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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

WELLENFELD: Pandemie (2013)

This is a very creative philharmonic dance-music album that requires a few listening before feeling comfortable in these dance rhythms

1 Sunrise at Medieval 2:26

2 The Alert 1:07

3 Prophecy 2:42

4 Looming the Doom 2:54

5 Archaic Dance 7:17

6 Introducing Boundaries 2:22

7 Infection 4:37

8 Ordered Chaos 1:36

9 The Anachronism of Mutation 1:50

10 Hegemony of Mankind 1:15

11 Secret Biolabs 3:17

12 Days of Fate 4:12

13 Hazard Me 3:40

14 Sub Addagio 1:10

15 Genotoxicity 3:41

16 Brass of Devotion 4:59

17 No Alexipharmic 3:00

18 Reaching Phase 6 6:00

19 Sunset at Future 1:59

(CD-R/DDL 60:03) (V.F.)

(EDM, Orchestral, Cinema)

Phew! That my ears have worked hard on this PANDEMIE by Wellenfeld. If the German duo consisted of Detlef Dominiczak and Andreas Braun knew how to mix an EM of the New Berlin School genre with electronic dance music, it's quite the opposite in this album which is literally carried by dance and techno rhythms. In an intense cinematographic context, the German duo signs a work guided by these electronic dance rhythms with all the possible genres and subgenres, we are talking here about Chill Out and IDM. For my part, I would add Acid House and Techno BoomBoom-tssiitttssiitt! One thing is certain, this is the most dance album from Wellenfeld that I have heard to date. And to soften these wild rhythms, the 60 minutes of PANDEMIE flow in very nice orchestrations which sometimes give succulent fights between the art of IDM and the staccatos of the attacks of violins and cellos.

The music of Sunrise at Medieval fits perfectly with the essence of its title. Sometimes in a vision of joy and at times in a vision of apocalyptic terror, trumpets and other medieval horns instill chills, regardless of the visions. Babylonian and cinematographic, Sunrise at Medieval plays on our emotions with good orchestrations that bring us to the heart of a humanitarian catastrophe that makes sense, some 7 years later. Fierce drumbeats and hash-pumped warriors' clamors are making bruises on my walls with The Alert. And spirits are on edge when Prophecy sets up a very lively tribal dance genre. The rhythmic envelope of the percussions is shaken by roaring, so heavy the hits are, and by spasms with curt hits and effects à la Jean-Michel Jarre. The bassline resonates with an elastic fury that sometimes gives it an organic tinge. The arpeggios are vitriolic and provide a vision of EDM flirting between Daft Punk and Juno Reactor. This hyper-savage first block ends here, as Looming the Doom exploits another phase of Babylonian percussions in a spectacular fight against orchestral arrangements to make Alan Parsons go pale. The second part is much more musical and guides us to Archaic Dance, the first title in PANDEMIE where we finally recognize the style of Detlef Dominiczak and Andreas Braun. It's a good electronic rock in a minimalist pattern that turns and turns in good arrangements. No solos and no harmonic flafla, except that this little wren singing with innocence. It's all about dance-music uninterrupted and catchy with that essence of rock that Wellenfeld has developed over the years. A title like Introducing Boundaries is really in that genre and that of Looming the Doom. But this time it's pure EDM fighting against staccato arrangements. Infection offers an undulating opening under a repetitive chorus that makes its nest in our ears. And this melody flows freely in symbiosis with the string ensemble. In fact, I am quite surprised by this orchestral touch that the two synthesists breathe into their bouncing rhythms. It gives a whole new dimension to pure dance music. The music of Infection evolves towards a cosmic up-beat while maintaining this harmonious link which coos above a pianist manhandling his glass keyboard.

There follows a series of 3 short titles which increase the cinematic reach of PANDEMIE. Mournful ambience tattooed with bass sequences as wandering as the percussions Ordered Chaos is a title of cryptic atmospheres with resounding knockings in a tunnel stained with chthonian murmurs while The Anachronism of Mutation takes us into another, very short, hymn of Electronic Dance Music as violent as Prophecy. Hegemony of Mankind is an intense title following a camera shot of a devastated part of our planet. It's with good more musical staccatos that Secret Biolabs leads us into a good techno stuffed with percussive elements twinkling in a violent stroboscopic mood. The violins and the dance rhythm merge in a great symbiosis that reminds me of Prodigy, especially in terms of the melody. Days of Fate is a solid Techno with slamming percussions. This frenzied music removes a lot of decibels in order to take a more ambient form in Hazard Me. A good title with such a nice melody. A melody on strings which is even more poignant in Sub Addagio. Genotoxicity is born from this short illusion of morphic music to develop into a particularly good electronic rock. Percussions and percussive effects are in a class of their own in this wild rhythm which pulsates under the layers of violins and this Middle Eastern melody which drags on the strings of the violins or in the hollow of the flutes for a long time. I would say that since Secret Biolabs, PANDEMIE has literally stolen my attention. Brass of Devotion continues to carry me to the skies with a very beautiful synth and its tender tears which move in a percussive environment. A noise that little by little managed to take the title out of its ambient cocoon to bring it towards a good ambient electronic rock. No Alexipharmic reimmerses my ears in a philharmonic dance rhythm which is also very JM.Jarre, especially for the slamming percussions and this aerial melody. Between its ambient phases and its electronic break-dance rhythm, Reaching Phase 6 reminds me of Future Sound of London. It's in Vangelis clothes that Sunset at Future ends PANDEMIE. The orchestrations are carved in mode; drag my arms' hairs up to my sky. A beautiful ending for an album that requires a few listening before feeling comfortable in these dance rhythms, skillfully softened I must say by a very good philharmonic vision from Wellenfeld.

Sylvain Lupari (October 19th, 2020) ***½**

Available at MellowJet Records

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