TRANSPONDER: Hyperion Gate (2020)
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
“A superb album which enchants us even more with each new hearing. The real pleasure of any music lover”
1 Terminae 6:10
2 Asteria 4:50
3 Europa Prime 10:18
4 Pharos 8:56
5 Megalith 6:04
6 Quantum Mirror 9:42
7 Hyperion Gate 7:02
8 N23 5:18
(DDL 58:50) (V.F.)
(Psybient, Berlin School)
After a rather lukewarm album, Beholder made two years earlier, Transponder returns with what I call a smudge-free album that really meets the expectations I had set myself after hearing Starless. HYPERION GATE draws us into a psybient universe where tonal vegetation grows which is the victim of interbreeding making of it not only lush in terms of sound but also unique by its reddish color that we can clearly feel through our acoustic speakers, like headphones. But the most astonishing is this musical texture which makes very Tangerine Dream circulating among ambiences which take sometimes the musical specters of the famous German trio. In short, what we have here is an ingenious mix of the cinematographic universes of Edgar Froese and cie to ambiences that the Dream has grope a little with Mars Polaris. A superb album which enchants us even more with each new hearing. The real pleasure of any music lover.
Two breaths; a buzz and a fragile voice, are at the origin of Terminae whose first explosion, followed by a creeping bass line, plunges us into a cinematographic universe where big alien war machines have fun decimating the Earth. We hear the killer jets coming out of these machines, as we hear this sneaky sequence hemmed all around. The ingredients are added, all that remains is to make it rise. Once our imagination has been brought back to the right proportions, we discover a kind of morphic Groove. An ambient rhythm where our knees wear down the ground in a space filled with floating arpeggios which sparkle between the slow dying pulsations of this famous bass line which is the rhythmic ascendant of Terminae. And if we like these percussion effects bulging with anesthetic gas, your ears will be pampered in this title. These moods of the extinction of a race are also at the height of this second album of the Transponder duo where each title is filled with oxidized mist and felted explosions. A pulsation gets impatient in the opening of Asteria, a title which favors an ambient rhythm. Chasing away these layers of bluish steel, she succeeds in bringing together its fellows to install a pounding rhythm like a ticking which magnetizes our charms more deeply with the addition of the clicks of cymbals. A short line emerges from this circadian panorama. Tracing its more harmonic furrows, it multiplies its shadows that come and go, as if to signify that life exists inside Asteria, while the rhythm subtly accelerates the cadence as it passes under an allegorical bridge invaded by soporific mist and sound fireworks. A horizontal storm jostles northern winds that whistle between our ears. Europa Prime accosts these by setting up a tired beat that will make you think of Tangram. Wonderful, the sequencer dribbles his jumping keys with a zest of creativity that exceeds the established standard sin the field. Violin scents cover this unconventional ticking in a phase of rhythm that challenges not only our imagination, but also our memories. While this rhythm seems to decrease, it exports its violence with such force that my speakers were the only witnesses of my jump. This new force unleashes the secret with a line of sequences twisting around a mechanical ticking. The shadows and buzzing areas of the synth inject a chthonian vibe into Europa Prime, putting even more orgasmic fuel in my ears. A great title in an album that never ceases to amaze from title to title.
Even Pharos, its puny and skeletal rhythm defying these big buzzes which nourish the sectors of HYPERION GATE, seems out of the ordinary to me. This title is a good challenge for my Totem speakers with the limpidity of the arpeggios which pace a tortuous path with a harmonious vision which balances between its rhythm and its melody on a land of fire. Despite the bad weather, this scathing rhythm for the ambiences remains upright advancing like a man of faith towards a lullaby for baby aliens. Cursing, Megalith groped between the various explosions and resonances that made her cradle. Reddish lines crackle the atmospheres, suggesting a line of rhythm swinging like a leg suspended in the void. Early, this movement accelerates, leaving its vermilion nest to undertake a walk towards these lands of fire which extinguish all life by nourishing the atmospheres. This line follows an irregular path, zigzagging as if to avoid the fangs of these ambiences, of which a good percentage is organic. There is a bit of Edgar Froese in this title. In its evolutionary structure, Quantum Mirror is the track which is closest to Tangerine Dream in this second album of Steve Pierce and Don Tyler duo. So much to say for so few words, I put the YouTube link in the text to give you a head. An excellent evolving title that makes the best of TD titles. I am thinking of the Flashpoint period here. The title-track exhausts its tears in a catastrophic opening à la Vangelis. A fragile hopping rhythm escapes a little before the 3rd minute. A bit like in Megalith, its course is as delicate as its appearance, while the sound gas digs its winding road. But the sequencer movement remains solid with good arpeggios that not only beat a tortuous pace but also attracts fluty synth chants. A bit like centaurs wanting to guide Hyperion Gate, they weave a finale where sound exploration remains our only pleasure. N23 is a bonus track that was exclusive to the Bandcamp universe before the making of HYPERION GATE. Fun guaranteed if you like it when that buzzes to the end! It's a bit like an orchestra tuning its instruments, but inside a cave and its organic sound effects. Let's say that it has its place here and that it complements the dark atmospheres of this Transponder album which really caught my ears. From start to last note!
Sylvain Lupari (November 27th, 2020) ****½*
Available at Exosphere Bandcamp