SPYRA: My Little Garden of Sounds 2022 (2022)
Updated: Jun 25
“Perhaps the most beautiful tribute to Klaus Schulze comes from the left field”
1 Non Disperdere nell'Ambiente Pt.III 12:34
2 Flowers Under the Snow 10:50
3 Non Disperdere nell'Ambiente Pt.IV 9:12
4 The Storm of the Garden Gnomes 8:44
5 49 Words for Paradise 14:14
6 The Secret Door 2:39
7 Polyphonic Plants 15:41
(Planned as independent release)
(CD 73:57) (V.F.)
Perhaps the most beautiful tribute to Klaus Schulze comes from the left field. From the nimble hands and the creativity of Wolfram der Spyra. In a completely unexpected sequel to what many fans of the German synthesizer-musician consider his best work, MY LITTLE GARDEN OF SOUNDS 2022 literally immerses the listener in the intricate structures of a Berlin School refreshed from a new fountain of youth. Composed in the context of an exhibition of interactive sound sculptures, these two works by Spyra are intimately linked even though they are 25 years apart. Unlike My Little Garden of Sounds1997, the sound sculptor from Eschwege uses here analog synthesizers and sequencers that give richness and warmth to rhythms that progress from atmospheric to violent spasmodic jolts in textures where his typical Techno confronts the ascending processions of the Berlin School. But the real strength of this album lies in the magnificent solos that Spyra unfolds with the same tenderness as a gardener caressing his garden of his eyes, especially in Polyphonic Plants that keeps spinning in my head, on structures that recall the influences of Klaus Schulze, from Body Love to Miditerranean Pads.
This new release also makes a link with Future of the Past, released likewise in 1997, with the follow-ups of Non Disperdere nell'Ambiente with a third part that starts slowly. It is the keyboard, very dominant in this album, that structures the ascending march of its luminous arpeggios. The movement is like hesitating with additional lines that follow in the shadow of an ambient rhythm. A rhythm that staggers under the weight of this swarm of sequenced arpeggios, sculpting a wavering rhythmic approach that serves as a basis for majestic synth solos that contort over what becomes a Berlin School with irresistible yesteryear flavors. Tsiitts-tsiitts picked up here and there adorn this ascent towards our memories while the keyboard continues its multiplication of arpeggios whose radiations thicken a musical texture at the same time aggressive and passionate. Momentarily abandoned to these tsiitts-tsiitts and the invasion of arpeggios, the solos return to embellish the 2nd part of Non Disperdere nell'Ambiente Pt.III, recalling the importance of Klaus Schulze in the evolution of Spyra. Crumbling their harmonies for synthesized phonetics, they slide this first track of MY LITTLE GARDEN OF SOUNDS 2022 towards the dull and fluttering sequences that enliven the opening of Flowers Under the Snow. All the tracks on this seductive new opus from the German musician follow more or less the same ascending sequenced rhythmic pattern unique to the Berliner model of the 70's. The flute replaces the synth solos on this rhythm that rises and falls with a dominant rhythmic inflection that simulates a gradual march to the stars. The sequencer movement has that unsettling shadow of Body Love structures with a bright synth layer that serves as a sunscreen. Spyra plays beautifully with the emotional nuances that surround the secret life of the inhabitants of his garden of sounds, giving this track a shadowy and mysterious feel, dominated by the harmonious texture of the synth solos while leaving room for the mellotron and its beautiful fluty chants. A return in the time which metamorphoses in a Techno typical to Spyra who shears it of solos as intense and sharpened as the rhythmic rise. The movement slightly decreases and let floating arpeggios that are found in the introductory corridor of Non Disperdere nell'Ambiente Pt.IV. This track is based on a series of loops that sway, flutter and leapfrogging with organic shadows. Some synth chirps and stardust evaporate under a sky shaded by a permanently suspended synth layer that moves with a fascinating musicality, reminiscent of a distant vampiric melody. The intensity rises in this atmospheric track that reaches its threshold of tranquility around the 4th minute. A menacing shadow filled of voices and of oral drones gradually replenishes the space, delivering the hungry loops and their pent-up shadows in a finale of a rare atmospheric intensity.
The last shady breaths are spreading in the opening of The Storm of the Garden Gnomes, a track were the samplers and its parade of keyboard chords walking awkwardly in a convulsive beginning. The structure soon changes to a spiral of chaotic Cha-Cha-Cha steps which is wrapped of an iridescent synth pad. The structure becomes more and more jerky as other sequences, contracted arpeggios in a hungry belly tone and percussions are grafted to this spasmodic robotic dance that actually combines two easily identifiable rhythmic patterns. And it is always in a chaotic confusion that the rhythm crumbles its last beats into a series of oscillating loops. The tonal structure of the album is strongly inspired by the 2002 exhibition and is most apparent in 49 Words for Paradise which seizes on the fly the remnants of The Storm of the Garden Gnomes rhythm to make sparkling a line of arpeggios that twirl briskly in a circular rhythmic pattern. Other arpeggios with a melodic vision encircle this fluid yet jerky movement in a nice allegorical ballet with a pulsating bass line and boom-boom percussions. The rhythm is very driving and more spasmodic in a technoïd Berliner phase which is covered by a texture of vocal effects that will fill its sonic sky with a multitude of lyrics thrown randomly on a rhythmic backbone that has this faculty to regenerate itself without having consumed a beginning of end, if only for a more atmospheric finale where some arpeggios with a rhythmic memory still remain. The very short The Secret Door detaches itself from all that swirls in the universe of MY LITTLE GARDEN OF SOUNDS 2022 in order to offer a superb ballad for a solitary soul. To make a rock cry hidden in this water garden! The longest track on this album, Polyphonic Plants is also its foundation stone. Written with his wife Roksana Vikaluk, its rhythm is a splendid Berlin School well built on a structure filled with jolts created by the impact of the percussions and the bass sequences. Its strength lies in the beautiful solos that contort and weep like Martenot waves. These solos are performed by Roksana. She demonstrates her knowledge of jazz with solos that fly and hover like spectres on this structure which is violent from the inside until its 10th minute. And its imprint, never so violent, still remains for the next 3 minutes where these solos are weeping like a tortured guitar texture.
Arguably the finest and purest album of its kind to follow in the footsteps of the analog years, MY LITTLE GARDEN OF SOUNDS 2022 is a pure masterpiece of contemporary electronic music (EM) that has no desire to deny its grandiose past. But you must be patient, because this little jewel of sound sculptures to be sparkled in the open air will be available this summer in the context of Sound Lounger and Volksklangliege exhibitions that will be held in the town of Kassel from July 1st. More information are available on Spyra website. Afterwards, the manufactured CD will be sold through the known networks, Groove nl and others, before finally ending up at Apple and co months further. One of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard!
Sylvain Lupari (June 24th, 2022) *****
Available in July on independent label