sylvain Lupari (August 31rd, 2017) *****

Available at ['ramp] Bandcamp

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