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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STEVE SMITH & THE TYLAS CYNDROME: Pools of Diversity (2013)

This is a great album of progressive rock electronic where the borders interlace without ever denying the harmonious bouquets

1 Ghost Ship 11:22

2 Orbit 12:38

3 Requiem 8:03

4 Interstellar Highway 12:17

5 Trilian Suns 10:03

6 The Main Event 8:05

(CD/DDL 62:30) (V.F.)

(Progressive melodious e-rock)

The first album of Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome, Phoenix Arising, had left a pleasant musical imprint in my ears which, from time to time, asked for more of it. It's thus with a great deal of haste that I put myself on the road of POOLS OF DIVERSITY. Hey that I wasn't disappointed!

Ghost Ship introduces us straight out into the charming world of the England trio with a veil of mystery falling out of the nothingness. Noises of rustling of metals, as well as electronic distortions, float in a bottomless gap where absent choruses have difficulties in humming a musical air. Fine arpeggios are clinking of a crystalline tone and forge an abstract melody which waltzes innocently in an intriguing ambiosonic intro which evaporates at around the 4th minute. And the melody takes shape. In the shade of muffled pulsations and demonic breaths, it swirls as a devilish bed song, which reminds me of the Machiavellian universe of Mark Shreeve and his Legion album, before being harpooned by solid percussions. Already intense, Ghost Ship becomes heavy. A spheroidal heavy rhythm from where appear ghosts' hootings who are mocking around the lamentations of a guitar to harmonies which rage with ebullient solos. The synth solos are decorating this melody where the innocence and the diabolism quarrel the favors of a rhythm which is proud of its invasive heaviness, making even an audacious wink to the somber harmonies of a ghost of the opera new genre, before dashing off in an inflammatory fury. And always these innocent carillons which come back this time to put asleep the finale. Great stuff! It's a strong electronic rock adorned by a fascinating melodic approach. Orbit adopts a little the same structure with an intro fed of synth twists which wave in the sighs of vaporous synth layers of which the slow evasive harmonies are waltzing with a meshing of cosmic tones. An acoustic guitar, as delicious as unexpected, comes to caress this morphic dance of senses, while that percussions and bass sequences weave the traces of a linear rhythm which begins to gallop beneath harmonious synth breezes. Heavy and lascivious, this evolving rhythm drags in its furrow some nice arpeggios of glasses, as well as their glittering harmonies, which congeal the neurons of pleasure. Always so present, Alan Ford's acoustic guitar is delicately romantic. It makes sing its pinched notes in an ambivalent structure where the rhythm and the ambiences are alternately charmed by suave solos, as much from the synth than the guitar, and the notes of a dreamy guitar from which the solitary harmonies sing with these delicate crystalline arpeggios. After a somber intro where a choir hums airs in the veils of a penetrating organ and the ringing of big churches bells, Requiem slides towards a fascinating classic-folk approach before giving way to a heavy rhythmic eruption headed up by a tearful violin. Difficult to ask better for arrangements at the level of arrangements!

Interstellar Highway starts with an intriguing intro where are floating tortuous synth lines beneath a sonic sky multicolored of crystalline shooting stars and threatening tints. This is the highway of cosmos and horns have definitively a stellar tone. Bass pulsations wake up and forge a chaotic heavy rhythm with dark keys which spin in all directions in a highway cut out by the speed of comets. The sober percussions of Les Sims support these black keys which also receive the support of another of sequences, this time more melodious with crystal-clear jumping keys. And, such as on a double bridge crossing the galaxies, the rhythm shows two cadences which overlap in a structure all the same harmonious with these lines of sounds which travel faster than the hearing. I like this approach delicately jazzy which is hatching in second part. It's quite unusual in a structure of rhythm where the shadows of Redshift are skipping in an approach which reminds me that of Axel Stupplich or yet Pyramid Peak. The comparison with the Peak takes more its sonic mordant, exception made of the guitar, in Trilian Suns which, after a minimalist intro where a furtive rhythm crosses the melodious approach of another one, sets ablaze a beautiful eurhythmic rhythmic ride. Sequences are as well agile as fragile. They float like the waves of a brook manhandled by the winds, revitalising their strengths by the arms of Les Sims who hammers a ceaselessly implosive pace. Espousing a structure of a very accessible progressive electronic rock with more ethereal and more harmonious passages, the rhythm is spasming of its race and its kicks under some superb and shrill synth solos and is also resting in the tears of a dreamy guitar and of its nostalgic solos (I 'm hearing Mark Knopfler). After an intro which spits its gaily-coloured gurgling, The Main Event ends POOLS OF DIVERSITY with a furious heavy and spheroidal e-rock. It takes two minutes, but when it starts, it starts. Some nice bluish sequences are fluttering of their crystal clear tones and are knocked down by sound gusts which let guess a next explosion. A heavy and slow bass line draws an extremely lively circular rhythm; one would say a slow magnetizing heavy metal, where are shining and sparkling these sequences of glass and where are striking, resounding the tightened drum skins of Les Sims while the keyboard sings of an organic voice. Every second justifies the synthesis between Steve Smith, Les Sims and Alan Ford who sound the charge of a powerful electronic hymn with mordant riffs, shrill solos and a rhythmic section which explodes with superb arrangements. This is great. Just great! As it ends, we want to listen to it again.

Evolving in the patterns of progressive EM which fed the wealth of their first opus, Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome delivers a very strong second act, which is also a little more accessible, in POOLS OF DIVERSITY. These evolutionary rhythms which criss-cross and juxtapose themselves in their musical structures in perpetual opposition, as well as their contiguous harmonies, are in the heart of a vast musical mosaic where the rock, the progressive and the electronic music forms unite their points of difference in order to sculpture an album where the borders interlace without ever denying the harmonious bouquets which seduce all along a great album.

Sylvain Lupari (December 23rd, 2013) *****

Available at Groove NL

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