THE ROSWELL INCIDENT: Trapped, Part One (2019)
“What we have here is a superb album of Berlin School made without any concession from the brothers Koen and Jan Buytaert”
1 Folded Space (From Here to Now-Here) 32:50
2 Trying to Escape the Moebius Timeshift 43:23
(CD/DDL 76:13) (V.F.)
The Roswell Incident! Phew, it had been a while since I heard new music from the brothers Koen and Jan Buytaert. I had to go back in 2015 with Adrift. And after a superb Just Before the Impact track from the Belgian Wool-E-Disc label Sonic Emissions compilation, the Buytaert brothers are back in strenght with an album called TRAPPED, PART ONE. An album in the purest tradition of Berlin School with two very long titles evolving on the principle of repetitive rhythm and its subtle skin changes. It's a studio album with the principle of improvisation with sequencer's patterns already built by Koen Buytaert. The ambiences, the harmonies, the piano parts and the solos are played on the inspiration of the moment where as soon as the music starts, Koen and Jan Buytaert are already elsewhere. Now 33 minutes like 43 minutes without index or parts! It's a lot of minutes to stay focused in order to follow these long musical rivers and hear the finales, which are as good as the other. So, The Roswell Incident demands a lot from its fans and perhaps a little too much for newcomers with these two structures which are much easier to discover after a single listen. But, how is the music?
Folded Space (From Here to Now-Here) doesn't waste time! Without saying that it starts on the wheel caps, the rhythm sparkles from the first second with hypnotic sequences sculpted in percussive arpeggios which revolve in a minimalist scheme, like fireflies in a circle which flutters in suspension. Other percussive effects sparkle around the circle, more or less imitating its movement, while anesthetic layers make fun of this slight din imposed by an assortment of effects both aerial and slightly percussive. A first phase change is initiated around the 13 minutes when the floating rhythm is redirected towards a series of beats on which are grafted a swarm of arpeggios twirling on the spot. This phase is more catchy with these keyboard riffs which support a rhythmic track going for a good progressive Berlin School. This section is rather catchy with its decor made up of multi layers of synth whose effects accumulate on arabesques of mist. Going by decreasing its intensity, Folded Space (From Here to Now-Here) embraces a good ambient passage around the 27th minute and return back with more heaviness and velocity in an intense final where one of the Buytaert brothers closed the switch of a spontaneous way! An abrupt ending that surprises and takes us out of a very comfortable torpor.
Trying to Ecape the Möbius Timeshift begins with a kind of amphibian language that can easily be compared to that of an extraterrestrial. A bright synth line crosses this language a bit rowdy, adding an iridescent tonal color to an introduction sewn in mystery. Buzzing and rustling are merging for an opaque sound texture that even the synth effects can not pierce in a long phase of atmospheres not created in order to sleep. Gradually, these uncomfortable elements dissipate to move an ascending rhythm structure where the sequences rise and fall, rise and fall again in a minimalist movement conducive to the exploration of multiple synth effects. This first phase goes up as far as harmonic tinklings which spin like chimes in warm winds. We are around the 12 minutes and the rhythm structure improves its velocity in symbiosis with its sound texture. In addition to the effects, the synths and keyboards sculpt riffs which crumble in tonal veils while the music journey is always done with a subtle progression nuanced by multilayered synth effects and beat elements as well as misty layers. Juicy and wrapped of parasitic noises, the sequences emerge around the 21 minutes. The movement becomes more lively and incisive with a touch of paranormal given the heaviness of the atmospheres and a sordid metallic tone which emerges around this other rhythmic blossoming. It's a short passage before a layer of sound effects puts Trying to Ecape the Möbius Timeshift into a good phase of psybient where percussive elements and jerky synth pads always sparkle like this circle of fireflies at the opening, but in another still very attractive sound texture. Five minutes later, Trying to Ecape the Möbius Timeshift takes off for good this time in a very beautiful structure of Berlin School which screws us to our headphones for an exceptional 15 minutes of EM of a very high level.
Are there lengths in TRAPPED, PART ONE? It depends on the point of view and especially on what we like in the Berlin School genre. It's obvious that with indexes or parts, the two long titles would be more accessible. But not better! The music is very good, and the sequences are impressive. These two elements are well installed in a psybient decor and in an impressive collection of percussive elements, and we have here a superb album of Berlin School made without any concession from the brothers Koen and Jan Buytaert who are already within the borders of Trapped Part Two. An excellent album!
Sylvain Lupari (February 26th, 2020) ****½*
Available at Belgian NewMusik Bandcamp