WELLENFELD: Cosmic Waves (2004)
Updated: May 26
“I enjoyed a lot this first cd, even if the music is definitely more in Electronica mode”
1 Nova 8:52
2 Rhea-M 7:27
3 Monolith 7:22
4 Fiorina 161 10:26
5 Café Solar 6:13
6 Halo 5:16
7 No Horizon 7:56
8 Monolith II 7:22
(CD-R/DDL 60:45) (V.F.)
(E-Rock & Electronica)
I started discovering Wellenfeld with Trip to Illusion, a cd I liked very much. Before Wellenfeld, Detlef Dominiczak was a passive consumer of Krautrock while Andreas Braun was a producer of Techno and Electronic Body Music (EBM). A musical genre oriented by bands like Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. Different paths that nevertheless led them to compose and produce music under the name Wellenfeld. The musical signature of the duo is described at the time as being very animated in spheroidal structures. Worked on over two years, between 2003 and 2004, COSMIC WAVES was to breathe a fresh breeze into the robotic world of New Berlin School and German electronic rock. In fact, I found that for a first album, it is very harmonious with a panoply of catchy rhythms, easy to tame melodies with good orchestrations for dance music.
And it's up to Nova to establish the Wellenfeld style with a rhythmic sequenced bass pulses that drums briskly in an ascending rhythm. The musical ceiling is low with weeping streaks of a synth with a creative virtue at the level of the ambiences. At the same time another line releases balls jumping from left to right, inviting electronic percussions to fizzle underneath layers of newly incorporated vocals. A groovy bass settles on a circular rhythm that rolls in crescendo. Violin layers accompany this energizing structure, like those espousing the structures of Disco in the 70's. And if you think the electronic sequencer and drum machine are creative and inviting, it's exactly the same with the synths that throw evasive melody lines that come and go over an ever-changing structure, one of which is finely crafted over a beautiful synthesized chorus. A piano spread its notes over a boiling floor, like a bed of magma. The bass line is hungry for funk, while frivolous chords flutter and a fog bank moves on towards Rhea-M. Much like in Nova, the musical canvas elaborates different strategies for a rhythm that goes in an opposite direction, hopping as well as limping in symbiosis with the bass. Dense and melodious layers envelop this two-beat structure; soft techno and cosmic funk. A pulse echoes through atmosphere-whipping sound effects and a fine rising sequence pushes Monolith until the synths subdivide into deep orchestral layers to waltz slowly. Swirling and flowing, this sequenced rhythm line remains captive to the harmonious synth pads that gracefully swirl to preserve that melody from the violin breaths. This track led Wellenfeld to the Schwinnungen Award in 2003.
A long buzzing sound born in a sound fauna that has the ingredients to be dark ambient music, Fiorina 161 moves like a big cosmic boa in its weightlessness state. Scarlet streaks moan in this gloomy universe from where the beats of a good bass line in search of a rhythm emerge. Clicks start to click nervously in this atmosphere. Like the bass, they are looking for rhythmic stability...which will never come. An extraterrestrial language seems to be born from the numerous and creative sound effects of the synth whose slow orchestrations remind those of Software. And the minutes pass... Nervous chords dance with a hesitant step and if a rhythm seems to force to return, the pressure of the atmospheric elements keeps Fiorina 161 in its state of weightlessness. I quite like Café Solar! Its minimalist rhythmic ritornello that swirls with haze and some lunar chords in the wings is thing that leaves its imprint deep in the ears. And when the percussions invade its melody sector, the music pulls towards a lounge genre with sentimental orchestrations. Too beautiful, almost New Age except that the percussions and the lunar chords give it a status of nice lunar ballad. I would say the same thing about Halo and its light synthetic pads that float softly in its introduction. Except that a bass-sequence structure is galloping in the background, structuring a flowing rhythm to which the synth lays down pearl chords. This good start fades in another rhythmic direction more in the electronic synth-pop genre. Bouncy and humming rhythm of its hungry bass, No Horizon also looks towards an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) style structure. It's catchy and even with the subtle variations planted here and there, 8 minutes of the genre is a bit long. Especially after Halo, without forgetting Café Solar! Monolith II has nothing to do with its first part. It's a very animated title with an elastic bass line and percussions in techno-dance mode of the 90's. The bass is superb and fights with arcade game sound effects that lead us to a fascinating keyboard solo. The chords resonate, pulsate and scroll like magic, propelling the second part of Monolith II towards an even heavier but devilishly more melodic structure. A very good track that deserves the time discovering it.
I enjoyed a lot this first cd of Wellenfeld, even if the music is definitely more in dance and techno mode than in electronic rock. I believe that this new German duo wants to show its abilities by playing on several fronts while remaining quite creative, both in rhythms, arrangements, melodies and ambiences. Wellenfeld! A name to remember.
Sylvain Lupari (November 20th, 2006) *****
Available at MellowJet Records