STAN DART: Basilica (2021)
Updated: May 28, 2021
“2 hours of music filled with very good moments if we are a bit sentimental”
1 Sunrise 6:39
2 Apsis (Album Version) 5:26
3 Antoni and Jose 5:28
4 Krypta 7:48
5 The Four Pillars 6:48
6 Mirrors and Ropes 4:43
7 Floating 8:45
8 Journey to the Sea 5:26
9 Waiting (feat. Petra Bonmassar) 5:25
10 Sunset 6:57
11 La Sagrada Familia (Parts I - V) 30:04
12 Park Guell 11:36
13 La Pedrera 5:42
(DDL 110:52) (V.F.)
(EDM, New Age, Cinema)
When the urge to hear melodic and flamboyant electronic music (EM) strikes, I have a great list of artists that includes the name Stan Dart. The Austrian artist is quite a melodist and arranger with his palette of light rhythms that flirt between the boundaries of Mike Oldfield and Enigma with just the right amount of appeal to those fond of dance beats and Electronica and/or Jean-Michel Jarre in his post Odyssey Through O₂ years. BASILICA is inspired by the atmospheres and history of the Gaudi album from The Alan Parsons Project. On the other hand, we are far from the roads of electronic progressive music and Berlin School. I would say that we are quite close to the rhythms of the label MellowJet Records with an almost 2 hours of music filled with very good moments if we are, like me, a bit sentimental.
The mechanical noises as organic are legion in the spheres, short or long, of the ambiences of BASILICA. They can be heard on the first 30 seconds of Sunrise, disrupting a very soft introduction focused on a wave of undulating sounds. Keyboard chords fall heavily. And without waiting they sculpt a dance music movement flirting with an Enigma-like Electronica with a Gregorian monastery choir on a pulsating rhythm, like an ambient Chill-Out. By the way, these monks' choirs are the only link with Vangelis in this new double-album of Stan Dart. From the hubbub of a crowd gathered on the outskirts of a church, Apsis lives on its good bass line with languidly elastic chords. The scent of trumpets dissipates into the tinkling of clear lunar chords and Gregorian chants. The first flames of EM sparkle with the circular strobe rhythm of Antoni and Jose, which sounds more like Tangerine Dream of the Miramar years at this point. Afterwards, we are treated to a catchy music without story in ambiences of old French movies with those aromas of old accordion. Krypta offers ambiences and dance rhythms, while The Four Pillars goes for an Electronica à la Moonbooter. A good track with good arrangements! Ditto for Mirrors and Ropes whose pulsating rhythm is more resonant, giving that harmonious sparkle to these lunar chords that flicker and sparkle between reverberating lines and vocoder effects. Oh my friends I love Floating! Brilliantly conceived with a slow and slippery rhythm interspersed with effects of a false start that annoyed at the beginning of the track. It sounded like a vinyl skipping. Afterwards, it's a musical mirage with a slide effect and vocals that follow this slide. The chords and tinkles are gifts for music lovers who have had a hard life. Superb!
Journey to the Sea proposes a slow track, built with a melancholic piano that has to face the adversity of sound effects that are multiple and noisy. Its melody overcomes the threads of our soul with keyboard chords. The tone is similar, perhaps sadder on the ballad Waiting that features the delightful voice of Petra Bonmassar. 80's synth-pop with a very sentimental touch. Emotionally, we're in the core of this album with a series of riffs that structure a rhythm with no desire for percussions but just arrangements to raise the temperature of our emotions with this Sunset that just follows the sentimental corridors of this BASILICA segment. The first long multiphases track from Stan Dart, La Sagrada Familia (Parts I - V) offers some finds and fills our need of emotions. It's after 2 minutes of winds with industrial particles that the piano emerges from oblivion. The resonance of its notes tinkle in more welcoming winds. Guitar chords hang around, filling the air with everything but a single thing. It's the violin that makes its strings weep, not far from the 7th minute, that ignites the moods as much as my interest. A shadow of rhythm forms behind tinkling sounds like water dripping as it dances. Muted pulses build on these effects, structuring the basis of a rhythm over a series of percussive riffs. It's very well thought out and well done! It gives a Mike Oldfield's rock in the style of his album The Songs of Distant Earth, especially with the choir and the fluty breezes. The rhythm takes a more dance-like tangent after the 13th minute. A good rock'n'dance with keyboard chords that brings us back to the mindset that La Sagrada Familia (Parts I - V) belongs to the world of EM. And then these melodious and meditative piano notes fall at the 15th minute. The arrangements that arrive around the 19th minute drag a line of riffs that are strung around a light and catchy rhythm with church bells as melodic arrangements. It doesn't get more rose water than this! A surprising moment that lasts until darker atmospheres welcome this festive rhythm at the 25th minute, closing a track that has more good moments than anything else but remains very close to those New Age tracks bordering on Easy Listening. Park Guell starts with notes of which the bouncing form a resounding echo. Wooden percussive effects add to the pleasure of the pretty murmuring breath of tenderness while the percussions make us jump, for real, during a brutal rhythmic...and seductive attack. The title takes the road of a big festive tribal rock with good effects of the synth and percussive. The bass line hums like a threatening slingshot about to explode. Small moment of tenderness between the 6 and the 7, before the rhythm comes back in strength with an even wilder, more ferocious vision. This time, we hear trumpets and saxophones! It would have been a nice way to end this long BASILICA, except that Richard Hasiba had something else to make us hear, La Pedrera. A half-heavy, half-slow track, full of all those little things that you find on this album, especially on Sunset, which ends up flowing quite well. A single album and this last Stan Dart offering would have been simply magical!
Sylvain Lupari (May 28th, 2021) ***¾**
Available at Stan Dart Bandcamp