“Sometimes explosive and sometimes spacey, but most of the time really punchy, Tide is an amazing mosaic of rhythms and melodies”
1 Up & Down the Waves 6:23 2 Driftwood 8:10 3 Staring at the Sea 8:42 4 Absorbed in Thought 9:58 5 Awaiting the Tide 5:07 6 Offshore 10:36 7 Stranded on your Shore 8:02 8 Morphologic Resonance 6:35 Spheric Music | SMCD 8304
(CD 64:00) (V.F.) (New Berlin School)
Sound chameleon or multiple personality disorders? It's quite difficult to define the musical universe of Rudolf Heimann. Although he has been a veteran of the Berlin electronic scene for more than 20 years, it is the very first time that my ears meet the crisscrossed and chaotic rhythms of the German synthesist who now nests on Spheric Music. Rudolf Heimann, who is trying to comeback after more than 13 years of silence, offers in TIDE an album with ambivalent structures of rhythms which go between hard and soft techno, and even E-Rock. He likes to brush cosmic sweetness on chaotic sequences and percussions as well as superb arrangements which are reminiscent of the complex universe of Geoff Downes, and perhaps even Johannes Schmoelling for the melodic touch. Basically, an interesting album that would certainly appeal to Tangerine Dream lovers of the 90's.
Steady rhythm, like a good heavy rock with solid percussions, a keyboard escapes heavy riffs and a sequencer with loops rolling in echo, Up & Down The Waves opens the album with a solid rhythmic approach. An infernal beat besieged by a hybrid synth whose multiplication of solos is intertwined with synthesized choruses where the poetic approach of the German synthesist is more than a simple combination of sounds. Let's say it's start things very good! Driftwood propels us onto the dancefloors of the 80's with a heavy synth-pop that trembles under good pulsations and slamming percussions. An acoustic guitar frames the melodious approach by a keyboard and its samplings of voices. The syncopated flow of the heavy metallic layers amplifies the feverish rhythm while bringing another melodious dimension to this heavy and very catchy techno-synth-pop which deviates towards a more cosmic finale. We feel a clear influence of Tangerine Dream, Private Music years, on Staring at the Sea which is lighter and clearly more electronic than its predecessor. The tempo is sweet, more dreamy and closer to electronic terroirs with languid synth solos that weave among good percussion strikes and good arrangements, where chords and sound effects are well inserted, testifying to the experience of Rudolf Heimann in the spheres of EM. Absorbed In Thought is a good track where the hopping sequences snap in a delicious elixir of languorous, waltzing and morphic strata on a mixed tempo between Space Rock or a floating EM. A very good track with a beautiful musical poetry where the solos merge with dense mellotron waves on a finely chaotic and melodiously rhythmic structure.
With its guitar riffs with flavors of the American West, Awaiting the Tide oscillates between a cosmic country rock and a soft techno with twisted synth solos which fit wonderfully with the guitar chords. A very good track, very cute, which should appeal to those who loved this Melrose period. Offshore suffers from the duplication of musical structures in a total frenzy of rhythmic duality. The beauty of this longest title in TIDE lies in the complexity of its structure which is subdivided into several rhythmic approaches, embracing the dancefloor, soft techno, breakdancing techno and a sequenced EM with lines of intertwined sequences. This rhythm runs on different rhythmic phases with DJ tones and modern crossovers of an analog/digital fusion. A strange and intriguing title that requires a good open mind, so much the duality of tempos can be inconsistent with the multiplicity of sounds and sound effects. More restful Stranded on your Shore is a real electronic ballad which mixes a beautiful kind of cosmic ballet and a nursery rhyme whose glass prisms undulate with a poetry delicacy. It's simply beautiful and bewitching with fragrances of Tangerine Dream, this time from Le Parc and Legend years. Morphologic Resonance concluded TIDE with heavy resonances which move stealthily. The rhythm develops slowly with jerky chords which flutter in an environment hesitating between cosmic rock and a rock. Guitar chords form a sweet melodious rosary which stagnates on the sopt before running in a soft techno, testifying to the ambivalence of the rhythmic structures which crisscross the whole length of this album.
I must admit that listening to TIDE made me puzzled, so much the diversity is amazing to say the least. Except that by stopping closer and listening more carefully to all the subtleties and arrangements that are the core of Rudolf Heimann's comeback album, we manage to overcome this constant coexistence between soft and hard techno, as well as its strange and difficult to identify structures that sometimes remind us of either Tangerine Dream, Geoff Downes and even Depeche Mode. The attention to detail is deeply rooted in this fascinating feast of rhythms and sounds that is this latest opus by Rudolf Heimann.
Sylvain Lupari (December 5th, 2013) ***½**
Available at Spheric Music, CD Baby, Syngate and Groove