“This is a dominating album in its category of EDM and Electronic rock filled by moods of the England School”
1 The Long Path to Nowhere 14:53 2 The Circe Complex 7:17 3 Through the Dark Lane 6:10 4 Route X 7:35 5 Exit to Nowhere 10:33 6 Break Down the Doors 7:28 7 The Path Splits... 9:51 AKPCD1004 (CD/DDL 63:10) (V.F.)
(Sequencer-Based England School E-Rock)
In 15 years, EM has more that evolved. It went out of its bed to draw tributaries of psybient, EDM, Poland and Roumanian Schools. These 15 years also separate the first album of Transceive and this one. There was well a compilation in 2006, Transformation 88:98, and a single in 2011 entitled The Circe Complex. In the meantime, Steve Nelson undertakes to build his own Modular synth system and acquires a Moog Minimoog. And if 15 years separate Intrigue from this EXIT TO NOWHERE, the ardour of Transceive isn't less decreased. Far from it! Always inspired by Mark Shreeve and Tangerine Dream as well as the kind of electro synth-pop music of Jean-Michel Jarre, Steve Nelson delivers us an album of a rare violence for an EM which flirts mainly with the model of the England School and this intelligent techno of the Jive label in the 80's. And the Modular synth goes to us straight into our ears with aplomb in its system!
And that begins with riffs and layers of synth which lay down their ambient harmonies in a rather contemplative intro. The tint becomes more misty with a second flight of layers which unwinds now an aura of mysticism. The sound effects paint the heavens, while sibylline harmonies extricate themselves from this sound magma which we feel on the point to explode. Twisted apocalyptic solos arise and a line of sequences which jumps on the same pace lights the breakneck pace of The Long Path to Nowhere and its chthonian choirs. Cymbals sparkle in this opening to the rhythm while that real percussions, hammered by Joe Beasley, structure a rhythm of hell. A big electronic rock with the ingredients of England School, synth solos and dark choirs, The Long Path to Nowhere rage at a brisk pace in a structure of rhythm that we just can't dance on before taking another opening where the sequences sharply oscillate in the shade of more resonant layers. This 3rd movement exploits a lively rhythm in the background as well as a delicate melody strummed on a keyboard which makes shade to the feverish sequences. The style makes very Mark Shreeve, but not as much as in the next stage of rhythm which aims to be a crossing between Shreeve and Tangerine Dream of the 81 Tour (Silver Scale). The rhythm remains lively and skips with promptness before taking a more rock/trash tangent. The layers of dark voices and the solos try to slow down this wild duel between the driven sequences and the percussions which splits its ardour for brief slowing phases in its swiftness, but not in its tenacity, before crashing on cosmic cliffs. No doubt here! We are in the lands of fast paced and ambiences for horror movie with a load of effects borrow to hell or its lanes. We are in the lands of Mark Shreeve. The introduction of The Circe Complex is of mist and mystery. The layers of keyboard are gargantuan and remind a little Jarre in his Rendezvous. Likewise, the rhythm wakes up as a cosmic rumba before exploding of the same wild nature as in The Long Path to Nowhere, arrangements of violins from the tales of thousand and one nights in addition. Through the Dark Lane begins with white noises and effects of violin which plays on a vinyl in an old gramophone. There is a power failure and the whole thing dies out. Layers coming from the gaps spread a dark approach while the percussions which click try to structure a mid-tempo which sounds like a technoïd waltz. A nice strummed melody shines in this structure of stop-and-go. Its freshness is like an angel's face in the interstices of the darkness and its decoration is fed of organic growls and of orchestrations as romantic as these French black and white movies. And like in each track on EXIT TO NOWHERE, the structure metamorphoses to take another color, and even another form, which is never very far from its original design. The melody here is simply mesmerizing.
Route X does very Legion due to its harmonies blown by good synth solos. The rhythm sits on a meshing of sober electronic percussions and sequences which click in the same flow. Here it's the harmonies which change shapes and the synth layers which make an adornment changing on a good steady rhythm. The title-track begins with an effect of mooing blown in a long-demonized horn on which are grafted some impressive layers of organ coming out of the darkness. The intro is more of chthonian atmospheres and the riffs of keyboards will remind you those of Rush. Still here the synth solos are very weeping and paint some long harmonious complaints. A lively Redshift rhythm, a little less heavy, hangs on to these ambiences. And from quiet, this rhythm goes wild and crazy with hyperactive sequences which skip in effects of Mark Shreeve's orchestrations in Legion. Moreover, the concept of Exit to Nowhere strangely looks like these horror movies where the attractive virgin tried to run away from a manor full of ghosts and monsters by the means corridors which seem to stretch out beneath her running thin feet. A track rather frightening with the signature of Shreeve. Break Down the Doors peels its transformations until reach a solid techno, kind of dance floors intended for marinated zombies, which sounds like those of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The small details in the works of the percussions and the sequences is simply brilliant here. The Path Splits ... marks the return of Joe Beasley on drums. It's a track as infectious as The Long Path to Nowhere, but in a more in more danceable approach.
Personally, I have adored EXIT TO NOWHERE! It's big electronic rock with a fusion of intelligent EDM where Steve Nelson makes a whole job at the level of the sequencing patterns and the electronic percussions. At times, one would really believe to hear Mark Shreeve. The synths are as well active than creative by dividing very well the effects of the harmonies with good juicy solos and arrangements which lead us near hell. I also like this atmosphere of latent madness that Transceive exploits. Like in these horror movies of the 70's, Phantasm or still A Nightmare On Elm Street. Blazing, creative and in continual movement, EXIT TO NOWHERE is a dominating album in its category. An inescapable for fans of the England School model!
Sylvain Lupari (May 9th, 2016) *****
Available at Transceive Bandcamp