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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SYNDROMEDA & MAC of BIOnighT: Volcanic Drifts (2015)

A little difficult to tame, Volcanic Drifts is nonetheless a solid musical journey into these poles which tie two worlds in constant movement

1 Sulfur 17:01 2 Obsidian 22:13 3 Deep under the Surface of the Earth 13:40 4 Steamy Weather 20:28 SynGate | CD-r SSMB01

(DDL/CD-r 73:22) (V.F.) (Cosmic and progressive E-Rock)

Danny Budts and Mac of BIOnighT are two good veterans of the EM scene of the Berlin School style and/or very progressive one who have decided to unite their visions the time of an album; VOLCANIC DRIFTS. So much to say it straight away, nothing of what comes out of this first collaboration is not similar to the styles respective of each of the musicians. If the ambient and black metaphysical style of Syndromeda decorates the introductions and the finales, as well as some certain ambiospheric passages, the heavy and incisive rock which turns upside down the volcanic atmospheres of VOLCANIC DRIFTS transcend the multiple approaches of Mac, although we find certain flavors there here and there. Is it Mike Hobson's contribution (aka Thought Experiment)? The fact remains that this album borrows the corridors of a EM of which the rather cosmic approach gets dilute in the good heavy progressive rock which sniffs shyly at the smells of MorPheuSz.

It's with dark winds, intrusive woosh and noise of cave which loses its water that Sulfur develops between our ears. A shower of celestial objects unfurl at top speed in stereo effects, amplifying even more this approach as much cosmic than dark of this first track of an album which feeds on long drones among which the echoes and the effects of reverberations forge at the end a symphony of ambiospheric laments. A beautiful Mellotron escapes from there a little after 3 minutes and its singing sounds out of tune in this black universe where the sulfur will never have had a so beautiful color. It's there that the rhythm wakes up. A little disheveled, I would say even chaotic, it skips and zigzags with a good velocity, untying keys which dance lightly in a continual coming and going which hides the charms of a kind of saxophone. The rhythm grows rich of other skipping keys while the synths vaporize some ethereal airs which sing a little as in the time of Phaedra and Rubycon. The ambient rhythm of Sulfur floats as a dismembered Phoenix which tries to land. What it is doing at around the 11th minute before being reborn in a heavy and very ephemeral progressive rock fed of percussions and heavy riffs and among which the bites and the attacks hide good solos of a rather discreet guitar. Sulfur ends its race in a more elegiac approach. Heavy, lively and audacious, Obsidian also approaches our ears with dark winds which assail electronic effects and blow strange airs in hidden woosh. Pulsations turn up around the 2nd minute and hesitate. The movement is shifty and dithers in more persistent winds. We hear notes of a sitar here. The rhythm hatches out in a steadier shape around the 4th minute. It's a good beat supported by electronic percussions and sequences which skip such as footsteps on the surface of an ice-cold pond. Riffs of keyboard (and/or of a six-strings) adds more heaviness to the rhythm which stays quite rather cerebral whereas the synths shape some strange apathetic airs which are rather fascinating. The sequences and their random dances add more depth while Obsidian becomes more and more heavy. We get into a nice progressive electronic rock with a good play of percussions and a solid structure of sequences which add a lot of colors to the rhythm as well as a seductive depth to its melodious approach. We speak here about a structure of rhythm which exceeds the 18 minutes and where the duet of Danny Budts and Mac adds a panoply electronic effects, like; peak-wood kind of percussions, winds of bagpipe and notes of sitar which oversize a loud and very good minimalist approach. This is indeed a solid electronic progressive rock with a zest of psychedelism.

Deep under the Surfaces of the Earth propose another ambiospherical introduction fed by noises and by electronic effects, it sounds as if we are on the wings of a space shuttle which has difficulty in traveling through cosmos. But we are under the surface of the Earth. Where the sequences are juicy and full of organic tones. They skip and dance with their echoes while the synths decorate this soft and hopping rhythm of good solos, like in the time of those good psychotronic rock of Neuronium. A little as in Sulfur, the track will explode for a brief moment in a pure and heavy rock before raising a cloud of sequences of which the dissonant harmonious footsteps are weaving a circular endless structure where still vegetate this big rock which will reborn some 2 minutes farther. The guitar reminds me enormously Frank Dorittke, amplifying even more this perception of the MorPheuSz influences. Steamy Weather is what gets closer the most of the Syndromeda universe . Still here the introduction is filled of woosh and of wiish which fill our ears of residues like soot of carbon wrap the lungs. We hear dark choruses there murmuring an esoteric hymn while little by little the blue pierces the nothingness with a silky veil of orchestral mist. The sequences play the rodeo, forging a delicate spasmodic rhythm with keys which skip in cotton wool. The synth decorates these atmospheres of electronic strands with multi-colors sound which squeak and crawl between the skipping of the rhythmic keys. Danny Budts' metaphysical imprint is quite present here. The winds get scatter, leaving only sequences with choirs and these percussions which click like whips in the mist. The solos in corkscrew offer a psychotronic universe which comes out at small doses, leaving some solitary keys shiver of cold in this abstract universe. The percussions which fall then create a dissonant effect while a vampiric bass line spreads a kind of very progressive rock structure of rhythm that Mike Hobson whitewashes of fuzz wah-wah. It's the imprint of Thought Experiment which seizes then the finale of Steamy Weather, mixing rock and jazz in an electronic envelope rather difficult to tame. This is just as in all of VOLCANIC DRIFTS which won't scare off, but not at all, the fans of Syndromeda. Even if Mac tries at times, and successfully, to give a more accessible luster to an EM of which the charms always live in its complexity. It's a sonic adventure for those ears which always look for a little more to thwart the boredom.

Sylvain Lupari (January 10th, 2016) ***½**

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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