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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SYNTH.NL: Time Travel (2021)

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

This is a barometer album that allows us to follow the evolution of

1 Nachtwacht 7:31

2 Synthology 5:02

3 SynthWelle 4:55

4 Mercury 7:16

5 Don Quixote 7:05

6 Underground 4:36

7 Taurus 5:21

8 Ping Pong 5:23

9 Gemini 5:38

10 Motion 5:30

11 MoveOn 5:46

12 Time Travel 5:39

(CD/DDL 69:47) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, EDM and melodies)

It's been 10 years, since Apollo in fact, that has not produced a solo album. There was certainly his amazing participation with Ron Boots for the BorkHavn album, one of the Top albums of 2020. But for the rest, Michel van Osenbruggen was quite silent. Rumors of a possible comeback were all over the Groove nl planet until TIME TRAVEL appeared in the Dutch catalog in early December. Built around 12 tracks and almost 70 minutes of music, this new album is made of tracks that have already appeared on various compilations of the German Electronic Music Club Schallwende and Groove nl, including the very nice Dutch Masters album back in 2011. So, tracks that travel through the 15 years of, hence the title TIME TRAVEL. A new remix and remaster by Ron Boots brings a breath of freshness, if not of novelty to an electronic music (EM) always melodious and this whatever its rhythmic orientations. Finally, these new versions are offered on manufactured CD and as a high quality 48 kHz/24 bit download.

Nachtwacht was first offered for the Dutch Masters compilation. This new revamped version gives more clarity to this beautiful melody blown in loops by a synth with harmonies as catchy as Vangelis' repertoire. Especially when the piano joins its pensive notes, adding a delicacy that stands out on this war anthem background. Synthology is the other track that already belongs to the Dutch catalog for having appeared on Analogy Vol. 3 in 2007. Its rhythm develops by undulating slyly with more austere harmonies from the synth. The track evolves with a spasmodic framework and a melodious movement with a lounge jazz flavors. The next 7 tracks have appeared on various Schallplatte compilations. SynthWelle is another good track that offers an ambient rhythmic structure with rubbery sounding knocks. These knocks bounce around to structure a surreal rhythmic web that later couples with the power of electronic percussions. At the same time, the synth whistles another of those beautiful, catchy melodies that multiply its changes of tune over a tasty musical texture evolving in suspension. Mercury exploits a rhythmic vision centered on bass-pulsations creamed of unctuous synth layers. The real rhythm portion is assumed by these riff phases glued in a long sequence of fuzz wah wah, while the synth, always extremely melodious, launches melodic lines that roll in loops over other melodious lines. In a cinematographic setting where we can hear a typist writing a text and the windmill's paddles spinning, Don Quixote offers us a nice downtempo with a bouquet of French movie romanticism. A very good track!

Underground evolves slowly into a good lively electronic rock. After a short atmospheric passage, the music, like its rhythm, gets more dynamic with a synth elaborating its solos like a guitarist attacks his guitar. Taurus is a good circular ballad with light organic effects in the percussions. The synth is divine with its harmonic whistles. The sound effects of Ping Pong are in the tone, signing a good up-beat influenced by the more commercial universe of Jean-Michel Jarre. On a structure torn between the strength of its rhythm and its softness to accommodate a melodious synth, Gemini offers an organic percussive membrane with additives pleasant to discover. The keyboard is driving, but not like that roaring bass line that pairs well with the abrupt starts and stops of the percussions. The synth is pleasant with snippets of weeping melodies flowing over the passing spasms of this ambivalent rhythm. After an introduction sewn with layers flying in sly jerks, Motion gets excited on too much good percussions and a crazy synth that throws elucubrations rolling in loops. A spectral texture surrounds the track with orchestral elements that float with an ominous smell. Like a good tension movie! The percussions are a killer in this crazy electronic rock sphere. Very dance MoveOn vibrates around a solid EDM beat with the right effects for a good dance party. These last two tracks bring me back to's first album, AeroDynamics in 2007. A new composition, the title-track features an introduction based on the clicking of various clocks. The rhythm starts to germinate around the 50th second, going from stroboscopic curves before exploring an electronic rock influenced by the dynamism of EDM. This is that flirts with dance beats and still has that melodic vision that constantly carves out the space it needs to enter our ears.

In the end, TIME TRAVEL is a barometer album that allows us to follow the evolution of from 2007 to today. It's a good album that evolves on more and more dance rhythms while throwing a nice light on the melodic talent of Michel van Osenbruggen, whose youngest daughter, Tamara, signed the artwork. While waiting for his next album, Palaeontology!

Sylvain Lupari (December 30th, 2021) ***¾**

Available at Groove nl

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