• Sylvain Lupari

SYNDROMEDA & VON HAUSLSHOVEN: The Second Intelligent Lifeform (2010)

Updated: Oct 17

This is a powerful album of cosmic rock sprinkled with a zest of progressive and psychedelic music

1 More Than a Feeling 23:39

2 The Second Intelligent Lifeform 21:55

3 The Bell of Storm 24:28

SynGate CD-R VS02

(DDL 70:02) (V.F.)

(Vintage Berlin School)

Here is a good and audacious album. An album which follows precepts of the tandem Danny Budts and Eppie E Hulshof's 1st collaboration; Von Haulshoven Meets Syndromeda released in 2007. THE SECOND INTELLIGENT LIFEFORM is a powerful album of cosmic rock sprinkled with a zest of progressive and psychedelic. If the duet plunges right into the retro Berlin School in More Than a Feeling, it deviates towards a more complex cosmic rock where unpredictable rhythms abound in powerful electronic ambiences on the title-track and The Bell of Storm.

As soon as the first key of More Than a Feeling is fallen, a sinuous and spectral synth wave drags its lugubrious shadow up to the doors of a superb sequence which gallops under the charms of a fluty mellotron. The movement of the sequencer, that we know so much, where choirs are wrapping the oscillations bring us straight in the heart of Tangerine Dream's Ricochet and Encore. It's a haughtiness intro where jingles of cymbals, drum pulsations and analog white noises gnaw at a wavy-like cadence which hems in good speed, wrapped by strata of synth foggy. The beat is flowing and sinks on curt chords. Chords which pulse and hiccup under twisted resonances, introducing corrosive and twirled solos of Syndromeda's synths. At around the 9th minute, the rhythm undresses bit by bit, letting hear a sound skeleton which unwinds under brief pads of an enigmatic synth. Eclectic sonorities fly over this light structure where a warm synth caresses a soft hypnotic and minimalist approach with chords that are waddling innocently beneath a sky skinned of electronic streaks. Heavy and juicy synth solos wrap these chords, diverting the rhythm towards feverish sequences which strum with fury beneath the bites of riffs and heavy solos coming out of V.H.'s electric six-strings. More Than a Feeling will succumb to this hard attack by taking refuge in a heavy chthonian universe where choruses and powerful resonances cover an infernal finale. The Second Intelligent Lifeform, the title-track, is as delicious as audacious. The intro offers a fusion of electronic and heterogeneous sounds which sparkle under synth laments and solos. A somber pulsation resounds and guides this foggy intro outside oblivion paths. Tenebrous choirs and guitar notes are grafting in there while sequences blast the ambiance of a staggering gait beneath the claws of a solitary guitar with bluesy moods.

Swimming in full ambiguity, the tempo is lost in the abyss to regain colossal forces with a furious and heavy sequencer movement which undulates in loops, taking a gyrating and pulsating form under synth layers with melodious breaths. The rhythm of The Second Intelligent Lifeform bifurcates with subtlety, changing its measure under a shower of streaks and of analog sound effects which tear up this big cosmic rock. A heavy cosmic rock surrounded by guitar and synth solos scattered in a panoply of synth layers with the sounds of cosmic choirs. The rhythm deviates towards furious sequences which skip with ardor, their shadows skipping with as much passion, plunging even more the cadence of The Second Intelligent Lifeform in astonishing rhythmic complexities which don't cease to charm. And like all good things come to an end, The Second Intelligent Lifeform gradually fades to strange reverberations that roar and purr in a slow din.

The Bell of Storm ends this 2nd Von Haulshoven & Syndromeda collaboration with more delicacy.

A fine pulse emerges from a heavy atmospheric intro, guiding the music towards a minimalist approach. Sequences with ringing tones skip and progress with enthusiasm. The rhythm increases with sequences which intersect their rhythm lines under warm synth solos. These solos are entwined in a sinuous cosmic ballet à la Klaus Schulze with their distinct sounds which hover above sequences and pulsations that have become darker and more supple. Sequences which wander with hesitation, plunging The Bell of Storm towards an atmospheric passage. Moment when Von Haulshoven takes out his guitar in order to crumble fragmented solos, but also opening a passage to a more languorous structure where the rhythm is sensual with floating chords, pulsations and muffled percussions as well as celestial breaths which drag in a suggestive cosmos. A second atmospheric passage presents itself, reinitiating a rhythm even more nervous and jerky than at the beginning. A cadence that staggers under powerful solos of a corrosive and misty synth in an ambiguous finale, like everything that reigns over this imposing opus that is THE SECOND INTELLIGENT LIFEFORM.

Here's a superb powerful album that must be listened to at full volume in order to capture all the sonic subtleties. Available at SynGate, this is a great buy that I have no hesitation in recommending to lovers of heavy cosmic rock merging with a strong retro Berlin School.

Sylvain Lupari (January 26th, 2011) *****

SynthSequences.com

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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