RENE VAN DER WOUDEN: Atmospherics in a Nutshell (2018)
“All in all, this is a good album of an EM not easy to tame, but not too complicated either, with a super catchy track on it”
1 The Surface 16:57 2 To have the Atmospherics in You 12:37 3 When the Coastline hits the Sea 5:13 4 The open Dream of the Lindenstrasse 22:43 REWO Music
René van der Wouden is a very particular character in the spheres of EM. The one who builds his compositions behind the influences of Jean-Michel Jarre is as fertile as many artists in the Bandcamp universe, where he can sign 2 to 3 albums a year. Except that a break in productivity has pushed a little away the Dutch synthesist from his musical writing between 2015 and 2016. Only one album has appeared in 2017, Trust, while 2018 seems to be a year of rebirth for the one who never does things like the others. A priori, his music is composed around melodious themes that seems to have the need to roam in long corridors of ambiances and of complexity in order to expel this overload of improvisation of the analog years style that he exploits and controls in a way that it always gives it more attractions than animadversion. And it's a bit the story of ATMOSPHERICS IN A NUTSHELL; an album that asks an extra inch of open mind in order to tame the colorful world of the Dutch synthesist.
Following the main rules of long titles in EM, The Surface begins with an anesthetic ballet animated by morphic synth lines whose extremities caress each other in a universe crowded of cosmic tones. The stars twinkle as the sounding wingtips brush the layers of astral voices. The ambiences, which flirt between Jarre and Vangelis, are gradually painting a panorama whose heaviness makes it apathetic. Keyboard chords then draw a slightly animated melodious approach, while the synth and voice layers pile up in a fortress of atmospheres. Effects of manual percussions enliven the music a little after the 6th minute, structuring a very Mind Over Matter rhythmic approach while the bass drums direct the rhythm towards a kind of EDM where the synth solos form a symbiosis with the keyboard chords. Evolving without overflowing, the music and its rhythm reach the borders of harmony around the 12th minute. There where an ambiospheric and ambiosonic finale is charging a pair of ears fond of those heterogeneous tones in the musical stories in EM. To have the Atmospherics in You doesn't waste time with details! The rhythm starts from the first second with a line of sequences whose fluids oscillations and long imperfect strides hang onto our feet. This good and very lively electronic rock proposes also some tasty electronic percussions, like the tap-dancing shoes of a puppet theatre, which accompany the gradation of the sequencing tones whose continuous oscillations are now solidified by sober percussions. Cosmic arrangements and synth laments add meat around the bone of this structure that shows a good progression in its vivacity while finding the way to develop good synth solos which always flirt with this need to release harmonious threads in the musical arrangements of René van der Wouden. After this very catchy title, When the Coastline hits the Sea offers a little 5 minutes of meditation with a formula developed in the introduction of To have the Atmospherics in You. Slow and especially very calm, do we need it? But in any cases, it could serve as a very nice prelude to the longest track of ATMOSPHERICS IN A NUTSHELL where from the top of its 23 minutes The open Dream of the Lindenstrasse offers a structure slightly on the move. Its introduction is very in a cathedral mood with its violin layers which float with a vision of serenity. However, the rhythm which follows is like a battle anthem with a structure supported by lines of sequences and percussions from which the upward flow is ideal for the whistled harmonies of the synth. This structure is swallowed by layers of voices, around the 6th minute, to be reborn 120 seconds later in a more ambient approach adorned by very good percussive elements. The synths are more in mode deco here and gratify some effects and bits of melodies and/or solos to a long river of rhythm and its nuances that make of it a structure always in motion and whose tonal fauna makes it attractive to discover.
All in all, this is a good album of an EM not easy to tame, but not too complicated either I have to say, from René van der Wouden. A very pleasant artist to discover
Sylvain Lupari (June 2nd, 2018) ***½**
Available at René van der Wouden Bandcamp