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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RENE de BAKKER: Our Gift (2019)

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

A cross between Chris Franke, at the peak of his art, and Software

1 Gift 18:22

2 Climbing the Sandhill 12:09

3 Brexit 7:31

4 Arguing Voices 13:00

5 Space Carousel 14:03

6 Final Farewell 11:10

(CD 76:05) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Cosmic marbles filled with ether clash in the vastness of the cosmos. A shadow blows on these balls coming out of the void, like thundering farts from an interstellar Gargoyle full of tones, which evaporate without excusing! A thin spasmodic twig, animated by a pattern of gallop, goes up the invisible slopes, giving Gift a rhythmic and melodic energy. Everything gets played on the undulations and the effects of invisible airs coming out of the sequencer. Here as elsewhere in OUR GIFT, the sequencer is the architect of the rhythmic intersections congested of traffic jams. Sometimes these rhythms are fluid and even unbridled, as if there were no more rules on the rhythmic roads of OUR GIFT. But back to Gift! The synth throws atrophied filaments that flow like harmonic substitutes into a rhythmic structure that takes on even more bitten when an analog heat gets in. Synth layers roam in the back of the scenery, lighting these Jean-Michel Jarre's cosmic moods. They flow and take these harmonic forms while the rhythm remains explosive of its stationary state. It's through the essences of the French synthesist that the structure of Gift is drifting quietly with sequences that flutter more and more, in mode waiting, while the spectra of the cosmos sing celestial tunes. These sequences merge into the rustling of the black zone. Slow orchestrations cover their disappearances as Gift's music drifts into a world of ether and anesthesia. The orchestrations are sculpted in romanticism and surf on the waves of a still unidentified sound presence. A very nice movement of a sequencer, the tone is very analog-Klaus Schulze, slowly emerges from these limbos. Once released, it frees a more active host that signifies its presence by a long series of short oscillations. Another line, more devious, arrives. And another ... In short, the multi-lines of the sequencer arrive with their differences and manage to coexist in a symbiosis that separates the static rhythm of the sequenced melody.

Who is Rene de Bakker? He is the accomplice of Martin Peters in the Beyond Berlin adventure and OUR GIFT is already a sixth opus that will surely please to fans of sequencers and of rhythmic evolutions programmed by sequencers. The universe of OUR GIFT is a cross between that of Chris Franke, at the peak of his art, and Software with of course perfumes of Tangerine Dream and even of Jean-Michel Jarre. This latest work from Rene de Bakker is also the first to be produced on a manufactured CD. And the precious object comes out of Groove studios, which has a productive year in 2019. It's also with a Software-like approach, like clear sequences in the background and tearful arrangements, that Climbing the Sandhill climbs onto our ear lobes. A caramelized breeze set with electronic tones joins an almost fluid movement of a sequencer that still has some tones in reserve. The pattern is quite similar to Gift, either many sequences that are released at once, I think of Power of Independence, with jolts brief and pretty carnivorous. These marbles hop on a disordered conveyor, like those furious offbeat and adjacent movements of Chris Franke. The structure pitched between velocity and passivity with these intersecting movements of the sequencer. It's therefore up to the synth to transpose a more human warmth. And Rene de Bakker succeeds in doing so with tearful's effects that add an unexpected tenderness to this rhythmic leaded by many movements that nevertheless find a consistency and has its place in the good old Berlin School style.

Brexit is an interesting title with its introduction cast in the mysteries of nebulous layers. A synth wave floats with movements and variations which bring to it a melodious ambient essence. Unaccustomed to such ambiospheric phases, at least until now, the sequencer gets impatient and leaves the silence after two minutes of this ambient decor. Its movement is rough and insistent. Climbing imaginary peaks, it briskly overflows it hops over pitfalls of different sizes and heights. Two opposite fronts can only create eddy. And it's with a whirlwind of sequences which spins over orchestral riffs that Brexit is aiming for the finale. Let's say that it illustrates quite well the discord around this topic of news. Arguing Voices is my big favorite of OUR GIFT. Voices actually argue. Whining of astral mermaids sing over a phantom dialogue and of fascinating chirps. But above all, on a good structure of rhythm animated by fluid sequences that sparkle as if we lit the stars one by one, but in accelerated mode. A title that definitely passes too fast! The Gargoyle returns to Space Carousel! The introduction is full of sequences, explosions of organic tones, bamboo balls and percussive effects that clash in orchestral arrangements that seem lost in this semi-tumult where also screams shadows. The arrangements manage to bring all these elements together with an Arabian approach that goes so far wrong. And that's the charm of Space Carousel! This time, it's the ambiances that dictate the pace of the sequencer and its lines so disconnected from each other, stigmatizing this approach of rhythmic anarchy that is nestling in this model of orchestrations for films on the adventures of Simbad in the Moroccan desert. The more we listen and the more we want to listen! It's with fallen harmonies of a synth that Final Farewell reaches its turmoil. The tears extend in waving layers that zigzag on a rampart of percussion and percussive effects lying down by drums and aboriginal tom-toms. A line of sequences, and its spasmodic flow, infiltrates these disobedient vibes which gradually become more musical while the sequencer digs into the Climbing the Sandhill buffet to give the last round of dance to our neurons real eater of sequences but always never satiated. If you are like that, then OUR GIFT's for you!

Sylvain Lupari (June 23rd, 2019) ***½**

Available at Groove nl

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