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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SYNDROMEDA: Circles of Life (1997/2013)

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Circles of Life is a great blend of prog and experimental EM which draws its roots as far as the somber meanders of Tangerine Dream's Phaedra

1 Infinity 14:28  

2 Nightwalks 11:10  

3 The Ring of Power 8:55  

4 Interferenz 9:18  

5 Circles of Life 13:47  

6 Best of Both Worlds 7:56

(CD-r 65:45) (V.F.)

(Sequencer-based Prog EM, Berlin School)

Iridescent breezes are going astray in cosmos, switching their tones for darker breaths. Infinity kisses our hearing with a somber cosmic approach where drag analog tones and undulate honeyed synth lines while the rhythm takes root with stoical uncertain pulsations. It's a weak arrhythmia which seeks for its pulse through a thick cloud of breezes to the taste of weeping metal. These Galilean winds float in a glaucous atmosphere with chthonian choruses which hum in the furrow of electronic chirpings and crashes of cymbals. We enter, ears never rather big to gulp down all this sonic information, in the wrapping universe of Syndromeda. While the pulsations vanish, a line of sequences makes wriggle its keys which skip with frenzy under the aegis of choirs became seraphic. After more than 6 minutes of uncertainty, the rhythm takes off with the addition of another line of sequences. The rhythmic duel begins with two lines of sequences which shift the weight of their pulsations, drawing a rhythmic duel with frenzied intertwined oscillations. It's a horde of symmetric kicks that rages in the clouds of ethereal voices to which is grafted a more harmonious line which makes coming up and down its keys in a mesmerizing pattern melodic where all the attributes of a cosmic EM persist, even with the sharp synth solos which spray all over a finale which empties little by little of its sequences and of its rhythm.

Ah... the very particular universe of Syndromeda! The Belgian synthesist weaves an intense cosmic sound pattern where roam lines of voices with opposite airs and breezes of synth with contrasting luminosities on lines of sequences with dark movements but with sharp-edged permutations. The whole thing is, evidently, painted of synths solos with forms as much varied as their tones which sometimes can be very sharp but on the whole which are rather musical too. It's a kind of dark Berlin School but repealed by a clearly more experimental approach. In fact, it's unique style where we can perceive of the earlobe an influence of Tangerine Dream from the Rubycon and Phaedra years. And this is exactly in the heart of this period that nests his superb CIRCLES OF LIFE; an album as intense as somber where the rhythms breathe of their permutations in harmonious envelopes as attractive as indomitable that SynGate puts out of the forgotten for the biggest good of EM and for those who, like me, have never had knowledge of the train Syndromeda. Even before and after his colossal album; Creatures from the Inner, back in 2003.

After an intro stuffed of organic gurglings, Nightwalks spreads its Mephistophelian veil with a musical pattern where the electronic stars overfly planets in combustion. The sonic delirium of Danny Budts has borders only those that he imposes in order to avoid the traps of boredom from the abstract musical forms. And he very well knows how to maintain the attention of a listener who is amazed by all these stringy paintings which hang in cosmos and which flit around in a fusion of voices and winds with a resonant line of sequences making waddle its keys and each of them which sparkle in the echo of other sequences. And it's the multiplication of sequences which nevertheless form only the basis of a linear rhythm and that a single neighboring line covers Nightwalks of a delicate harmonic approach. The sonic envelope remains rich and the rhythm evolves in secret with a flock of sequences with dissonant tones which skips while freeing contiguous keys. The Ring of Power offers a more direct approach. No frills there! Just a line of sequences whose skipping follows a growth, both at the level of heaviness and number, in the vapors of a synth from which the fluty airs remind me of Edgar Froese. Quietly The Ring of Power embraces an organic pattern on a rhythm became pulsatory. It's a kind of techno where the pulsations of sequences caw a language of hip-hop and team up in a structure of rhythm which reminds me of Jean Michel Jarre's Revolutions. Puzzling! Not as much as Interferenz which is a strange procession structured on resonant sequences and their criss-crossed kicks of which the subtle permutations are caressed the by harmonies sung by absent choirs and by superb lines of mellotron flutes. Heavy and insistent rhythm in tenderness and oneiric caresses! The title-track proposes a rather ambient first part with a structure of hypnotic rhythm finely drummed by docile sequences. Although strongly soaked by cosmic spectres, the synths are very harmonious and paint some very musical solos while spreading a bluish mist which has difficulty in hiding its cosmic origins. It's very soft, nearly contemplative, but we feel a tension eroded the tranquillity. A tension which explodes in the 2nd part with again these heavy intertwined sequences which are weaving the hybrid rhythms of CIRCLES OF LIFE which yet has never denied its cosmic origins. Best of Both Worlds is inspired of the title-track with an introduction clearly closer of esotericism but with a second part downright more furious fed by heavy sequences of which the gurglings have difficulty in following the whirlwinds of the synths and their vertiginous solos and also their metaphysical atmospheres worthy of the experimental complexities from Syndromeda's major works.

What a beautiful initiative from SynGate to put this album of Syndromeda on the agenda. Like all of Danny Budts' works, CIRCLES OF LIFE asks for a listening which respects all the soundscapes from his author. The works of Syndromeda are not in the most accessible kinds. They are the manifesto of an audacious artist to whom EM is an art of which the borders overtake the commercial clichés. This is some great cosmic rock with a zest of experimental fragrances that has just what it needs to charm those who are willing to take time to listen to. And it's there that the magic settles down.

Sylvain Lupari (October 8th, 2013) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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