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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Marselje decided to make an album without rhythms...and without melodies too

1 Time is an Illusion 7:59

2 Floating between Planets 11:25

3 In the Alley 16:39

4 Whispers in the Wind 22:24

5 Let go and grow 20:00

(CD-R/DDL 78:37) (V.F.)

(Ambient Music)

Robert Marselje had pleasantly surprised me with his album Tear Drops. I even concluded my review by writing this; I just hope there will be more to come and not only in five years! There is Stephen King who said to be careful what you wish for, you might get it. Well, he didn't wait 5 years before presenting us his new album, available at Groove nl, 5. And let's say that he aims at a concept around the number 5. Five tracks for a 5th album! And we stay in the simple as the Dutch musician offers nothing less than an ambient album dominated by waves, cosmic as oceanic, which break faster than the music and slower than our emotions. The sequencer does not even breathe. So, no rhythm, but many impulses that make these waves rolling from nothingness to our ears. There is a mixture of Steve Roach, Michael Stearns and Juta Takahashi in this mosaic of atmospheres which begins to stand out, at least for me, around Whispers in the Wind...

Time is an Illusion rushes as if exhaled from the headphones after allowing drones to mature that drive its herds of woosshh and wiisshh. The rush of waves is intense and even envelops this attempted melody over an acoustic guitar sampling. I would have liked to hear this melody more clearly as the waves and their soundscapes dominate throughout the 78 minutes of 5 and what we hear seems to have nice harmonic potential. Floating between Planets is an intense track, in fact all the tracks on 5 are, with an armada of drones filled of cosmic drizzle (is that possible?) and a layer of voices that make us drift between planets or oceanic islands. In the Alley offers an opening in surround cinema with drones and their routes that intersect in a more cosmic vision here. The ambiences in the middle are more aerial with waves that roll until they hit a sound reef around the 8th minute. Mixing as he pleases the fate of his atmospheric elements, Robert Marselje makes us sail between the oceans and the Cosmos with enough contradictory elements, here we hear better this rhythm forcing the deal than on Floating between Planets, which constantly question our sense of hearing. Whispers in the Wind sounds not at its place in these rather dark ambiences with a harmonious vision stretched between the translucent filaments that shiver like strings of tenderness. In the end, it gives us a pretty good idea of the hidden harmonies from Time is an Illusion. Marselje ends his album of meditative music in force with this track and Let Go and Grow which take up 42 minutes of ambient music where the elements of the oceans connect to those of the Cosmos in an emotional symbiosis with elements that are curling up for a slow and poetic ambient ballet. The waves and hums no longer have that ominous hue and flow, like floating, with a sensitivity that is more apparent on 5 since Whispers in the Wind.

I was expecting something else, and I have to admit that I was disappointed by the astral meditation envelope of 5. And somehow there are so many dominant artists in the genre that you have to have something original to offer. And it's not easy, far from it! Robert Marselje decided to make an album without rhythms...and without melodies too. Making the experience even more difficult to seize. Once this surprise was over, I discovered an ambient album without any emotional identity...until the last two tracks of 5 that literally save this new project of Robert Marselje.

Sylvain Lupari (July 21st, 2021) *****

Available at Groove nl

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