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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Stefan Erbe Genesys 23 (The Course of the Origin) (2023)

This is rhythmic art for the ears and the mind on a big 77 minutes of wild and catchy EM

1 To Distant Seas 4:14

2 Machines Starting Machines 5:04

3 Orbit 5:46

4 Lifeforming 7:16

5 Lost Cargo 3:14

6 Doubtful 4:23

7 Big Hall 5:22

8 The Rain on a Green Base 4:08

9 Plantae Synthetica 3:56

10 LXM 404 6:25

11 All the Stars (review) 3:20

12 The Course of Origin 7:02

13 It wants to Live 5:42

14 Critical State 5:14

15 Sense of Life 6:07

(CD/DDL 77:21) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, EDM Electronica)

What an album my friends! Presented in its entirety during a colorful concert in images and sounds (when will a video be available on YouTube?) at the famous Bochum Planetarium on January 28th, GENESYS 23 (The Course of the Origin) is a solid concept album that revolves around 15 tracks in a lunar setting interspersed by samplings of interstellar voices. These voices are not annoying. They are at the heart of the action by informing the listener of the story behind this concept album of Stefan Erbe who left nothing to chance for the pleasure of our ears. He has woven a complex mosaic of cosmic ambiences that circulates a panoply of electronic rhythms flirting with the usual palette of the German musician-designer. Whether it is in pure electronic rock textures, strongly influenced by Tangerine Dream of the Schmoelling years, of techno powerfully hammered by a strong duo of sequencer and electronic percussions and of Electronica to make us twirl, the multiple rhythms of GENESYS 23 (The Course of the Origin) are softened in visions of synthpop and cinematographic cosmic atmospheres where the melodies and the arrangements are at the origin of these multiple shivers which accompany the discovery of this other solid album of Stefan Erbe. In this decor raised by glass arpeggios whose very Vangelis tonalities brings us to the threshold of the Blade Runner universe, the album lives on always lively rhythms, except for some episodes of melodies or melancholic moments, which are intermingled by brief phases of ambiences of a universe of dystopia or similar to that of The Last of Us. A great album at the height of the excellent Serbenity and a big 77 minutes without one too many!

To Distant Seas goes straight to the rhythms of the album with a TD-like electronic rock. The sequencer rolls, sometimes even dribbles, its cadenced arpeggios in a subtle undulatory effect. This approach is quite frequent in the album. The rhythm comes out of its static cocoon with the arrival of the percussions which hammer out a more driving cadence. The keyboard lays down a nice melody that sparkles in the sails of good misty orchestrations. Machines Starting Machines continues on this momentum of the sequencer but with a more aggressive rhythmic vision, even in its hesitation phases. Clinckings sounds sow chaos with cadenced impulses that add textural depth to the rhythm. The synth takes care of the harmonies by scattering its verses well without stanzas. Orbit is an equally good, solid, driving electronic rock. It's heavy with a very good mesh between the percussions and the sequencer, creating a fascinating complicity between the fluid and spasmodic aspect of the rhythm. This enhances its depth and encourages us to listen with ears wide open. A facet that is also quite common on this GENESYS 23 (The Course of the Origin). An artificial voice, the album is actually woven in this vision, whispers a catchy tune, giving a melody as catchy as the rhythm and that makes its way like an earworm. If the bass line is contagious in Orbit, it is just as much in Lifeforming. The rhythm is very catchy in a very good mix of rock and electronica under a cloud of misty violins. It hits hard and it awakens the urges to dance! Lost Cargo continues this exploration of the electronic rhythms with a curt tempo. A kind of stop'n'go with percussive elements forged in glass, I hear some OMD here, and sequences that twirl like taps in a circular axis. The hammerings of the bass drum versus the limpidity of this suspended stream of sequences feed the musical contrast of a heavy and nervous rhythm. There is always this thread of catchy melodies in the albums of the German musician-synthesist. And Doubtful is a very beautiful one that grabs us in the guts. On a heavy rhythm with spherical impulses, the harmonic cadence intoxicates our senses on an intense mesh of hammering percussive elements, I hear some Depeche Mode here, and twirling sequences. A very beautiful track! Big Hall follows with a heavy techno and massively leaded by solid percussions. The synth elaborates aerial solos that give a spectral dimension to this track modulated to make you dance.

After the very atmospheric and melancholic The Rain on a Green Base, Plantae Synthetica follows the hum of a choir lost in Cosmos with arpeggios and keyboard riffs that unite their discords in a beautiful melodious momentum supported by a sober rhythm. Distant voices and lunar orchestrations accompany this keyboard that hammers the melody with tinkling arpeggios like the resonance of crystal on a rhythmic structure that takes a second breath as soon as the percussions start to peck its sobriety. LXM 404 follows with a dose of Electronica as viral as in Big Hall. All the Stars (review) offers us a melancholic opening à la Blade Runner. The ambiences breathe those industrial vapors that poison the cities while its slow flow makes our emotions waltz. The arrangements are poignant with a good mix of seraphic voices lost in apocalyptic synth blasts. A beautiful track that will give you a good dose of emotional chills. The Course of Origin brings us back into that harmonious rhythm portion of the album. Its flow is woven into an emotional heaviness with a circular vision where bass sequences and percussive slamming effects support a distant synth air played by a nostalgic soul. A layer of white noises, or waves of sizzles, overlay the rhythm that becomes heavier, livelier and pulsating as well as melodic once the middle of the title track is crossed. The sequencer is in mode hammer-me a melody between the ears! The synth takes advantage of this moment to toss wails that stagger the senses. An excellent passage by the way with powerful arrangements! It wants to Live is a little jewel for the ears. Rhythmic art! Cadenced organic whines announce its opening while the sequencer delivers a spasmodic flow. The two rhythm units harmonize in a fascinating symbiosis of fluidity in both the rhythm and its underlying harmony. We are in electronic rock as much diverting as catchy, where the ingenious aspect of the organic vision melts into superb arrangements worthy of a dance music. The great strength of GENESYS 23 (The Course of the Origin) is to generate different rhythm textures for each track. Critical State proposes an uncertain rhythm which evolves on percussions pounding a rhythm of lead which is well supported by a melodious keyboard. The heaviness and fluidity, as well as the discrete percussive elements, are not without reminding us of Jean-Michel Jarre's universe of creative rhythms. Although The Rain on a Green Base was able to rest our ears in the middle of the infernal rhythms of this new Stefan Erbe opus, Sense of Life ends GENESYS 23 (The Course of the Origin) on a meditative basis before progressing on a finely spasmodic rhythm where the synth illuminates our ears with its touching and inspiring harmonic texture. Yes, what an album my friends!

Sylvain Lupari (February 13th, 2023) ****½*

Available at Stefan Erbe Bandcamp

(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)

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