XAN ALEXANDER: Elektro-Technology (2015)
“Elektro-Technology is build around plenty of energetic rhythms stuffed with nuances, with sequences, percussions and superb synth solos. This is great England School”
1 Perelandra 9:10 2 Dark is Rising (Sequence) 10:16 3 Terradyne 10:22 4 Escape Sequence 3:32 5 Dr. Brain Freeze 5:20 6 Vectorsonic (Theme) 4:06 7 Hail to the Kings 9:16 8 Vectorscope 5:40 9 Elektro-Technology 7:06 10 Total Eclipse of the Sun 2:36 Xan Alexander Music
(DDL 67:26) (V.F.) (Driven based sequence England School)
With its short tracks and its very electronic rock approach, ELEKTRO-TECHNOLOGY possesses all the elements to please to fans of a lively, heavy and especially very England School EM style. While the adventure of Tangerine Dream went out of breath in the countryside of Seattle, an English movement of EM emerged with pioneers, recognized today as such, in the persons of Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Andy Pickford and John Dyson, to name but a few. The music was heavy, especially that of Shreeve and Pickford, and very energetic with a massive use of sequences and electronic percussions, giving so a very rock sound, less cosmic rock, to an EM always inspired by the shining years of Tangerine Dream. It's exactly the menu that Xan Alexander serves to us with the striking ELEKTRO-TECHNOLOGY which will make you jump of your chair more than once. Xan Alexander is a well known character in the EM underground scene for years now. He is the half of the very estimated Yorkshire duet, The Omega Syndicate, besides working with his good friend, and eternal fan of the OS music, Steven Create Humphries in the Magnetron project. At the same time, this true studio wizard produced nearly ten solo albums that he put on Bandcamp in July 2013. ELEKTRO-TECHNOLOGY is his last one, his 10th in fact, and includes a collection of music pieces written between 2010 and 2015. It's a very lively EM, slammed on the models of Mark Shreeve and Andy Pickford, with great synth solos, electronic effects, very TD riffs and rhythms which make us regret these golden years of the English model of EM.
And it starts with a strange nasal wave which stretches it scream into a sort of apocalyptic siren which is getting short of breath. It's a lamentation of 30 seconds before a movement of bass sequences escape between the blades of a propeller in order to make its keys jumping up and agglutinate in their shadows. Electronic effects spice up the rhythm of Perelandra where the sequences bounce and alternate their steps in a perfect synchronized disorder. The movement is lively, black and heavy! The elytrons of the cymbals chirp while a synth spreads a foggy voice veil which floats like a song roaming on a structure which ennobles itself with floating layers and sober electronic percussions. More bright synth layers inject these soft perfumes of nostalgia which will awaken memories of Mark Shreeve in his Assassin album. A synth which becomes more musical with layers which exchange their tints for solos weaved with harmony, while the movement of the percussions and sequences follow Chris Franke's rhythmic paths. And there, the riffs of keyboards and the synth pads which are falling now awake the memories of the Dream, periods White Eagle to Hyperborea. It's impossible to depict the music of Xan Alexander, at least on this album, without making links with that of the aforesaid artists higher. The majority of the tracks, except for the very ambient Total Darkens of the Sun (200315), are traced on the model of Perelandra. Certainly there are approaches of a very synth-pop English kind with the parallel aromas of Vectorsonic (Theme) and of its sister Vectorscope. But for the rest, Xan Alexander unscrews our plugs of earwax and loosens our fingers, sometimes our toes, with energetic rhythms well sat on good bass sequences as well as on juicy electronic percussions. The rhythms are decorated with synth filled of charming solos, with catchy melodies and electronic effects which link all borders. I hooked at once at Escape Sequence which plunges us in the Flashpoint years with a thick cloud of sequences which cavort and sparkle in black snores. Between a dirty synth-pop and an EM of the England School style, Dr Brain Freeze offers a more supple and a more harmonious rhythm with great synth solos. This is the kind of thing that we hooked on too, from the first listening. After that, we fall into more complex, more worked music! Dark is Rising (Sequence) proposes a very lugubrious intro, very scary movie genre, before falling on a structure of rhythmic mutation. There are lively sequences, with their metallic shadows which flicker on the spot, and others more sneaky which wave in the reverberations of heavy riffs from a guitar and a keyboard . The percussions which come are perturbing a structure of rhythm which becomes jerky, stroboscopic, while the synth pads and what sound like guitar solos spread an aura of gargantuan madness which makes the reason slip. It's like hearing the best of Shreeve at the top of his Legion. And it's not over! Terradyne continues in the same vein by offering complex, inspiring and inspired rhythm. The synth and the keyboard are drawing some devilish harmonies which fall with as much crash as the morbid caresses of the voices felted by a sibylline veil. This is great and solid e-rock. Just enough complex to avoid boredom with good sequences, good percussions and good synths. The same goes for the title-track which borders a bit the technoïd territories in a filmic universe. It's rather musical and it makes me think of Paul Lawler, just like Hail to the Kings which is the least dark track of ELEKTRO-TECHNOLOGY. It's very orchestral with synth layers to the flavors of violins which mix the honey of the flutes with the suave ethereal melodies on a rhythm fed by nervous sequences, by laconic pulsations and by metallic tsitt-tsitt.
Xan Alexander brings the listener to another level with a heavy, a very lively EM which is at both rather melodious. The universe of ELEKTRO-TECHNOLOGY is build around plenty of energetic rhythms which are stuffed with nuances, with sequences to hybrid tones and with jumps as much random than symmetric as well as with superb synth solos and with raids of guitar which give a very rock aspect to an already blazing music. As to me, I have adored this sensation to dive back into the 90's when the English scene added an approach of rock without compromise to the cosmic rock essence which has moved away a little from its Milky Way. Great driven based sequence EM here!
Sylvain Lupari (April 24th, 2015) ****½*
Available at Xan Alexander Bandcamp