SEQUENTIAL DREAMS & Friends: Cosmic Touch (2013)
“Cosmic Touch is like a Best Of... of a whole bunch of artists where we can only notice that the future of EM is between good hands”
1 Astral Gates (Johan Tronestam) 7:52
2 Liquid Fire (Ryo Utasato) 6:24
3 The Cosmic Touch (Celestial View) 6:00
4 NY Flight (JampyKeys) 8:43
5 Fire (Daniel Wolf) 6:04
6 Solaria (Synthesist) 5:22
7 Nexus 6 4:02 (Kuutana)
8 Sorcerers Apprentice (Daniel Wolf) 7:21
9 Encounter at Proxima 5 (Kuutana) 4:46
10 Floh (Wolfgang Roth) 5:50
11 Touched the Sky (Cousin Silas) 8:40
(CD-R/DDL 71:07) (V.F.)
(Energic EM with a zest of cosmic New Berlin School)
Yeah, needs not to be afraid of saying it; there is an interesting artist inside our borders who is spreading his artistic signature on all the universe of EM. COSMIC TOUCH is an ambition project introduced by Ron Charron's Kuutana who gathers 9 musicians scattered through the globe. From Canada to Japan by way of Italy, Sequential Dreams pecks in each of the influences, as artistic as tribal, of Johan Tronestam, Cousin Silas, Wolfgang Roth, Celestial View, Ryo Utasato, Jampy Keys, Daniel Wolf and Synthesist in order to create an electronic mosaic inspired by the rhythms and ambiences of Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. And he didn't miss the target!
Astral Gates kicks things up with a slow and heavy circular rhythm. The sequences zigzag and climb awkwardly a vertical spiral. Riffs of electronic guitar pour a brief approach of intergalactic western while a delicate synth lies down the patterns of a soft electronic melody. It's a good musical itch that goes and comes, which sings and twitters between some thin threads of sequences in the shape of stroboscopic rhythms, some slamming percussions and more resonant chords, pushing Astral Gates towards heavier territories, more disordered where the rhythm of origin tries to rebuff itself in good harmonic paintings out of control. This is some very good and very lively Johan Tronestam. We like? We are going to be delight with the powerful and very striking Nexus 6 which is composed by Kuutana who co-write or write all the tracks here. Anyway, Astral Gates is a kicker! Liquid Fire follows with a rather similar pattern of rhythm; hectic pulsations and slamming percussions where recollections of Tangerine Dream (Marakesh) and JM Jarre (Chronology) macerate a lively rhythm, eroded by its many abruptness, which wears a nice melody perfumed of the Middle East. This mixture is quite exquisite, like on Floh by the way. The Cosmic Touch is a good lunar melody. A cosmic down-tempo with arpeggios sparkling like new sound stars on a slow rhythm which tries to flee through brief passages a bit strobe. A saxophone spreads a soft cloud of melancholy which fits very well with the melodious stars. NY Flight presents a more dark vision with synth lines swirling such as apocalyptic revolving lights. The whole thing draws its source from the influences of the French keyboard wizard and Vangelis (Blade Runner), as well as Tangerine Dream with breaths of synth with a near scent of Flashpoint, on a rhythm fed by pulsations and by sober electronic percussions. The finale is amazing with a portion of rhythm which escapes and excites its sequences and percussions in all directions. That's heavy, disordered but that remains always musical.
Fire is a very lascivious cosmic down-tempo with astral synth waves which lulls melancholic harmonies finely drawn by a very good guitar play. The rhythm swirls on this meshing of percussions and sequenced pulsations which nourish this rhythmic pond of COSMIC TOUCH and which also takes good care to digest these attacks with more nuanced passages. We could describe the tracks one by one that the rhythmic pattern would return constantly with this mixture of percussions, pulsing jumping keys and filets of sequences which stagger sinuously of its sonic centipedes. If we sometimes have the impression to be on the same rhythmic spindle, the melodies call us to order. The tearful Martenot waves which introduce Solaria forge a thick cloud of ghostly melodies which are floating exactly astride these intractable rhythms. The effect of drawling melody on a rhythm stamping with impatience adds an interesting depth for this track which flirts with psybient. After the very heavy and very Nexus 6, which is one of the best tracks on this album, Sorcerers Apprentice, take good notice of the title, plunges us into the vibes of Flashpoint. It's heavy and powerful, but not as much as Floh, one of the strong moments of this album which counts at least half a dozen. We know the influence of Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre on Sequential Dreams? If not, Encounter at Proxima 5 lets hear those excessively with a sneaky, sinuous rhythm which hesitates between the brute force or the moderated control by the very good hem of a somber and black line of sequences which doesn't hesitate to send some resonant ions to the fight. There is an aroma of psychedelic and Arabian rock which floats over this track, as well as on the surprising Touched the Sky and its guitar lost in some strange ethereal atmospheres. It's a long music piece with a dark ambience of despair where the guitar drags its remorse over nice tabla kind of percussions.
I'm impressed by the diversity and the musical wealth of COSMIC TOUCH which is a superb collection of 11 tracks of which the biggest strength is not to deny the roots of the influences from 9 artists who participate in it. A cosmic touch on structures of lead! Evidently that the points of comparisons with Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre abound, but there is more. Each track exploits all the depth of its approach with ambiences as heavy and ethereal which live with a fascinating complicity on rhythms in perpetual movement. It's like a Best Of... of a whole bunch of artists where we can only notice that the future of EM is between good hands.
Sylvain Lupari (November 26th, 2013) *****
Available at Borders Edge Music