SERGE DEVADDER: Taxon (2018)
“This is a fascinating album where the styles of Steve Roach and Robert Rich go along with the darker mind of Redshift and of Tangerine Dream”
1 Chimära 8:26 2 Salamander 8:22 3 Alraune 8:08 4 Nixen 6:14 5 Perlboot 4:42 6 Vipern 9:02 7 Conchilien 14:20 Groove | GR-260
(CD/DDL 59:11) (V.F.) (Ambient & Berlin School)
The Belgian invasion invades more and more my musical tastes! This time it is with the music of Serge Devadder who goes by the Groove Unlimited label to offer us an amazing album that deserves our attention. TAXON is the sixth solo album of the Brussels' musician and proposes a music influenced by works of arts of a particular character, zoology and the paintings of the German painter Birgit Schweimler who has already realized the covers of the Cambrian and Ganda albums as well as the one of TAXON. The works of the biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel, the cabinet of curiosities from the Dutch zoologist and pharmacist Albertus Seba and finally of the American photographer Henry Horenstein and his illustrations of his book Aquatics are also the numbers of influences which helped to design the essences of this amazing album where our ears will discover a fascinating universe which is closely related to these influences.
It's through a waltz of carillon that begins the exploration of TAXON. Tibetan bells weave their timbres collections in an ambient movement which looks like the gait of a pistorello wandering the main street of a new village in the Wild West. Synth layers cover this rather harmonic bells choir of Chimära which sounds like a fusion of Robert Rich and Sensitive Chaos with a little of Loren Nerell's lubricant to add a touch of drama to this ballad for a hundred bells under a sky to the colors of despair. There is a world of imagination and a lot of complexity behind the making of this music as well as on Nixen which is much in the same genre, but more captivating. Salamander adopts a bit the stormy ambiences, by the intensity of the tonal colors, of Chimära. The decor is gloomier with implosions of bass lines which crash like sound waves while creating a climate of intrigue. Short lines of sequencer emerge between these sibylline shadows and make run 3 to 4 keys that come and go at regular intervals throughout the 8 minutes of the play. Their presence is more heard in the last third of Salamander weaving a Berlin School decor. Speaking of Berlin School, Alraune is a heavy one. As heavy as these sequences which vibrate and throb with resonances in the universe of Redshift. Percussive tinklings pass between the slits of this amphibian rhythmic structure where the synth spits lines as much raucous and gloomy than elephant which are crying of fright when they got encircled by a herd of giant lionesses. It's a very intense title, but there is more! Vipern for example, which is a solid Berlin School. The sequences are nervous and flutter on the spot in bass tones which restore a dark ambience, a bit like the Near Dark soundtrack of Tangerine Dream. These titles are monuments of the genre. After two minutes of Steve Roach vibes, Perlboot shakes its tonal torpor with sequences which dance like crazy chimes, but without tones, in soft synth pads which vaguely remind me of Tangerine Dream's Silver Scale. Conchilien is the quietest, the most meditative title of TAXON. The synth pads, or the breezes of big flutes, sound like boat whispers as the ambiances murmur these waters crashing on rocks. I enjoyed discovering the world of TAXON. Despite the styles, we feel the tonal signature very aesthetically dark of Serge Devadder who succeeds in weaving the paintings of a world at once mysterious and attractive. The balance between the rhythm structures and the ambient phases is just perfect, albeit those have a little something very seductive. A very beautiful and poetic album which carries all of its dimension over the listening.
Sylvain Lupari (February 16th, 2019) ***¾**
Available at Groove nl