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  • Sylvain Lupari

SON OF OHM: Blackbirds (2018)

Updated: Jul 28, 2019

“Blackbirds is the perfect example of how EM was made in the early 70's”

1 Morning Dew 11:47 2 Blackbirds 27:52 3 Velvet Sky 10:13 Son of Ohm Music

(DDL/CD-r 50:00) (Berlin School) (V.F.)

A sound effect inspired by the sound of a jet airplane torturing the firmament opens the first seconds of Morning Dew. The hesitant movement of a sequencer which makes a key wandering around emerges slowly and gains fluidity, while the reactor propulsions stretch their effects which become layers trapped in a distress approach. Hypnotic and magnetizing, the gamboling rhythm turns into a ritornello as rhythmic as harmonic which hops in a sound fauna speckled by stigmatized long mechanical sighs. The rout of the sober movement is organized around the 4th minute while dozens of marbles tinkle on an ill-fitting conveyor. Despite this rain of unruly rhythmic marbles, the rhythm is still as primary with the same movement which now flows under good, well-tuned synth solos and the distortions of an old organ which capture Morning Dew in a retro approach. Composed in a gust of wind, for the needs of the Electric Spectrum Experience held at the end of this last June 2018 Groningen, BLACKBIRDS is an album which breathes this promiscuity between the basic instruments that carved a minimalist EM bare of complexity in its long sonic journeys. As in the Syrinx and Astronaut albums, Son of Ohm's music clings to the Berlin School model of the early 70's with minimalist rhythmic structures which roll in loops and serve as a bed for a cloud of experimentations from synths and organs. Moreover, the first two titles were recorded live in Leonardo Wijma's studio, we can hear the murmurs of blackbirds in the title track, reflecting this close creative collaboration between the musician and his instruments. The title track is a good example. It plunges us into the ethereal world of Klaus Schulze with organ pads which drift between electronic effects and these boosted winds which propel a movement of linear rhythm after the point of 6 minutes. The sequencer deploys a structure which lays down long harmonic zigzag under nice electronic effects of the analog years. The rhythm is fluid and bypasses those charming effects which stick to it, some from Kraftwerk in Autobhan. Hypnotic and catchy, Blackbirds is a real tribute to the old Berlin School. The rhythm shifts to a fluidity around 13 minutes with guitar riffs, helping to maintain the basis of this rhythmic structure. Good synth solos follow the bends of the organ pads while the guitar accentuates its presence with such good solos, awakening reminiscences of Ashra and adding a touch of psychedelism to this title which draws its inspirations from the songs of the blackbirds during its genesis. Composed in 2016 with a similar approach, Velvet Sky is an ambient track worthy of the belle époque. The mesmerizing structure is sculpted on oscillating loops of low frequencies that roll on a long minimalist course where whistle a panoply of sound effects which embrace the borders of psychedelism and occultism. Simple and minimalist, we can't avoid the many traps of bewitchment that seizes our ears while listening to BLACKBIRDS. In the end, this is the perfect example of how EM was made in the early 70's. With equipment reduced to a minimum, Son of Ohm shapes a music built to be played in close connection with the listener, both in our living room and/or in concert. At this level, BLACKBIRDS flows equally well with or without headphones. A beautiful album which will seduce the fans of the first works of Ashra Tempel and Klaus Schulze, whose improvisation sessions in the early 70's still make their fans talking about...some 50 years later. Sylvain Lupari (July 15, 2018) ***¾** SynthSequences.com Available on Son of Ohm's Bandcamp

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© 2019 by Alexandre Corbin for Synth&Sequences \ Sylvain (A.K.A. Phaedream) Lupari

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