“Cavaliers de l’Apocalypse is a great way to introduce you this pretty nice universe of the Roumanian label which gives priority to the magical depth of the electronic minimalist music”
1 One Thousand Words (Frederich Shuller) 14:06
2 Licht und Schatten (Andreas Meyer) 14:18
3 Seconds Before Midnight (Nord) 11:44
4 A Peaceful Mind (Alba Ecstasy) 15:50
Kontinuum Productions (DDL 56:18) ****
(Minimalist and hypnotic New Berlin School)
The year 2015 was very prolific, and I would say rather positive according to the albums that I heard, for the Kontinuum Productionslabel. The aficionados of minimalist EM, where the sonic charms pop out on unexpected places, are served well with the productions from this label. As for me, I was fairly seduced by the last albums of Frederich Shuller, Andreas Meyer and Alba Ecstasy. Three artists whom we find on this compilation which closes the year 2015 of the Rumanian label on a good grade. Except that “Cavaliers de l’Apocalypse” is more than a simple compilation. The music listed here is new, besides making us discover another talent of the label; Nord. It’s thus an excellent way to introduce us to this universe embroidered around these long serial structures with slow hypnotic deployments which are tinted of an exhilarating crystalline limpidity.
And it’s what charms our ears as soon as the first arpeggios loaded of sizzling tones are fluttering and sparkling at the opening of “One Thousand Words“. The sequence shines with the reflections of the jumping keys while a layer of voice is covering these floating palpitations and while a line of bass oscillates against current, structuring an ambient and a hypnotic rhythm where the sonic words are absorbed by a more and more heavy and more and more enveloping structure. The signature of Frederich Shuller deploys his musical ink with muffled pulsations and celestial waves where is dancing now a series of sequences which click like the movement of electronic castanets. This is magical! A line gets loose from the minimalist movement, structuring another phase of rhythm which stutters like a long strand all shy to be stroboscopic. And the percussions fall. The beauty of it is that “One Thousand Words” becomes a good electronic rock which starts from some sequenced flakes and which freed a crowd of sound attractions before managing to fill us both ears of nice solos of a very juicy synth, as it in fact that too rarely in the model of New Berlin School. That starts things very well. Especially when Andreas Meyer is the following artist. The introduction of “Licht und Schatten” is weaved in mystery and in cloudiness with long woosh and slow orchestral layers which sneak throughout a thousand sound reflections. We derive in a cosmos where birds chirp and a delicate pulsation emerges towards 3:30 minutes. It’ movement accelerates gradually the pace, sculpting a vertical rhythm to which are graft sequences and their circular movements. And a little on the same basis as “One Thousand Words“, but in another decoration, the structure continues its rhythmic crescendo with elements which are constantly added to it, here the solos are more harmonious, before ending with a steady rhythm where our fingers and our feet accompany the twinning of sequences and percussions which drum in a cosmic atmosphere.
It’s the first time that I’m going to hear music of Nord. The sound structure of “Second Before Midnight” is rather different. It reminds me a lot of Klaus Schulze in his Dig It era. The approach is stealthy with sequences which undulate such as steps of a wolf approaching his prey. An enormous veil stays in background, weaving a lugubrious mood and making counterbalance to the limpidity of the arpeggios, among which some offer organic tones, and of which the random movements decorate an ambient structure which hangs on to mute pulsations. Based on the same rules of evolutionary minimalist structures, the ambient rhythm of “Second Before Midnight” metamorphoses into a nervous and a spasmodic structure. A structure which becomes stable for a good 4 minutes and where synths catapult more sound effects and slow anesthetic layers than solos. I found that interesting. Different certainly, but enough to investigate a little more the universe the Nord. Alba Ecstasy is the veteran, the king pin of this label with about sixty albums to his credit. And the least we can say is that he hits hard with “A Peaceful Mind“. It is the art of the minimalism with all these charms. A veil of mist fills the introduction. Like the waves of an old organ full of fog, the layers floats with a threatening approach. A pulsation emerges of this dense prismic fumigation. It dances like a wild puppet with its shadows. The sequences hammer the atmospheres like the effects of a Bolo play. Each blow sharply answers the other, structuring a keen and a curt rhythm while the synth throws twisted effects. The percussions fall in the 4th minute and the rhythm of “A Peaceful Mind” run with three juxtaposed movements (sequences, percussions and a wave-like bass line) where solos go and come, like long serpentines which come to look for energy, in this structure at least very lively for a minimalist electronic rock. Alba Ecstasy uses skillfully his16 minutes, just like Frederich Shuller, Andreas Meyer and Nord by the way, to weave a good crescendo, both in his structure of rhythm and its elements of ambiences, from where come good solos and good effects while the percussions, the bass line and the sequences eat each others in an astonishing symbiosis. I liked that a lot and it’s what I heard recently which gets closer to contemporary Klaus Schulze.
There are no doubts, “Cavaliers de l’Apocalypse” is a very great way of discovering the very particular universe, here the limpidity of the tones is magic, of the Kontinuum Productions label. Even if the Rumanian label multiplies the works with a suspicious rhythm for such a great deal of realizations, here everything is in a download format, there is some beautiful music which goes out of its artists. If minimalist EM and its unexpected charms is an incomparable attraction to your ears, or if to navigate in a cerebral state of hypnosis tempts you, you are at the good address here where everything seems similar without really being it.
Sylvain Lupari (January 18th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Kontinuum Productions Bandcamp page here