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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TM Solver Dividuum (2023)

It's a very good release that requires a greater attention of the listener

1 Dividuum Part I 14:45

2 Anciedent Landscape 10:12

3 Serious Ambient 10:45

4 Metaphysics 8:38

5 Dividuum Part II 11:44

6 Vectors 9:35

7 Drift Pad 10:09

(CD-r/DDL 75:52) (V.F.)

(Ambient New Berlin School)

Tinklings, reminiscent of the opening of Hergest Ridge (Mike Oldfield), long and winding trails of buzzing winds fill the first 100 seconds of Dividuum Part I. A more ominous shadow invites the first beats of a rhythm which is uncertain of its genesis. The sequencer sculpts a movement that zigzags and stumbles, sometimes even makes dribble its hesitant arpeggios around, in an ambivalent structure where the color of the jumping keys and their asymmetrical leaps form a surprising rhythmic cohesion. Although inviting to make our fingers tap on the surface of our armrest, the rhythm is more ambient than lively. It serves as a base for the synth to whistle beautiful solos, while injecting those haze-filled banks of gaseous morphine that fill the soundscapes of electronic music (EM) which draws its source from Software's early albums. The more Dividuum Part I progresses, the more Thomas Meier adds a brief bit of rhythm that is disassociated from the main structure, creating evanescent phases whose sharp and fast movements encourage one to focus a little more on the evolution of the first and longest track of his new album, DIVIDUUM. After an absence of almost 3 years, Oxymoron was released in May 2020, TM Solver gets back with an album that respects in all points his musical aestheticism. Transposing the philosophical meaning of the word divisible (dividuum) on his music, the German musician-synthesist offers a new album filled with these evolving structures where ambient rhythms and others more accentuated intertwine their permutations in the pure tradition of the New Berlin School. He elaborates sequencer structures that are decomposed and/or rearranged in micro-sequences in order to create new rhythmic structures, but also to stimulate an EM designed to make our neurons work and put them in filmmaker mode for an intimate and imaginary 76-minute film. That's the length of DIVIDUUM that has just been released by the German label of EM, SynGate.

More complex and livelier, Anciedent Landscape unfolds its rhythmic framework like half a dozen centipedes crisscrossing a flat ground. The combined rhythms also form on this track a fascinating symbiosis, as much rhythmic as harmonic, with their differences in intonations and tones, some of which are crystal clear for rhythm, as well as the colors of their rhythmic artifices. One of these artifices is a line of organic pulses that growl and zigzag a little after the 7th minute, accentuating its flow a little bit spasmodic while remaining puny. These structures, which sometimes give us the pleasant impression of drifting, serve as the basis for a creative synth and its banks of lunar mist as well as its solos filled with dreamy and melancholic melodies. A jet of electronic materials covers the introduction of Serious Ambient which doesn't waste a second to make a string of moiré sequences sparkle on the spot. A movement of bass sequences structures the main axis of the rhythm which is more dynamic than the one of the last Anciedent Landscape's phase. A bass line adds a nice depth, as do those keyboard chords that are quickly swallowed up by the swirl of the first sequenced arpeggios. This structure of Serious Ambient is more complex. Its different orientations and intersecting rhythmic bits that come together in a cadenced chassé-croisé are creating a spasmodic polymorphic structure. A kind of rhythmic skeleton that dances awkwardly between the uncertain hands and the sclerotic fingers of a puppeteer who has just done a line of coke. And these peculiar structures, to say the least, flood the entirety of DIVIDUUM. Here, it combines with keyboard harmonies, spectral synth blasts and sound effects that light up our listening like those oxygen bubbles in the ocean depths coming from submarine ballast injection. Well, you see the topo!

Metaphysics emphasizes this assortment of small sequencer structures that come together in a constant rhythm. TM Solver is as active as creative in the art of tripping and/or dribbling his galloping keys, as well as rhythm elements that have a more organic texture. Although fast, the speed and curves of the flow sometimes give a tasty sense of slow motion. A bit like a swarm of small steps surveying an uneven ridge. The synth harmonies follow the cacophonous trajectory of this rhythmic backbone, and its derivatives, with psybient effects and waves that remind me of Edgar Froese. After a Dividuum Part II that is definitely more ambient, Vectors offers two rhythm structures. The main one traces a chaotic jumping pattern, respecting Thomas Meier's vision of fixing together loose rhythmic bits. The sequences have a delightful rubbery texture, and their elastic leaps stretch a rhythm that leaps into layers of a synth flavored with more oriental essences. A synth by the way that launches some very good plaintive solos that sound like a guitar possessed by a spirit with a cold. Quiet and seductive! Drift Pad concludes this new adventure of TM Solver with a slower rhythm. A rhythm that almost takes on the sly gait of a wolf with hushed slapping effects. Set on lines that hop, gambol, run and stumble, the rhythm takes a circular tangent that staggers into nothingness, creating a discreet stroboscopic filament. It is here that the essences of Software are best felt with a synth manipulated by a melancholic mind and its solos that drift as much as the axis of a rhythm that never seems to want to be tamed.

DIVIDUUM is this kind of album that can be heard in loops, and always we would have this sensation of discovering something new so much the polymorphic and the pluralism aspects of the rhythms give it a depth equal to a well of originality without end. It's a very good release from TM Solver that requires a greater attention of the listener, otherwise he risks passing through between the meshes of a sequencer which deconstructs to reconstruct with a zest of an originality as audacious as the concept. Very good!

Sylvain Lupari (March 23rd, 2023) ****½*

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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

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