RENÉ SPLINTER: Frames (2015)
“Yes! Frames is another very beautiful album where René Splinter never hesitates to dig in the core of his influences for our greatest pleasure”
1 Celluloid Skyline 9:43 2 Strangers in the Land of Sunder 7:52 3 Two Wanderers Above the Sea of Fog 6:20 4 The Road to Transylvania 9:22 5 Stereopticon 7:59 6 Laterna Magica 4:41 7 Frames 3:31 8 Instant Memory 7:29 Groove | GR-212
(CD/DDL 57:02) (V.F.)
(E-Rock Exit years)
René Splinter had reached another level with Modern Ruins where he surrounded his melodies, the man is very melodious we must give him that, by ambiences which sometimes bound themselves with surrealism. And it's with pleasure that he continues in this vein with his last album FRAMES. Always proud ambassador of the Franke, Froese and Schmoelling era, René Splinter navigates on the concept of the harmonies so well made by the mythical trio on solid structures which was so much energizing than the melodies were attractive. You will hear throughout the album these sonic ingredients which have peppered the structures of the Dream; shady and shaken sequences beating and pounding around melodies fragmented in cocoons in continual permutations. But more rhythmic than purely electronic, René Splinter extirpates here, and again and again, more the essence of a Johannes Schmoelling than the acrobatic patterns of rhythms from his two famous accomplices. Even that sometimes the illusion is more than perfect.
And that starts with Celluloid Skyline and its superb opening coated by good rubbery bass drums and wooden percussions which peck at thin lines of sound smokes and heterogeneous noises, as well as these strange effects of synth mutters which perfumed the glaucous universe of Tangerine Dream. A line of sequence emerges behind a din of percussions. The impression to hear a track forgotten in Sorcerer bursts us right in the face. From its ambiosonic intro Celluloid Skyline hatches into a beautiful melody well sat on a beautiful sequencing pattern before of seducing even more with superb synth solos which inhales so much these Johannes Schmoelling's perfumes. Boys! Let's say that it kicks off things well. Strangers in the Land of Sunder offers a more solemn introduction with lush pads of what sounds as an old organ before running away with a heavy movement of bass sequences. Jingles dance on the movement, introducing a nervous rhythm where the fragrances of the Dream, Exit era, inhale at full ears. The rhythm becomes then more nervous. It's forged in a meshing of riffs and sequences which quaver in the shade of sober electronic percussions and beautiful layers of melodies. The sequences in the universe Splinter are simply delicious. Here, they skip as a herd of balls on the skin of a drum imprisoned into a too small box. That creates some solid, some very good e-rock taken out quite straight ahead from a session of the Dream mislaid in time. And not so far away so much the travel in time flies with ease. And the illusion does not irritate, because René Splinter has this gift to well water his structures of a sound wealth which transcends the universe of this time of the Dream. I like and it's rather rousing. Two Wanderers Above the Sea of Fog proposes a very ambio-organic intro with noises of jungle and chirping of birds which chatter on some rippling synth lines filled by the colors of reverie. That sounds pretty much like a good Schmoelling track and it goes beyond the opening of The Road to Transylvania which hesitates on a structure of rhythm slow to fly away.
A structure which will take more vigor with sequenced pulsations which make wave their flutterings on some too Germanic percussions while the synth pads and riffs, still trapped of very TD fragrances, dress the structure of melodious ornaments that we cannot like. It's a track in constant movement, like a kind of rhythmic crescendo, with a beautiful gradation in sequences and harmonies. That does very TD. We hook to it and it is as charming as its naming. I liked it a lot! Stereopticon brings us back towards other ambiosonic phases with a slow structure where are squeaking larva of synth which tear up ambiences too sibylline to be ethereal. A delicate piano, and its notes somehow pensive even furious, try to connect a bit of hope to this slow and long lugubrious structure. Laterna Magica is a beautiful melody which exploits its charms on a light rhythm where ooze delicate rivulets of arpeggios and whistle beautiful solos of which the cooings show the colors of melancholy. The synth solos are charming and very harmonious. It's soft and melodious, even when the rhythm shows more dynamism in second half. The same goes for the title-track which is a beautiful composition centered on the piano. In fact, Frames turns out to be a beautiful ambient lullaby. A somber rocking chair surrounded by very good synth solos, Splinter is very good at this, and by thin lines of sequences of which the delicate oscillations undulate such as the caresses of a dreamy rhythm. Noises of an industrialized jungle also surround the introduction of Instant Memory which little by little gets rid of this influence to offer another beautiful melody which lulls itself on a good down-tempo. A down-tempo which intensifies its structure and rests it in a pattern of electronic ballad very well fed by electronic elements as much harmonious than asymmetrical, testifying of this René Splinter's enormous capacity to unite two bridges, to unite two visions without ever leaving anything at random.
Yes! FRAMES is another very beautiful album from René Splinter. And each time, I am surprised by this fascinating way which he has to entail us in his souvenirs, in his influences strongly soaked by the Virgin years of Tangerine Dream without that I ever find that exaggerated or annoying. It's as if the time was stopped and that Splinter, frames by frames, leads us to a time where himself too was annoyed as well as us by this new tangent of the Dream after the departure of Johannes Schmoelling. Beautiful, good and not at all useless!
Sylvain Lupari (July 14th, 2015) *****
Available at Groove NL