SAMARKANDE: Ordo ab Chao (2015)
“Ordo ab Chao is a stunning piece of EM which goes from Berlin School to prog rock while surfacing the dark ambient moods”
1 Ordo ab Chao 5:49 2 Hotel Bilderberg 4:24 3 TM-SW7905.1 10:35 4 Digital Angel 14:18 5 Bohemian Avenue 9:54 6 La Sombre Noblesse 4:54 7 Faction 3:28 8 Hotel Bilderberg (Reprise) 0:41 9 Resistance 5:59 Samarkande Music
(CD 60:01) (V.F.) (Dark Berlin & England Schools)
Oh I love, I love, I love! I love this opportunity to discover new artists, new music for the purposes of my Blog, the reviews I write and our radio show about EM. Especially when I have the opportunity to speak about an artist from my country. SAMARKANDE is the project of Éric Fillion. Classical pianist and organ player from Montreal, he begins his discovery of synthesizers at the age of 15 by playing in diverse bands of progressive rock, of which some essences can be hear here. He played in particular with Filber Basco, from 88 to 92, and Talisma with whom he gave his first concerts. He founded SAMARKANDE in 1999 with Sylvain Lamirande. The duet creates an experimental and avant-gardist EM and counts 4 albums to his credit. Albums which knew a good praise from the critics of our local press as well as a national success with the album Douglas' Basement in 2006. The duo took separate paths at the beginning of 2010. But it's a Éric Fillion in solo, always accompanied by his good friend Sylvain Lamirande on synths, on keyboards and on a saxophone and who is charmingly dissonant in TM-SW7905.1, that he simmers and concocts this fascinating album which aims to be a real journey throughout the periods of EM by making a superb overview of the genres; from Berlin School to ambient music, without forgetting the England School, and the progressive roots of Éric Fillion, as well as dark ambient to dug up the eyes and the intrusive madness of abstract music. Sharpened your senses because ORDO AB CHAO bears proudly the nature of this Order by Chaos!
A movement of sequences, black and full of echo, makes alternate two keys which skip as Goblins on the point of create havoc. The effect of reverberation weaves a lively movement, especially with the shadows which get loose in order to dance with these two keys. Riffs of keyboard are thundering. They free a synth which knits ghostly solos of which the harmonies roll in loops in a dense silvered fog created by a very penetrating Mellotron. Always connected with this structure of rhythm forged by the sharp oscillations of the sequences, and their shadows, this Mellotron is as much incisive as the synth and engraves devilish harmonies where a choir from the darkness add to the weight of the disorder of Ordo ab Chao. The tone is given! We have here a fascinating mosaic of rhythms and ambiences which is made in the intrigues of the gaps. Each track here is butt-welded, creating so a Mephistophelian symphony. Hotel Bilderberg plunges us into a baroque universe with a sublime harpsichord from which the agile notes fly on a rhythm sculpted in a progressive approach. Although the approach reminds me enormously of Synergy, the synth, and the organ inhales the charms of the Italian progressive music of the 70's. The ambiences are always tinted in black. And the introduction of TM-SW7905.1 reminds us the genesis of this last album of SAMARKANDE with a cloud of obscure voices and electronic radiations which crush a pulse which gets more and more weak. We are entering the dark and intriguing atmospherical universe of ORDO AB CHAO. The synth lines are filled with perfumes of ether and they tie a long linear movement plump of reverberations. An ambient movement which breathes like an industrial machine fed by a bank of fallen souls. We are in the abstract music. In the concrete music which explodes in a finale resounding to make turn pale the madness of Art Zoyd. Digital Angel drinks of this finale with a cloud of radioactive sound waves which gets out the bowels of the Earth. The machine always breathes, and it releases dusts of black prism whereas the Mellotron inhales the life. Two contrasts which are in confrontation in an ambient movement of which the ambiguities will remind to certain these black ambiences that Tangerine Dream toyed in Zeit, as well as in the Aqua album from Edgar Froese to whom ORDO AB CHAO is sealed to his memory. A very beautiful movement of sequences extricates itself from this oblivion at the dawn of 7 minutes. The movement becomes fluid with sequences which go around in circles, like lost small footsteps, in a heavy cloud of electronic radiations. Another line of sequences is emerging, structuring an ascending rhythm with keys which sharply bounce in two directions of rhythms which criss-cross themselves in a chaotic schema. The singing of the angels is not calming at all this static turbulence which little by little loses its beatings at around the 12th minute, still diving Digital Angel in an ambient phase which uncorks towards very somber and dark Bohemian Avenue.
Here, the organ is intrusive. It spreads the perfumes of its harmonious charms through a heavy cloud of mist and over a delicate movement of sequences which activates quietly its phase of rhythm. The mixture of progressive rock and EM is deliciously balanced with a bed of sequences which swarm randomly. Related beatings feed the ambient structure which becomes livened up by a more and more structured movement, bringing the track towards a superb structure of rhythm very magnetizing which waves such as a carousel in a funfair set up in imagination. Fragrances of White Eagle, as well as Logos, spin all over this phase which will reach its pinnacle with of delicious solos of a synth which roars in winds loaded of demonic suspicions. A tick-tock of clock brings us to La Sombre Noblesse and to its distant synth harmonies which roll in loops over a structure of rhythm similar to the title-track. The noise is timed in a kind of stationary rhythm where are muttering and grumbling the breaths of hell as well as good synth solos of, one of the weapons of charm in ORDO AB CHAO. That and these death-agonies of an organ which perfume this 5th album of SAMARKANDE of a so luciferian approach. That does very Tangerine Dream of the Ricochet and the Phaedra years. Afterward we fall in the rhythm delicately pulsatory, and all the same rather harmonious, of Faction which is coated by spectral waves more or less abstruse and where some crystal clear keyboard chords and a fluty chant unite their dissonance in a finale which explodes in a big progressive rock, filled with layers and voices from an dark organ, in Hotel Bilderberg. Resistance follows the parade with a heavy progressive rock nuanced by incisive synth solos. Incredibly delicious!
Incredibly delicious? Totally! ORDO AB CHAO is a real tour- de-force where every second is soaked with the various stages of the contemporary EM, cosmic approach in less. There is of everything in this wonderful album of SAMARKANDE which is surprisingly musical for an album as heavy. Fans of Tangerine Dream, Phaedra years to Logos', of Redshift, for the Luciferian moods, the analog sequences and for this wonderful Mellotron, and of Genesis for the keyboard and the organ, this ORDO AB CHAO is definitely a must have. And I'm not writing this because Éric Fillion is from my hometown! I'm writing it because it's a superb album which for sure will end on my best of 2015 list. This is a no brainer! Hat to you Éric for such creativity. This is quite an album that you thrown at us here!
Sylvain Lupari (December 12th, 2015) *****