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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TM SOLVER: Oxymoron (2020)

The beauty of TM Solver's works lies in this mix of rhythms and ambiences that he knows how to skillfully tie with his countless synth solos

1 Oxymoron 14:26

2 Diametral 5:14

3 Transzendenz 13:56

4 Singularität 9:02

5 MMXX 5:58

6 Fornax-Cluster 17:19

7 Sedativ 9:01

(CD-R/DDL 73:05) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

This latest album by TM Solver is told to have focused on the New Berlin School with new technique and new arrangements. The New Berlin School is however well known with the emergence of the IC label and flagship artists such as Software and Robert Schroeder who instilled in the Berlin School a more minimalist rhythmic style, more relaxed and melodious with a technology focused on digital tones of the plug-ins and software. I like what Thomas Meier does, both with TM Solver and with MTA Lab. It's obvious that he has the Berlin School in his blood! And this is the case here with OXYMORON where I would say that he surfs the two eras with a fascinating neutrality.

With a rhythmic opening in Stratosfear mode, the title track however contradicts the press guide. The warm ambience and the tone in general indicate that we are in pure Berlin School style. Nothing less! The rhythm is fluid and undulates languidly in an ascending mode. The synth is the centerpiece of this album. At the start, he throws pretty good solos whose Arabic harmonies have this little old organ filter with a nasal tone. Its progression makes me think of good Adelbert Von Deyen, as well as the first works of Klaus Schulze. If the rhythm remains minimalist, the synth is pleasantly polyform with tone changes in solos and effects, saving the best for the end. An excellent title which starts this new album by TM Solver very well. A bridge built of organic materials links its end at the atmospheres of Diametral. These strange crisp tones sparkle on the flight of flute layers which advance softly to the sound of a Mellotron and a synth soaked in solos with always fascinating tones of nasal trumpets. Its last breath extinguished; it's immediately taken up by Transzendenz which extends its spasmodic rhythmic framework. The sequencer releases a horde of unruly tiny balls which jump and collide, creating a jerky effect under cosmic synth solos. The percussions, which get invited around the 4 minutes, restructure the rhythm, which is now more fluid and slightly faster. This rhythm, which embraces the technoïd limits, will be used as a basis in order to receive the numerous synth solos whose musical and copper tones sing and contort in this long structure which will flirt with an ambient phase, vaguely recalling the universe of Klaus Schulze, in particular by mid-course and towards the final which merges into the opening of Singularität.

Here, the arpeggios are like critters that twirl and flutter from one ear to the other, emitting a tone and then another, while the rhythm sits on low pulsations of sober percussions whose cymbals are crushed like the sound of big insects on a cricket trap. MMXX is a good track whose rhythm reveals a relatively harmonious trotting figure. A catchy rhythm, almost FM, decorated with really good solos as Thomas Meier likes to draw them. Simplistic in its genre, but really effective! If we had this impression that OXYMORON was quietly migrating from the old New Berlin School to the brand new, Fornax-Cluster confirms it with a particularly good track where the cosmic harmonies of Software surrounds the electronic and cackling cha-cha-cha of Robert Schroeder. The first 10 minutes of this long captivating track float on a slightly funky rhythmic buoy which also serves as basis for other good synth solos, sometimes sleepy and sometimes stylized. The 10th minute announces a turning towards cosmic atmospheres which are inspired by these wandering movements of the sequencer in the first years of Software. Percussion drums an abstract rhythm to which a rhythmic refrain from the sequencer is fixed. Yes! We are really in the heyday of Software where our senses were always on the lookout for this next rhythmic impulse. And like that, the music and its atmospheres make us drift to the softly undulating rhythm of Sedativ. We read the title and we have no difficulty in guessing the music which is actually a nice lunar ballad that drifts pleasantly with these large oscillating dangling.

The beauty of TM Solver's works lies in this combination of rhythms and ambiences that Thomas Meier knows how to skillfully tie with his countless synth solos. I also like this feeling of gently migrating between the two schools of thought in this album which also hides its very commercial little thing in MMXX. Offered in downloadable format and in CD-R H-Q at Syngate, OXYMORON is a guaranteed value in the New Berlin School genre. The music is lively, energetic in places, with hypnotic rhythms that migrate into a rich sound fauna. A good 4 star, because it's very beautiful at some points, and for titles like Oxymoron and Transzendenz!

Sylvain Lupari (May 27th, 2020) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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