STAN DART: Retrospective (2020)
“Retrospective is a nice surprise that targets many genres with a thin connection to the Berliner model”
1 Retrospective 6:39
2 Loneliness (Album Mix) 5:16
3 Supernova, Part II 7:46
4 Berlin (The City Never Sleeps) 5:26
5 Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights Mix) 6:45
6 Rings of Beauty (Ambient Version) 8:29
7 Theme from Spaceflight (The Classic Mix) 3:38
8 Via Laboriosa (The Lost Mix) 5:15
9 Distant Life (Deep Space Mix) 5:54
10 Nichts Anderes Zaehlt (Sensitive Mix) 5:42
11 Regarded as Absent 7:06
12 The Dark Spot (Chillout Mix) 9:45
(CD/DDL 77:48) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, mix of Electronica's beat)
A retrospective that for many of us is not one! This is what this Stan Dart's RETROSPECTIVE is. Which is good, because we are lucky to discover a little more the origins of the one we discovered with Alien Nature in Accelerator. On the other hand, it's a collection of songs that live between good electronic rock as well as the Chill-Out and Down-tempos style that helped Richard Hasiba to make himself known in his native Austria.
It starts with 3 new tracks in Retrospective, Loneliness, which seems to belong to a new album planned soon, and the very beautiful Supernova Part II and its pulsating rhythm which breathes under a beautiful melody on piano and with Celtic atmospheres that will awaken memories among fans of Game of Thrones' soundtrack. The cello here gives chills on a pulsating structure which will always keep its stationary vision. Loneliness is a more interesting electronic synth-pop than its opposite with a nice circular layered synth's melody. The rhythm is playful, and the atmospheres manage to make us forget this voice off-field which constantly repeats Loneliness. The title-track is a good electronic rock anthem with a little sci-fi side due to the vocoder. The rhythm is very exciting by being structured on the resonance effects of its arpeggios which extends the canvas of atmospheres, while keyboard chords sparkle in their piano clothes. These first elements are in suspense and cling to the first pulsations and sequences which lead Retrospective to a good electronic rock diamonded of nice snatches of evasive melodies. Composed in 2012, Berlin (The City Never Sleeps) is another project sung in a 90's synth-pop and dance structure.
I like what I'm hearing so far. Not too complicated as not too easy.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights Mix) offers a structure that pulsates with vibrations in the bass. At first, the cello that forges the melody is played slowly, creating a good paradox. Subsequently, the arrangements, scattered here and there, and the piano embrace this rhythm which is like a moderate ride of a herd of instruments. The piano is an object of tenderness in this title which has a beautiful cinematic impact. Stan Dart is a good melodist with beautiful ideas, like here, like in Supernova Part II, which is a very beautiful title, and here on Theme from Spaceflight (The Classic Mix), which is a sad ballad which follows very well Rings of Beauty (Ambient Version), by far the most beautiful track on RETROSPECTIVE. Composed with Petra Bonmassar, Via Laboriosa (The Lost Mix) is slower, even more poetic than on the Ecclesia album. The sound effects are well balanced in this album, in addition to giving more depth to certain titles, like this race between the piano and its rhythm in Distant Life (Deep Space Mix) which makes me think of Picture Palace Music in the more than too good Curriculum Vitae I. I'm thinking mainly of Añoranza, but with a less frenzied vision. And guess what? I actually listen to this wonder of Thorsten Quaeschning. Nichts Anderes Zaehlt (Sensitive Mix) is a synth-pop sung in Austrian. It sounds very folkloric, even in an EM vision. Same thing with Regarded as Absent. Petra Bonmassar's voice is more appealing. And when I was talking about the melodic abilities of Richard Hasiba, a title like The Dark Spot is another gem. The guitar, played by Ewald Pfleger who has also co-written the track, is simply majestic with very good solos. On this semi slow and semi heavy structure, it makes me think of the best of Frank Dorittke.
Whether it's synth-pop that my ears forgot or big electronic rock, it's always great to listen Stan Dart's melodic visions. I also know that this is not pure Berlin School, although some phases are not far from it, his music flirting more with good electronic rock and ambient movements than with Electronica. And we're talking about shy electronics here… But one in the other, RETROSPECTIVE is a nice surprise that targets many genres with a thin connection to the Berliner model. A very good album to discover from SynGate Luna!
Sylvain Lupari (March 30th, 2020) *****
Available at SynGate Bandcamp