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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SYNDROMEDA: Close to the Core (2019)

“Always difficult to tame, the music of Syndromeda makes concessions on Close to the Core”

1 Today! 11:35

2 The Archetype 12:18

3 Life is so Beautiful 7:37

4 The Retreat of the Entity 11:13

5 Just Another Pinprick 10:27

6 Boiled Brains 7:09

7 Into Nothingness 6:53

(CD-r/DDL 67:15) (V.F.)

(Progressive Belgium School)

A Syndromeda opus with 7 tracks on a single CD !? We must go back in 2012 with Time Will Never Be The Same to reconnect with as many possible versatilities in an album that does not even reach the threshold of 70 minutes. And the result is different with CLOSE TO THE CORE, even if the tone remains emblematic of Danny Budts' repertoire. The first 4 minutes of Today! are drawn from the enigmatic areas of the Syndromeda universe. Hollow breezes, raucous breezes and panting whispers are part of this area of disturbing sounds that adorn the range of ambiences of the Belgian musician/synthesist. This amalgam that can compete with the best themes of terror movies ends with a dark shadow cast by a mephistophelic choir. And this introduction gives birth to this static rhythm, which stands still while giving the impression of advancing, typical of Syndromeda's sequencer movements. The sequences move forward and backward with their heavy resonances, giving Danny Budts all the freedom to draw those convoluted solos writhing in tonal pains under his skillful fingers. To the weight of the usual sequences and sequencer, we must add these jumping keys filled of crackles, both organic and iconoclastic, and which serve as a sound magma, or a rhythmic boiling, oversizing the placidity of the sedentary movements of the Belgian musician. But no matter, Today! so gives the tone to a rather different album of Syndromeda whose more melodic approach reflects even more in his world of complexity. The Archetype is its opposite. Its intro is just as nebulous, but with a vision of floating cosmic music. The rhythm is born after 4 minutes with a long procession of the sequencer. This passive structure supports the weight of the shadows and a chthonic choir, slowly advancing towards passive synth layers in mode; let me sleep. We forget this title to dive into another setting filled with foggy voices that forge these choirs whose line is very thin to delimit an astral one from a chthonian's. Life is so Beautiful hops on a circular rhythm. On a string of sequences, and of its slight imperfections, that clumsily frolic while turning around and round. Cheerful, this rhythm is not as much as this melody and its air fills with innocence, and the charms of it, which is lying by a keyboard that is torn between two tones. A voice speaks to us in the second half? Not bad, it is soft and harmonizes rather well in this tonal scenery unique to Danny Budts.

After this melody with romantic perfumes of the old musique française, The Retreat of the Entity also offers a rhythmic line sculpted in the luminescent sweets of Life is so Beautiful. Except that the sequencer loses control and releases a couple of sequences that escape in all directions. This overflow becomes controllable when the structure filters two lines, a pulsating one and the other oscillating, which harmonize in another static form. Layers of voices and of radioactive haze surround this structure, while solos and pieces of harmonies complete the finish of the decor. I was not too sure if I heard Tangerine Dream perfumes in this title, which is very rare in the music of Syndromeda, but the moods and especially the tone of the synths that open Just Another Pinprick force me to a certain observation; Tangerine Dream perfumes are in CLOSE TO THE CORE and they are rather used to decorate the setting than to rethink the rhythms formula. Although here, one can hear these sequences tumbled on a conveyor turning more rapidly at times. Which gives to Just Another Pinprick a richer structure in sequences to which is grafted these rhythmic chirps and organic sequences that Danny Budts likes to insert in order to give a lot of tonus and relief to this track that sometimes rolls with fluidity and other times gets stuck on the highways of the ambient music. Boiled Brains is an interesting title with its much more fluid rhythm structure and its synth connected to the Redshift universe. The mesh of the sequencer is made of conventional tones and that of the Syndromeda repertoire in a fluid movement filled of dysfunctional balls and layers of fog that is transformed into a lugubrious choir. Into Nothingness is an ambient title whose richness of winds and breezes sifting the seeds of cosmic sands give this unique dimension to the inert movements of Syndromeda.

Always difficult to tame, the music of Syndromeda has made concessions on the album Eternal Destination and makes a small appearance on this CLOSE TO THE CORE. This is not yet the Klondike of accessibility but there is a window of opened, especially with titles like Life is so Beautiful and Boiled Brains. As for the rest, it's Syndromeda as we like. Always difficult to tame ...even in 24 Bits.

Sylvain Lupari (September 15th, 2019) ***½**

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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