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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Spyra/Lang Sequest (2010)

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Soft hypnotic reveries to dark nightmarish mazes, it has a musicality unique to Spyra

1 Last Train To Holmberg III 29:38

2 Nenikekamen 15:33

3 Santorini 10:56

4 SeQuest 10:03

(DDL 68:10) (V.F.)

(Ambient Jazz Berlin School)

After a superb first album released in 2003, the duo Spyra/Lang does it again with SEQUEST; an album that gathers tracks recorded in concert and that walks in the footsteps of Achtundsechzig 24, while caressing a sound universe proper to the musical signature of Spyra.

Voices from beyond space intermingle with angelic choirs in the middle of a stellar train station where trains from another universe circulate. Thin sequences flicker over waves emerging from the unknown, further deepening the introductory unreality of Last Train to Holmberg III, a city sitting in the unknown. The sequenced movement becomes more linear, following a resonance line that undulates vertically under a dense mellotron layer. Slowly, this track recorded in Bad Schandau comes to life with a thin bass line that pulses among these resonant sequences and lost choirs as well as beautiful layers of a melodious synth. The rhythm stabilizes with percussions that slam in an electronic phase where the sequences swarm under thick mellotron layers while the synths throw nasal solos with well pronounced twist. Like a spiral that winds up and down, the rhythm of Last Train to Holmberg III undulates with a minimalist movement where the intonations change according to the synth solos that borrow many tones. Last Train to Holmberg III moves through a musical landscape tinged with various modulations, including piano notes that flow among symphonic synth solos and synth blowpipes. Both poetic and intuitive, Last Train to Holmberg III takes us on a tour through musical train stations where the musical moods differ from station to station. Recorded in Bad Sulza, Nenikekamen follows with superb sequences which jump tenderly under the breaths of a jazzy synth which pushes its solos like a trumpet pushing its sighs in the middle of a dark night. Here the play of the sequences is superb and frames marvellously the wanderings of the synth which shapes its solos under the sound of a moving train. Hypnotic and tender, the rhythm shakes feverishly under spectral solos and sequences that undulate with grace, while a good mellotron casts a superb muffled aura on a movement that has become more and more biting. A rhythm whose sequences run out of steam around the 12th minute, plunging Nenikekamen into a very ambient finale.

Santorini wonderfully depicts the musical universe of Spyra/Lang. A long track with a jazz feel that moves lasciviously under a good bass line, fine percussions that clap under muffled pulsations, pensive choirs, a piano with dreamy notes and a synth with trumpet blasts. Recorded in Essen, it is a sensual and light track that ends in the duality of industrial sounds. More enigmatic, the title-track was recorded during a concert in Kassel, then remixed in Berlin. Sequest plunges us beyond the harmonious boundaries of the duo. The intro is however sultry with a superb synth with vocal breaths that blows dreamy choruses, preceding a mellow bass line that pulses around sequenced chords that flicker nervously in a heavy metallic trap. From dreamy, Sequest swings into a dark spectral odyssey where heavy synth lines echo, tearing a muffled veil over pulsing beats that constantly drum in a tetanized web. Ghostly mermaids ululate in a dark musical canvas where the drama is played out behind thin sequences and synthesized layers that momentarily pierce this metal fleece, before concluding on a tender ending that embraces the effluvia of its intro, testifying to this strange duality of styles that inhabits Spyra.

From soft hypnotic reveries to dark nightmarish mazes, SEQUEST has a musicality unique to the very avant-garde and colorful world of Spyra. This 2nd album of Spyra/Lang progresses like a train trip. A journey that makes us discover superb musical landscapes close to the roots of a Klaus Schulze's Berlin School before embracing Spyra's jazz nights scents to conclude in a strange terminus that easily depicts the multiplicity of styles that confirm Spyra in his title of prince of contemporary EM.

Sylvain Lupari (September 15th, 2010) ***½**

Available on Spyra's website

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