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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FILTER KAFFEE: Filter-Kaffee 102 (2015)

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

As long as Berlin School is between hands as creative as those of Mario Schonwalder and his friends, it's protected for years to come

1 Intro 3:07

2 RubyRed 21:15

3 Sequence A 11:44

4 Six-Eight Time 15:51

5 Darkshift 22:28

6 Outro 3:04

(CD DDL & LP 77:32) (V.F.)

(Vintage Berlin School)

Resonances, white noises, oscillations, lines of synth which float like clouds of ether and explosions. Explosions which reverberate into a structure of rhythm. Intro skids and zigzags with fury in a lively and heavy rhythm where lines of synth to the fragrances of Ricochet are caressing it, as if the time had frozen in 1973. There are things which don't change. Like the music of Mario Schönwälder and of his friends! In solo, in duet or in trio, he makes every effort to draw in the deepest of his influences to extract always the best of what retro Berlin School style would have lost through its numerous changes of phases. And he does it with as much skill as his passion for the genre. A logical suite to the very good Filter-Kaffee 101, FILTER-KAFFEE 102 hits the market more than 4 years after the first adventure of the tandem Schönwälder & Rothe. This time, it's pure Berlin School. Not a zest of a shadow of zombie techno. Only exhilarating vintage Berlin School and a damn good one. Good old and a powerful one where the perfumes of Edgar Froese's solo works, the album he is dedicated to Edgar Froese by the way, embrace the vertiginous rhythms of Ricochet and those heavier, darker of Redshift. Striking and simply what is done best in the genre!

After the fall of first dark and resonant chords which seem so much mislaid and which sound so much like Redshift, the introduction of RubyRed dives into an ambiospheric state. Here, the tenebrous decor of the vintage years, either fluty airs or floating mists, roam over a fields of heterogeneous noises with tones as white as blacks which draw a Mephistophelian atmosphere. A radioactive cloud rises. A line of juicy and resonant sequences gets out of it. At the beginning the keys jump laconically before losing some shadows which skip more insistently and forge a fluid rhythm of which the deep oscillations won't escape to the caresses of a charming flute, nor the banks of Memotron mist. We are in the core of the vintage years. The Phaedra years with monosyllabic pads which fall like riffs on a superb pattern of oscillatory rhythm. Little by little the keys are losing the battle against the atmospheres and after a good 7 minutes of solid electronic rhythm RubyRed dives back into its second ambiosonic phase, very brief this time, before re-kicking the moods and forcing a less wild rhythm, a more musical one, where sequences dance freely among the fluty airs. Slowly this rhythm gets out of breath and RubyRed concludes its long trip of 21 minutes in the atmospheres of this fields of tones which had rocked its opening. Between some very dark and menacing moods a la Redshift and of a Tangerine Dream of the Baumann years, the music of this FILTER-KAFFEE 102 sharpens constantly the curiosity of the ears. As this introduction of Sequence A where nasal trumpets and dark choirs lose sinister airs on jingles from the metallic wings which sound like snips of scissors in felted explosions and effects of gas. Three lines of sequences in parallels emerge. The dominant one forges a sneaky rhythm while the second hiccups with glass tones. Hardly perceptible, the third one makes shine its weak carillons which end to sculpture a hypnotic melody and of which the airs weakened will turn for a long time in our head. This polyphase structure moves forward stealthily with fine jerks which limp in banks of mist, filets of choir and synth lines perfumed by trumpets of Jericho. Charmingly Tangerine Dream and charmingly Ricochet!

And these fragrances of psychotronic moods go up to the doors of Six-Eight Time. There where are escaping arpeggios which ring as when struck on an anvil in a universe of cloudiness. Still here the range of Tangerine Dream and especially Edgar Froese for the atmospheres of Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, in particular these hoops and these synth pads which derive in a universe where everything seems to have been eradicated from the earth, are strongly presents. The rhythm extricates itself from this sonic oblivion, where the flavors of ether abound, with a movement of sequences which multiplies its keys and of which the sharp capers bounce on the curves of another line of sequences. The movement becomes fluid and the rhythm oscillates of its ample loops and with its sequences to the contrasting tints which deeply flicker and among which the loops and the arcs are pecked by electronic percussions and their metallic bites. It's a good electronic rhythm of the vintage years, while Darkshift is even heavier and in a pure Redshift vibe. As if it was still possible. A wild and deafening rhythm escapes from layers of ether and from resonant bumblebees. The lifeless atmospheres are brief and let get away rustlings, a little as if we were near hell. Tom-toms resound a little after the two minutes point. The rhythm is black and felted, adorned that it is by layers of mists, lines of flutes and spectral rustles which always try to fasten Darkshift in the cradle of its atmospheres. Another line of sequence emerges then. A little as in Sequence A the rhythm spreads its phases, quite convergent, in an electronic shroud perfumed of analog fragrances. It's a heavy, a loud rhythm knotted in sequences with tones full of contrasts which pound cruelly around synth lines and their evanescent harmonies which stream and get entangled among dark kicks. Other lines, among which some very vampiric ones, besiege the rhythm. And no... The floating harmonies of the flutes, nor the caresses of the ethereal mists manage to control it. Quite the opposite! And other sequences run away, feeding the rich sequenced approach and a bit complex which nourishes the black strength of Darkshift. This is a pure monument which gave me the taste to listen some Redshift. Splendid! And it's a pity that Outro sounds the end of FILTER-KAFFEE 102.

A wonderful album, available in vinyl by the way, where the duet Schönwälder & Rothe has surpassed itself downright with a superb album which is more than a tribute to Edgar Froese. It's a real profession of faith for the genre which, as long as it will be between hands as skillful and creative as those of Mario Schönwälder and now Frank Rothe, will stay always so bewitching, so enthralling and will live forever.

Sylvain Lupari (May 28th, 2015) ****½*

Available at Manikin Bandcamp

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