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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RENÉ SPLINTER: Singularities (2012)

Singularities is a good album filled by rhythms and ambiences of Tangerine Dream that René Splinter composed with a surprising dexterity

1 Singularities 15:06 2 Lucid Dreaming 8:37 3 The Time Traveler 6:07 4 Timescapes 12:28 5 Lemniscate 7:31 6 Before Babel 3:31 7 The Lighthouse 7:42 Groove GR-188

(CD/DDL 61:02) (V.F.)


A breeze tinged with hoarse voices that floats in the furrow of the resonance of a single piano note falling heavily opens the amazing universe of SINGULARITIES. Amazing, because René Splinter plunges into the musical waters of the Johannes Schmoelling years of Tangerine Dream with a disconcerting ease. A bit like if he had been a ghost member of the German trio, the Dutch synthesizer achieves a surprising tour de force by almost making us believe that we are listening through SINGULARITIES an album of the Dream forgotten in the recording sessions of the Virgin years. The raucous voices of the title track merge into a beautiful synth line whose iridescent breaths sparkle amidst silver reflections to merge with keyboard chords embroidering a melody wandering in uncertainty.

Slowly the intro of Singularities stretches its oneiric mood with angelic vocalizations which hum in a shimmered dust, weaving a tasty morphic hymn which is lost in a metallic crescendo. The waltz of the sequences begins after the 6th minute. It's born out of a methodical pulsation to zigzag in parallel lines and cross the first percussions while keyboard chords draw a melodious approach topped with orgasmic choirs. And it's a whole musical cocktail that René Splinter composes for our ears. Between Stuntman (Edgar Froese), Animals(Pink Floyd), White Eagle and Hyperborea, the title track seems to be drawn from the vaults of influences from the native of The Hague. The tssitt-tssitt of cymbals, the intertwined sequencer lines, the metallic percussions, the riffs' echo, the synth cooing with a fine harmonious approach, the choirs and the rhythms increasing as decreasing; everything that makes up SINGULARITIES, like its title-track, is woven in the Franke, Froese and Schmoelling years. This both in terms of sound and musical structures. Lucid Dreaming continues this momentum with a nervous and spasmodic rhythm which hops on a structure forged in the heart of Mojave Desert and No Man's Land. The musical illusion is perfect. One would think hearing the mythical German trio offering us another surprise à la Silver Scale as The Time Traveler becomes a good melody woven in very harmonious layers that sober percussions support of an electronic rock vision worthy of Risky Business or Firestarter albums. Speaking of these two soundtracks, the sequences of Timescapes immerse us there irreparably with chords which jump in the shadow of their rolling in order to draw an oblong minimalist rhythm. A rhythm sculpted in curt and jerky chords, like in Love on a Real Train, which zigzag with fine nuances in its evolution that a harmonious synth covers of fluty harmonies and ethereal layers. It's nice but a little too long!

The influence of Schmoelling blows a lot in the shadows of this album. The dark and melancholy Before Babel shows it with its lonely piano which wanders on the plains of a devastated land. It's as nice as it can be dark! The Lighthouse is a track torn between its electronic ballad approach and its static rhythm fed by notes of a piano which misplaces its harmonies in the whirlwinds of a synth with heart-rending breezes and solos. The limpid keys of a harmonic sequencer alternate with a good fluidity and Lemniscate scrolls around a muted pulsation, sculpting a furtive rhythm which adopts a minimalist spiral stuffed of parallel tributaries. A rhythm that explodes in the second half to borrow a more electronic rock tangent. Here, as everywhere on this 3rd album from Splinter, the synth throws layers of metallic voices which blend with aerial solos and with slightly spectral breaths, creating a fascinating melodious universe. These are musical elements which bear the seal of Tangerine Dream, both on White Eagle and Hyperborea albums.

A bit like in Almery, René Splinter offers us a good album full of Tangerine Dream rhythms and ambiences. Always so far from contenting himself of imitating the heart of his influences, the Dutch synthesist draws in the abandoned visions of the Dream in order music that many would have liked to hear after the Virgin period from the mythical German trio. And SINGULARITIES is a balm for those who, like me, dreamed of a possible Franke/Froese/Schmoelling reunion that René Splinter virtualizes with astonishing skill.

Sylvain Lupari (July 3rd, 2012) ***½**

Available at Groove NL

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