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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

VOLKER RAPP: Carbon Dioxide CO2 (2019)

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

CO2 visits exploratory territories with an unusual creativity from a musician who seeks to reproduce the style of J-M Jarre

Part 1 (8 :42)

Part 2 (7 :13)

Part 3 (7 :20)

Part 4 (4 :32)

Part 5 (13 :28)

Part 6 (6 :14)

(CD 47:30) (V.F.)

(Progressive EM, JM-Jarre)

When Ron Boots takes the trouble to write about an artist or his album, I usually run for more information. The boss of Groove has a flair and tastes that are the best. So, I informed myself and it was no small task since despite his albums, his concerts and his immense talent, Volker Rapp is a discreet character who focuses on the Schallwende society, that he founded with friends in 1997. Schallwende, for Friends and supporters of electronic music (EM), is behind several festivals and special events related to EM on the German scene. The one who was also involved in the German radio WDR, for the Schwingungen radio-show, is a self-taught musician who played and or formed nearly 30 groups in the 80's. It was at the end of this period that he started building his own equipment. Influenced by Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis, as well as John Williams, Alan Parsons Project and Rammstein, he finally released his first CD in 1994, Seven Pillars of Wisdom Vol. 1, after producing and selling his full of CD-r and MC. Since then, he has produced a dozen of albums while being a highly regarded session musician, which has led him to master a variety of styles ranging from Jazz to abstract music. He has already played with Ron Boots for the needs of the Schloss Burg album, hence this link that has connected the two men since 1995.

It was in 2015 that he tackled the CARBON DIOXIDE CO2 project. Still dissatisfied with the result, he rethinks his way of doing things in 2017. He got rid of 6 tracks out of 8 and gets a MacBook with Logic. In 2018, he found the appropriate sounds for this music tribute to Jean-Michel Jarre and finally managed to launch CO2. Sound whirlpools, like lassos that we spin above our heads, initiate the rather cosmic opening of Part 1. The keyboard hums among celestial chants, solidifying the title in its ambient phase. Arpeggios come and go to decorate the ambiences, a sign that arise the lasso effects and their keen whirls. And then Volker Rapp slowly places synth pads in a mood that is familiar to our ears. The chords fall with a crash in these ambiences of filamentous wadding, tracing a hesitant step which resonates like a bolo ball in hyper slow motion. The effects are striking and it's like hearing a JM Jarre who makes his keyboard hesitate at the opening of Part 2. The structure goes adrift in these ambiences that we know by heart, except the harmonies and the rhythmic surges of rubber which cling to this rhythm propelling itself of its resources into cosmos. The melody whistled by the synth around the 4th minute is a breath of silk which sneaks into our eardrums to come out the next day, challenging our auditory memory.

We land in a nest of giant flies at the opening of Part 3. A few seconds later, these rattling percussions sounding like rattlesnake tails are grafted to a lunar down-tempo whose hyper sensuality gets tie to the Jazz tint of harmonies frozen by limpid and dreamy notes. The atmospheres spit organic foam, like rubbery in a last third which guides us towards the modern breakdance of Part 4 which flirts with Electronica and which could be the single of this album on the traces of a very good Jean-Michel Jarre. Part 5 leads us into the progressive and even experimental section of CARBON DIOXIDE CO2. Its opening is a potpourri of disparate electronic tones. Like a signature of Tomita, especially with these big snowflakes falling in slalom, and Vangelis. The sounds, they are powerful, parade without particular link for a little more than 5 minutes, but with affinities which could give something of interest. The train literally sets in motion in a vision that shows us a Keith Emerson at the height of his glory. And all this incohesion ended up rewarding around the 9th minute in a symphonic electronic rock, always with Keith Emerson on keyboards. And the illusion of Carl Palmer on percussion is tangible. Great! It's a title that requires a little more love of EM on the other hand. The clicks of its finale are found in the purring shadows of Part 6 which ends this fascinating Volker Rapp album on a good rumba more elegant and sensual than those which closed the first 3 albums of Jean-Michel Jarre.

Dedicated to his father, this tribute to Jean-Michel Jarre by Volker Rapp is found in the sounds that the German musician found throughout his learning of Logic Pro. For the rest, CARBON DIOXIDE CO2 visits exploratory territories à la Vangelis style with an unusual creativity on the part of musicians who seek to reproduce the style of the French musician. A nice surprise and a very good album, as said by Ron Boots!

Sylvain Lupari (January 5th, 2021) *****

Available at Groove nl

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