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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

UNDER THE DOME:The Demon Haunted World (1998)

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

This is without any doubts one of the most underrated album in modern EM. You have to own this classic album!

1 Flüssiger Vier-Takter 8:32 2 The Aeon's Day 22:26 3 The Bridge 13:33 4 Hell 24:00 Neu Harmony-NH007 (CD, CD-r, DDL 68:38) (V.F.) (Berlin School, England School)

The mechanism of a clock attracts our attention straightaway. These jingles get lost in a beautiful melodic duel between a piano and a guitar, both dreamers. The last notes are fading in the sweetnesses of Mellotron violin strings, and also in heavy reverberations. Sequences appear behind this curtain of paradoxes. The movement is heavy. The keys jump and run in oscillating waves, shaping a dark rhythm which waves with swiftness beneath a shower of other sequence keys as well as chords, riffs and pads of a mix of keyboard, synth and guitar retrieve in the void. From dreamer to heavy and furious, Flüssiger Vier-Takter rolls like a violent analog storm where dark and lively sequence chords are dancing and running free, with their doubles, on a wild structure of rhythm. These infernal four minutes end in the musing of a piano, and of its winged accomplices, which takes back its rights on this track with the support of a synthesizer of which the distortion singings are flowing under the severe shadows of the reverberations. We cannot stay insensible towards this first track which opens one of the great classics of modern EM. Under the Dome is a name forgotten in the firmament always well furnished in the Berlin School style, seasoned with a zest of the heavinesses of England School. This English duet, consisted of Grant Middleton and Colin Anderson had seduced the fans of the genre in the late 90's and the beginning of 2000 with 2 strong opuses; THE DEMON HAUNTED WORLD and Bellerophon, whom I have not heard yet, which are part of those inescapable of the contemporary EM. And, according to me, this album is as much a classical album as the wonderful Impulse from Free System Project and all those alike. Chronicle of an album forgotten and disappeared in the stride of the extinction of CD. A must have, as we say!

The vibes are heavy throughout this album. Winds and their prismic particles are dancing with reverberations, when it is not with waves of Mellotron and their violin harmonies or the seraphic voices and their wounding singings. It's this sonic texture which opens the wonderful The Aeon's Day. We float with the rippling winds which have caught a fascinating symphony of birds songs a little bit variegated. These esoteric elements evaporate little by little once that we have crossed the point of three minutes. A beast is waiting for us there and it snores some heavy reverberations. This fascinating meshing of white and black is raging all over THE DEMON HAUNTED WORLD, as well as this pattern of dark rhythm with a strongly analog fragrance. Here, this rhythm hatches around the 4th minute spot. It makes its keys dancing with bells, uniting once again the shadow and the brightness in a structure of so harmonious rhythm that we almost forget the delicious solos which decorate it. The dance of sequences with lively and criss-crossed keys is sublime. It structures a figure of rhythm which goes up and down with so much subtlety that this pattern, all the same rather minimalist, seems to redo its skin at each bend. The symphony of bells is as well very attractive. And like all good Berlin School, the sustained rhythm is shucking its chords in a delicious bad patch where some uncomfortable winds are roaring in the wings of a static rhythm which flicker on the spot, like a dragonfly hypnotized by the beauty of a jonquil in a swamp. We don't sleep! Our fingers drum the rhythm of the stationary sequences while our ears follow the singings of the winds and of the synth lines with their soft dreamy spirals. The pace still goes up and down. It seems to stop and restart immediately in a rich ambiospherical passage which brings us back to the snores of this invisible beast at the beginning. You know Rush's Xanadu? We enter there! The 16th minute of The Aeon's Day is completely delicious with cow-bells kind of percussions which ring in some disturbing winds, but also in an attractive mellotron melody. The moods are heavy. Our senses observe a somber evolution which explodes with a rhythm as heavy and lively. The skin has changed, but the noisy and lively approach remains the same. Sequences are heavy and explode of a new vitality in a rich ambiosonic structure where solos and dusts of stars are lost elements that will get through The Aeon's Day and of its structure that will discard its last jumps in a kind of interstellar peace.

We have just crossed 30 delicious minutes when The Bridge accosts in our ears with a weighty ambiospherical intro. A Vangelis intro with majestic breezes of synth which sing, with so much melancholy, in dark winds and sound brightness to tones of scarlet prisms. The ambiences are tinted of black while a wild rhythm is kicking while changing quite slowly to adopt an oscillatory shape. Being so of use as rampart to solos of synth and guitar in tints and forms as much colorful as the interbreeding of the roarings which gets out of it. It is the least harmonious and the darkest track of this album. These moods of perdition go back to the opening of Hell and its sibylline choir which has stuffed our ears of a heavy veil of howling metals. We are heading towards hell. In the uncomfortable zones of Force Majeure. Astonishingly, an astral passage waits for us down there. And a kind of quarrel between both entities, with some airs which sound like Pink Floyd's Shine on you Crazy Diamond is going on. A movement of sequences, curt and vigorous, shakes the ambiences whereas superb solos reinvent Hell and its structure of rhythm which sparkles of its meshing of bass and prismic sequences. This is as lively as very melodious. And this even if the music deviates towards more psychedelic territories, with very Tangerine Dream guitar riffs which are biting the solos and crush down the fluttering of sequences. This is hard and pure electronic rhythm which quietly goes towards a more astral passage where the influences of Vangelis re-appear with beautiful tearful lamentations which pour their sorrows into beautiful veils of Mellotron. Simply magic! And as nothing is commonplace, or ever completely finished, a soft fluty melody goes out of these seraphic limbs. I hear Spiral from Vangelis here. These last breaths bring to us all slowly a superb melody, as cheerful than quite virginal, that nobody expected. And as nothing is commonplace, or ever completely finished... Heavy guitar riffs and piercing synth solos bicker for this innocence which was just only the reflection of our listening. Monumental! And it's like that, all over this album that you absolutely have to discover.

Sylvain Lupari (September 22nd, 2014) *****

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