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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Synth Replicants Zentropol (2022)

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

If Franke-Froese & Schmoelling era is in your tastes, this is a must have

1 Enter 8:16

2 Zentropol 9:42

3 Sakura 6:12

4 Mist 6:26

5 Quantum Gravity 6:09

6 Saving my Memories 6:33

7 From Here to Eternity 5:15

8 White Desert Dream 8:57

9 Beauty of the Orient 8:53 (Video)

10 Angels Night 7:36

(DDL 74:01) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

The winds howl, like they bend their threats in the opening of Enter. An industrial breeze envelops the outline of these eroded winds as the mellotron throws a jet of mystery to a music that develops like an unobstructed view of a cemetery under a November sky. The mellotron scatters hootings like gothic fogs in an environment that the bass and its layers make dramatic, if not panic-inducing. It's in this context that the sequencer activates a line of melodious arpeggios that tinkle in suspension, like a metronome adjusted with a little too much speed. This melodic sketch waddles through the murmurs of an opaque, a misty setting a little after the 3-minute barrier is crossed. The bass makes rumbling its creeping outbursts as a line of oscillating pulses urges an underlying rhythm to beat with more vigor, unstitching this melodic thread that lets its arpeggios melt and hide behind one of the several stationary rhythmic patterns on this latest Synth Replicants album-download. Continuing the momentum of the very good The Umbrella Man and Time Walker, Per Thomhav offers in ZENTROPOL a Berlin School style a Berlin School style built within tenebrous ambiences and mostly pending rhythmic patterns in a music vision still strongly influenced by the music of Tangerine Dream, Franke-Froese & Schmoelling period. If it's in your tastes, you have to get it! The openings are of mysteries with visions of a Dark Ambient, even mephistophelic, electronic music (EM). Like in those soundtracks of the famous German trio.

Like in Enter, the title-track develops into a slow rhythm that is well hammered by the good play of the electronic percussions. The pairing of these with the sequencer traces a slow rhythm that even has a zest of Luciferian sensuality with this massive pounding of the percussions. The synth releases beautiful harmonious and obsessive solos. Cinematographic title, Sakura proposes an atmospheric opening with pulsations which support a bed of reverberations where a mellotron deposits its oneiric airs. The structure develops with a pulsating rhythm that remains stationary and is carried by good arrangements with a Middle Eastern essence. Mist develops a strategy of ambient rhythm. A kind of Berlin School with a nice slow ascension which would fit well in the film environment. Its envelope is dense with good mellotron vocals, some very are poignant, that lull our ears to that peaceful undulating motion of the sequencer where brighter arpeggios are grafted in tandem. The bass layer conceives dark dramatic impulses, hence its cinematic essence. Finally, Mist's music sounds like good Tangerine Dream from the Sorcerer years. Quantum Gravity is in the same genre, perhaps a little faster in its rhythm, with a musical orientation closer to the atmospheres of the Wavelength movie music, another score from the Berlin trio. The synth here pours out moans that have that Martenot wave sound flavor. Saving my Memories starts in rhythm! The sequencer traces a zigzagging course where some melodious arpeggios are grafted. The two elements activate the velocity of the rhythm which gallops along in these slightly tight slaloms, like a runner looking for his bearings. It zigzags in a zone where the mist whispers an aerial air that spectral breaths accompany and abandon throughout its hypnotic journey.

From Here to Eternity proposes a slow rhythm, always very melodic, with the sequencer which makes its jumping keys gambol in an atmosphere subdued by a mixture of guitar solos and mellotron synth. The rhythm and moods bring back musical memories of Near Dark, especially when the percussions structure a slower pace. The melody that follows is simply divine. It really sounds like an unreleased TD track from that era. A misty flute is heard at the opening of White Desert Dream. The tremolo in the airs adds a good dose of emotion. An intermittent and not completely finished rhythm line hops in. Except that the rhythm comes from a different sequencer structure. This movement is more fluid and as soon as the bits of intermittent rhythm get grafted on, that gives a wonderful spasmodic texture that slaloms under the mellotron airs whose misty flute still has that emotional charge that gives it that vibrato effect. Beauty of the Orient is the most atmospheric track on ZENTROPOL. Keyboard chords trace a ghostly melody that melts into a thick bank of mist filled with voices humming an astral tune. The bass scatters layers that buzz and inject a dramatic dimension to a music rich in these layers of voices and mist where a rhythm line meanders as ghostly as these metallic chords that come and go to enrich this surreal decor. The ambiences become a kind of musical happening which little by little develops a structure of rhythm more accentuated, more lively and animated around the 6th minute. The arrangements, those orchestrations that flow over hazy violin strings, add a high level of emotionality and cinematic intensity to a music that flirts a lot with horror and/or tension movie atmospheres, even in their envelopes of ghostly, spectral melodies. They encircle Angels Night's hobbling rhythm that the sequencer puts downs with ferocity while a pulsing bass line injects it with a good fluidity. And quietly, a nice circular melody drags this rhythm into silken orchestrations where the violins have lost some of their misty essence.

ZENTROPOL is the result of two words merged into one. Zen, for tranquility, and Tropol which comes from the root of the Greek word Metropolis which means territory. And for Synth Replicants the music here should be a place where the listener acquires a renewed and positive energy. It's all about what you want to do with it! As far as I'm concerned, it's more like 74 minutes of an EM that's never been as close as Tangerine Dream's without copying it. Are you an aficionado of the Franke-Froese & Schmoelling era? Of their film music? Treat yourself then!

Sylvain Lupari (July 23rd, 2022) ****¼*

Available at Synth Replicants Bandcamp

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