RENE VAN DER WOUDEN: LuftRauM (2021)
Updated: May 4
“In short, our ears are full, but full of good things”
1 Part 1 Luftraumstruktur 9:58
2 Part 2 Flugsicht 14:17
3 Part 3 Wolkenabstände 13:49
4 Part 4 Instrumentenflug 16:27
(DDL 54:33) (V.F.)
(Cosmic Berlin School)
Prolific and always relevant in this universe where some make music like others listen to them a lot, René van der Wouden continues on his productive drive started last fall. And if you liked Astromen, Return to the Stargaze and A Night at the Manor, LuftRauM still has some of those essences. First of all, LuftRauM means Air Space and is in all countries that three-dimensional point that defines its territorial axes, whether from the top of the sky or from the bottom of the oceans. A huge playground to make these wild rhythms burst by the sequencers of REWO. This is good Berlin School in a cosmic territory with openings, sometimes long, inherent to the genre.
A big keyboard burst! Roaring waves in a cosmic universe, Luftraumstruktur extends its alien telecommunication system. Its first 3 minutes are conceived in tele computer noises, some of them unusual, which crackle over electronic orchestrations sailing like wings in a cosmic waltz. Small steps of the sequencer appear after an electrical overheating, just after the 180 seconds. From small steps, they become creepy electrified bass-pulses that run at good speed between chthonic voice pads in an oblong oval movement. This minimalist framework lives on through the nuances in the tones of the hungry bass-sequences as well as a fine imperfection camouflaged by cosmic industrial noises. Tangerine Dream's Exit-like effects adorn the final moments of Luftraumstruktur, which deserves to dissolve into Cosmos. Electronic communication effects from the 80's, and even further back in the 70's, are at the origin of Flugsicht. A wave of serenity envelops these essays with electronic noises straight out of the imagination of Klaus Schulze and Kitaro. The ambiences waver as if drifting in a cosmic zone. A brilliant dialogue of cybernetic voices draws our attention. REWO makes its synthesizers speak with a very realistic vision. The vocal squiggles turn into decodable words like machine and flugsicht. Simply brilliant idea! The sequencer starts the rhythm around the 5th minute. Its fluid movement makes alternating two jumping keys in a circular choreography that stretches into an oval figure. Various elements are grafted onto this minimalist movement, including chords with a fluttery tone, fireflies sizzling with their radioactive effects and percussive effects resembling water drops that hobble like worn-out clogs. And our sympathetic Dutch musician continues to add those up until proposing us synth solos which cover with art the last third of Flugsicht.
Flooded with this band of intergalactic sounds, Wolkenabstände also needs its two minutes before taking off. Its rhythm sticks to a sharp zigzag pattern with very tight loops. The movement is minimalist with a Gert Emmens flavor, both in the waves surrounding it and the main movement of the sequencer flickering brightly on the spot. The sequences become rhythm riffs that twirl around in an Emmens galaxy whose mists and woosshh layers end up smothering around the 6th minute. The sequencer thus takes another rhythmic route with a 3-keys approach that gets one into the other. A rhythmic earworm is possible and easy to catch! Supported by sober percussion, these keys perform a kind of bucolic dance from the time of kings and queens under the charms of a larger-than-life flutist. His solos are magnificent and explain in themselves the beauties of EM. Arpeggios are inserted with a melodious choreography which embellishes even more the last third of one of the good titles of René van der Wouden. Longest title of LuftRauM, Instrumentenflug loses its first 6 minutes in an amalgam of electronic noises as electro-cosmic tones often obsolete. It is resonant sequences spinning in circles as if sucked by a magnetic spiral that set the tone. The movement takes the ascending form of a good Berlin School rushing into a huge bank of electronic fog. A mist to shivers as I nickname it with peaks of orchestral intensities rather moving by moments. Percussions and clicks of small cymbals redirect the rhythmic vision towards a cosmic techno, but the mist and the reverberating contours of the sequences stifle this orientation.
René van der Wouden continues his interstellar travels with a chic vision for Berlin School always so particular. LuftRauM is another good album built on minimalist structures that are always captivating and that are pretexts to exploit the tonal complexities of his rhythmic arsenal. Apart from his 70's analog rhythms, REWO is capable of tenderness with beautiful interventions of the mellotron and solos of a synth which is also spitting out rhythmic and melodic arpeggios fitting to those rhythms. In short, our ears are full, but full of good things!
Sylvain Lupari (May 3rd, 2021) ***¾**
Available at REWO Bandcamp