RENE VAN DER WOUDEN: A Night at the Manor (2020)
Updated: Jan 25
“Another good album from REWO who, to date, does not seem to suffer from a lack of ideas or creativity in this avalanche of albums”
1 Black Cat 9:24
2 Tapedecks full of Blood, Sweat and Tears 4:23
3 Don't go in There 11:15
4 The Dark Side of the Console 13:48
5 A Night at the Manor 17:01
(Berlin School, Progressive EM)
If there is one artist who is taking full advantage of the pandemic to flood our ears with an attack of creativity, it's René van der Wouden. A NIGHT IN THE MANOR is part of this long list of albums, all interesting I must add, that REWO produced at the end of 2020. The Manor is this famous studio where Virgin's first albums were produced. The idea behind the project dates back a few years and focuses instead on the ambiences of Manor which is full of things as magical as astounding. So here we have an album whose macabre hue lives pretty well on the Berlin School style.
And it begins with the uncertain march of Black Cat, a title composed at the beginning of 2018. The cat must be fat because it turns in circles in a slightly soft way, while progressing in an ascending texture ideal for the Teutonic rhythms of the Berlin School from the 80's. The sequences are fat, juicy with a low range of radiation that binds them all together. The clicking of the steel elytra heralds the arrival of percussions which only solidify this spheroidal march, while the synth makes its solos moan in the form of prolonged tearing. The keyboard weaves the bulk of harmonies with chords plucked like a guitar singing in the shadows and the resonances of its moans. Fearing a possible redundancy, the Dutch synthesist adds organic chirping effects to arouse the curiosity of our eardrums. A good track that is very easy to tame! Tapedecks full of Blood, Sweat and Tears offers a chill-out marinated in a groove beat built around a poltergeist ambience. From motionless, the rhythm goes on second gear with percussions carried on the Electronica style well fed by the effects of a synth which also blows a melody with a nasal timbre. Don't go in There starts with a charming expedition into the magical universe of sounds and of percussive elements, in particular these giant rattlesnakes making noises in an atmosphere of semi-fear. This sound envelope takes on different percussive aspects before slipping between the floors of the castle in a magnificent circular and spiral movement worthy of the good Berlin School. Layers describing the walk of ghosts wrapped in virginal white seduces our senses which are always captive of the movement of the sequences and their tones close to an organic life. The atmospheres stick with the spirit of the title with an appearance of a bogeyman who easily seduced his prey. It's a really good, pretty creative title that REWO wrote in 2016.
We enter in a more complex section of A NIGHT IN THE MANOR with the opening of The Dark Side of the Console. Composed in September 2020, the title lives off its openness created by supernatural atmospheres where ghosts and gnomes cross the walls with the effects of bats and wooshh brushing our ears. An undulating movement of the sequencer sculpts a slightly spherical rhythm where, little by little, René van der Wouden turns into a DJ with a catchy beat and breakdance effects. From sinister to intimidating, the synth abandons its gloomy ambiences to whistle very good solos on a rhythm more and more Electronica. But who cares! The solos are simply wonderful with their long movements drawing these arabesques always worn on the spectral side of the title. The long title-track gets in with layers of an old organ playing to a perspective of chamber music for fear films. Written after The Dark Side of the Console, A Night at the Manor flies with its layers which surround us in a tone that does very Tony Banks, for those who want to know, as his opening exploits all of its murky vision, even when the sequencer unwinds a spiral approach. Heavy, its footsteps hardly resonate and attracts a more frivolous movement from another line, brighter this time, of the sequencer. Two lines of hybrid rhythms structure the ambient ascent of the title-track which is also surrounded by an opaque veil in which threatening streaks emerge. Chthonian voices, rhythm embroidered in a mortuary vision, supernatural atmospheres, and many other effects related to the Dantesque vision of REWO are dragging A Night at the Manor towards a finale which respects the idea and the visions of its conceptual origins.
Another good album from René van der Wouden who, to date, does not seem to suffer from a lack of ideas or creativity in this avalanche of albums that he has been offering us since the end of October 2020. To see on his Bandcamp site whose link appears below.
Sylvain Lupari (January 24th, 2020) *****
Available at REWO Bandcamp