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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

VOLKER RAPP: Dune Spots (2021)

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

This is an amazing musical alternative to this great movie that suits well the coldness of Arrakis

1 Prolog 4:21

2 Korona 6:58

3 Arrakis- Carthag 7:09

4 Arrakis-Arrakeen 6:36

5 Arrakis-Stilgar Tabr 6:39

6 Arrakis- Southpole 6:15

7 Giedi Prime- Harkon City 4:48

8 Caladan 7:46

9 Kaitan 7:09

10 Epilog 3:50

(DDL 61:37) (V.F.)

(OST, Tribal EM)

Dune! Denis Villeneuve's contemporary version of this movie cult has created a nice stir in the artistic news of 2021. The film, the images and the vision of the Canadian director was wrapped in a nice soundtrack from Hans Zimmer. At the same time, other artists were inspired by the film enough to develop their own musical vision inspired by Frank Herbert's book, including Volker Rapp. It's the day after viewing the movie that the idea found its way into the imagination of the German musician. Here the idea is not to revisit Zimmer's music, but rather to offer a music inspired by the Dune Cycles while remaining stick to Villeneuve's visions of the movie. Volker drew from a library of 150,000 sounds and used state-of-the-art equipment from Native Instrument like the NI Absynth and its exceptional sound potential, the Reaktor Prism, the Pharlight for its voice potential, the Action Strikes for its huge cinematic percussions and some other of these complementary synthesizer software. And in 30 minutes, the one who gave us the excellent Carbon Dioxide CO2 in 2020, had a very good idea of what DUNE SPOTS was going to become. More ambient than animated, this new download-album of Rapp is divided between these numerous textures of voices and these orchestral surges which appear suddenly. On the production level, we have this impression that each title makes die its last seconds in the introduction of the following one. A continuous listening in an MP3 download can be annoying, but I think Volker wanted it that way...

It's in a great dramatic burst that Prolog startles our ears. The piano notes fall leaving their resonances on an ambient structure filled by voices and tribal chants of the Arrakis people, as well as sparkling dust and cinematic percussions that drum a powerful but stationary rhythm. Korona breathes of its finale and offers a meditative structure with a kind of sound quavering that morphs into a bow which is seducing the strings of its violin with fine jerks. Arrakis voices dominate this track, as they do in the vast majority of the tracks on this new musical vision of Volker Rapp's Dune Cycles, while the moods are jostled by spontaneous bursts of percussions and orchestrations. I have to admit that the voice samplings are impeccable with passionate as well as austere nuances on structures exploiting these surprise effects from the orchestral explosions. And this how Arrakis- Carthag comes out of its silence. Its ambiences are on the defensive, spying any rhythmic invasion, with suspended buzzes, like those sirens announcing a danger. The more the title evolves, the more it is nourished by these sudden moments of temporary intensity. Arrakis-Arrakeen is a little gem with a downtempo well framed by a superb bass line as sensual as romantic. The voices, the orchestrations and this saxophone-violin alliance brings us on rocky knolls watching the full moon of Arrakis. Undecided structure with multiple rollings of percussions, Arrakis-Stilgar Tabr is an ambient track depending on a good dose of cinematographic intensity which emphasizes all the potential of the Pharlight.

The opening of Arrakis- Southpole can scratch the eardrums with a slick of tones sacrificed to an industrial mill. A fine pulsating rhythm emerges from this tonal agony, zigzagging under Berber chants and musical drone attacks. It results in an intense track with a good slalom movement of the sequencer that shapes the first electronic rhythm of DUNE SPOTS. Giedi Prime- Harkon City offers a superb electronic rock with violent percussions, and others that fill in the blanks, and jerky arrangements on a war dance texture. Crazy clan chants, shamanic wailing and throat singing fill the vocal aspect of a track you want to hear again. Caladan goes for a cinematic ambient track with a trumpet lost in this sci-fi universe. It sounds a bit like Blade Runner when our eyes are confronted with this dystopian decor of a universe in decrepitude and where the inequality of the social classes is always current. That's how we slide on Kaitan and its fat chords that resonate between the rocky walls. A bit like in Arrakis- Carthag, the ambiences put us on the defensive with slightly more celestial voices. Epilog ends this soundtrack parallel to Hans Zimmer's with a melancholic pianist who lays down his icy notes resonating with violence. The second round is more melodic. Its dramatic vision is nourished by fascinating orchestrations that sometimes drag their miserable strings on this piano whose air of going guides it towards a succulent downtempo with this small industrial side that gives Epilog to be as beautiful and musical as ugly and atypical. Incredibly endearing!

We believe in it! Without having spent hours composing a music as rich, warm and textural as Hans Zimmer's, Volker Rapp brings to Dune a musical vision that suits well the coldness of the different shots of Denis Villeneuve's film. And we must know how to adjust our listening because, like Vangelis, the German musician exploits the orchestral explosions at will, splitting the meditative phases of an album that is not conceived in this style. But rather in a tribal atmosphere that does justice to the people of Arrakis. Definitely, this DUNE SPOTS is an amazing musical alternative to this great movie which we are impatiently waiting for the 2nd part. A good work Volker!

Sylvain Lupari (January 23rd, 2022) *****

Available at Volker Rapp Bandcamp

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