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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SAYER: Neuro (2021)

An excellent album that should please the fans of TD and JM Jarre”

1 Neuroreality 8:53

2 Synaptic Flow 9:00

3 Cognitive Emotion 7:04

4 False Memories 8:18

5 Neural Highway 7:42

6 Sensory Stimuli 8:01

7 Diverging Circuits 7:13

8 Oscillations 7:17

9 High Order Thinking 5:57

10 Impulses 7:17

(DDL 76:46) (V.F.)

(TD's Berlin School E-Rock)

I was driving with a friend when he asked me what this Tangerine Dream album was that we were listening to. He recognized the sound, but not the album. Tangerine Dream?! My old friend was out of his mind! It's Sayer I told him. And yet he wasn't wrong! The more NEURO goes forward and the more TD we heard! And we listened to this NEURO while continuing the road, pointing out these moments recalling the Dream in an album which has surprised us by all of its changes of rhythmic directions than melodic's. From big rock with slamming percussions to crepuscular flights where angels whisper to our ears, NEURO was constantly moving like an idea that cannot be fixed on a paper.

It's in an intro perfumed with Hyperborea's ambiences that the sequencer comes out of its shell in order to structure an ambient rhythm with bits of rhythms put together. Neuroreality shows a perfect mastery of Sayer on his structures. A shadow of a bass hooks its melodic groove movement which ignites its first rhythmic will. Reverberating chords extend an aura of concern as bass chords whirr into a static rhythm structure, nervously flickering all over the place. The incoming synth pads give a very Tangerine Dream feel to this track where the synth coos in symbiosis with the bass line. The point of the 3rd minute not crossed that already the sequencer starts to make dribble its marbles in metallic mists mythical to the German trio. It's at this point that the synth weaves a convoluted melody from a solo whose contortions roll with acuity, calling for a good electronic rock with percussions slamming in the fury of the synth and of its invading melody whose long solo remains however dominated by the routine loops of its first melodic line. And so goes the 9 minutes of Neuroreality! Each turn demands more sophistication in a structure that constantly seeks for the ultimate finale. Rhythmic lines tied to bass structures are enough for Synaptic Flow to explore its melodic visions that roll in loops over the tunes of an apocalyptic synth. The flow is circular and the bass line ascending, creating a drifting e-rock with bursts of energy in a landscape half ethereal as chthonian because of the mixed flavors of the vocal layers. Kind of track that goes by quickly enough on the meter of our lives, Cognitive Emotion is a beautiful electronic ballad dominated by the synthesizer's chants that comes back to make its turn while the rhythm unveils little by little its structure of charms. False Memories starts like an electronic lullaby with a nice synth tune that makes the ambiences quite melancholic. After 2 turns, the sequencer goes into E-rock mode with good slamming textures of the percussions, feeding the flow of the sequencer that maintains its melodic line not without pain. The synth is in symbiosis with this new rhythmic direction. Its melody is vampiric and powerful, forcing the direction of the rhythm to return to its base, also not without difficulty. Ultimately, the track goes back to its origin form so to come back with a last rhythmic surge to finally fade into the void. The march of frozen arpeggios at the opening of Neural Highway gives a repetitive tone to NEURO with a deja-entendu feeling in the clarity of the movement. A track that flirts a lot with Software's cosmic universe, its melodic and sequenced ascent is hesitant and is done by circular balls that get slightly jostled by a more rhythmic line. The confrontation is done in layers of chthonian voices, bringing the track to a more animated phase where the lyrical side leans on the fat chords of a keyboard. Becoming a cosmic ride, the rhythm of Neural Highway slightly modifies its pace so that our ears can catch its synth solos. A final step, here as elsewhere in the album, before the track goes back to its genesis.

The rhythm of Sensory Stimuli emerges from a 40-second limbo with a hesitant movement of a suite of bass sequences that ends up rolling in a slightly zigzagging pattern. Another line of clearer sequences is grafted onto this first structure, dribbling its mini balls in a barely different path, as long as the two structures merge into the same rhythmic pattern. A melodious shadow covers this rhythm with a light Arabic-scented synth layer. Two minutes later, Sensory Stimuli goes for another turn by inviting electronic percussions to give more dynamism to the rhythm. The movement of the sequencer becomes more fluid as it gambols and dribbling under another melodious passage initiated this time by a sequence of keyboard chords. The orchestrations are pharaonic and take us to another level where the sequencer draws a rhythmic line that is more fluid than sophisticated, asking for the equivalent in solos from the synth that rather fulfills this request. From cavernous voices, Diverging Circuits hops on springy sequences in order to better hop on a floor full of jumping keys. The synth and the keyboard assume a melodious part whose blurred tint melts to the vaporous gift of the Dream at the end of the 80's. This title becomes more inspiring when it crosses a second stage which ignites us by its dashing rhythm while the melody remains on the same thread. Fluty synth pads falling in staccato inhabit the opening of Oscillations and its percussive elements dressed in felt slamming in echo. One feels a weighty texture that is confirmed with a heavy bass layer that envelops the sequencer's nourished playing, dragging Oscillations into a hard electronic rock whose drifting effect is avoided by the charge of hungry percussions. The synth injects its melodic links by tying solos, in line with the developments of the other NEURO tracks. And when the sequencer ventures alone on the road leading to the second part of Oscillations, the rhythm explodes again in a good Berlin School dynamized by the slamming percussions in a very Jean-Michel Jarre style. Another more secret influence but well anchored in this Sayer's new album. Like a snake chasing its tail, only to catch it, High Order Thinking proposes a circular rhythmic structure whose stroboscopic trail floods our ears with an excessive heaviness. Weird, composite effects, like the dialogues of duck stoned on coke, circulate around a dramatic vision of the synth and its harmonic solos. The second part imposes a heavy and carabined war-hymn rhythm demanding the snake to eat its own tail! The best is for the end, Impulses! Exploiting a bit the same rhythmic vein, but heavier, than High Order Thinking, there is something in this track that makes our emotions burn with a variation in the timing of the melody or in its nuance that makes it so vulnerable to this excessive pounding of sequences and percussions armed of armored metal. And when the phase starts again for another round, we feel this fragility in the synth harmonies which get cool in a melodious thread of a JMJarre who is the presenter of this zoo for those percussive elements made of lead which mistreat with a fascinating obsession this last title of NEURO. An album where we agree my old buddy and I to say that it's an excellent one that should please the fans of Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. As for me, I consider it to be the best of all that Sayer Seely has done so far. And believe me when I'm saying that he has made some very good ones!

Sylvain Lupari (August 18th, 2021) ****¾*

Available at Sayer Bandcanp

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