SENSITIVE CHAOS: Emerging Transparency (2009)
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
“This is quite a find where we have Berlin School, Prog EM among tribal ambient”
1 Emerging Transparency 7:52
2 Erase Yourself 5:53
3 Fifty Light Years from Hom 10:20
4 Bazaar Behavior 11:01
5 Luck of the Draw 7:32
6 Tanzen Filter 11:50
7 Emerging Transparency
(Radio Edit) 5:13
8 Fifty Light Years from Home (Radio Edit) 4:17
(CD/DDL 64:08) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, Tribal Ambient, Prog EM)
EMERGING TRANSPARENCY is quite a find from Jim Combs and his Sensitive Chaos. Straddling the melodious sequences of the Berlin School, notably Tangerine Dream, the experimental rhythms of free jazz and the jerky rhythms of a music navigating the borders of Funk and Break Dance, EMERGING TRANSPARENCY is to Jim Combs what Zoolook is to Jean-Michel Jarre. A great album with catchy rhythms and melodies in a musical universe where audacity meets ingenuity. The guitars' solos, plus those from the synths and saxophones are tied to riffs, chords, percussions and a bass as biting as hungry. In short, an album that fills our ears and keeps us on our toes.
This fascinating musical invitation begins with a synth line that undulates and twists in the dark cosmic winds whose breaths shake slow oscillations. After 3 minutes of this soaring introduction, the title-track emerges from the cosmic limbo with a good sequencer line sounding strangely like the structures of Tangerine Dream on Mojave Plan from the White Eagle album. Resonant bass chords bite into this segment, while chiming arpeggio tinklings ease and the percussions, falling with power, are adding pressure. On this straightforward and steady electronic beat, Emerging Transparency progresses and falls under the spell of pretty good synth solos, hiding wandering voices and plunging Sensitive Chaos' music into a rare purely electronic movement with more conventional instruments. With its bouncy rhythm like a street gang's walk, Erase Yourself also offers an electronic structure reminding me of Synergy's in Games. The synth layers and arpeggios with hybrid tones clash in a melodic limpidity over spasmodic sequences and bass-pulses, making Erase Yourself to evolve with various chords and tinkles that adorn a rather accentuated rhythm. Another simply beautiful track, Fifty Light Years from Home begins quietly with tinkling chimes in the opening. They are surrounded by dark winds that ululate and whistle among these shimmering resonances. A saxophone emerges from this broth of breaths, backed by chimerical violins that give curt bowing strokes while, ever suave, the saxophone slits its contemplative wails. The chiming arpeggios reappear. They float and resonate in suspension while hypnotic percussions transcend this ambient universe towards a more technoïd one. Xylophone keys clash with power and follow an ascending progression under a sky streaked of sinuous and heavy layers of screaming and variegated synths, still reminding the musical universe of the Dream.
Bazaar Behavior transports us to a more free jazz universe than electronic with tribal-like percussions. Percussions that combine with the chords of a tasty, elastic and undulating bass, to weave a bewitching minimalist structure that pulses in an astonishingly heterogeneous sound fauna. With the rhythm bouncing in the hands of tabla percussion and decorated with unpredictable melodies, Bazaar Behavior progresses collecting all the musical jewels on its way, including xylophone solos and superb guitar and synth solos, not to mention the saxophone that enchants with its piercing vocals in a sometimes-soaring party atmosphere. Luck of the Draw awakens our instincts of disjointed dancer with a noisy and rather funky approach. The drums pound out a dry rhythm, the keyboard spits out nervously jumping chords and the synth articulates an intermittent language with multiple technoïd tones. Good layers of synth are floating over this jerky rhythm, which is Jim Combs' Rock it (Herbie Hancock), adding a fascinating depth that is the antithesis of Sensitive Chaos' musical style with this kind of electronic Break-Dance. Frantic with its bouncing and galloping keyboard chords, Tanzen Filter offers a good rhythm with multi-tone chords that blend nicely with the abrupt percussions. The bass bites with its slow and heavy elastic chords this structure where the arpeggios twirl, flutter and draw stroboscopic musical circles. A very nice track that still mixes Funky and Break Dance approaches, Tanzen Filter turns in loops, with some more stripped-down passages here and there, sprinkled with some nice guitar solos. Shorter and for the radio, Emerging Transparency (Radio Edit) goes straight to the movement of the undulating and circular sequencer à la TD. It's a very good remix, as is the radio version of Fifty Light Years from Home which is mainly focused on its rhythmic approach too.
EMERGING TRANSPARENCY is an album as powerful as amazing. An album that, track after track, amazes and subjugates us, as much by the rhythms, the melodies and the finds that abound throughout this brilliant opus where audacity is not an obstacle to musicality. I loved this album and its rich sound fauna where sequences, percussions and bass are at the origin of the diversified rhythms. Rhythms where the Berlin School and the experimental EM are wrapped up with superb solos of synth, guitars and saxophone, weaving a musical universe with paradoxes as delicate as scathing.
Sylvain Lupari (October 3rd, 2011) ****½*
Available at Sensitive Chaos