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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Finnegans Wake (2011)

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

In spite of some weaknesses and wrong turns Finnegans Wake proves to be another very beautiful album

1 The Sensational Fall of the Master Builder 9:03

2 Finnegans Excessive Wake 8:13

3 Resurrection by the Spirit 5:39

4 Mother of all Sources 8:53

5 The Warring Forces of the Twins 4:34

6 Three Quarks for Muster Mark 6:17

7 Everling's Mythical Letter 8:01

8 Hermaphrodite 8:23

(CD 59:03) (V.F.)

(Progressive Rock EM)

FINNEGANS WAKE is a strange literary work from James Joyce who mixes several languages, in a point that some observers and critics gave it no language of origin. It's also the 3rd work of the Sonic Poem Series; an ambitious musical project that the duet Froese & Quaeschning undertook at the beginning of 2011 with the wonderful The Island of the Fay. And this closer collaboration with Thorsten Quaeschning, in the writing and the production of this series, brings an unmeasured dimension to the works of Tangerine Dream. It instills a revival, with a degree of intensity and emotionalism that Edgar Froese seemed to have lost on the benches of his experiments of life, which benefits the artistic depth of such a project. Titles like The Warring Forces of the Twins and Three Quarks for Muster Mark shows the nuances in the approaches of these two companions of writing who still surprise with another great album.

A note of bass drops its echo and paves the way to a weaving of echoing percussions and sequences which decorate the intriguing intro of The Sensational Fall of the Master Builder whose ambience transports me in the universe of Flashpoint. Nervous and pulsating with anxiety, this sequential movement is stuffed with jumping and fluttering chords, moulding a stationary rhythm where drag sober synth chords among pulsations with glaucous breaths. In spite of the symmetric strikings of the linear percussions, the rhythm remains stigmatized in a harmonious envelope filled by dull and devoid choirs taking the place of synth layers which would have been able to be more creative. Regardless of this bastion of sequences which crisscross in a good rhythmic structure, the harmonious portion is cold and weaved by some waves and layers of synths which float and flow with fluidity, while The Sensational Fall of the Master Builder stagnates in its sedentary rhythmic circle, droning out its remaining 5 minutes with fine nuances in rhythm, choirs and harmonies. Finnegans Excessive Wake offers a very good evolutionary rhythmic structure with sequences strummed in a nervous serial shape. Sequences which modify their axes of strikings as well as their tones, making spirals of glasses which ring in a rich musical pattern where heavy riffs draw a breathtaking ambience as well as highly charged. Plaintive choruses with breaths of clay prowl all along Finnegans Excessive Wake which follows a crescendo imprinted by dramatism with great caresses of a violin lost in the layers of a synth filled of distress before exploding in furious guitar solos from this good old Edgar. Resurrection by the Spirit is built within the ashes of Ricochet. We hear in it, this ghostly line which drawn the melody of this cult title roam all the way on explosive rhythms. Dark and pulsatory rhythms, like it flows all around the album, which run and swirl, encircling and escaping this spiral melody which rolls with nice nuances in its approach Mother of all Sources is my favorite track here. After an intro fed by sequences which swirl in fast hypnotic circle and collide on blows of curt percussions, the rhythm dies out slowly. A little as if we have closed the switch of the turning table. Another rhythmic structure re-appears. Totally the opposite of its dramatic rhythmic envelope, this rhythm is bustling on sequences and percussions with keys as nervous as unbridled. Both extremes weave a splendid and intense movement of which the harmonious paradox is exhilarating and where the layers draw tears of violin on a pattern of sequences and percussions prisoner of these dark and gloomy morphic ambiences. Simply wonderful!

The Warring Forces of the Twins kicks out this film approach with a huge electronic rock worthy of the Rockoon era. Nervous and twisted sequences as well as unbridled percussions, but not hyper powerful, bear keyboards riffs which draw a melody à la Tangerine Dream more rock than electronics. It’s a track as much coldly than EM could be without souls per moments. Not really my kind and very noisy. And nevertheless, Three Quarks for Muster Mark is also heavy and rock. Except that the heavy rhythm is wrapped with nuances and enriched by good crisscrossed sequences, adding a lot of depth to a title which seems to be taking out of the Vernal Rapture's sessions (Gate of Saturn). It's heavy, powerful and scalable with a good very furious passage where piercing guitar solos chisel wild sequences. I also like these synth lamentations which swarm here and there, supporting these strange electronic dialogues which run in loops on a loud, powerful, and very effective rhythm. Everling’s Mythical Letter is a long and very good electronic ballad where the guitar of Froese speaks to us and touches us with good introspective solos which mourn on a rhythm slowly forged by sober sequences. It's dark and melancholic, like some good old Edgar Froese. Hermaphrodite closes with a rich intro where crystal-clear sequences swirl around muffled metallic pulsations. Guitar chords scratch this stunning harmonious rhythmic union while the tempo accelerates its pace, taking a skipping shape to gallop under iridescent synth waves. And the guitar of Froese comes to cover this rhythm bubbling with other beautiful solos which caress and wrap another dynamics rhythm, heavy, dark and harmonious as which teem throughout this other very beautiful album from the Sonic Poem Series.

In spite of some weaknesses and wrong turns where certain reminiscences of the Miramar and TDI years awaken some painful souvenirs of a lack of creativity, FINNEGANS WAKE proves to be another solid album. And we must give to Edgar Froese what goes to him. Because if Thorsten Quaeschning signs very good compositions, the old polar fox is not outdone with superb compositions where his melancholy and sadness of the memories buried in the pain of the soul equals easily the dark romanticism of his new music companion. And this artistic partnership gives to the works of this series an incredible artistic depth which, I hope for it, should last as long as the passion that devours them.

Sylvain Lupari (April 14th, 2012) *****

Available at Groove nl

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