SYLVAIN CAREL: Heritage (2015)
“Again, this is another fantastic musical journey from Sylvain Carel who is a master of the Middle-East soundscapes”
1 Last Song for a Vestal 6:18 2 Gladiator's Arena 5:57 3 Conquest for the Golden Fields 8:22 4 The Gates of Petra 6:09 5 Old Stones Memories 4:31 6 In the Court of the King 6:56 7 Here was the Pilgrim 7:25 8 Solar Priest 7:48 9 Exile 7:14 10 Jasmina Flower 5:09 11 Tribal Dance 7:19 Sylvain Carel Music
(CD/DDL 73:12) (V.F.)
(Cinematographic, orchestral EM)
It's true that I am beforehand won when I listen to a music which possesses as backdrop the mysticism of the old Arabic civilizations. I am a romantic and the soft poetic perfume of the Middle East gets me exhilarated. Thus, you guess that I fell under the numerous charms of this last Sylvain Carel's opus. Nevertheless, it's rather surprising, because each time I undertake the discovering of the music of the French musician/synthesist my ears retract. They become reluctant. Too much soaked with the complexities of EM? Or still the Berlin School? How to explain! The music of the French musician is all but simple-minded. It's embroidered in the imagination of an author who has a very sophisticated vision of EM. An author who approaches it with a philharmonic approach reserved to names as prestigious as Vangelis and, more recently, Bernd Kistenmacher. HERITAGE is an epic musical adventure that draws its inspiration from the ancient stories where the fragrances of the Middle East, the East and the Mediterranean Sea are melting together in great orchestrations. The work has Babylonian and very cinematographic essences. Each intro possesses an ambient cachet tinted with romance and with mysticism. Sylvain Carel lays here some evanescent and evasive melodies that are sculptured in the diverse charms of many flutes, in the astral colors from many breezes and in the notes of an acoustic six-strings as dreamy as solitary. The voices, that Carel has borrowed of diverse singers who accompanied his music over the years, are omnipresent and add a very esoteric dimension to this opus built upon the visions of a poetic globe-trotter. And each introduction follows its crescendo. A curve of emotions which leads to a panoply of fluid rhythms like an e-rock a la Jerome Froese or good Electronica. Rhythms and romances which are grasped by enveloping orchestrations and which will eternally be tamed by the violins of Eden. And that begins smoothly.
Last Song for a Vestal sets the tone with a rather ambient opening. The synth weaves breezes to the colors of abandonment and the violins cry the resentment of these breezes. A delicate oniric voice is murmuring over the shadows of a very meditative piano. The melody wraps itself of a line of flute a little bit muddled. It's somewhat as if some spectres wanted to make us feel their presences. The rhythm wakes up quite slowly. It skips lasciviously in astral mists before receiving the encircling caresses of the orchestrations. It's soft without being ambient, it's lively without being strongly rhythmic. Gladiator's Arena proposes a slow but lively tribal rhythm with good clanic percussions which shape a smooth and hypnotic dance. The arrangements are finely defined with caresses of violin and also with soft jerky knocks. The structure spreads a slow staccato with exhilarating spectral voices and superb percussions, a hidden treasure in HERITAGE, where the violins dance and burst out in the dawns of the mists of the flutes. The wealth and the musical envelope is simply stunning. As all around here, everything is linked with a surprising duality in the atmospheres, the ballads and the melodies. And we hear of everything; tribal percussions, Mediterranean guitars, Babylon orchestrations, snake charmers' flutes and a skillful mixture of seraphic voices and of Berber spectral voices. It's rich and very seductive. Conquest for the Golden Fields is my first real crush of HERITAGE. The intro is forged in silk with celestial breaths which espouse the ambient charms of a heathen flute. The violins which invite themselves to this ambient dance are spreading a thick cloud of sonic caresses which seems to fall from heavens. It's very intense. There are notes of a very discreet acoustic six-strings which unifies its solitude in a movement which tames its soft jerks in the tenderness of an ethereal voice and in the ringings of a bell that only the fairies of the deserts know how to make so melodious. The effect is very kind of a biblical movie. Very Babylonian with a wonderful orchestral wealth. From ambient, the intro becomes a ballad finely knotted in the orchestral jolts where are added treasures of percussions and trumpets that we hear in those victorious parades. After 3 minutes sculptured in the intensity, the track dives into an atmospheric phase where the synths draw some many threatening shadows as well as some fluty breezes and where the spectral voices and the acoustic guitar are exchanging their charms.
The Gates of Petra follows with a quiet approach which little by little is transformed into a delicate rhythm embroidered in the riffs of an acoustic six-strings, electronic elements and always these fanciful violins which are extirpate from the East West/Quantum Leap synth. Old Stones Memories follows the same rule. It's a beautiful soft and very ambient ballad which is arise from the breezes of the desert and from its rattle charms. A delicate piano spreads its melancholy that a flute implants even more in the country of nostalgia. It's soft and it's tender, even when the percussions and the orchestrations shake the ambiences with a soft rhythm and even when a voice, as well as an acoustic guitar, caress those moods with a shadow of a melody a little bit secret. In the Court of the King propose a of Electronica dance after a very ambient intro. This is doubtless the most electronic track of this album and the addition of a kind of Sitar brings a very oriental flavor. Here was the Pilgrim is a nice poignant piece of music. An ambient track rich in orchestrations where the tears of violins cry on a piano as melodious as pensive. A Chinese violin and an angelic choir come to amplify the dimension of sadness which surrounds the most moving track from HERITAGE although that Solar Priest is not outdone, even with its delicate rhythm perfumed of the charms from the East which shakes its last seconds. Still there, orchestrations are delicious. We are doubtless in the quietest phase of this last Sylvain Carel's album. Exile follows with a first portion very ambiospherical before laying down a structure of rhythm which uses the fragrances of a very Electronica approach. After an intro charmed by the singings of an Oriental flute, Jasmina Flower offers a finale where the sweetness controls a very beautiful play of percussions. Tribal Dance ends in strength and in beauty with a furious structure where the electronic rock and the Electronica fills our ears in a mixture of Tangerine Dream, Jerome Froese years, and of Enigma. Intense, furious and very lively! And what a way to conclude another beautiful adventure all in music from Sylvain Carel.
Sylvain Lupari (July 24th, 2015) *****
Available at Sylvain Carel Bandcamp