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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Terminus Void Apeiron (2023)

An excellent album that gives a whole new dimension to EM

1 Transmission I 5:09

2 Awakening 4:06

3 Schwinger Effect 5:05

4 Temporal Paradox 5:58

5 Apeiron (Part I & II) 11:57

6 Flow of Order 6:29

7 Boundless 6:49

8 Waiting on Infinity 4:36

9 Transmission II (Feat. Pat Keista) 6:23

10 Beyond Apeiron 8:40

(CD/DDL 65:14) (V.F.)

(Berlin School Cosmic Rock)

When Ron Boots gets excited and carried away, we have to be curious. And when he praises an artist, his music. We have to listen! The man's knowledge of electronic music (EM) is immense, and his knowledge of the art, as he plays and produces it, has built his credibility over the years. Terminus Void's APEIRON is the reason for the Groove nl boss' latest enthusiasm. Since the album is available on the famous Dutch label, is this a cultural conflict of interest? Yes and no! Yes, because it is! And no, because Ron is absolutely right! In a musical envelope with an essence of sonic renewal, APEIRON brings you a hefty 65 minutes of EM that breathes the analog years while throwing into the ambiences those futuristic visions with the unique tones of Vangelis. In short, a unique blend thanks to the use of the Waldorf Quantum synthesizer, which harmonizes the sounds of the analog era with the more contemporary sounds of digital synthesizers. The imprint and influences of the Greek keyboard wizard are everywhere in APEIRON, so much so that the Seattle musician-synthesist multiplies floating harmonies and arrangements in a tonality that is very close to the Greek legend. Sharp blades of lament and rotating waves that make apocalyptic sirens wail are legion on this album, flirting with Papathanassíou's cosmic, sci-fi dimensions. Not only is the music beautiful, with a seductively warm imprint, the rhythms are in evolutionary mode, with a sequencer that can structure up to 3 lines of sequences in a single track. The beginnings are often quiet, evolving into catchy down tempos, and ultimately good rock and/or cosmic Berlin School. Electronic percussions underpin the sequenced rhythms with attractive textures. You're free to read the long, very detailed review that follows... if not, this APEIRON is a must if you like creative, harmonious and catchy progressive cosmic EM.

For a 5-minute track, there's a lot of action in Transmission I (ditto for the majority of tracks on this album), which kicks off this new musical adventure in the land of Groove nl with a buzzing opening. Muffled explosion effects, recurrent on the album, plunge us into a dystopian futuristic universe. The sound mass vibrates. A line of glassy arpeggios waddles from one step to the next from the 1st minute, sculpting an electronic rhythm with a distant effect of diabolical Halloween melody amplified by strange vocal effects reminiscent of those inaudible dialogues of a demonic figure later in the track. The synth glues together an undulating line that generates a swarm of lines and oscillations. They undulate gracefully in a cosmic panorama woven by silky orchestrations. The striking thing is the sound! Not only is it dense and compact. Its texture is warm, with an analog essence more bewitching here than elsewhere in the genre. And it delights the ear with percussions whose motoric strikes resonate like rubbery wood. The rhythm thus multiplied by synth oscillations, alternating sequences and electronic percussions, Transmission I has gradually metamorphosed into a good electronic cosmic rock that sails on the wings of a mellotron and in a sometimes strange, intriguing atmosphere, not to say close to the cradle of horror. These muffled explosions, and in turn the sources of the same setting, are found again in Awakening, a purely atmospheric track. The ambience is slightly darker, with droning layers from where is filtering a texture of absent voices humming a chthonian tune. The orchestrations waltz in this rushes of cavernous breezes. At times, they weave more luminous, silvery-blue blades, counterbalancing the purely tenebrous vision of the ambiences. From dark ambiences, our ears sail towards a good electronic rock set to a downtempo that speeds up the pace with Schwinger Effect. The synthesizer multiplies this language of oscillations that roll in loops in a setting that flirts between the Underworld saga and Ridley Scott's Prometheus. The arrangements immerse us in this atmosphere of dystopia. And this even though the synth sculpts good solos that pirouette with a vibrato effect, similar to spectral humming. And these solos will howl for a good distance, also flirting with the borders of horror towards the end. The rhythm is built on a mesh of bass pulsations and motoric percussion, grafted with good hand percussions, bongo-style, as well as a series of keyboard riffs. The sequencer is rather discreet, weaving a rhythmic and melodic line that jumps around at times but more often flows in symbiosis with the synth oscillations. It's as solid a track, like Transmission I! Terminus Void continues to exploit this balance between driving rhythms and ambient phases with Temporal Paradox, a heavy, intense track rich in arrangements that exploit the frontiers of Cosmos. Atmospheric music moves forward in finely jerky bursts and takes on a very Software tangent midway through. A testament to the richness of sound and music that fills the grooves of this APEIRON.

Over a long, evolving structure, the title track first takes root with faint, softly undulating droning rays. A more translucent wave emerges, giving the signal to the sequencer to activate a rhythm line that hops along a circular axis. The synth roars out waves that sound like angelic trumpets, casting a sinister vision over a futuristic ambience. A second line of sequenced arpeggios, and percussive rattles, emerge after the 6th minute, structuring two rhythmic backbones that roll symbiotically and whose gyratory axis gives it a delicate stroboscopic texture of sound. The percussions then step up the pace with heavy bangings, leading the conclusion of Apeiron (Part I & II) towards electronic rock combined with downtempo, while the keyboard crumbles chords that sound like a cackling guitar in a Robert Schroeder-esque finale. And don't forget Vangelis for the slow, philharmonic synth laments. Flow of Order takes us to the edge of Cosmos, creating a delicious effect of floating between two cosmic hemispheres. Its panorama is filled with a whitish shadow that radiates a fine texture of sizzle. The synth multiplies sleepy layers, seraphic voice textures and plaintive blades in musical odes that explore the Cosmos, as well as the future. The keyboard unleashes chords that leap and melt in this setting. They initiate a delicate sequencer movement that undulates a discreet ambient rhythm line beneath sultry synth laments. J. Ronald Smith sculpts a complex panorama where interstellar whale songs are not just a figment of our imagination. The sequencer layers another, more limpid and animated rhythm line, undulating in an ascending axis, dropping harmonic zigzags beneath these nostalgia-laced synth blasts. It's like if had Vangelis accompanied Terminus Void on this track. Especially since we can still hear those hushed explosions that were such a delight on the Blade Runner soundtrack. It's beautiful and composed in such a way that we float in Cosmos. The opening of Boundless is built on the same atmospheric foundations. The rhythm that emerges, around the 1-minute mark, is evolutionary in nature. It starts in a puny way, only to gain in confidence when a line of arpeggios begins to hop awkwardly around the second minute. Sequences gambol and dribble their leaps in that tasty ratchet technique, eventually forming the basis of a rhythm that clings to electronic percussions. Organic effects add even more delight to the listening experience, as do the orchestrations and the astral choir humming an absent tune. Waiting on Infinity is a good electronic rock, harmonized by its melodious keyboard. The structure lives on a mesh of two sequencer lines and electronic percussions whose boom-booms flirt with a solid downtempo. And always, APEIRON's skies are crisscrossed by plaintive synth blades with the texture of a nostalgic Vangelis. Transmission II effectively follows in the footsteps of Transmission I. Its evolving structure is heavier, even more apocalyptic, with good percussion work and a few laments and guitar solos performed by Pat Keista. It's good, heavy, dark electronic rock with the undulating characteristics of Transmission I. Beyond Apeiron concludes Terminus Void's first musical odyssey into the land of Groove nl with an intense, musical sci-fi cinematic ambience. It's a slow jaunt into the Cosmos, with plaintive synth tears enveloped in a wave of sizzling noise. Tender solos weep, while an orchestral mist sighs in a panorama closer to Vangelis than to the stars.

Voila! An excellent album fully deserving of its own detailed review. And yes, Ron had every reason to get so carried away. APEIRON is an excellent album that adds a whole new dimension to EM.

Sylvain Lupari (November 1st, 2023) ****¾*

Available at Groove nl

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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