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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SAYER: Future City (2019)

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

“Heavy, slow and catchy rhythms always evolving with great synth solos and most importantly treasures of imagination on percussions”

1 Arrival 7:29

2 Dawn Awakens 8:21

3 Drone Craft 6:39

4 Remembrance Park 5:13

5 The Chosen 8:30

6 Relic Technology 8:46

7 Last generation 8:47

8 Seekers 7:04

9 Last Cruiser 6:44

10 Day Turns to Night 7:55

(CD-R/DDL 75:33) (V.F.)

(Cosmic Rock, New Berlin School)

Second concept album from the Texan synthesist, FUTURE CITY offers a collection of 10 titles, always in movement, which have their own history. Available for download and on CD-r, this second Sayer album in 2019 comes with a superb artwork and a small booklet that explains its 10 stories. It's Sayer! So, it's very well done, and the music oscillates between Jean-Michel Jarre, for the rhythmic fusions which have this light scent of the Dusseldorf School, and Tangerine Dream, for the electronic essences which approaches the TDI years.

Samples of percussion and percussive effects are the main elements of charm in a musical genre that Sayer has been able to reinvent to avoid the traps of redundancy. They are at the heart of the transitional phases of Arrival's 7 minutes. Another strong point here is this ease that the musician shows to create shifting phases and divide these minutes of music into parts which transit towards new rhythmic horizons. The strobe shadow of the rhythm is always within earshot when Arrival puts on its big juicy sequences for a more ethereal and more harmonious passage. And the opposite is just as effective when it's a big heavy rock leaned on bursts of percussions and of neurotic tssitt-tssitt which constantly boost the rhythm towards levels forgotten by the insertion of these phases of harmonious ambiences. Dawn Awakens offers a structure of Chill Ambient with a suite of 4 chords that keeps coming back, weaving a lasting earworm. Sayer weaves other very good synth solos, both creative and harmonic, which infiltrate the base of the rhythm by giving it stroboscopic semi-impulses. The eight minutes are divided in 3 parts, playing as much on the temperature of the rhythm as on the organic effects, especially in the last three minutes. It's good EM that nourishes my ears here! And this din of percussive effects makes this two-speed cosmic rock that Drone Craft is much more interesting and whose melody has an air of deja-entendu. Remembrance Park is a beautiful ballad with a very Tangerine Dream scent that hooked on me a cloud of nostalgia. I would have accepted that the music remained the same. But no! Seely has decided to put in it a ballet of sequences that twirl with tenderness in a part where the orchestrations have burst out this cloud of nostalgia and where I repressed tears. A superb title that gave me good chills.

Also playing on 3 structures that come together without one notices it, The Chosen has a touch of music for anxiety movies. The rhythm plays within these modulations, going from spasmodic to ballad mode with other layers of violins which on the other hand give us a more sibylline vision between the ears. The rhythmic crossroads of the sequencer is very well put together and exploits wonderfully the 8 minutes of the phases of fright which come and go with a challenge for the bits of romance at the level of the sequences falling like Tomita's snowflakes. It's a more complex title that we discovered better and better with each listening. Longest title of FUTURE CITY, Relic Technology offers a dismal opening with a layer of chthonian voices and metallic butterfly effects whose wings come and go in a metallic cloud. The sequencer loosens a line that swirls with a stroboscopic vision, while the synth, we tend to forget its importance in this album, makes sing very good solos on this heavy and slow structure. Structure that will barely modify its course with its heavy ambient spasmodic framework which accelerates in a barely faster flow to fall into an ambient electronic phase. There where the sequences and the electronic percussions challenge their imagination for a short 80 seconds, before the rhythm of war resumes its effectiveness around 5:30 minutes. Last Generation also offers this opening of young wolves on a fictitious hunting site before a mass of singing mist comes from a synth filled with affection for a vision of ambient structure. More than 4 minutes later, the sequencer persists in pounding a more lively structure which undulates, forming large eights under a rain of comic effects from an ever invasive synth. Heavy, slow and catchy! I like this! Seekers completes this journey from the middle of FUTURE CITY. This journey of heavy and slow structures that wind the cosmic territories of this city where the music drifts with its stroboscopic waves towards its finale. But before, we immediately hook on Last Cruisers which is another solid title with its soft rhythm which swirls under the minimalist charms of the sequencer. The synth hangs a beautiful melody to this structure where the percussive effects and the effects of a throat obstructed by an organic didgederoo are simply splendid. Day Turns to Night ends this FUTURE CITY odyssey with another down-tempo pattern that slowly spins on a circular stream of sequences which are supported by metallic percussion to maintain its heavy power in a harmonious vision of a synth well anchored in his influences of Jean-Michel Jarre. I like it! It’s heavy and slow. Qualifiers that allow Sayer to develop very good moving structures filled by creative treasures at the percussion level. There is some great music in this other great album by Sayer.

Sylvain Lupari (April 15th, 2020) *****

Available at Sayer Bandcanp

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