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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RENE VAN DER WOUDEN: Cinnamon Horizons (2020)

This is a solid album well thought with an EM conceived in TD's sounds and universes but without being TD

1 Dreamlines 6:58

2 Metaphor 11:04

3 Circle's Motion 10:13

4 Cinnamon Horizons 20:40

(CD-R/DDL 48:56) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, Progressive EM)

There is no need to say, it is the awakening of René van der Wouden since this summer. I would even say since 2019's confinement. His Bandcamp site is regularly updated with new products inspired by his influences or by requests from his audience or with original works. And you guessed that with a similar title, CINNAMON HORIZONS is largely influenced by Tangerine Dream. And REWO makes no secret of it by writing on his site that this is arguably the most Tangerine Dream album he's ever made, and he had a great pleasure doing it. But (there is always a damn but in a text) you should not expect to hear TD. René aims higher by composing an album with a Tangerine Dream sound, from the Johannes Schmoelling era.

A huge hand sweeps the sonic horizons, letting the dust of chords and of synth layers fall into the opening of Dreamlines. A line of pulsating bass begins to make vibrate speakers and headphones alike with fluid movement. The leaps frolic in an iridescent wave where a few dust still lurks in search of a rhythmic, as harmonic, framework. The wooshh and waashh lie beneath these series of 5 sequences that come and go while mingling with the clicking of cymbals. Clicks mean percussions which come to support this minimalist rhythm while giving it a second wind and more punch in order to animate this Dreamlines for a good and sober electronic rock. Following a well-defined structure, the music welcomes keyboard chords, crispy reverberations, and finally a synthesizer that goes into an 80's arcade game mode. A nice, cute little title that we cannot like. The rest is rather different ...

Metaphor is more of the Klaus Schulze genre with a smoother rhythm that continually escalates this imaginary Mount Berlin School. Vocal and astral hums constitute its introduction. Electronic noises hiding behind a synth wave which rises and rises in its scarlet tone are making a first connection with the universe of KS. This wave becomes the core of this opening with a sharp strength that can make us climb up to the ceiling of our imagination. The sequencer starts up a little before the 4th minute. Its keys struggle to rise, so much so that they burst with radiant redness at the beginning, to finally frolic innocently in a celestial meadow where are waltzing orchestrations conceived in a mystical mist. The more Metaphor progresses, the more the sequences take on a tint of radioactive will-o'-wisps up until the 8-minute point where they become fragmented rhythmic elements. This horde, jostling in a context of conveyor effect going too fast, injects a fluid and more musical hopping movement with a more limpid tone. And subtly changing the rhythmic scheme, Metaphor lets itself be carried in a more intense and dramatic ending. A real good title that requires a little patience and love! But if you are a fan of Klaus Schulze, you love it from the first listen. It always gets a little harder to tame CINNAMON HORIZONS from track one to here. And yet the music is fucking beautiful. Sign that we have something quite interesting between the ears. Circle's Motion establishes a first contact with a breath of glass which releases juicy sequences in their radioactive envelope. The movement is ascending and makes these crisp keys roll in loops which rise and fall, even when a fluty air of the Mellotron comes to charm our ears. A superb mellotron by the way that plays with our emotions by borrowing a texture identical to a real flutist duet. Is there a bit of fog missing? It arrives a little after the 3rd minute. It's also the signal for a change of program for Circle's Motion which enters an intense ambient phase for a short time where the sequencer becomes more fluid by deploying oblong horizontal spirals in a more dramatic phase which manages to make us go up the arm hair. The rhythm is now circular with a good movement of alternating jumping keys in a phase where the fragrances of Tangerine Dream rush with intensity. The sequencer dominates this phase, both in rhythm and in atmospheres sculpted by multi-lines with aromas that flirt with the music of Legend and its time. To date, I take great pleasure in describing this CINNAMON HORIZONS to you, which presents its long title track and its overture which made my ears bleed.

Immediately, a chord falls with a crash followed by metallic riffs from an icy keyboard. REWO borrowed the machinery of Welcome to the Machine as a backdrop where also a plethora of effects and tones lurk that appropriate the worlds of White Eagle and Hyperborea. And I would even dare Poland! The wooshh and wiishh scuff a bassline that thinks of One of These Days, still by Pink Floyd. This opening of Cinnamon Horizons plays with an armada of sound effects as iconoclastic as what a warehouse of metals and its dust can produce on a haunted night where ghosts dripping with sulfuric slime play machinist. A series of sequences emerge from the aromas of a broth of an overheated industrial boiler. Its repetitions trace a phantom rhythm where suddenly, everything that was corrosive becomes more musical. Layers of voices and mists invade the horizons as a keyboard tries to communicate with specters already anesthetized by this soporific rhythm which reaches another level around the 14th minute. Getting out of this zone of industrial fog, the sequencer makes its keys vibrate which beat a lively and circular measure and receives the support of percussive elements in a finale which disappears in a fade-out denying all forms of justification. But regardless of this somewhat unfinished finale, this CINNAMON HORIZONS is a solid album by René van der Wouden.

Sylvain Lupari (October 31st, 20120) *****

Available at REWO Bandcamp

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