“No matter the styles and visions, the music remains as rhythmic than melodic”
1 Eiswelten 8:50
2 Whitout 9:23
3 Snowstorm 6:52
4 Antarctica 8:33
5 Eisschild 10:19
6 Deception Island 4:38
7 Expedition 8:00
8 Qaanaaq 8:36
(CD-(r)/DDL 65:15) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, EDM, New Berlin School)
EISWELTEN for a world of ice! And there is a link to be made here between the echo of the limpid and crystalline sequences, the texture of the rhythms and atmospheres that make up both the rhythms and the sequenced melodies of this new album by Wellenfeld. An opus offered either in CD-(r) format or as a download on the MellowJet Records website that moves away from the cosmic hymns a la Pyramid Peak to a more cinematic setting. For the rest, the music flows on its usual style with harmonious rhythms to which are grafted sequenced melodies that you can whistle as well as dance. The pandemic and the serious floods in Germany that interrupted the activities of Bernd Moonbooter Scholl's label have created a gap of some 30 months between the releases of The Journey of Voyager 1 and this new album by Wellenfeld. And yet, apart from the contexts that depict the ambiences of these 2 albums, it is as if it was yesterday that Andreas Braun, who is alone in this adventure since 2022, left the tracks of Voyager for the slightly colder ones of this fairy world of ice. So, the recipe is the same! New Berlin School with melodious rhythms conceived on sequenced structures, bass sequences, percussions in techno mode and those boom-booms that invite EDM and/or IDM genres to make our legs dance. In a vision of minimalist electronic music (EM), the German musician-synthesist exploits a harmonic vein, its rhythmic reflections and its numerous modulations which are found on the majority of the 8 titles of this album which screws our ears to our headphones.
You might as well get used to it; the structure of the title track will leave its traces in the whole album. A beautiful melody, trapped on a keyboard and its icy waves, makes spinning its arpeggios on a long arc wire. Synth blows and solos leave a gloomy imprint whereas some percussive rattlings feed a rhythmic vision that would not be long in coming. It's the percussions that will establish the shape. They arrive around the 90th second and their pulsating double strokes are paired with the rattles. Gradually, the rhythm expands its shape around these sinuous and languid synth solos that have that Tangerine Dream sound of the Logos years. This oneiric opening borders the 3 minutes before the sequencer transforms the melody into a cadenced anthem and the percussions add technoïd pulsations, like boom-booms, giving a catchy rhythmic momentum to Eiswelten. This momentum will multiply into rhythmic impulses, embellished by fine modulations, which will be interspersed by brief phases without percussions or boom-booms, keeping the listener balanced on a fragile thread of dance and astral meditation where the synth and orchestrations maintain these tunes of electronic rock, and even of dance music. From a cloud of mists and elegiac sighs comes the ascending melody of Without. It gravitates and undulates in a seraphic setting where the horizons take on an ochre hue, taking on a cadenced waltz movement over a distance of 150 seconds. Vivid, resonant pulses draw this lyrical rhythm into solid EDM. A line of more melodic arpeggios unravels in jerks and organic percussion effects complete the set of this track that offers some nice modulations in its rhythm, both harmonic and danceable. Carved on percussions and pulsing bass-sequences, the rhythm of Snowstorm offers a slightly faster flow. One can say that the structure is catchy with a movement that goes zigzagging. In addition to its orchestrations and haze effects, the synth exploits a melodic vein that is built over the line of sequenced arpeggios. Antarctica begins with a slow atmospheric introduction which has a slightly dark cinematic tinge. Resonant shadows crisscross its sonic horizon, casting a light veil of apocalypse that takes refuge rather well in the lunar orchestrations. The title develops a rhythmic structure that oscillates between that of Without and Eiswelten, without falling into the dance music style.
Eisschild still offers a form of melodic wave rhythm that flows with more velocity here than elsewhere in EISWELTEN's first 4 tracks. The sequencer embraces rhythmic and harmonic modes, while the synth blows joyful melody pads, much like a walker whistling snippets of melody on a sunny Sunday. Moderate percussion and boom-booms restructure this rhythm, which abandons its initial rhythmic structure to this cadenced melody that flows very well between the percussion. Andreas Braun inserts nice modulations too into the harmonious, upward movement of the sequencer, thwarting the redundancy traps of minimalist music art. Synth solos abound in a second part that is definitely more in vintage Berlin School mode due to the very Edgar Froese tone of the synth. A melodious line of sequenced arpeggios that swirls in a rhythmic as well as melodic motion, synth pads lit up with an icy blue color, technoïd percussion and boom-boom pulses are the main elements that make up the rhythmic anthem of Deception Island. A layer of ethereal voices complete a setting that flirts rather well with the origins of the album title. After an opening of meditative ambiences that borders the 3-minute mark, Expedition gets underway with an ascending pulsing bassline. This movement unfolds its long and continuous back and forth to which is grafted a second and more harmonic structure of sequenced arpeggios that rolls and dances in tight mini circles on this oblong skeleton of minimalist rhythm. The percussions arrive 1 minute after the rhythmic boom, leading Expedition into a good electronic rock which will be interspersed by short phases without them. The silence between this title and the blooming of Qaanaaq gives the impression that this title is an extension of Expedition so much the movement of the sequencer borrows its harmonic tangent. The percussions in techno mode and the boom-booms dynamize the title for a phase of Hip-Hop and/or EDM knotted with spasms and robotic jolts. And no matter the styles and visions offered by Wellenfeld in this EISWELTEN, the music remains as rhythmic as melodic. We can only hope that we won't have to wait 30 months before Andreas Braun's project comes back with a new album!
Sylvain Lupari (April 27th, 2023) *****
Available at MellowJet Records
(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)