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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

THE PELS SYNDICATE: Cinematic Blue (2010)

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

Unfinished melodious structures on boiling rhythms must be the best way to describe Cinematic Blue

1 Searchlight 2:53

2 Tesla Baby 5:05

3 Eclectic Electric 3:20

4 Tribal Civilisation 4:13

5 Yellow in 64 3:00

6 Hardcore Vision 3:13

7 Metro Movie 3:33

8 Inner Life 2:59

9 End Games 5:00

10 Invisible Cinema 3:24

11 Smooth Night Life 3:43

12 City Sky Walker 4:16

13 Freedom's Call 3:00

14 Cinematic Blue 2:56

(CD/DDL 50:37) (V.F.)

(Melodious, EDM New Age)

I have discovered the musical universe of Frank Pels through his second album Chemical Inconveniences. I had certainly heard CINEMATIC BLUE with an unconvinced ear. And it was after having tamed and reviewed this second album of The Pels Syndicate and its melodies set on ambivalent rhythms that I decided to invest the universe of the 14 tracks of this album forged in an EM quite easy to tame. Even if here the melodies are more fragmented and divided on much various percussions, as well in the genres as in the tones, where the influence of Jean-Michel Jarre seems present. In fact, the musical world of CINEMATIC BLUE is concentrated on these percussions and these pulsating and whirring bass lines, leaving little room for keyboards and its melancholic chords. Same thing for synths which weave more often than not the wings of violins on which hard rhythms of lead, down-tempo and even soft disco with a touch of synth-pop are tying up. In short, a very diversified musical canvas for a first album which sometimes has the defect of its qualities.

Hesitating chords wander around in the opening of Searchlight. Floating in an ethereal ambience, they draw a dark pensive melody which clings to a slow rhythm, hammered by sober percussions with reverberant tones. The rhythm dragging its skin of sorrow, Searchlight waltzes limply around its solitary chords which take the shape of the percussions' blows in a universe of static sizzles where the wings of the violins draw sighs of souls. Tesla Baby's pulsating percussion takes us out of the album's morphic introduction with a heavy and powerful beat. A rhythm of lead that layers of ethereal mist try to spin around delicate piano chords. Except that violent percussions are falling. JMJarre's style of metallic and slamming percussions which inundate a furious rhythm but all in all quite static that a synth coats layers as much harmonic as philharmonic with its impulses of cosmic waltz. It's very good and very impactful. At high volume, the eardrums may drool! Eclectic Electric pursues this duality of harmonies on confusing rhythms with a soft, innocent light piano whose notes are lost in waltzes of iridescent mists where pulsations stumble and percussions click and resonate in a static rhythm. Tribal Civilization is another track where tribal and slamming echoes tempest on chords with oblong elastic loops and layers of flying violins. The influence of Jarre bursts the eardrums. Trapped in a downward spiral and bitten by a heavy snoring bass, the rhythm of Yellow in 64 is like an old James Last on a disco trip on acid and other hard drugs while Hardcore Vision is more punchy in its slow rhythm which is based on a rich mix of percussions. It undulates on the curves of a good bass line with pulsating chords from which some fine piano notes also escape.

This structure is also the basis of Metro Movie which is more vitaminized and which flies on violin wings. Inner Life seems to come out of Tesla Baby's molds. It's a nice down-tempo with a fractured melody on piano. Oscillating between chill-out, the sluggishness and a cosmic waltz, End Games travels in search of rhythms and atmospheres, embracing tender violins and fighting with powerful percussions. It's intense and confusing, a bit like all in CINEMATIC BLUE. An unreal nursery rhyme lying in the back of an alley, Invisible Cinema leaves the innocence of its first chords and abandons its portion of melody to embrace the tumult of metal percussions, a little like in Inner Life and Tesla Baby, with parts of melodies very present in the album which fly into oblivion. And even if the heavy violins try to temper everything, the morphic down-tempo they draw shows a strange universe of seduction. Smooth Night Life flies on its violin wings. It's like a disco from the 70's, to which one added a good stroboscopic line in order to encircle the beat and to transport it beyond its fluty melody, its biting bass line and its clear resonant percussions. City Sky Walker is a good dark ballad. A lonely ballad where the guitar chords resonate in absolute introverted solitude before being harpooned by percussions with striking and tonalities as varied as heterogeneous. The percussions are the strength of this album. They fall on us at all times and it gives a whole new dimension to a melody as pink-candy as Freedom's Call which is a nice nod to synth-pop of the 80's. Static the title-track concludes with percussions which flutter around a melodious structure seeking to bloom.

Unfinished melodious structures on bubbling rhythms, this is the best way to define CINEMATIC BLUE. For his very first solo album, the Dutch synthesist puts pressure on percussions and diversified rhythms to the detriment of atmospheres and melodies, making of CINEMATIC BLUE an album which returns powerfully in the ears, forgetting to soften its passion. It's a hard and heavy album which lacks a little of this subtlety that one finds on Chemical Inconveniences but which is ideal for good smashing of the eardrums and the walls. And those who like percussion will be charmed by several titles on this album which also contains some good titles very inspiring.

Sylvain Lupari (March 21st, 2012) *****

Available at AD Music

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