“It's an honest mini-album or cupdisc that has its flaws as well as its little charms”
1 Calumet 5:30
2 Morpheus' Light 10:44
3 Phantoms and Oracles (Guitar version) 6:28
4 Mona Da Vinci 7:08
5 In the Storm of Serenity 7:39
6 Hunting for Illusions 4:43
Eastgate 052 (CupDisc 5)
(CD/DDL 42:22) (V.F.)
It took me a long time to review this last cupdisc of Edgar Froese's gang. After 2 superb albums in The Island of the Fay and The Angel of the West Window, as well as the last very good cupdisc, The Gate of Saturn, MONA DA VINCI fell in my ears with the effect of a cold shower in a chilly temperature. I thought Edgar was going in circles by unraveling his musical loops and retreating into his Miramar years electronic candy rock ambiences. But with a few more listens, I found that this 40+ minute's cupdisc hid some nice little gems. Knowing that the fans of Tangerine Dream have already rushed to MONA DA VINCI, to whom is this chronicle addressed? Well... Maybe it could influence the choices of the Eastgate thinkers when selecting another compilation... or another Booster!
Played for the first time at the Manchester show, Calumet begins with undulating Flashpoint-like pulses and oscillations. Echoes of percussions and pulsating two-way sequences structure a rhythmic backbone that punches against the grain on more restrained keyboard riffs. Without breaking anything and with a melodic approach typical of what Edgar has been producing since ages, Calumet flows without being too noticeable and depicts the perhaps too calculated ambience that reigns in this mini album. I'm thinking in particular of the title-track which is submerged by a ghostly aura. An aura of mystery that hovers over a rhythmic structure going in circles. That doesn't mean it's not good, it's just that it's too familiar and it's déjà vu. Note that the progression of Mona da Vinci is still quite nice. The longest track on this latest Tangerine Froese cupdisc, Morpheus' Light is simply superb. Long and sweet angelic breaths throw some dark breezes on an intro that progresses like a slow crescendo on a nest of percussions and typical sequences with the bipolar rhythms of the Dream. Edgar weaves a superb melodious theme subdivided by sequences and resonant riffs which fall on other sequences palpitating feverishly under the breaths and the winds of a poetic synth. It's a splendid title where the sequences are strumming a stationary rhythm. A rhythm trapped in a superb musical fauna which looks like old good TD. Wonderful!
Phantoms and Oracles (Guitar version) is an alternative version of Midas Touch, released on The Hollywood Years Vol. 2 in 1998. It's a big electronic rock from the Rockoon years. The bouncing sequences and percussions forge an unbridled rhythm, and the electric guitar of Zlatko Perica spits out furious incisive solos. In the Storm of Serenity is a good ballad initiated on a slow rhythm. Surrounded by heterogeneous tones, the percussions are amazing and fall with imagination while the guitar sculpts superb languorous solos. It's a beautiful track that catches the ear instantly. Hunting for Illusions closes MONA DA VINCI with a hyper- unbridled rhythmic approach where heavy sequences, slamming percussion and a hungry bass line clear a heavy tempestuous rhythm. Mysterious the synth throws nice murky veils and short breaths with solo fibers, giving Hunting for Illusions a musical depth that nicely matches its frenzied pace.
I'm glad I have listened more carefully to MONA DA VINCI because in the end it's an honest mini-album or cupdisc that has its flaws as well as its little charms, not to mention that Morpheus' Light is totally brilliant and a lost pearl in a bubbling sea of rhythms that are as superficial as they are well polished.
Sylvain Lupari (January 5th, 2012) *****
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