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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RENE VAN DER WOUDEN: Sounds of Silence (2020)

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Two very solid albums back to-back from REWO in 2020 is a great pleasure to all EM fans, especially when they are that good

1 Improbable 9:39

2 Sounds of Silence 8:54

3 Cloudy Mysteries 11:29

4 In the Calmness of a Blue Evening Sky 11:18

(CD-R/DDL 41:20) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

In a cinematographic vision of a futuristic Western where the wind blows breezes on an old cabin with a single chime in its chain, Improbable takes us into the improbable of René van der Wouden. It is the sequencer which pierces the mystery of this inexplicable mist with a series of jumping keys which alternate vividly, like the legs of synchronized swimmers or even those scissors which bruise the void. This alternating and drifting movement needs this splendid bass line to take off in a panorama filled of stars, twinkling as well as shooting, where blue and black merge into the horizon. This bass forges a flowing rhythm like a good cosmic Groove that percussions, working like a metronome and its wooden mouthpiece, stabilize. Having become slightly catchy and more festive but still quite cosmic, this cha-cha, which lacks a cha, becomes surrounded by innumerable layers of synth whose orchestrations, we can even add the solos, are the prey of Vangelis' influences. A very good title which opens another great album of REWO. Always comfortably installed in his studios, pandemic obliges, René is spoiling us with two albums released almost in quick succession with rather mismatched subjects. If Cinnamon Horizons aimed squarely in the spheres of Tangerine Dream, SOUNDS OF SILENCE challenges the impossible by creating ambient rhythms that bring us back 40 years before at the roots of Berlin School. Between Vangelis, Bernd Kistenmacher, Klaus Schulze and Ashra, REWO makes us dance in rhythmic hallways stigmatized in a time when the experimentation with layers of mist was always done with a glimmer of romance.

It was after listening to the title-track for a few times that I detected this ghost melody with a vague Klaustrophony air that we find in the Dreams album. This rhythm of Sounds of Silence works hard to get out of an introduction woven in these dense mists hiding these mythical bat cries of KS coat of arms. It therefore paces its long and slow excursion while gradually increasing the pace under a sky filled with shadows and memories. This walk in mythical forests is like a breach in this legendary title where REWO restructures an approach which is less experimental and more seductive in a soft ambient Berlin School where the layers which often accompanied the moments of romance of Manuel Gootsching, in New Age of Earth and later in Echo Waves, takes us back almost 40 years earlier. Spectral wails float like vampire shadows in the opening of Cloudy Mysteries. The sound gorges are reproducing organic gurgling tones that become clusters of sounds buzzing like thousands of small drones dressed like bees. This is what feeds the decor of this opening which is filled with wooshh shoveling these industrial sound particles forward, going up to the point of 4 minutes.

It is at this point that REWO structures the best rhythmic moment of SOUNDS OF SILENCE. The keys frolic and jump with more fluidity than in Improbable, creating a nice hypnotic structure with tinkles of polar stars that sparkle here and there. The movement almost waddles with a captivating swing under a musical sky suffused with scarlet streaks which define the threat of shadows replacing softly inviting synth pads so that we close our eyes and imagine ourselves frolicking with sound particles under the caresses of the northern lights. In the Calmness of a Blue Evening Sky offers an ambient texture with flashing balls and their silvery hues that skip and frolic on the false meadow created by an assembly of chloroform layers. The sequences and the arpeggios which frolic there give a musicality to this movement of wooshh and wiishh whose uneven contours create sound breezes which amplify the play of sequences/arpeggios. The movement brings a slight nuance to its minimalist evolution with a sudden impulse that gives more vigor and momentum to the ambiences of In the Calmness of a Blue Evening Sky. Voices murmuring astral tranquility are grafted to this accumulation of layers that have become a drifting sound mass with the activities of the keys playing innocently until these impulses/implosions come back to revive this music with long bursts that do not affect the recreation of the harmonic elements that will be sucked into the end. The end of SOUNDS OF SILENCE which bears its title quite well for an album defined by very good sequencer movements flirting with the stars…Good job René!

Sylvain Lupari (November 19th, 2020) ****¼*

Available at REWO Bandcamp

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