V/A: Free Grooves (2019)
“This is great EM that will satisfy the greedy Berlin School fans all around the planet”
1 Sparks (Martin Peters) 7:54 2 Phenomenon (Arcane) 5:46 3 Lost in Fear (Alt Version)
(Gert Emmens) 11:20 4 Slow Right Down (Spyra) 8:06 5 Oblivion (Volt) 11:00 6 Sad Day (Rene de Bakker) 7:59 7 Neon (Synthex) 4:23 8 Darya-ye- Mazandaran (Skoulaman) 12:4
9 You Are Still My Ears
(John Kerr & Ron Boots) 5:49
We love Electronic Music, and we love to bring this music to the world! This is the maxim of Groove and mainly of Ron Boots. FREE GROOVES is a very nice compilation of EM that represents very well the musical genre of Groove NL. It can be obtained free with the purchase of 2 CDs in the catalog of the Dutch label. An incentive? For sure! But this is some great EM that will satisfy the greedy Berlin School fan in you.
And it starts strong with Martin Peters' Sparks. A huge line of bass sequences plus another with brighter keys jump with heaviness and musicality in a parallel movement but not necessarily in symbiosis. A small pad of mist spreads the spirit of nebulosity, while the synth throws some good harmonious solos. A ghost line rolls in the shadow of this empirical melody and the sequences illuminate the rhythm of Sparks with reflections of wriggling castanets. That’s a solid Berlin School loaded of resonating effects from the half of Beyond Berlin, while the other half, Rene de Bakker, presents a title, Sad Day, which requires more listening to appreciate it to its full value. Arcane offers us in Phenomenon the origin of its influences with a music that throws as many scents of the Logos years as the Seattle's, especially for the many soundtracks there, of Tangerine Dream. That sounds so much like TD that we believe to hear a track lost and found in Edgar's many vaults. In this kind of compilation, everything is allowed! Especially a title with as much resemblance to the German trio from Arcane that plunges into his early years. Gert Emmens follows with another version of Lost in Fear, which can be found on his latest album Dark Secrets of the Urban Underground. Lost in Fear (Alt Version) is not so far from the original version. Slow Right Down is a fiery title of Spyra. It's in the oscillations of an organic language that a cloud of loops expands its rhythmic field with oscillations saturated with sonic radio activities. It is a festival of tones jumping between our ears with the support of a plethora of percussions, nervous and agitated, who dance like giant castanets in a sea of oscillating reverberations from which distorted filaments of melodies escape sung by electronic nightingales on acid. It's quite harsh for the ears and the melancholy mist cushions add a softness that feels good to the eardrums. By far the most complex title of FREE GROOVES, but the richness of the percussive elements and the softness of the anesthetic mists help to better pass this din that flirts with the genius.
There is of everything in the first 4 minutes of Oblivion from the English duo Volt. A heavy resonant veil floats to spread its snoring texture. Strange cries of seagulls trapped in the shadows flutter on this rough tarmac where circular waves revolve with a perfume of Vangelis in the chthonian airs. The waves and layers intersect their differences in a sibylline funereal concerto which is shredded by heavy roaring sequences, percussions in mode rock and by spasmodic sequences that are carried away by this torrent of percussions and its structure of rhythm too fast for the most agile feet. From a chthonian opening to a huge immoderate England School hard rock with good solos always very sharp, that's what this Oblivion from Volt is! I wrote above how the structure of Sad Day could be complex with its flashy texture that stays folded in ambient mode. There is a very tight block of stormy sequences and slamming percussions whose surface gives a den to the threads of emotions rather difficult to grasp of a rather emotional synth. As with Spyra, it takes time but we end up being attracted by this paraphernalia of percussive effects. Neon is a loud and catchy synth-pop from Synthex. Not my cup of tea, but I must say that it is very lively. I could not wait to hear some new music from Skoulaman, and Darya-ye-Mazandaran did not disappoint me. A delicate structure of ambient rhythm spreads its iridescent tones in a gentle trot of a horse galloping in a meadow dressed up of fog. The sequences have two shades, including a sizzling if not organic one, and other arpeggios extend their prismed chirpings in a harmonic glow which is in half tint. Romantic and touching with its morning fog, the music still jumps in its gurgling bursts that are never out of tune. A beautiful title, as one can expect from an artist such as Skoulaman. I had promised myself to listen carefully to You Are Still My Ears by John Kerr & Ron Boots. My first observation was to establish a link between this piece and the music found in Refuge en Verre, a collaborative album between Ron Boots & SynthNL. It's charming, quite catchy and close to the New Age electronic melodies, but with much better synth solos. Impossible not to love, so much it is well crafted! Let's say it's the cherry on the Sundae of a very nice compilation that will pleased for sure the ears always greedy of great EM, mostly very Berlin School.
Sylvain Lupari (March 22, 2019) *****
Available at Groove NL