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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RENÉ SPLINTER: Transit Realities (2010)

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Transit Realities is as good as Elmery and it's still bursting out of Tangerine Dream's memories!

Alaska (28:19) 1 Denali 2:08 2 Kenai 2:39 3 Alatna River 12:40 4 Bering Glacier 6:58 5 Snowmobile Race 4:10 6 Fairbanks 1:44 Metropolitain (26:22) 7 Transit Line 6:31 8 Bahnhof Zoo 6:05 8 Palast 8:15 10 The Big Star 5:31

(CD/DDL 56:41) (V.F.) (E-Rock)

After a first album modulated on the imprints of his influences, René Splinter offers us in TRANSIT REALITIES a more personal album. An album which one can always feel reminiscences of Tangerine Dream but where the synthesist of the Netherlands demonstrates a pretty nice melodious and orchestral approach. Divided into 2 musical acts, his second album is a musical journey between the frontiers of imagination and reality. Alaska is composed on the basis of photos from a book on this Arctic country and offers a more poetic and romantic approach, while Metropolitan follows a journey made in Germany and surrounds us of an envelope with strong Teutonic scents. On these two totally opposite visions, René Splinter draws two long surreal musical canvases where the nervous fluttering sequences forge evolving rhythms and where the melodious structures intertwine, just like the lines of sequencers, in good and striking orchestral arrangements which are not without reminding us of a certain Johannes Schmoelling.

Short and efficient, Denali opens this imaginary Alaska trip with a good symphonic approach. A pulsating and bouncy bass line awakens the rolls of bass drums as well as solid percussions which support a hectic rhythmic structure, fragmented by the impulses of the horns and of violin flights. These arrangements encompass a heavy and jerky rhythm from which escapes a soft melody with a tender Asian aroma delicately strummed on a keyboard. A e-piano whose notes merge with a movement of the sequencer and which guides us to the gates of the romantic Kenai. This short melancholic melody, with notes and chords delicately hopping in clouds of mist and violin strings, transpires the beautiful melodies of the Underwater Sunlight period. It transports us to Alatna River and its evolutionary rhythms. A series of intertwined sequences throb and tumble under various breaths and lamentations of a synth with tones as dark as iridescent. With this constantly changing rhythm, Alatna River reveals a very good set of sequences that mate with percussion to form sectoral rhythms. Rhythms sometimes pounded, sometimes jerky and sometimes hypnotically arrhythmic which encircle nice melodies from the Underwater Sunlight and Tyger years and where the synth spits out lines of violins, releases melancholic mists and merge its treble solos with those of a fictional guitar. After an intro loaded of heterogeneous tones tinged with scents of psybient, Bering Glacier shakes up its sound plots with a good progressive sequenced movement. The increasing rhythm on sequences and electronic percussions with rattlesnake castanets, the title reveals a good melodious vision with virgin choruses and violin blows which continue in the furrows of Snowmobile Race, while Fairbanks ends this musical journey in Alaska with a tender melody and its piano which accompanies a fluty synth, awakening in us the finale of Legend. Very good!

A sinuous resonant wave pierces the void, pushing a pulsating sequence to beat a hypnotic tempo. The sky streaked with iridescent synth blades, Transit Line opens the Metropolitan part with nervous sequences which pulsate frantically in a heavy rhythmic structure where percussions and powerful metallic cymbals are joined. This title built on a rich and rather complex structure is fed by a heavy rhythm which goes up and down on hectic sequences, castigating on its way a synth with heavy riffs and powerful layers. A synth with a symphonic vision which also lulls us with nice solos and fine harmonies molded in an urban din. Bahnhof Zoo sticks to the finale of Transit Line by offering a warmer rhythmic structure. Reminiscences of Tangerine Dream abound on this track with sequences divided between an undulating or a pulsating rhythm. A fluid or jerky rhythm where the slamming percussions and their echoes are infiltrated by a synth with nasal airs. A synth that sections its melodies to offer them sparingly in a good mixture of its tones. Sometimes serene and sometimes convulsive, this indecisive rhythm submerges us in the musical recollections of Thief and Exit. The introduction of Palast slows down the pace with a mysterious synthesized mist that floats in a universe of perdition. A pulsation emerges and awakens a synth whose acute breaths and ghostly lamentations cover a latent rhythm. Here again, the reminiscences of Tangerine Dream eat our ears out with this intro veiled in an approach of iridescent tones. At the 3rd minute René Splinter puts down superb orchestral arrangements with a cloud of violins which trace the harmonic form of a snowflakes fall. This jerky melody leads to a crisscrossed movement of the sequencer whose ascending curves are fed by percussion, synth riffs with well-known tones and solos with scents of a guitar that we would recognize among all. Palast hooks us with a rebellious finale to end towards the nebula intro of The Big Star and its nice ballad which undeniably brings us to the heart of the glorious Franke, Froese and Schmoelling period.

More personal than Almery and less focused on the epicenter of his influences, René Splinter surprises with TRANSIT REALITIES. Certainly, we hear the musical influence of Tangerine Dream. But this time the approach is more different with superb arrangements which embellish the harmonies of the synths, as well as the solos, while revolving around a tasty mixture of sequences and percussions. The result is a very good album where progressive and modular rhythms support structures as melodious as mysterious. Captivating structures that feed 2 long musical parts at the opposite end of an imaginary journey, carried out at the heart of the episodic influences of Tangerine Dream.

Sylvain Lupari (October 31st, 2011) ****½*

Available at Mellow-Jet Records

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