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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

UWE RECKZEH: Voyage (2021)

Heavy, powerful and creative, you have to give a chance to Uwe Reckzeh's Voyage

1 Dragawhaa 12:40

2 Transalpen 7:20

3 Later as Soon 17:58

4 Tonescrapes 8:45

5 Particles 8:15

6 Later as Possible 6:20

7 Voyniich 7:43

(CD-R/DDL 69:06) (V.F.)

(Hard & Loud Berlin School)

Muffled explosions, empty bottles clattering, and other percussive sound effects are at the origin of Dragawhaa and its ambiences of a boat dock, judging by the cries of seagulls and terns. One feels an effervescence swelling as we head into the 3rd minute which is loaded with a compact and still not really identifiable volume of sounds. These unidentified exploding have turn into chords, and even pfutt, while the bottles are still being shaken with the same indelicacy. The noise of the oscillations reflects this struggle of Uwe Reckzeh in order to properly feed this opening after almost 3 years of silence since Surreal Dreams released in June 2018. We get there after the 4th minute. The clanking of bottles has that ghostly air belonging to Poland, the title track. All this preamble leads us to the 5th minute; Dragawhaa's takeoff. The rhythm is tightly woven with all the elements that gradually forged it as the synth unscrews good solos and the keyboard unravels a beautiful choreography of twirling arpeggios in a harmonious approach that melts into the caresses of the synth solos. The track tapers off its rhythmic elements around the 10-minute mark to barely survive on the spot with a rhythmic wave of a sequencer flickering with a still hungry bass line. What catches the attention in this stationary phase is the amazing concerto for melodious arpeggios that made the charm of this first spirited track of VOYAGE. This finale transposes to the opening of Transalpen which wastes no time in taking us into another fiery electronic rock fueled mainly by a solid bass line. The sequencer's momentum is elastic and keeps coming back in a linear concept, kind of like a train rolling at high speed. Electronic percussions and guitar riffs help to structure the rhythm, which lives off of its nervous and restless sequences. The keyboard is spectacular with its multiple harmonic choreographies that sometimes meet or fly side by side, feeding our interest on a rhythmic bed from which evaporate very good sound effects.

Time flies! It's since Mirror Images in 2012 that the musician from Nordrhein-Westfalen has chosen to present us his albums in intervals of 3 years. And we have to admit that the strategy works very well. Thus, Perfection Mode and Surreal Dreams took advantage of these three-year projects to come to us fully matured. VOYAGE is no exception. From the first chords of Dragawhaa we feel this musical richness which makes that the album has no hole to let pass a nanosecond of silence. Everything is sounds, everything is music! Although presented in a continuous musical mosaic of 70 minutes, VOYAGE is not a concept album. On the other hand, it is a hard and heavy Berlin School album with constantly changing rhythm lines. The sequencer is great, the keyboard is alert on the melody mode and the synth weaves solos that cover this Teutonic work with a warmth as opaque as chthonian veils. The keyboard is very melodic on this album, even sculpting Pink Floyd tunes, like in the introduction of Later as Soon. The clattering that swirled in the finale of Transalpen is on life support in this opening that literally sounds like the English progressive band. A heavy bass line bites into these atmospheres with resonant pulses to gain momentum after the 5th minute. The sequencer lets out a rhythm line with lively oscillations that roll in linear mode. Rising and falling, between the chords of an ever-present guitar, Later as Soon sounds like an improvised track that Uwe Reckzeh spent hours enriching with layers that follow the evolution of a rhythm that continues its course until the 11th minute. At this level, the transition is slow and long. The atmospheres allow to better identify the influences around the track, and the album in general, with flashes of Tangerine Dream, The Keep to Poland with a bouquet of Hyperborea. These influences are even more present in the first part of Tonescrapes which, after nearly 3 minutes of atmospheres as convoluted as Dragawhaa, proposes a Berlin School structure always in the mode of; let me put one more layer. Synth solos cover this arrhythmic structure with warmth and tenderness, like a blade of fire in the darkness! After these 2 minutes of sonic mysteries, Particles is the track that hooks us from the first listen. Built on exciting percussions and turbulent sequences, it's a solid electronic rock with a good degree of sensitivity in the keyboard playing. And then, these solos! Beautiful synth solos as harmonious as Celine Dion's voice on big and tasty Guns'n'Roses. The arpeggios go like crazy, dancing to intoxicate our senses. A joyful and festive track that keeps adding something always captivating! This is how we arrive to Later as Possible which, without preamble, plunges us into a tasty Berlin School of the Dream's 86 tour. The only thing missing is the guitar solo. Voyniich seems to be a separate track from the whole of VOYAGE. There is no link between it and Later as Possible. And it starts with a slightly different tone, like if it would have had less overdubs. But who cares since it's a damn good electronic rock whose sustained sequencer rhythm, which likes to make its balls dribble and get bitten by electronic claps, is flogged of great synth solos? A title that we want to hear again immediately...

...and that makes you want to give a second chance by listening again to the heavy and sound packed universe of VOYAGE. It is the signature of a very good music whose only defect is to build these bridges of seduction far in the album. And yet, we are in the quintessence of a Berlin School which arrived at its crossroads at the end of the 80's. Heavy, powerful and creative, you have to give a chance to Uwe Reckzeh's VOYAGE which will know how to give it back to you as you discover it.

Sylvain Lupari (May 29th, 2021) ****½*

Available at MellowJet Records

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