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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEFAN ERBE: Nachtlichter (2020)

As far as I'm concerned, it's the strongest album I've heard from SE who succeeds here a wonderful fusion of EDM and Berlin School

1 In Die Dunkelheit 7:44

2 Sirius 4:46

3 Du und Ich 5:36

4 Raum der Maschinen 1:29

5 Voruebergehend 3:53

6 In dem Feuer Verloren 6:08

7 Untergrund 5:38

8 Gluecksmoment 4:00

9 Das hellste Element 2:23

10 Nachtlichter 6:18

11 Alles Lebt 7:48

12 Hier und Jetzt 2:30

13 Wenn Engel Reisen 6:59

14 Alles Schwebt 4:5

Stefan Erbe Music

(DDL/CD 70:10) (V.F.)

(EDM Berlin School)

30 albums! Already a 30th album for the king of progressive dance music from Hagen, Germany, since The Cosmic Dreamland in 1994. It has changed Stefan Erbe a lot since then. I made his musical acquaintance in 2015 with the excellent S-thetic², composed and performed with ex-Ashra, Steve Baltes. In solo, his musical direction is more focused on dance-music style with heavy and catchy rhythms that are still legion here. Besides, I have often compared his style with that of Moonbooter, as well as that of Jerome Froese, both in terms of dance-music vision and melodious approaches that are created within evolutionary rhythms. But logically, I rather believe that it is the opposite! But whatever, NACHTLICHTER flirts with our ears in a very nice balance with the two genres, but with a slight dominance for the Berlin School this time, in particular with a sequencer which sorts its keys by promoting the reminiscences of Tangerine Dream. The atmospheres are surprisingly heavy with a disproportionate decor where circulate freely many elements attached to the psybient style, like that of Mark Shreeve, in solo or with Redshift. In fact, I spent a more than pleasant 70 minutes of an EM which even brought me to the borders of Mike Oldfield in terms of vocal arrangements.

And it starts with the very cinematic vision of In Die Dunkelheit. The opening is dark with ambiances and Redshift-style sound effects. The pace of the rhythm is heavy and uncertain, a bit like Jerome Froese in the opening of The Spirit of The Czar. Luminous keys sparkle and flutter all around this theatrical movement which gradually develops into a good static electronic rock. The sequences are too good while the sound mass, and these tribal songs à la The Songs of Distant Earth by Mike Oldfield, adopt the tangent of a rhythm that has become finely jerky. The evolution takes place in three phases, and the last leads us into a solid electronic rock pinned in a New Berlin School vision. So is done In Die Dunkelheit, so are the other 13 tracks on the album, with a few nuances near. And these nuances are in the definition of rhythms. So, with its rhythmic load clearly more in Dance mode, Sirius explains to itself the many directions of the sequencer in Tangerine Dream mode in an evolving rhythm structure that flirts between hard techno and another New Berlin School's rock. These 2 first titles of NACHTLICHTER attract the fan of Berlin School in a very acceptable environment. Admittedly, there are hymns of Techno and of Dance-music where one twirls according to the power of the rhythms, like in Du und Ich and Gluecksmoment. But the way Stefan goes about training us is as insidious as it's respectful of the old school of Berlin. Either with ambient transition phases. Bridges! Like that of