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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TM SOLVER: Delay Line (2019)

Updated: May 27, 2020

“Tones on tones and over atypical figures of rhythms, Delay Line shines of its meaning on an another good abstract EM album from Thomas Meier”

1 New Sparkle 10:48 2 End of Voltaire 15:07 3 Debussy on Keys 18:18 4 Refinery 8:48 5 Artificial Sequence 12:38 6 Introspective 10:5 Syngate | CD-R TM13

(CD-r/DDL 76:36) (V.F.) (Abstract, ambient & New Berlin School)

Structured? Not really! DELAY LINE brings us into the territories of sound surprises with a Thomas Meier strong of his new instruments. Available in CD-r format, a Hi-Res 24-96 version is also available on DVD, or in a 16 or 24-bit downloadable format, this latest work of TM Solver offers nearly 80 minutes of tonal experiments on 6 ambient rhythms which hatch out, roll and go, fade and born again in a collateral shape some few moments later.

From a din of electronic effects is born a furtive line of bass sequences which begins the chaotic rise of New Sparkle. Like mischievous steps climbing a staircase with a few timed stops, the ambient rhythm spreads its mixed colors in a moving sound mass. Banks of nebulous mists, electronic sounds as sought after as in the world of Robert Schroëder and strange murmurs accompany this aerial walk which increases the pace with the arrival of percussions. Sharp filaments stand out from the banks of fog and form the harmonic part of New Sparkle with floating layers which sing like those electronic mermaids swimming in the interstellar mists. Flirting with an abstract universe, the music of DELAY LINE focuses on samplings and organic textures that follow the curves of atypical rhythms. With a bit of imagination, it's no exaggeration to compare the rhythm of End of Voltaire to a cha-cha-cha that one would dance some 1000 years later. Its rhythm also needs percussions so that we can move our feet tapping the floor. Jerked, as much in the flow of arpeggios as sequences, the structure offers very beautiful sound flashbacks from the Düsseldorf School of the years 71 to 73. The contemporary aspect is not left out with a sound decor which remains as rich as creative and makes our ears wiggle of happiness to a couple of occasions. In fact, one of the delights of this DELAY LINE lies in its concentration of sound effects which recall the years of exploration and sonic discoveries with the coming of sampling banks and their huge tonal reservoirs.

These tanks fill up constantly, always pushing the boundaries of music to other galaxies. Debussy on Keys benefits greatly of those samplings with its retro rhythm which barely changes its course in its envelope of 18 minutes. The rhythm is ambient and is comparable to the effect of a giant vacuum cleaner which sucks up tonal dust into perpetual symmetrical spirals. This minimalist structure is conducive to a duel of scintillating arpeggios of various tones and another duel between synths that release solos with multiple tonal colors. There is a very melancholic side in this perpetual rhythmic spiral which releases perfumes of Baffo Banfi. I like the steady rhythm of Refinery which makes me think of the rhythmic hatching in The Dark Side of the Moog 9, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Mother, by the Schulze-Namlook tandem. The solos give a more abstract relief to a good structure deliciously convulsive. Layers of ethereal voices and acoustic guitar chords welcome the hobbling and cackling rhythm that sounds like a bipolar duck of Artificial Sequence. Holding on its linear course, the rhythm hops in a variety of sound effects before going off alone around the 4th minute point. The structure closes its loop a few minutes later. The influences of Robert Schroëder are palpable here. The sequencer is exhausted? That's the feeling one has with Introspective and its rhythm structure that seems to drag the sound universe on its way. This slow rhythm makes us relive the good sonic moments of DELAY LINE, especially those in End of Voltaire, and rests a little our imagination with an anesthetic mist where always spark these crystalline arpeggios which are part of the many charms of an EM album flirting with the abstract and the birth of the New Berlin School from the 85-90's. An album that lives up to our expectations regarding the signature and the aesthetic sound world of TM Solver.

Sylvain Lupari (January 29th, 2019) ***¾**

Available at SynGate's Bandcamp

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