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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

YAREK: Last Train to Berlin (2013)

Updated: May 10, 2020

Last Train to Berlin is a delicious mixture between vintage and contemporary EM on soft and floppy rhythms

1 Sutra 3:59

2 Monopady 4:24

3 Bye, Bye Berlin 4:04

4 Atlanta 4:10

5 Europa Express 3:50

6 Orbital 3:10

7 Echo 3:29

8 Smolensk 3:33

9 Music Play 3:12

10 Hokato 3:00

11 Banco 3:54

12 Last Train to Berlin 8:05

(CD 49:06) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

The word Berlin is very evocative for EM fans. And as soon as we find it on an album title, it stirs up immediately the curiosity. Normal, we think unmistakably of the Berlin School style. But we have to be careful because albums' name can create a certain confusion. Like with this last album of Yarek; LAST TRAIN TO BERLIN. If the first murmurs of Sutra can be taken as lunar synth pads which float such as spirits of Berlin School on the arches of a bass line and a soft hopping sequenced movement, the rest of the album is a good collection of music pieces which are perfumed of Berlin School but which oscillate between the groove and soft techno. In fact, Jaroslaw Degorski offers a delicious mixture between vintage and contemporary with a lot of references of Jean-Michel Jarre on soft and floppy rhythms which surf at the limits of the ethereal ambiences where synth layers scented of vintages aromas lose their virginity on the kicks of sonic elements and more contemporary rhythms.

Monopady immerses us all in a kind of electronic groove with a jerky rhythm which bites from its bass line a structure pulsating gently in a universe impregnated of voices and the echoes of the clattering of sound hoops. These elements continuously adorn the rhythms and removable passages of the 12 tracks of LAST TRAIN TO BERLIN. Lively and catchy, the rhythm is soft and crawls like a big anaconda on uneven rocks while the melody weaves a pleasant earworm. The pot of sounds is rich and astonishing while giving each title its particular cachet. Bye, Bye Berlin offers a similar rhythm structure. A structure which on the other hand offers more velocity and of bite with good sequences and good bass-drum strikes. The synth layers that hum are very close to Berlin School's while the melody clings to synth's chirpings and the moods feed on derailed voices. Strange is the progression of Atlanta which offers a structure of rhythm lost between its styles but whose percussions and barring voices add an unreal dimension to what one could catalog, if need be really necessary, to psychedelic tribal. Europa Express brings us to the Düsseldorf School with an ever-creeping rhythm where Kraftwerk-style vocoders and synth tweets fly over a torn rhythm between its languid groove approach and its soft synth-pop.

Do I have to repeat that all of this takes place in an enchanting sonic environment? This is important because without this element, titles like Orbital, Echo, Hokato and Banco, where the rhythms are fractured constantly, would be good copies of bands like Orbital, Future Sound of London or Leftfield. For me, Smolensk is the piece de resistance here. The rhythm is evasive with a good bass line which oscillates with reverie, extending an ambient rhythm which serves as a pretext for setting the only true melody of LAST TRAIN TO BERLIN. This melody with strong scents of Arabian 1001 nights is forged in a synth and its solitary chants that piano notes bring to the doors of melancholy. It's really good. Music Play brings us to Jean-Michel Jarre's land with a curt rhythm. An ambivalent rhythm which oscillates between techno-dance and ambient and which throbs on dizzy sequences and very sharp percussions. The portion of Gothic choirs is simply amazing and unexpected. The title-track displays all the contradiction in the rhythms and the ambiences of this album. Ambivalent, the structure hesitates between the pure and hard rhythm and its lunar moods while the harmonies are bribed by a synth that paws more than it sings. The 8 minutes of Last Train to Berlin resemble a recap of the entire album where robotic voices, vocoders, ethereal choirs and synth layers with Berlin School aromas intertwine and evaporate according to a structure which takes advantage of its 8 minutes to give a very good overview of the artistic duality in this latest opus by Yarek.

Sylvain Lupari (June 28th, 2013) ***¼**

Available at Generator PL

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