ROGUE ELEMENT: Premonition (2004)
“This CD makes us relive that warmth of analog years, without a hint of age dust”
1 Beyond Cerberus (15:07)
2 Tropospheric Propogation (17:32)
3 Rainbow Runner (17:23)
4 Falls The Shadow (17:48)
(CD/DDL 67:57) (V.F.)
(Vintage Berlin School)
Rogue Element is an English duo formed by Jerome Ramsey and Brendan Pollard, two musicians who are inspired by Tangerine Dream's Rubycon and Ricochet years. They are offering us a first CD in PREMONITION, a superb album. Straightforward, and with pride, the duo admit to wanting to continue to exploit these magical sounds which hypnotized more than one in the cathedral years of the German trio. The big years with the big Moog and the mellotron which inspired fears and charms, according to the moods or the level of drugs in the blood. PREMONITION is undoubtedly the closest thing to these sounds. An album which, despite the time gaps, is as enchanting as Rubycon and Phaedra. A sign that the EM of the 70s' is indeed an art that best resists time.
Angelus bells are ringing on a windy morning. Beyond Cerberus blows a heavy wind dragging metallic thunders over strange vibrations and layers of lost violins. The streaks cut through the heaviness of the strata and are flying over a threatening ambience which calms down with the arrival of sunbeams in the presence of a fluty mellotron, like in the heyday of Phaedra. Melodious and calm, this sunbeam wanders in this dismal mood, blowing its serene air in contrast with the reigning austerity. A Mellotron and its ancient choir float on a hill from which the wind brings back the echo of hostile tones, rumbling pulsations, humanoid voices and fickle percussions. A dark and gloomy universe from which sumptuous spectral synth solos are floating and crossing a sequence which hammers a spiral impulse in hypnotic mode. Another sequence dresses the movement, which intertwines in a harmonious labyrinth, of a graceful mellotron which is slowly extinguished in the atmospheric vapors with multiple vocal effects of this title impregnated by the ambiences of Rubycon. A dark and black title, Tropospheric Propogation transports us to the edges of a virtual pond with all the sounds that inhabit this nocturnal world. The intro floats on the melodious segments of a solitary piano which perfumes the ambient air while being surrounded by songs of birds. At the edge of the forest, a flute enchants us on sweet chords, never too elaborate just to annoy our ears. A strange sound wave travels the ground, when a spiral line spreads its dark veil over sequenced pulsations. Tropospheric Propogation becomes a strange arabesque dance with polyrhythmic sequences on lascivious synths with both spectral and symphonic sounds. The choir and the ghostly mellotron breaths breathe out dark passages with multiple obscure sound effects.
Strange percussions echo on a buzzing synth, giving the impression of hearing the explosions of fireworks. On the reverb of the synth, a soft flute traces the first part of Rainbow Runner, among a stride of sound effects with a thousand small explosions. A string of notes shimmers in obscure breaths, initiating a rotating sequence surrounded by the tinkling of fluttering percussions. This soft impulse, which is surrounded by choruses and rough mellotron breaths, travels with the fluid breezes of the synth, creating muffled impulses which are linked to another sequence, deepening so the musical structure of Rainbow Runner. This soft sequence passes through an atmospheric passage to voices and synth breaths as black as ebony, before taking the route of the sequencer which will be more animated, darker and enveloping in the 2nd part. An organ is heard, covering the metallic breaths, the lapping of water and the songs of birds that open the musical panoramas of Falls the Shadow. The sweet dreamy flute returns haunted our nostalgia with a dark and floating line. And despite this dark and ambient opening, Falls the Shadow is a title with spinning sequences that intersect in order to qualify its course and modify its tones on heavy mellotron layers. A succulent guitar pierces the dark choirs of this mellotron with its heavy riffs while the synths lift the symphonic tones of the 70's which bring us back to the time of Ricochet. Another excellent track on this album with the nostalgic ambitions of Jerome Ramsey and Brendan Pollard.
Everything! Absolutely everything is there. The sounds, atmospheres and compositions with complex, changing and progressive structures. Excellent is the word that most often comes to mind to describe this wonderful opus. With PREMONITION, Rogue Element makes us relive that warmth of analog years, without a hint of age dust. A fantastic album which can only stir up hunger for a following. A pure masterpiece that will stand the test of time.
Sylvain Lupari (November 29th, 2006) *****
Available at Brendan Pollard Bandcamp