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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Spyra InSPYRAtion (2019)

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Spyra goes back to Berlin School style with his unique vision of Electronica

1 Zeitstaub 29:27

2 Flying Thoughts 15:31

3 Lux Aeterna 10:18

4 Aerial Vox 19:13

(CD 74:29) (V.F.)

(Berlin School & Electronica)

The story, the evolution of Spyra shows that the German musician likes to keep his audience on the alert. The one who has long been nicknamed the Klaus Schulze of the new decade likes to spread his know-how by visiting all areas of the EM, from Berlin School to ambient music, via EDM and even a little tour of pastoral music. And each album provokes reflection but ends up filling the fans of EM. The question is when, and after how much? Even the sublime Dunst didn't charm at first listen. In 2017, Spyra concocted a strange album, not to say enigmatic, with the participations of Mani Neumeier, Konstantin Athanasiadis and Roksana Vikaluk. Requiem - Eine Musik Für Den Herrenabend took us to dark music territories with a pastoral vision that limited the explorations and improvisations of a more typical EM of the Berlin School. Even without these dimensions, the music of this album commanded a few listenings before assimilating it well and falling under its austere charms. It must be said that the boiling Lux Aeterna, present on this album, had all the tools to bring us to a musical summit which our senses badly needed. It was at these moments that the musical union between Spyra and Roksana Vikaluk was consumed. InSPYRAtion is a recording of a concert given by Der Spyra and Roksana at a music festival in Solingen, Germany. And it is miles away from this album with a much more energetic music with a more Berlin School vision. But when, and after how many listenings ...

It's with a big crash of reverberations that Zeitstaub envelops our ears. Lines escape from this sound nucleus, including a luminous approach that shimmers like limpid water and makes its sonic lappings sound in a singing symphony of prism. A more reverberant line puts down this slight tumult, Zeitstaub embraces then a more ethereal phase with the voice of Roksana whose celestial murmurs come into conflict with the synth pads scented of Vangelis' floating orchestrations. The voice is high, and the armor of the synth is the opposite. Both approaches deviate to another phase of Zeitstaub which remains immured in cryptic atmospheres. The first frame of rhythm is born of a fountain of rattling with a line of sequences that goes up and down by adjusting its course with the velocity of the sequencer and its circular structure. Synth layers, quite angelic, wrap up warmly this movement that our ears will forget a few minutes later. Already, another line of the sequencer embraces this movement while the synth pads become denser, as more musical too. This line waddles, amplifying the polyphase form that Zeitstaub will unfold for its next 20 minutes. This structure, that goes up and down on a stream of sequences is still active in the scenery, amasses various effects and other sequences whose incomplete forms give a more variegated polish at this pace which will be the main arena between the synth, and its ghostly solos, and Roksana's voice and its interstellar Diva murmurs. In this regard, I wrote in the Requiem review that this duo would probably be more daring than the Schulze & Gerrard tandem because of the more progressive vision of Spyra. And this Zeitstaub confirms these writings.

The stream that has embellished its decor sparkles in the opening of Flying Thoughts, as well as this oneiric movement of the sequencer. The rhythm becomes light with a spasmodic spheroidal form where chimes start to dance, like these giant figurines animated by blowers. A piano puts down slightly its notes in this seraphic decoration which bears the signature of Spyra. These notes wander aimlessly while the sequenced ritornello keeps the charms, and interest in my ears, up until a big vacuum is swallowing this duel around the 7th minute. From then on, Flying Thoughts plunges into a jumble of tones and effects. Little steps run everywhere, the sequenced rhythm line is clearly in survival mode while the piano extends its gibberish in a 2nd part where the improvisation really eats the inspiration. Despite some harmonic gleams, this section is the most difficult of InSPYRAtion. Lux Aeterna is as energetic as on Requiem. This mixture of EDM and of a concerto for distressed voices overflows towards Aerial Vox, a solid title that changes skin, like a musical snake and its mutations. Its intro proposes a piano, definitely more musical, which is joined by a luminous keyboard and its bluish glass arpeggios. Percussions effects trace a Lounge genre while misty haze gives a Berlin School-style nebulosity. The rhythm comes alive to become an up-tempo that is not quite mature and is rather in the psybient style before embracing a phase of dance music, in the Spyra style, with very good synth solos. The finale becomes toxic and leads to a purer Electronica with Roksana singing in an Electro-Orient style. The pace is quiet to reach an ethereal finale that decrees the end of a concert whose last 2 titles will make forget the first two, which in turn, will become those titles that will lead us joyfully to the second part of the most catchy InSPYRAtion.

So, when and after how many plays I have enjoyed this latest Spyra album? Aside from the 2nd part of Flying Thoughts, it was done pretty fast ... But to finish, and for an album in concert, that remains another very good album of Spyra. Hard to survive to Dunst!

Sylvain Lupari (July 2nd, 2019) ***½**

Available at Groove

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