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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Sylvain Carel Secrets of the Red Sea (2022)

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Beautiful music for dreamers, memory makers and romantics

1 Red Night 7:40

2 Another Rising Day on the Shore 6:20

3 Monfreid 8:44

4 Maharam Bilqis 4:23

5 Far in the Awwam Sands 9:03

6 Mystery Cave 3:50

7 Mountains of Habala 8:53

8 Queen of Sheba 4:48

9 Looking for the Golden Throne 11:40

(CD/DDL 65:26) (V.F.)

(Cinematic Orchestral EM)

The wave that initiates Red Night is of ochre mist. It vibrates and shakes our speakers, testifying to its depth and quiet power as it subdivides its sonic range between darkness and purity. Shadows of an oboe, caresses of violins and cellos, and guitar notes pinched with melancholy are the essence of this slow amalgam of lines that undulates like the sensual dance of a sand snake. A pinch of fluty breaths, vocal textures and desert shaman percussive effects add a sibyllin vision to this slow opening whose electronic side begins to survive at the cusp of the 4th minute with keys that flicker in a finely jerky processional motion. Softly crunching our feelings a little more with a latent intensity, the languor of this procession is almost lyrical. Dragging its nostalgia in the evasive melodies of the sandman's flutes, it clings to chords that tinkle like a walk of hooves on soft ground. The musical setting that envelops Red Light, also envelops the other 8 tracks SECRETS OF THE RED SEA which is the latest offering from Sylvain Carel. Faithful to his signature and his musical aestheticism, the French musician wraps his compositions with orchestral layers whose slow flights are perfumed with the essences of the Middle East and are destined to give chills to the greatest dreamers and romantics among us. He adds a panoply of acoustic instruments, including synthesizer flutes that crumble their poetry on violin strings, as well as voice textures whose different diapasons of emotions are the prerogative of an electronic music (EM) refined by its lyrical vision. The rhythms are for the most part light and slow, marvellously adopting the visions of a universe of dreams and of a thousand wonders. His cinematographic vision flows over the imaginations that still dream of these dunes and sandy roads that have marked the history and written the legends of this universe of romance and tales of the 1001 nights. This new album by Carel is inspired by the adventures and tales that gave birth to these stories lived and/or told in the majestic lands that border the Red Sea.

Another Rising Day on the Shore clings to our ears with a climbing of arpeggios and clear tones. The chiming movement evolves in the form of an ascending spiral on fluty breaths, arabesques of chimerical violins and misty synth layers. Delicate, the movement becomes a nice ethereal ballad that swirls vertically between shimmering sound effects. Sylvain Carel adds tender romantic orchestrations and voice textures that he controls according to the emotions that the music brings. A shadow of bass begins to pulsate after the 4th minute, structuring a slow downtempo that moves lasciviously under the laments of a saxophonist lost in the hollow of a dune. Henri de Monfreid is an iconoclastic adventurer who sailed unsafely on his famous Arabian sailboat. It is in his honor that Monfreid deploys its cinematographic structure with an intense orchestral opening with strong Middle Eastern fragrances. The keyboard tries to dictate a cadence that refuses to fly away, constituting instead a melody that is embedded between the shimmering effects of the synth and these big orchestral percussions that inject a dose of passive intensity to a music sometimes stimulated by the voices, sometimes by the flights of the violins. Between agitation and tranquility, Monfreid evolves like his dhow on this dense orchestration which simulates both the winds and the marine currents. The orchestrations are worthy of the shots dedicated to the epic of voyages on a tumultuous sea. Although lightly enlivened by lifeless percussions, Maharam Bilqis is a slow track that flows with a mix of orchestrations and voices that float on a smooth surface. The increasing intensity of the orchestrations brings a vision that is more poetic and cinematic than purely atmospheric.

One hooks from the first listening to the rhythm of Far in the Awwam Sands which is a surprising electronic rock soaked with a Berber flavor's Electronica vision. Carried by a solid drumming with heavy and resonant strikes, the rhythm is curt, nervous and jerky with good staccato effects. It sounds like a feverish gypsy dance of sands. On the other hand, the orchestrations and the textures of voices are in slow mode. A contrast that invites itself very well between our ears. As its title suggests, Mystery Cave is a musical canvas steeped in mystery with its opening chiseled by reverberating drone effects and undulating synth waves with arabesques of nebulosity. Early sound effects are quavering as a rhythmic structure begins to hobble candidly. The music is more electronic on this track with a synth that scatters its melodious loops. The rather percussive sound effects and contrastingly tinted laments, such as the synth blasts, are among other elements that arouse the listening experience. Mountains of Habala is a long track that develops slowly. Hollow breezes and waves swelling with reverb make up its beginning. Flute blasts and prisms crumbled into these sound currents add a seraphic touch that the synth embellishes with a cadenced melody line. Rumbling reverberations and acoustic guitar chords, celestial voices and caresses of warm breezes, like flute breaths, are in tune with this dreamy opening that follows the harmonic cadence. Arpeggios shimmer like a circled living water. The synth lets go sharper voice effects, adding an impulse of romance to this track which develops a more interesting second part with a rather refined Electronica texture. The percussions remain as sober as these exalted songs. Good percussive effects, a stroboscopic bass line and some Arabic tinklings complete the setting. Queen of Sheba offers a superb slow ballad whose Middle Eastern fragrances breathe the ecstasy of contemplation. Responding to splendid orchestrations, its rhythm is slow and bewitching. These pharaonic orchestrations, the breaths of the various flutes and the textures of voices make the hairs of our emotions run down our arms. With its shimmering reflections that simulate a sea and its calm waves, Looking for the Golden Throne is the most electronic track of this SECRETS OF THE RED SEA. It does not exclude for all that these slow Arabic orchestrations which court our ears with enchantment since the first moments of Red Night. The movement and its ambiences are like in Maharam Bilqis and follows a tangent that leads to a final spirited by a good ambience of Arabic techno.

SECRETS OF THE RED SEA sails quite well on the oceanic furrows of Atlantide with a musical vision that divides quite well the acoustic approach of Sylvain Carel's orchestrations and the electronic textures that inject more tonal colors to the 65 minutes of an album that we listen to with our eyes riveted to the void, in search of these images that our brain has captured when we were young and we religiously watched these wonderful stories of Moses or Edward Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia and others. Beautiful music for dreamers, memory makers and romantics.

Sylvain Lupari (October 25th, 2022) *****

Available at Sylvain Carel Bandcamp

(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)

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