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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

YAREK: Berlin Ratusz (2014)

Updated: May 10, 2020

Electronica and World Music trapped in Berlin School moods; that's the menu of Berlin Ratusz which is as good as Last Train to Berlin

1 Minaret 9:03

2 Ultrabas 4:37

3 Black Water 6:19

4 Carima 4:19

5 Dream 4:09

6 Ocean 4:27

7 Imagination 4:33

8 Moon Walk 2:53

9 Nostalgia 4:29

10 Serce Lasu 4:24

(CD 49:12) (V.F.)

(Electronica and World Music)

Here's a perfect example of an album that you must listen carefully before throwing the nettles. Not that BERLIN RATUSZ is difficult to access. Quite the contrary. Faithful to his style, Jarosław Degórski offers a wide musical range with a vision of a more balanced electronica which bubbles with a delicate hint of Berlin School and these floating synth layers which intertwine with delicate orchestral arrangements and murmurs of Trolls. And when everything is tinted with oneiric aromas from the world of Aladdin, it can only give a result that exceeds the expected. Did we like Last Train to Berlin? We will love this album which undoubtedly influenced a few phases here.

And it starts on top of the wheel. A mixture of breaths and buzzes, reminiscent of the uncomfortable tones of gigantic Trolls on a war footing, sweeps the introduction of Minaret. The chirps of a sequences line with organic keys oscillate strongly. It looks like a strange ride in unreal territories. Especially with these layers of Gregorian voices and these vampiric waves which crisscross and envelop a rhythm which takes more and more tonus with the addition of big nasal riffs and electronic percussions which combine its strikes with a horde of fluttering sequences. The rhythm is heavy and incisive. Very much like what we will hear on this whole album, its jerks are carried away by a tasty mixture of sibylline ambiences where the hoarse voices hum black tunes. The riffs parade in continuous mode and bite the feverish beats of the electronic percussions while the sequences continue to oscillate violently. Apart from the hungry riffs, the electronic guitar throws also nice solos, somewhat softening the violence of the movement which refutes the brief caresses of more seraphic voices and the tranquility of a short more temperate passage. It's in pure and hard electronic rock, soaked in mephistophelic ambiences and surrounded by an electronic veil with a thousand hearing pleasures, that Jaroslaw Degorski invites spectators to an electronic mass rich in sonic colors for this concert performed at the Rathaus Schöneberg as part of the 40th anniversary of the Berlin School.

Except that despite the event, BERLIN RATUSZ has truly little to do with Berlin School. Aside from the atmospheric synth layers which enclose a plethora of rhythms remarkably close to the electronica, the music shines in a kind of Word Music prepared in a technoïd sauce. Boom-Boom it whacks, flap-flap it caresses. If Minaret sits in absolute control over this collection of titles which will confuse more than one, Ultrabas is not too far behind. The rhythm is curt, nervous and is stoned by good resonant riffs, plowed by bass sequences, and hammered by percussions which swirl vividly in another violent up-tempo. Here, like everywhere, the music is strongly imbued with an approach of the Middle East and the voice of Łukasz Kołakowski is very feminine. The rhythm, always knotted with nervous jerks, of Black Water is a good mid-tempo with a two-headed approach; the electronica sneaking into the slightly softer spaces. The synth pads, quite ambiospherical, remind us that we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Berlin School. Except that I think it's closer to World Music, to a muslimgauze techno. You have to hear the tribal hymn of Carima to be convinced. Otherwise, the beautiful and very ethereal ballads that are Dream and Ocean will erase all doubts.

Imagination is a kind of groovy drum'n'bass that is stuffed with echoic hoops and abrupt movements. The approach is always quite melodious, Yarek having emptied his gall on Minaret and Ultrabas. Moon Walk offers a good structure of leaping rhythm with a good synth which extends an attractive Arab veil. It makes me think of Jean-Michel Jarre and his collection of ethnic rhythms in Zoolook. A perception that is quite present on all of BERLIN RATUSZ by the way. Nostalgia is a good FM track and a very J-M. Jarre down-tempo with a slow rhythm, moiré by slamming percussions, nice synth veils both drifting and orchestral and above all very melodious. Just to remind us that BERLIN RATUSZ is a festive event that surrounds the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Berlin School, Serce Lasu fills our ears with soft ethereal music. It's an ambient title which rests, as much as the voice of Łukasz Kołakowski, and which concludes an album disconcerting certainly (if one seeks real Berlin School) but whose roots are not so far away.

Sylvain Lupari (November 28th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Ricochet Dream

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