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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Spyra Achtundsechzig 24 (Live​@​Toskana​-​Therme 2003/ Remaster 2016)

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

“Immensely beautiful, it's a pure musical jewel that I recommend without hesitation to all those who love music”

1 Achtundfünfzig49 59:46

2 Acht39 08:37

3 Alte Kunst (Bonus) 12:48

(DDL 81:12) (V.F.)


There is music that is hard to describe, so much our emotions can alter our judgment. As there are small masterpieces that captivate and which, listening after listening, continue to charm. ACHTUNDSECHSZIG 24 is that kind of music. A splendid album where the transitions of a fluid rhythm are lost in ethereal atmospheres and reborn under a new appearance which is always finely connected to its minimalist matrix. This album, which links the destiny of Wolfram der Spyra to that of Chris Lang, is part of this list of contemporary EM albums, that is in the 90-00, which have found their place in my Top 50 for life. Recorded live in Toskana-Therme (Bad Sulza) in 2001, ACHTUNDSECHSZIG 24

has a second life, digital this time, on the download platform of the label Manikin Records. Remastered in 2016, to make its subtleties audible, it is proposed with a bonus title that fits very well in its musical decor.

A long synthesized shadow extends its Gregorian layer, opening the door of its ambiances to a rhythm that pops out breathless, like a flame sucked by a slight whirlwind. Woven into an ambiospheric canvas, this violently convulsive rhythm pierces the walls of a cave that is trickling. And like a sonorous whirlwind, it flows in brief jerks, without sequences or percussion. This flute is constantly seeking its oxygen to roll its repetitive jolts under a sonorous sky filled with cotton layers and solos with dreamy twists that are even more omnipresent in this remaster. A first mutation takes shape around the 9 minutes, while arpeggios install a transition point with a more melodious approach. The doors of illusion open with this stream of clear chords that dance above the stars. A sweet and captivating passage that will remind Klaus Schulze's intro on Crystal Lake for some, that a piano with a solitary soul of its lost chords. A superb moment where those piano notes get melt with the flickering of the crystalline chords, under the clouds of bats that draw shadows on an enchanting musical landscape. Dreamy, this piano isolate itself to get lost in the mists of a synth with always crystal-clear arpeggios that sparkle in a loop, like on an ocean trapped in a pond. Symphonic solos and cello strings caress this passage that slowly dies in a heavy vaporous mist, initiating the 3rd movement of this dreamlike symphony which takes shape around the 24th minute with a supple rhythm that rolls like a timeless wave. The guitar of Chris Lang comes to bite of its tender Latin aromas. Between Mirage and In Blue, Klaus Schulze's world permeates his influences here. The synth layers and their timeless voices flows with such musicality that the mesh with the acoustic chords becomes pure magic for the ears. Again, these bats, these symphonic synths, this misty mystic and always this strange union between the fairy and the musical constellation that flourishes with such grace that we are surprised at every turn that takes Neunundfünfzig 49. If we are under the spell of ACHTUNDSECHZIG 24, what follows after the 30th minute will give you thrills to the soul.

Carved in a mesh of guitar and keyboard riffs, the rhythm flows less abruptly. Caressed that it is by layers of seraphic voices and its delicate fluty breaths, it's always transported by these arpeggios whose refusal to extinguish ennobles the constellation of this long title of 60 minutes. Effects of voices and other layers of melodious chords surround this superb movement where the guitar is serenading at the doors of a strange cosmos. Shimmering chords, fluty breaths, jerky chords, frivolous choruses and synth with sounds as harmonious as the heaviness of its layers, Neunundfünfzig 49 is evolving with such ease that it's surprising to note that the first 40 minutes are already passed. The next ten will pass just as faster with a sweet tempo that slowly takes shape to undulate and jump under the misty layers of a synth's morphic undulations. Around the 50th minute, dull pulsations come back to mold a pounding rhythm in a cavernous musical fauna, as if to get out of our sleep, where heavy layers merge with a guitar. Its notes are withering in the sounds of an unreal piano, a bit much like all that revolves around this sublimity that is Neunundfünfzig 49 gets lost and recreates all along its discovery and whose finality will forge a nostalgia that will command a second, a third listening. And so on... It's obvious that with such a piece of resistance, Acht 39 is kind of lost in the void. And yet it's a good piece of music in a style of free jazz with its electric piano and its chords which waltz falsely around the hazy wanderings of the synth. A good title that breathes the analogy and the paradox Spyra with its blend of jazz, of electronic and of industrial vibes on a dreamlike air and a musical poetry. This second life of ACHTUNDSECHZIG 24 offers a bonus track; Alte Kunst. We find this title on his album Dunst, one of the big albums of 2018. What we hear here seems to be a first version that is shyer and that goes very well in this reissue.

I still listen to this album with as much pleasure and enchantment as when it was released on CD in September 2003. And it's with my ears wide open that I swallowed this reissue that gives more sonorous punch, and above all will allow many Spyra fans to discover this album which was out of print shortly after its release. As I wrote in 2010; it's a splendid album whose imagination is its only frontier. Immensely beautiful, it's a pure musical jewel that I recommend without hesitation to all those who love music. An album that still provides my hours of late listening.

Sylvain Lupari (October 24th, 2019) *****

Available at Manikin Records Bandcamp

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