TONBIEGER: Strandgut (2016)
“Syngate has developed this art to discover new talents which make EM flourishes towards new dimensions. Tonbieger is the last in line!”
1 Stadtgeflüster 22:55 2 Gezeitenreiten 19:45 3 Flächenflug 20:16 4 Wolkenweit 16:18 SynGate | CD-R JP01
(CD-r/DDL 79:14) (V.F.) (New Berlin School)
A line of sequences in the very cheerful tones is piercing the small wall of murmurs of unclear voices which wrap the introduction of Stadtgeflüster. These sequences are crystal clear and so very harmonious. Gamboling of a rather lively circular flow, they scatter shadows filled of organic tones on layers of bass which float with a vampiric approach. Then it's the electronic noises which are added to this din all the same rather lively, bringing this first sonic proposal of Tonbieger towards a strong electronic rock soaked of Geoff Downes' perfumes. Apparently inspired by the post Berlin School era and of an electronic rock disinfected in a New Wave envelope of the 80's, this first album of Tonbieger needs to be tame quite smoothly. Consisted of 4 long structures which are divided into modifying phases, STRANDGUT, for wrecks, is far from being a jetsam for the German label SynGate which does not stop participating in the blooming of EM with interesting new artists. The last one in the running is Tonbieger, a project of German musician and synthesis Jakob Paulussen, who is also known on the Web under the pen name of jakobsweb, is an enthusiast of the synthesizers who amassed an impressive collection of music and instruments, as analog and digital, during the last 25 years. And the result is an album which fascinates with an impressive sound fauna in perpetual movement.
If the first 6 minutes of Stadtgeflüster offer a good electronic rock, the movement becomes then more motionless with a line of sequences which makes a series of keys waddle on a carpet of effects and electronic twists. It's like to see a firework beneath the ground! The movement of sequences draws another approach of more fluid and more circular rhythm under scattered metallic bangings. This second phase of rather ambient rhythm dissipates with good cosmic effects of analog tones before returning in its initial phase of rhythm, but with more heaviness. Four structures of an average duration of 20 minutes which change of sonic skins between 3 or 4 times, STRANDGUT disconcerts more than it enchants in the first listenings. It's a skillful mixture of ambiences and of rhythms to which we have to listen to with care to notice the small jewels of tones which hide between those phases of rhythms. As in Gezeitenreiten where the meshing of the hesitating sequences with fluid bass pulsations and percussions sculpture a good electronic rock as lively as the very simplistic melody. Little by little the rhythm preserves only its line of bass pulsations which oscillate under the caresses of a synth and its melody rather catchy. The 1st ambiospherical phase, which shows around the 6th minute, gives an indication that Tonbieger is also soaked with Jean Michel Jarre's influences, especially with the lively rhythm which moves those ambiences some 60 seconds farther. Our feet burn the ground here. The very harmonious sequences on this rhythm of fire make very New Berlin School while the synth layers with tones of organ are sounding like a mix of Geoff Downes and Jarre. Especially the effects which enrich a finale rather of ambiences. Gezeitenreiten, like Stadtgeflüster, proposes beautiful phases of rhythm which would have a better sonic image in shorter envelopes of time. But stuck in ambiosonic and ambiospheric phases give a more progressive reflection to those who like convoluted structures. Flächenflug is a long title of vintage Berlin School moods with a wall of sound effects which perturb the meditative approach of the floating synth lines. It's for those who like seeing (to hear) a tapestry of noises. The very ambient and orchestral approach of Wolkenweit is some candy for the ears. The line of sequences which gets free of there is making beat a key which is waddling in symbiosis with the seraphic caresses of the fake violins. The beating gets lost of its road while the percussions and other noises of percussions shake these cosmic atmospheres a la Software, plunging Wolkenweit into a kind of cosmic rock built around nice vintage tones. The synth spits some sonic serpentines which wriggle under shape of these beautiful solos of the psychedelic years while the structure of rhythm defines a little better its approach which takes the shape of a slow cosmic rodeo. The meshing of sequences and percussions is also magic as the atmospheres, allowing to the title to support its approach which little by little gets erode around the 8 minutes point. A long ambiosonic phase invades then our earphones, showing still the influences of Jean-Michel Jarre from his sonic corridor of Magnetic Fields.
For a first album, Tonbieger shows his savoir faire by structuring 3 long phases which have the fidgets. The weak point is the order of its 4 titles. I would have inverted the roles, so putting the listener in appetite because if Stadtgeflüster and Gezeitenreiten are forged to tie up well our ears to our loudspeakers, Flächenflug and Wolkenweit are rather the kind to put those (the ears) in appetite. But when that is just the weak point of an album, it's like to try to find fleas on a bald head well round! To discover...
Sylvain Lupari (September 23rd, 2016) ***¾**
Available at SynGate Bandcamp