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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

STOCKMAN: Experiment 545 (2012)

Updated: May 21, 2020

Experiment 545 is a brilliant album where the down-tempos soak into steams of psychedelism and abstract soundscapes

1 Experiment 545 11:22

2 Contamination 10:52

3 Toxic Atmospheres 8:35

4 Genetic Code 10:29

5 The Last of its Kind 7:39

6 Strange Reflections 8:50

(CD-r 57:47) (V.F.)

(Ambient and psy down-tempos)

There are some surprises in our ears and Stockman is one of them. Musical winds and murmurs of metal mingle with the chirping of alien critters. The intro of Experiment 545 floats in a broth of lively tones when a fine movement of sequences tinkles its notes like the wind blows the chimes. And a good down-tempo infiltrates our ears. The rhythm is sweet and very suggestive. It ripples by the strength of the percussions on this bed of shimmering arpeggios which sparkle in a rain of white noises. And 83 seconds later, no more rhythm. The ambient elements of the intro come back haunting our ears with a collage of more experimental sound samples that calls for a world of distress or an ethereal life full of quirky tones. It's according to our imagination. And the rhythm comes back almost 3 minutes later. Rolling on its percussion and bursting with a thousand prisms, it lasts beyond 150 seconds before getting back in the iridescent breaths of a more serene final. EXPERIMENT 545 is the 6th opus by Belgian musician Godfried Stockmans who has been active on Syngate since 2003 with the album The World of Azquan. A seasoned musician who has been composing music since the early 80's, Stockman has established himself as a figurehead in the art of abstract music, hence the release of his 5th album on the Luna division of the German label. EXPERIMENT 545 presents nearly 58 minutes of experimental music whose down-tempos with nasal harmonies remind me of the sequenced movements of Software. But before embracing these rhythms, we have to decode the electronic messages which float like threats to the hearing all around these lost movements. In the end, this album turns out to be as beautiful as a rain of shooting stars in the abstractions of an aurora borealis triturated of bizarre magnetic songs.

Contamination presents a slow intro blown by good synth lines which free its old organ scents. The dark ambience is covered with a veil of discomfort by a plethora of tones to the tastes of white-hot metal that screams in an abstract voice. It's a bit like hearing the song of whales through a dome covered of broken glasses. Lower tones make these esoteric airs flee, dragging the carcass of Contamination to a high level of radiation. Small sequences start flying around the 5th minute. We know there will be rhythm, but we ignore the form. The sequences waltz and leapfrog while other darker ones burst in a circular motion. Felted percussions and another more steep line are weaving an awkward rhythm which advances furtively on the softness of a melody which struggles to filter its harmony. This segment of 4 minutes rhythm evolves with smoothness, releasing beautiful bits of electronic melodies which befits very well with the nuances which envelop this imposing abstract work that is EXPERIMENT 545. Toxic Atmospheres is the only title to present a constant rhythm. And what a rhythm it is! It's a good down-tempo that Stockman offers us with a hopping rhythm in charred harmonies of abstract chirps. A bass line follows the beat of the percussions which are offered a few moments of respite to glean the most sonic elements which will go well in the soundscape of Toxic Atmospheres whose cosmic atmospheres à la Jean-Michel Jarre invite themselves without restraint as well as a sweet transition to a James Bond with an oriental flavor. Superb and completely unexpected! Gurgling noises cover the tranquil and cosmic Genetic Code intro which quietly drifts towards an ambient rhythm with timid clicks that click like silk-skin cymbals before a slow down-tempo bites the hook and establishes a limping rhythm. The ambience is oneiric with an intonation of oracles which whistle and float like caresses of ether while quietly, the more pronounced rhythm helping, the gurgling resurfaces and chase the poetic atmosphere which floated in the mysteries of Genetic Code. The more I advance, the more I love. The Last of its Kind does nothing to cool this love at first sight with its superb melody strummed in a pile of percussions with clicks overflowing of liveliness and its synth shadows floating like mourning mourners. It's a really nice title where black and white coexist in an astonishing harmonic symbiosis. The buzzes that introduce Strange Reflections split and turn into the strange clamor of a captive crowd. These breaths that breathe like the breezes of Vuvuzela roll like a vertical tornado on a mid-tempo dirtied of heterogeneous tones. Still, Stockman seduces with a structure all in all very banal appearances but whose seduction passes by this mesh of eclectic sounds which mold as much the atmospheres as the parallel rhythms. And we must hear this amazing symbiosis bite our ears until the very end, very abrupt by the way, to capture the full dimension of this latest offering from Stockman.

A favorite! It doesn't happen often and when it does, it's eagerly emphasized. I blame myself for having forgotten this Stockman album on the corner of my desk. The name, title and label scared me a little. And as years of listening experience have taught me so well; Don't be fooled by appearances! EXPERIMENT 545 is a great album where the down-tempo really dips in the scent of psychedelia and the abstract without ever pouring into a universe without flavors or attractions. If the first sounds seem suspicious, leave the minutes behind and you will get hooked on the first rhythms of the title-track. The rest is just a formality. A great album that makes me want to discover this artist who seems to like the kind of ambient rhythms with psychedelic scents.

Sylvain Lupari (July 4th, 2013) ****¼*

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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