SYLVAIN CAREL: Time and Tide (2013)
“As much fascinating as puzzling, Time and Tide is made of sonic holograms which broadcast a film, theatrical and poetic universe in music”
1 Revolution 4:41 2 Oasis Gardens 7:12 3 All Those Thousands of Stars 7:41 4 Tuareg 5:57 5 In the Light 5:41 6 A Few Drops of Santhal Essence 3:51 7 Karma Land 5:57 8 Impact of the Wind 6:49 9 Filtered Light through the Treetops 5:06 10 Wolf Song 9:02 11 The Mermaid and the Schooner 7:11 12 Time and Tide 8:13 AD Music | AD130CD
(CD/DDL 77:26) (V.F.) (Cinematographic, orchestral EM)
Revolution opens us the doors of TIME and TIDE with a very ethereal intro where an angelic voice floats in the slow movements of synth strata which spread their morphic wings with a soft perfume of melancholy. This voice is all over this album and recites Berber psalms, sings tribal airs of bewitchment while incanting the rhythms so that they awake a bit these peaceful and dreamy structures of this last Sylvain Carel's album. And that's what happens with Revolution where the rhythm excites the senses by the coming of tribal percussions of which the beatings are melting into hybrid orchestrations. Some layers are floating while others are more in staccato and shape an interesting orchestral duel where the singings of the witch of winds get mix up to a delicate piano whose fragile line of melody and its delicate notes are hardly perceptible. Welcome into Sylvain Carel's luxurious musical universe. I say luxurious because the music of the French synthesist is made of sonic holograms which broadcast a film, theatrical and poetic universe in music. Just like with his last album, Caravansary, the Arab world and the mysteries of the Middle East are perfuming the 77 minutes of TIME and TIDE where the ethereal ambiences and the slow rhythms cogitate in environments in perpetual movement.
Oasis Gardens is a beautiful music piece of ambiences where we are dreaming eyes wide opened on the slow orchestrations which hide a delicate dreamy piano. As everywhere here, the orchestrations are the core of the music and they melt within the rhythms and moods. And the impact is much richer with this elvish voice that bewitches us most of the time while fine arpeggios hesitate to leave their melodies that parade with so much hesitation. It may be very slow that it remains extremely mesmerizing, especially with this fascinating ethereal ballad which floats here and there around Oasis Gardens to finally end by having the control on it. All Those Thousands of Stars presents the first structure of rhythm in TIME and TIDE with a line punctuated with light riffs which gallop through the winds blown by the seraphic voices. Gradually the riffs become sequencing stammering, forging a light but sustained rhythm which melt in a very beautiful poetic vision tinted of good evasive melodies strummed by a pensive pianist whose notes tread upon the caresses of violins. It's a very good track where is only missing the images! But we can easily take care of this. Tuareg continues on this romantic path of the Arabic dunes' night-vision with a delicate piano which dreams in the tears of a synth. If the intro is meditative, the second portion shows a kind of tribal dance with a swaying disco move of the hips. In the Light is a good ambient track where the rhythmic life pulses secretly. The ambiences are of pinky-purple with this ethereal voice that puts down a serenity wrapped up in a meshing of strata with the soft tones of Berber flutes. These are soft orchestrations which eventually flood the delicate dreamy chords of a solitary guitar. A Few Drops of Santhal Essence is quieter. It's a very good morphic piece of music weaved in dense sonic film arrangements. The whole thing will give you gooseflesh.
Karma Land is a superb Berber blues. Sylvain Carel surpasses himself by offering a fascinating and slow tribal rhythm. Fragile, the rhythm amplifies its cadence to kiss a quite lively ethnic dance where we have the feeling to spin such as floating spirits. The percussions are very effective. They put much weight in a rather calm but softly energic rhythmic approach which surrounds a very nice melody strummed in a Galilean. We really have the ears full of sounds. The first minutes of Impact of the Wind plunges us into a universe of winds to the colors of our fantasies. After 3 minutes, we hear staccato movements of the bows, while other bows caress tenderly some weeping violin strings. And the sweetness topples over a rhythm as heavy as slow with great orchestrations which compete with a guitar and its wild roarings. We are in the best of TIME and TIDE which continues its surprising Berber journey with Filtered Light through the Treetops and its morphic intro fed of slow orchestral strata which reveal the sweetness of a pensive piano. Delicate and ambient, the rhythm livens up little by little with gentle tom-toms. Chinese violins draw the lines of a floating melody, accompanied with delicate fluty arpeggios, that the voice of our invisible oracle caresses of pleasant poems. The hootings of the wolves open the soft ambiences of Wolf Song. This is a fascinating track, filled by a very strong filmic setting, that brings us outside the Arabic borders with an incantation sung by the peoples of the first Amerindian nations. We listen and we are at bird's eyes, scrutinizing the American western plains. Sylvain Carel sheds his 9 minutes by weaving an amazing sound scenery where the passive ambiences go to a very lively tribal rhythm into a strong American rock folk mood. We have to admit that it's quite unusual. But this is so appealing. After a The Mermaid and the Schooner as quiet as A Few Drops of Santhal Essence, the title-track ends this album with this constant duality between the passive rhythms, the slow orchestral arrangements, the tribal atmospheres and the melodies lost in an intense orchestral pattern that surround all of the dramas that are happening behind every track of this album.
As much fascinating as puzzling, TIME and TIDE is a collection of tracks that could make us dream on the edges of a campfire where each of us go with his small poem on the myths and the legends of a world among which the multiple stories, the legends and the improbabilities constitute the thread of its evolution. And Sylvain Carel is a very good storyteller. He puts his tales into music with such intensity that his words are melting into musical images. This album would make a great soundtrack for a movie of which we write the scenario as our passions devour each track we hear. Puzzling! It's true. I would say that if one listens it from the tips of our ears, we risk getting bored. But if we agree to plunge in it, we will have all the difficulties to trace back time.
Sylvain Lupari (December 1st, 2013) ***½**
Available at Sylvain Carel Bandcamp