VOID: Avoidance (2011)
Updated: May 3
“Highly recommended, Avoidance is 2011's surprise”
1 Avoidance I 15:55
2 Avoidance II 7:30
3 Faded Away 6:13
4 The Dark Ages 10:41
5 St. Anthony's Fire 6:29
6 Avoidance VI 13:39
(CD 60:27) (V.F.)
(Dark Berlin School)
Just because it's Void doesn't mean it's empty. Oh no! AVOIDANCE marks the return of Void after an absence of nearly 15 years, and only one album, eponymous, released in 1997. And it's a very nice come back for Danyo Romijn who presents a superb album. A rather surprising album that is presented in a CD case with an artwork inspired by a painting of the painter Matthias Grünewald, The Temptation of St. Anthony, whose outcomes are profiled throughout this album. The Dutch synthesist offers 6 well balanced tracks which are entwined in cosmic ambiences in the Jean-Michel Jarre style where the rhythms are lit by good heavy sequences which jump and palpitate in a discordant symmetry with parallel lines of synthesizer which intertwine and sneak in dark and misty ambiences. Both chthonian and cosmic ambiences full of good melodic approaches, molded in dreamy and vindictive synths. Prepare your ears for a pleasant surprise that no one, but no one expected. This is Void and this is AVOIDANCE!
A synth wave infused with a deep melancholic approach opens Avoidance I. It undulates in an intense haze of sadness, awakening a delicate piano that sprays the universe with dreamy notes whose uncertainty hovers among dark reverberations. In the distance, a heavy sequential movement can be heard waddling in the powders of resonances, gradually increasing the pace to reach another sequence with ascending chords. It's in a universe of mist and under the penumbra of synth blades which releases discrete but curt orchestral arrangements that the rhythm detaches itself from its heavy abyssal intro. The sequences are heavy and juicy. They hop and flutter in a ballet which goes in decreasing. They radiate a rhythm of thunder that progresses with good percussion hits. The rhythm gets more incisive. One recognizes the influences of the pulsating and drumming sequences of JMJ, typing a rhythm that advances with firmness under this mist with sinuous movements and good solos from an aggressive synth. The movement subsides at 8:39, embracing a lunar phase from which escapes this delicate piano line that spreads its notes with a dark romanticism in a cosmos streaked with cosmic sound effects. It's a bewitching passage of a strange quietude that comes out of its morphic envelope with heavy sequences whose slow and resonant oscillations are joined by this piano, sounding the death knell of tenderness and plunging Avoidance I back to a more curt rhythm. A rhythm arched on electronic percussions whose systematic strikes are buried under beautiful melodious layers and superb solos. It's true that it sounds like some very good JM-Jarre. Avoidance II flows with more softness. A warm sequenced movement undulates with its keys jumping around in a beautiful harmonious cohesion. Heavy pulsations resonate and envelop this movement with a strange chthonian aura that layers of mellotron reinforce. We are in a dark and tenebrous universe, at the crossroads of ['ramp], Redshift and Tangerine Dream with this bewitching procession where the progression is supported by fine percussions and more nervous sequences which palpitate under fluid harmonies and a layer of this fascinating gothic haze. Some crystalline arpeggios tinkle to shape the delicate suspended melody of Faded Away which floats with a dark serenity in a universe filled of pulsations and undulating waves from a synth with rotating movements.
The slow intro to The Dark Ages sounds like something out of an intergalactic, or abyssal, Western with its synth lines confronting their sounds in a desert of mist. The ambience is stifling and comes alive with heavy pulsations that sculpt a slow oscillatory movement, undulating in the shadow of the hybrid laments of a synth in mode Redshift. Indeed, everything here transpires Mark Shreeve's sordid universe on this superb track where the latent rhythmic progression evolves in a cavernous ambience with sinuous layers of a misty synth. These mists cast a halo of obscure mystery over this undulating track with its clear and muffled sequences that beat innocently in the shadow of intriguing solos. After a brief intro fueled by dark, twisted breaths, St. Anthony's Fire spits out sequences with parallel plots that meet and intersect in a furious, heavy rhythmic approach. Sequences and more sequences; fat, juicy, clear and resonant. They jump, pulse with frenzy and clash in an aggressive electronic ballet where symbiosis is not really on the agenda. The track evolves with a heavy rhythmic whose broad oscillations are caught by synths which marry the curves of it. Synth lines that flicker, undulate and buzz furiously around this sequencer-based capharnaum, forging as much beautiful melodic approaches as long loops panicked by so much rhythmic indiscipline. Totally mad! This tenebrous and overexcited ambience continues Avoidance VI, which closes this last opus of Void with an approach pounded by pulsating sequences which permute with as much subtlety as ferocity on a more intense rhythmic axis than on Avoidance I. The synths are as violent as the sequences can be murderous. They spit out heavy solos, strident loops, melodious jerky layers and bubbling lines that crisscross a constantly ascending rhythmic structure, leaving room for that undulating chthonian mist which floats and envelops this rhythm whose variations are as aggressive as they are melodious. It's surprisingly heavy and intense. And guess what? The whole thing ends in a strange delicacy. A bit like Dracula playing an enchanting lethal melody on the piano, while his beloved awaits the final bite. Nailing the heaviest and darkest album of 2011.
Whew! With its slow and explosive rhythms, its heavy and evolving ambiences, its frenzied and boisterous sequences, its incisive and melodious synths, AVOIDANCE is 2011's surprise. It's an unexpected album, coming from an artist I didn't know from Eve or Adam and who blows away our ears on structures as tasty as twisted. This is what AVOIDANCE is! It's a steaming mix of dark rhythms and ambiences drawn from the influences that Danyo Romijn takes from the contemporary works of Ramp, RMI and Redshift and mixes them with the more classical ones of Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. Such a cocktail can only give an excellent album that will seduce all the fans of EM. Highly recommended!
Sylvain Lupari (December 5th, 2011) ****½*
Available at Void web site