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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Franz Kafka / The Castle (2013)

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Franz Kafka – The Castle continues where The Angel from the West Window had been stopped. A good album with a couple of great tracks on it

1 Approaching Snowy Village 8:16

2 Odd Welcome 6:29

3 The Untouchable Castle 5:51

4 The Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy 4:36

5 Barnabass the Messenger 7:42

6 Irredeemable Entity 7:51

7 The Implicit Will to Meet Klemm 7:09

8 Desperate Neverending Longing 7:33

9 Surrender and Adaption 7:12

10 A Place of Mercy 6:09

(CD 68:48) (V.F.)

(Dark atmospheric and theatrical with a zest of E-Rock)

It's with the breezes of a very melancholic synth that Approaching Snowy Village unwinds the rather dark atmospheres of FRANZ KAFKA-THE CASTLE. The rhythm which hangs on to it is very delicate. Fighting into a mixture of bass sequences and electronic percussions, it takes little by little a pleasant velocity with more agile and translucent sequencer keys which skip and tumble into their shadows like in the years Poland or in the powerful rhythms of this series. An acoustic guitar offers a very meditative harmonic rhythm which whispers to the ears of breezes became now more strident ghost harmonies. They whistle over this rhythmic agitation, subdividing their tones at the beat of a rhythmic awakening finely drummed while that all softly Approaching Snowy Village embrace the gloomy ambiences of its opening. This last musical adventure of Tangerine Dream in the meanders of his series Sonic Poem Series is just as much perfumed by mysticism than the first 3 volumes of the series. We feel that the duet Froese & Quaeschning is well in the saddle by plunging into darker atmospheres knitted in very beautiful arrangements and atmospheres deserving of a Dream who survived in all these years of transition.

Set apart the very boiling Odd Welcome, whose dashing rhythm wriggles on this meshing of sequences, electronic and manual percussions that became the mark of the contemporary electronic rhythms of the Dream, the rest of FRANZ KAFKA-THE CASTLE rests on beautiful gloomy theatrical ambiences which are as just melancholic as the melodies, like The Untouchable Castle which is a beautiful dark and sober ballad. The slow down tempo waddles dreamily under the caresses of a synth and of its singings so characteristically of Edgar and his Mellotron years. Nasal singings tinted of melancholy and iridescent breeze, flavored by voices and ethereal mist are transporting this delicate morphic rhythm in the hollows of our listening with a pleasant complicity. These synths to the harmonies clouded of mysticism are the core of the dark charms of The Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy which is an intense ambiospherical track where the sound effects, the whispers and the tooting, made hoarse by musical filets as symphonic as apocalyptic, awaken souvenirs of The Keep and Legend. It's one of those tracks with a lot of ambiences offered by Froese's band since a very long time. These atmospheres and these hollow winds sneak until the introduction of Barnabass the Messenger where a keyboard spreads some fleeting chords which get lost in the echo of the winds became voices, like crumbs of bread taken away by the singings of a dark forest. A rhythm hatches out. He is curt and nervous. He sparkles with this meshing of sequences and electronic percussions which characterize the lively rhythms of the last years of TD. Edgar proposes beautiful and very passionate guitar solos of which the tears fade in this broth of agitated rhythm. Irredeemable Entity offers a nervous rhythm, worked on a fusion of keyboard and sequencers keys and of which the leaps forge little jerks, just like in The Implicit Will to Meet Klemm. Both tracks offer a cute melody which is swaying in the sonic decoration and which is clinging to the ear rather fast. But if we listen carefully we hear these choirs of fed vampires humming absent airs. The ambiences are very rich and they caress the indecision of a rhythm which, if keeps its strength softens its depth. I like it but that stays in the field of simplicity. I still prefer the passionate furious Odd Welcome and its ride which flees a troop of gargoyles. The arrangements are surprising of realism and the sequencing is just delicious. Surrender and Adaption is a very dark track. A slow piece of music and a ballad for depressed with an acoustic guitar and its nostalgic notes which think on a pattern of rhythm fed by nervous manual percussions. The synth covers this dark of a wrapping cloud of melancholy which floats and floats...up until the arms of Morpheus. A Place of Mercy is as much darker. The rhythm is deliciously organic with pulsations which gurgle as much as they pound in a sonic environment which transports us to the banks of a swamp teeming of glaucous spectres. Notice the superb arrangements which draw in parallel a finely jerky structure of rhythm.

Does the loop is looped? I'm asking because, without being bad, I have the vague feeling that this album is build around the remainders of the Sonic Poem Serie's first 3 opuses. It's good, nothing more. Set apart the very mesmerizing and mysterious The Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy, FRANZ KAFKA-THE CASTLE brings nothing really creative to this series built around black themes. There are good tracks, as there are also tracks which are lacking originality and which seem to be bringing out of The Island of the Fay and of The Angel from the West Window sessions. Well, remark that it's not a default in itself. But I would have hoped for more. Maybe next time and as I said, it's good, nothing more.

Sylvain Lupari (January 27th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Groove nl

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