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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TMA & FRIENDS: Live 4F (2013)

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Live 4F is a very good CD/DVD box set from a concert where Torsten M Abel and friends played most of the RAL 5002 album

1 Circular Movement 10:04

2 Clouds 7:26

3 Kristallin 10:33

4 Centaurus A 11:43

5 Sequentum P 9:49

6 Arctic Voyage 8:16

7 Trip to New Shores 6:59

8 Deja Vu/ Reprise 2:32

9 Dreamland

(Featuring Alien Voices) 6:46

(CD-r/DDL/ DVD-r 74:15) (V.F.)

(E-prog/rock, New Berlin School)

An EM show performed by a band of musicians is a lot more pleasant to see than to watch a single artist on stage playing with his knobs, keys and wires. It seems to me that the synergy and the complicity between the accomplices of a show brings a quite new dimension of freshness to works conceived, played and recorded in studio by a single person. And, in spite of a rather weak audience, this is what has happened during the last E-Day festival in April 2013, organized by Ron Boots who introduces the gang of TMA and where Torsten M. Abel presented the main lines of his last album RAL 5002. And the band was consisted of Wolfgang Barkowski (Alien Nature) on synths and sequencers, Martin Rohleder on guitars and Thomas Betzler on percussions. The quartet offered a pretty amazing performance that was caught on video, hence this CD/DVD box set entitled LIVE 4F.

The fruits of this collaboration between 4 Friends/musicians can be feel straight away with Circular Movement, from the Sequentrips album. Except a new very ambiosonic intro, the rhythm is sharper and the synths' harmonies, as well as their slightly different solos, are weaved behind a more present guitar play and livelier percussions. And this is what it strikes the most in this album. It's live. Totally live. What you see is what you hear and vice-versa. So each track possesses a little something refreshing. Whether it's some new introductions, new ambiences and slightly accentuated paces or subtly slower ones, the interpretation of RAL 5002 (only Before Midnight/Luna and Birth of New Light/Sol are missing) breathes of many small nuances which are the mark of an album played in concert. The performance of Clouds is in the tone with a Martin Rohleder in great shape. I also like Kristallin; a track which keeps its spectral cachet with a heavier and more powerful rhythm. Even with a sequencing pattern which gurgles more than on the studio album, Sequentum P preserves its very beautiful ethereal harmonic envelope. This is really a great piece of music and I just like these sequences which chirp in the romance of a very dreamy acoustic guitar. This is a great interpretation, just like those of Artic Voyage and the blazing Trip to New Shores; a track which has its younger brother in Centaurus A, the only new one on LIVE4F which drinks totally of the atmospheres of RAL 5002. Coming out of the SynthsOrganics album, Dreamland was recorded at Winnie's Garden Party in Hamm, Germany. The voices of aliens are always so intriguing, like guttural breaths which encircle a rhythmic structure always in progress. This rhythm is soft and the synth solos are as well plaintive as harmonious in this sonic setting where the contrasts suit so well to the delicate lunar harmonies. If the music is good, even excellent, what about the video side? Although very sober, the shooting of the E-Day performance is as well interesting to look as the music to be heard. It's an excellent complement and an interesting option to counter the hacking. The direction is concise with beautiful fade-ins and fade-outs between the images shown on the back center of the stage and the musicians as well as some nice graphics and visual effects which float around very good shots on the musicians which demystify the electronic art with good close-ups on Wolfgang Barkowski and Torsten M. Abel. These fade-ins and fade-outs, as well as the framing, are very well done. We see that it's the work of pro with several cameras which are used to encircle better the performance of the quartet who, actually, gives a very good concert. A concert just as great as the album conceived by a very big name of the contemporary progressive EM.

Sylvain Lupari (January 10th, 2013) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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