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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TRANQUILITY: Deus Ex Machina (1996)

“If you like sequences pounding over synths travelling from ambient vibes to progressive rhythms, this album should please you”

1 The Number of the Beast 11:51

2 Intrinsic 7:45

3 Straight to the Void 14:02

4 The Logic of Love 9:58

5 Diary of a Worksman 13:00

(CD 56:38) (V.F.) (Berlin School)

Don't rely on the name of the band to get an idea of its content. Tranquility is the project of one man, Frank Makowski today with ['ramp'], and DEUS EX MACHINAS is anything but quiet! It's a powerful album that has withstood the onslaught of years, because undeniably ahead of its time. If you like sequences pounding over synths travelling from ambient vibes to progressive rhythms, then this album should please you.

It starts with the fall of a chord on a buzzing effect and a dark choir. Following the echo of its hesitation, this key transforms into a line of buzzing sequences that intermingle with other sequences jumping in disorder. This strange symbiosis creates an electronic fantasy that is grafted to a tight-fitting bass line before exploding on percussions. It reigns a mysterious atmosphere with ambiguous perceptions in this title riddled with striking sound effects. The synth frees good aerial solos, plunging The Number of the Beast into a more progressive vision with its fluid and deviant rhythm. A heavy whirlwind of sounds and sequences runs with incredible power leaving in its furrow a fine hypnotic sequence that will be the bed of Intrinsic. A beautiful procession progresses among slamming and felted percussions which is encircled with sound effects that are both strange and melodious. The movement is fluid and flows on a harmonious flute, choirs with abstract nuances and very good solos of a synth with imaginative contortions. A line of animated sequences with its undulating form and minimalist power inscribed Intrinsic in the pure tradition of the Berlin School. Metal percussions, such as tabla and bongo, roll and flutter in a hazy ambience where rotating pulsations sweep the horizon with another line of clearer percussions. With a strange-sounding synth, Straight to the Void begins an unreal tribal dance. An avalanche of percussions rushes furiously and adopts this ectoplasm rhythm encircled by another line of sequence. Complex and at times powerful, Straight to the Void supports quite well its many atmospheric reverberations without leaving any place to place a breath. And this, up until the very end!

Crystalline notes scroll in a biting sequence and support each chord with a heavy beat. The Logic of Love is a title that evolves slowly with its heavy sequencer that skips while being almost atonic. This sequence resonates at the four corners of the universe while layers of voices try to lighten the moods that intensify with the addition of enveloping layers of his Asiatic fragrances. Fluid with a convolution of its flying layers, the synth multiplies its lines that surround the evolution of The Logic of Love with pulses to intonation variants, beautiful solos and harmonious passages that gently support the sensual breaths of an absent voice that makes part of a voice collage introducing us to Diary of a Workman. A synth whistling lightly on sequenced pulsations, which hammer these atmospheres with weight, transforms its hissing into violin strata whose sequenced staccato movement become beats that resonate on anvils. Until then methodical, the rhythm becomes a little messy with percussions a little more progressive rock which plow the more symphonic mink of the synth which multiplies the solos on blows of anvils. A very bright moment that ends up resuming its initial movement on a structure of rhythm more boosted and more sustained.

I quite liked this DEUS EX MACHINAS from Tranquility. It's an intense album with a creative sequencer and as heavy as percussions. Frank Makowski manipulates the art of reverberation with a still untapped approach today, giving explosive depth to an opus where sequencers and synthesizers intersect their impulses on changing rhythms. The soundscape is enchanting with a heaviness effect at strategic points, along with industrial and wild sound effects that are at the antipodes of any tranquility.

Sylvain Lupari (November 26th, 2006) ****

Available at Spheric Music & CD Baby

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