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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Spyra Requiem (Featuring Roksana Vikaluk) (2017)

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

This album is a breath of fresh air where the pastoral music goes very well with the effects of decrepit monasteries and of a latent form of Electronica

1 Pre Scriptum 2:14 2 Introit 5:14 3 Kyrie Eleison 7:52 4 Dies Irae 5:41 5 Domine Jesu Christe 2:37 6 Sanctus 8:35 7 Agnus Dei 8:24 8 Lux Aeterna 9:28 9 Post Scriptum 1:34 Ersten Kasseler Herrenabend

(CD 51:41) (V.F) (Avant-gardist Music)

It's at the prestigious festival of ambient music in Gorlice, Poland, that people were able to hear and see the very eclectic duet of Roksana Vikaluk and Spyra. We can find an extract on the album XV Edition Mpm Ambient Festiwal Gorlice (Live). It was in 2013. Since then, Spyra had offered us the stunning Staub in 2014. And then, except for some performances here and there at various artistic events, it was silence! Thus it was with excitement that I waited for a promo copy of this famous REQUIEM. And as like every time, going at the exploration of a Spyra album is a journey in the country of surprises and of things which are difficult to assimilate at a first listening. But the clarity of tones, this mixture of canticle and electronic and this very ethereal voice, one would say an angel, of Roksana Vikaluk have unlock this drawer named: open-mindedness. And so I fell in the thousand and one charms of this REQUIEM - Eine Musik Für Den Herrenabend.

Written by the percussionist of the album, Mani Neumeier (he also composed Post Scriptum), Pre Scriptum attracts our ears with twinkled ringings which sparkle in a universe of humidity. These moods are the perfect, and fascinating, prelude to Introit. We recognize the keys of Spyra who draws a melancholic structure. The reverberations of the hammering on the keyboard aims to be a cozy musical bed which waits for the incantations of the new diva of the electronics Roksana Vikaluk. The movement oscillates between tenderness and fury, due to the hardness of the keyboard keys, with good impulses of emotionalism, forged by a vampiric line of bass, to reach a form of serenity with Konstantin Athanasiadis' saxophone. Kyrie Eleison already rewards our open-mindedness with a beautiful minimalist opening a la Philip Glass. The movement finds its collapse at its middle-point with a piano which isolates its tears in a thick fauna of white noises and of spectral knocking. The piano is very charming and attracts these elements of noises towards a more musical finale. Die Irae is a title which asks more than one listening! The piano spreads a virgin ritornello under the breezes of a synth and of its sighs as cutting as a blade of steel. This eclectic duality is amplified by movements of bass but is also cajole by a splendid angelic choir. The breezes of a strange harmonica infiltrate the movement which became more musical just before that a line of bass, some hard and explosive knocking as well as a voice of terror brings us to the attic of an old monastery and of its the most tainted secrets. This very theatrical finale dominates also the beautiful liturgical vibes of Domine Jesu Christe. A true religious hymn! In an appropriate manner, Sanctus is a title of dark ambiences which wins in intensity with the very carnal voice of Roksana Vikaluk. Patience is necessary here in order to cajole this heavy movement which is nevertheless very realistic. Agnus Dei is a pearl of tenderness with its duel piano/synth. The highlight of REQUIEM reaches its pinnacle with the excellent Lux Aeterna, a very lively title which bursts of its envelope of Electronica encircled by a voice more than an aerial of Vikaluk. A pure delight! Post Scriptum ends this surprising album with a logical and more musical suite than of Pre Scriptum.

In spite of my comments at the effect that an open-mindedness is desirable to taste REQUIEM, it's remains nevertheless a pretty solid and a beautiful album with a duet who could become more interesting than that of Schulze/Gerrard because of the boldness of Spyra who likes evolving off the beaten track, and of the immense capacities of Roksana Vikaluk, so much with her voice as her electric piano. Eclectic, certainly, this album is a breath of fresh air where the pastoral music goes very well with the effects of decrepit monasteries and of a latent form of Electronica which blows our ears. Another big album from Spyra who excels in the art of reinventing his style.

Sylvain Lupari (October 4th, 2017) ***½**

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