TRANSCEIVE: Frozen Circuitry (2020)
“A wonderful album full of surprises that can be discovered with each new listening. It's near perfection”
1 Evolver 10:02
2 Frozen Circuitry 16:48
3 Communique 5:02
4 The Search 7:04
5 Time Drive 6:20
6 The Doll 5:10
7 Circuitry (Regeneration) 7:43
(CD/DDL 58:13) (V.F.)
(Sequencer-Based England School E-Rock)
Do you remember Exit to Nowhere? It was 4 years ago when my eardrums were still able to digest the rain of decibels that ate the 63 minutes of this album. Well, 4 years later, Transceive returns with a long-awaited sequel… and also deadly for those who have buttocks skin instead of eardrums. Phew! There's dynamite per square inch in this FROZEN CIRCUITRY! It is in an industrial din that Evolver settles. If the strata with odors of twisted metal fill its opening, the percussions, quite simply brilliant by the way, which follow are driving it towards a solid thunderous electronic rock. This rhythm is supported by drum bites and a splendid slow-motion effect which, attached to its rhythmic spasmodic jolts, reminds us how Transceive, and its master thinker Steve Nelson, is intimately linked by the influences of Mark Shreeve. The solos and the devilish synth harmonies that hover in this rhythmic tumult are irrefutable proof of this. It moves and it explodes constantly, especially for the first 2 tracks, with a dazzling contemporary tone. Everything is lively and jerky in the world of FROZEN CIRCUITRY. You have to watch the decibels because I am convinced that they break established safety standards 😊. Finally, let's say that this latest Transceive album is to electronic music what Motörhead's Ace of Spades is to rock. Obviously, it wasn't just loud, although I did need a few listening times to familiarize myself with that raw, metallic sound of FROZEN CIRCUITRY. There is some very good progressive EM with a sequencer which likes to throw in minimalist lines on structures beaten up by furious and heavy percussions which redirect the rhythms in a crash covered by screaming synth pads. So I did write earlier that Evolver is a big electronic hard-rock powered by a sequencer which dribbles its keys in jerks in order to support this spectral melody sung by a synthesizer which cannot match the raw force of its sound envelope dominated by the sequencer and frenzied percussions. The lines of rhythms revolve in a crossroads where sequences and percussions intersect and where balls are constantly banging with sharp snap effects. The title moves towards its atmospheric phase which disdains any ambient influence to favor a phase of static rhythm flying over by harmonies of a synth which launches too very good solos. Musical and aerial solos that brings us to this superb finale where the electric piano sculpts another of these melodies worthy of a metaphysical Halloween flowing in the grip of Redshift.
The long title-track offers an opening sewn into slyness with a threatening pulse radiating into a fauna nourished by the slow wings' impulses of the synthesizers. It gives a very strong ambient moment in terms of sound. As long as it is sometimes difficult to identify the visions of Transceive. It is around 4 minutes that the sequencer loads the ambiences with a suspended rhythmic threat. A threat which pedals in the void while listening to these black violins draw a melody without continuation in its orchestral shroud. Everything begins to rumble upstream while the sequencer touches the ground in order to make frolic its unruly keys in a melody so garish that one forgets its tears scattered in this mass of noises. The melody floating in a heavy and black sky of these tones plated at its four corners and the rhythm running in all directions at the feet of these orchestrations, Frozen Circuitry crumbles these antagonists in a meeting where everything merges in a chimerical steelworks. From there will emerge another movement of the sequencer and its rodeos which flirt a little with Jean-Michel Jarre's cosmic atmospherical phases and the visions of Mark Shreeve's theatrical horrors. This title, which requires more than listening will finally seduce fans of Tangerine Dream with its evolutionary structure which seems connected to this tone and this rhythmic impulse of Silver Scale.
Communique delights me with its openness à la Synergy in Metropolitan Suite. The synth-violin strata dance in a staccato mood which welcomes good solos. The rhythm settles down with good percussions hammering this symbiosis orchestrations and solos of a creative synth at the level of emotions. What we believed to be a line of melodious arpeggios becomes a line of rhythm which is chased after to tame this infernal and mocking melody which finally goes quite well with the dense orchestrations. A very good track where the intensity is at the rendezvous, both in the melody and the orchestral effects, without forgetting this very good solo towards the finale. A finale that sort of gives chills, a bit like Kashmir by my buddies from Led Zeppelin. A very good title which starts off this collection of 5 small titles in FROZEN CIRCUITRY quite well. The Search is an intense track with a constant ticking that magnetizes our listening to cinematic effects and other sound effects. Even stationary, the rhythm is fluid of its strong and intense clockwork while the synth weaves solos lost in the illusions of orchestrations at the limit elaborated by a paranoid schizophrenic. Creeping, the bassline is as important here as the jumping keys spilling out of the sequencer. After a big 2 atmospheric minutes, a tango à la Jean-Michel Jarre polishes the surface of Time Drive, a kind of thing which eats the ear while creating an addiction. An earworm mounted on a sublime melody that can easily be whistled. It sounds like a very Ultravox melody and it's on a good catchy rhythm with sequences that dribble to better match the percussions. In my iPod; section best EM tracks of 2020's! What can be said about The Doll except that the horrifying melody which dances from its virginal envelope may give you cold sweats down your back. Steve Nelson succeeds here in creating an evil environment befitting a living doll. Circuitry (Regeneration) ends this latest Transceive album with a hyperactive sequencer that sharply blasts its crazy keys into a linear structure before taking a crazy bend. A lively bend that rages in a dense and intense sound envelope which serves more as decoration than harmonious elements. Two short laps and the title will end where it started, bringing nothing more to FROZEN CIRCUITRY. A powerful album that made me switch headphones, so much the sound load made my Beats Solo vibrate. It flowed much better, with a good dose of musicality in my Sennheiser. But in the end, a wonderful album full of surprises that can be discovered with each new listening. It's near perfection! Hat to you Steve...
Sylvain Lupari (December 1st, 2020) ****½*
Available at Transcieve Bandcamp