“Good Berlin School rhythms in a darker envelope wanted by Thaneco and Romerium to give a new sound dimension to another jewel of EM”
1 Waiting at the Subway Station 7:31
2 Time Lapse Travelling 9:08
3 Fear of the Dark Tunnel 6:24
4 Is this the Future? 7:29
5 Gloomy Memories 6:34
6 Destination Nowhere 8:37
7 Missing Train to the Light 9:37
8 Back to Surface 5:44
(CD-r/DDL 61:06) (V.F.)
The tram train comes quickly. The doors don't have time to open when already arpeggios and bass-sequences perform a spasmodic dance. Sound effects, which are very Karftwerk, are invited in this Waiting at the Subway Station while the synth molds a fluid and smooth race where other sound effects invent a race on rails or a passage between columns. This Cosmic Funk continues to make evolving its hesitant rhythm which moves forward and backward, skips and clashes its chords under the fluid caresses of the synth pads which launches its mist at the same time as its oneiric solos. The last third embraces a more rock structure under the cooing of a synth and its ghostly waves. The second collaboration between Thaneco and Romerium, THE DARK UNDERGROUND TO NOWHERE was also worked on remotely like the very good Sequences Passing By last year. The duo wanting to make a darker album, the theme revolves then around subways. The propulsion of the trains, like the ambiences surrounding the metro stations, are sculpted in this analog and digital fusion which made the charms of the first album of the Greek and Dutch duo. So, an array of sound effects in tune with the theme, nods to Kraftwerk's music and the electric rhythms of Jean-Michel Jarre are making the core of this album. Available in CD-r and for download, THE DARK UNDERGROUND TO NOWHERE offers 61 minutes of a heavy and animated EM, both by the percussions and the sequencer, in evolving rhythms quite easy to tame for the Berlin School.
Time Lapse Traveling puts us in the mood with a slow takeoff sculpted by the zigzagging chords of the sequencer. The synth launches reverb pads, while a soft dreamy melody sets more relaxing moods in this ascending Berlin School. We hear organic effects and metallic clicks sounding like steel yelping. Gradually, the rhythm increases strength and speed with the arrival of percussions and this bass greedy of these organic effects. These booms are periodic and serve the cause of the synth, which is the centerpiece of this album, and its contorted solos that roll up, unfold, curl up and distance themselves with a harmonic vision that hangs here with each new rhythmic boom. Fear of the Dark Tunnel is a very lively track with a sequencer in mode run after me. Fluid with its slow stunt loops and linear direction, the rhythm comes together with various percussive effects and synth pads having these scents of JMJarre in Revolutions. Everything revolves here around the rhythm which remains lively while being drowned in percussive elements whose samples bank seems inexhaustible. It's heavy, voracious and catchy, as Thaneco and Romerium wanted. The rhythm loses a little of this clamor accumulated in its last third. Become more theatrical with dribbling effects in the sequences and / or percussions, Fear of the Dark Tunnel becomes a structure that stimulates the sense of dread with strange sounds, it looks like a harpsichord, and other sound effects that accompany the train at its last station. Where specters and other strange nocturnal creatures already have their lips turned up. Is this the Future? is a rather quiet track with a rhythm floating between two spheres; ambient or lively. A synth injects streams of flute mist as the sequences stir in the background and the keyboard weaves a melody whose dark complexion vaguely reminds us of something we've heard before. Either by Thierry Fervant or even Walter Christian Rothe. Melancholic like old images of French cinema, the music of Is this the Future? is all in contrast to the meaning of its title.
Gloomy Memories offers a nervous rhythm confined in a static texture and its abrupt momentary stops. We feel an inspiration from Kraftwerk in this structure filled with bursts of percussions and drum rolls without counting the keyboard chords sometimes harmonious and often jerky. Percussions, percussive clicks and keyboard chords collide in a rhythmic rodeo that sparkles in all senses of the title. The ambiences are woven by synths with harmonious solos, as well as very slender like laces unraveling alone, and pads filled with mysticism, if not dark mysteries. Destination Nowhere embraces a little this texture of stop & go with an equally chaotic rhythmic approach in a vision that reminds me of the good Geoffrey Downes in the days of New Dance Orchestra. The title evolves with sound effects of an underground subway, but always by storing a slightly livelier structure with ever more percussive percussions in order to stabilize itself in a good catchy electronic rock. The synth draws particularly good solos on this structure whose perfumes of the 80's synth-music fill my nostrils with nostalgia. Missing Train to the Light injects another structure conceived in the edginess of the sequencer and its two adjacent lines which don't jump on the same beat. Organic effects are grafted onto this static rhythmic kick in which arpeggios are added and subsequently, percussions. From static, the rhythm becomes lively with a cadence espousing a cavalry approach. The sequences hang in the void when Missing Train to the Light turns into landscapes a little after the 4th minute. A breath coming out of the void fills the ambiences with its radiant reflections which dance a strange astral ballet until we hear the structure emerge from the void to take a tangent full of intensity where superb synth solos whistle over it. It's one of the good times in this album where analog and digital exchange their possibilities in a duel proposed by an electronic guitar. Back to the Surface ends THE DARK UNDERGROUND TO NOWHERE with a soft texture filled with the sounds of astral flutes. The arabesques of the synths contrast their tones in a good moment which little by little deviates towards a more Lounge sphere with a keyboard which leaves its chords in suspension. A bit as if Thaneco and Romerium were talking to each other; see you next time…
Sylvain Lupari (October 27th, 2020) ***¾**
Available at Thaneco Bandcamp