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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEFAN ERBE: Reflect (2018)

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

“Always evolving within his parameters of Dance Music, Stefan Erbe delivers here an album whose heat equals his transition between the different sides of EM”

1 A Big Wave 3:33 2 Restart the World 8:04 3 The Child of Aleppo 5:23 4 Luxury 5:05 5 Understand 3:09 6 Fingerprints 7:18 7 Here Comes the News 5:47 8 Think Loud 3:10 9 Planet Plastic 7:06 10 You Are Not Alone 6:01 11 Voices in Your Head 7:13 994330 Records DK (CD 61:54) (EDM Berlin School) (V.F.)

The music of A Big Wave does honor to its title with a wave of sounds that echoes in several other lines and sound signals. A line of sequences emerges. Its uncertain pace reminds us a bit that Stefan Erbe is never too far from the Berlin School style. The percussions which get add, as well as good percussive effects of crumpled metal, turn up the rhythm in a good mid-tempo where break lines of arpeggios with a leak of stroboscopic sequences. Industrial cosmic effects, which are very Jean-Michel Jarre, and a melodious approach, which is very Vangelis, adorn a final which slips gently to the incendiary rhythm of Restart the World. Melodious arpeggios come and go in an electronic staccato genre, imposing a beautiful harmonic fluidity on this furious and dynamic rhythm consisting of stoic percussions and sequences made of rubber. We hear the suction effect that tries to suck out the rhythm and many other sound effects which oversize the impact of the 62 minutes REFLECT. Presented in a musical envelope enriched of sound effects always in the tone and even more, like these effects of voice in the Zoolook, REFLECT is a journey in the imagination of Stefan Erbe who succeeds, with a fingering which has of equal only his vast experience in the field of electronic dance music, to create a superb transition between different rhythmic approaches of the Berlin and Düsseldorf School models. The rhythms follow each other with different visions which make us listen to this REFLECT between our ears, broken down by rhythms without appeal and sometimes cajoled by melodies and other more lunar rhythms, thus giving a more humane and enormously more seductive depth to this other EDM opus of the famous German DJ.

Each title begins with an explosion of sound effects and elements of rhythm that will form its structure. This is how the nice mid-tempo of The Child of Aleppo flaunts. Comfortably riveted to a seductive bed of percussions, genres Bongos and Tablas, the rhythm hops slightly, barely skimming its sonic floor. The melody is catchy and its air of déjà-heard screws a striking ear-worm between our two hemispheres. Luxury brings us back to the genre of Restart the World. Its rhythm is of a harmonic genre and is mainly guided by lines of sequences that come and go, like Australian lasso effects, in a minimalist pattern separated by short absences while percussions and other percussive effects maintain the pace. These percussions, right in the tone, and other percussive chords structure the basis of a techno with effects that are unique to the particular style of a DJ on stage. Understand follows in with a kind of slow morphic beat soaked with a very ethereal hip-hop material. I was talking about Berlin School higher up in the text? You must hear Fingerprints and its soft rhythm, arched on a beautiful hovering movement of the sequencer. Hypnotic, this movement of the sequencer evolves subtly into a soft dance music which drifts with a taste of floating in the cosmos of attached to our emotions. The effects of percussion, which are very Jarre incidentally, add an anesthetic heaviness to this movement which, enriched with the hovering staccato of orchestral layers, is my highlight in REFLECT. Here Comes the News offers a tempo finely erected on a mesh percussions and sequences that jump with a Chill ambient approach. This movement is evolutionary, caressing even a purely ambient phase, and offers very good synth solos whose solitary songs recall a nostalgic John Coltrane. Think Loud offers a deliciously militarized approach that becomes a spasmodic circular rhythm. A bass line pulsates with a guitar look and its riffs while percussion beat the beat finely and the synth filter some nice chants. The sound envelope is dense and musical while being quite melancholic. Ditto for the effects of DJ and the sound graffitis, less melancholic, which adorn the structure of industrial hip-hop, at least of its rhythm which hop while hobbling, of Planet Plastic. A break in the rhythm brings the music to a spasmodic state which revolves beneath good percussive effects. Apart from ornamental graffiti, the synth distributes good solos. You Are Not Alone brings us to a more dance-style finale, while Voices in Your Head ends this latest Stefan Erbe album with a retro techno approach tied to sonic hoops which burst dully under nice synth strata as bright as aurora borealis. Murmurs and white noises hang here and there, while the synth releases from its interstices some pretty aerial solos here seem to hide a voice of an astral goddess. But it might be only my imagination, but it isn't when I'm telling you that REFLECT is a heck of an album where the dance music style also has its soul! Sylvain Lupari (November 30th, 2018) ***¾**

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