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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SYNTH.NL: OceanoGraphy (2009)

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

The Dutch synthesist offers here a beautiful and tender poetic music with astonishing rhythmic structures...

1 Antartico 6:38

2 Balaenoptera 5:52

3 Atlantico 7:02

4 Carcharodon 6:26

5 Megaptera 5:13

6 Oceanography 7:45

7 Tursiops 5:08

8 Indico 5:15

9 Chelonia 5:20

10 Artico 6:17

11 Orcinus 5:50

12 Pacifico 5:48

(CD/DDL 72:34) (V.F.)

(Melodious E-Rock, JMJarre & Vangelis)

When the harmonies meet rhythmic complexities, or when the influences of Jean-Michel Jarre cross the romantic arrangements of a dreamy Vangelis, it gives OCEANOGRAPHY. A nice album which portrays quite well the vision of the Dutch synthesist. For its 3rd opus, Synth NL is inspired by the oceans and the survival fragility of its inhabitants. A work that wants to be an intra-terrestrial hymn with a strange spatial fusion and which is supported by some rhythmic heaviness which has nothing to do with the grace of the oceans.

Antartico opens with a noticeably light touch. A nice track with a melodious theme close to the music of Vangelis where a tender mellotron felted and fluty pushes the melody to the limits of a New Age territory. The keyboard and the synth are most catchy. A title to make melt the hardest! Balaenoptera is all in contrast and marvellously adopts the heavy movements of this graceful whale. A spasmodic bassline rolls over a synth that ripples in an oceanic sound field. A keyboard strums sweet chords before the bass becomes an accessory of heaviness for a synth which drags an imposing sound mass in a whimsical amphibian world. It's a heavy track, just like the ultra heavy Megaptera which finds grace on a synth sculpting and coiling up to its heart-catching complaints. Atlantico's intro rolls with extreme heaviness on a choppy sea of crisscrossing waves. A spiral rhythmic excited by the slamming percussions is topped with mellotron choirs. A synth-keyboard with ascending arpeggios draws on a structure reminiscent of JMJarre's good times in a halieutic carousel filled by hard twisted solos. With its cosmic approach of a thousand streaks and of analog spinning effects, Carcharodon criss-crosses more the space than the bouldering seas with a good melodramatic approach on a heavy bass structure.

The title-track divides the album in two, bringing a less heavy and more harmonious approach to the titles that follow. A good synth lament is protected by a synth to the sighs of an underwater fauna diversity on a slow rhythm torn by arpeggios which sparkle on a mellotron which adopts the movements of the tides. There is a nice artistic creativity on Tursiops where we can hear the dolphins singing and jumping on a rhythm broken by the aquatic waves of a good synth. After a nice lullaby of the seas which is Indico, Chelonia moves with the grace of underwater turtles on a slightly jerky pace and surrounded by a synth with solos flavored of tropical saxophones. A synth with fine melodious blades waving in a spasmodic rhythm flown over by heavy but good synth solos. That's all Artico needs to stand out from the quiet structures paired with the quiet titles named after oceans on OCEANOGRAPHY. By far, the most lively track in this second part of the album. Softer, Orcinus takes the shape of an oneiric structure with a nice piano and a bass sequence which stutters under a synth remarkably close to the Vangelis terroir. Just like the melodious Pacifico which closes with the same harmonious approach as Antartico had done in the opening.

When an artist succeeds in sculpting his music so that we can visualize his story and / or his message, we can easily say that his goal has been achieved. Synth NL is right on target with OCEANOGRAPHY. The Dutch synthesist offers here a beautiful and tender poetic music with astonishing rhythmic structures sometimes heavy and / or complex, but always melodious. A good album that can be enjoyed with eyes full of auditory images that will undoubtedly please fans of the commercial periods of Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre.

Sylvain Lupari (November 22nd, 2009) ***½**

Available at Groove NL

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