JACOBS TANGERINE DREAM BLOG

JACOBS TANGERINE DREAM BLOG

Steve Jolliffe: Ab Imo Pectore (2013).

reviews - soloOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, august 27, 2013 23:29


From the bottom of my heart
. That's the title of Steve Jolliffe's newest studio album, translated to English. While the fiftyfive minutes roll by, one is never in doubt that renowned Steve Jolliffe has his heart firmly placed in the right place.

Since the exit from Tangerine Dream in 1978, various styles and genres have been turned upside down and explored to the fullest. That, which today has become a nondescript mass of unpredictable soundscapes and dreamy states.

There are no safe A, B, or C sections, as we know them, and there is no risk-free improvisation to a rhythmically, programmed sequencer. Listening to Steve Jolliffe's music, is like watching the cloud formations in the sky. It is impossible to see through its motion pattern. And the storm can break any minute.

This artistic expression finally came to its right in the beginning of the noughties, and it can be tough to take in this freely fabulating musical form as a newcomer.

Ab Imo Pectore does not deviate from this form, and once again Steve Jolliffe succeeds in delighting the initiated listener with the dreamy music.

Tangerine Dream connoisseurs will take extra notice. As something new on a Steve Jolliffe record, the ”aaaeeyyaaahh” preset is embraced. A sound that has defined Tangerine Dream in a long period. Other overlapping factory settings can be heard, too.

The Spanish sounding synth guitar we know from more recent Klaus Schulze also finds its place, but tweaked in a way, so it more sounds like something from Ry Cooder's Paris, Texas.

Similar to the Tangerine Dream clip from 1967 on the 2003 live album Poland, comes out of the mists of dreams a wellknown flashback, readers of this blog most certainly would recognize.

The putty that binds these three chosen examples together is Steve's fantastic and unpredictable musicality. Jazzy piano chords, howling theremins and distorted synth leads a la Jordan Rudess, are just a few ingredients in the mixture. The wind instruments, that are Steve's trademark, have been pushed in the background, and works on the same level as the manipulated sounds, in order to create the surreal, dreamy states. One can argue that the album is distinctly electronic. Throughout large parts we hear a lustful, bulging sequencer, that can not really be regarded as a rhythmic foundation.

The album fades out when the level of activity is on its highest. A sequel seems logical. However, it's very likely that we in the future get more music, straight from the heart.

On the whole it is a very colorful sound palette Steve paints with. There are plenty of moods to immerse oneself into. The style is completely his own, and rarely, if at all, copied. Ab Imo Pectore proofs that Steve Jolliffe is an immensely underrated artist, and up there with the best.

The album can be ordered by contacting Steve Jolliffe at stevejolliffe@btopenworld.com

Loom, 200 002.

reviews - soloOprettet af Jacob Pertou søn, august 04, 2013 01:02


Early last year, the powertrio Loom released the 2-CD set Scored, which turned out to be that year's absolutely greatest album experience. That, on the basis of the concert in 2011. In itself, one of the most remarkable concerts this writer ever had the pleasure of bombarding himself senseless to.

Here, on the threshold to late summer, it seems Loom repeats the succes of conquering the first place, for release of the year. Album or EP, who cares?

Four tracks of characteristic epic build-up, constitutes a total of 32 minutes of outstanding achievement in the field of excellence.

The introductory, magnificent specimen ”Rejuvenation” is supposedly Loom's first genuine piece of cooperation. Here, the three creative figments of imagination proves that they collectively think bigger thoughts, than what they individually can master.
The piece takes the turn from Jerome Froese's mellow guitartronica with sixties twang, over Robert Waters' melancholic, finestitched electronica; to Johannes Schmoelling's melodic synthleads, which are sentimental, pent-up and forgiving at the same time. The interplay goes back and forth, to a point where it is impossibly to decipher each contribution from the other.
Some motifs might sound poppy on their own, but out of the total sonic mass, they do not appear as cheap or easy.
”Rejuvenation” is an überfantastic piece of composition, that transgress the quality standards within melodic electronic music, and should rightfully be acknowledged and mentioned in mainstream medias, for its reincarnated pioneer work. Fortunately, the masses can enjoy the track in its entirety, completely free, as a music video on YouTube.

A track that wasn't to hear at previously mentioned concert in 2011 in Eindhoven, is the Schmoelling composition ”A Long Time Ago”, but here in the Budapest version from 2012. Originally released on the splendid, but harmless solo album, Instant City. Here represented with Johannes and Jerome side by side in the climax, like two solists in the limelight of a classicly define progrock concert, ultimo seventies or primo eighties. This combined with a complete, dynamic and crystal clear, jaw-to-the-floor, quality of sound.
Tempo and intensity are built up, and demolished after ideal. All physic mounting up, after the lead pieces, are cleared out, once the track reaches its end.

Third track ”Jet” opens with a riff, with inspiration from David Gilmours About Face. Jerome Froese is clearly the driving force behind this track, and the cooperation isn't as prominent as in the previous two examples. But good it surely is. Erratic tones hang in thick air, and the energy from the nineties are present all over. The guitar menagerie gets an elegant fade out.

One could think the theme from the single-season-series Streethawk is worn out, fatigued and can't bear with further interpressions. In that case, one is wrong. This live version from Budapest 2012 extends the ridiculously simple theme to an epic mastodon, lasting nine minutes. From the intro with improvised guitar and piano, it emancipates, after a couple of staccato strokes on the piano, to the actual theme in a new arrangement. After that comes yet another semi-improvised piece, possibly lifted directly from the series, or invented for the occasion. Schmoelling acts synthesizer hero on an Emerson and Wakeman level – deducting the bad taste – until the track plays a highly energetic finale on the theme. Without any sort audience noise, this 32 minute long release ends on an unheard high level. It is up to the listener to make the loud cheerings and standing ovations. 200 002 is more than worth it.



Shadowlands.

reviews - soloOprettet af Jacob Pertou lør, februar 23, 2013 21:28

Klaus Schulze's productivity has no limits. At least not until recently, since the waiting has been unbearable for many Schulze fans. In the meantime live releases, with or without Lisa Gerrard, various La Vie Electronique sets, as well as re-releases on smaller labels. That is why Shadowlands, by many, is considered the first regular album since Kontinuum from 2007. Shadowlands incorporates elements from the soundtrack to the German film Hacker, and is a breach of silence from a particularly prolific and honoured musician. A musician that creates half composed music, where it is up to the listener to finish it in his or her own image. Whether or not the expectations are proportionate with the state of reality is therefore up to the listener.

Standstill in Shadowland
From the first sweep of synthesizer, one meets a joyful, recognizable atmosphere. There are predictable chord pads in minor, and atmosphere so thick one can cut lumpy slices from it. Soon it appears that an old circus horse can not be trained to learn new tricks. The freshness, which a new album should represent, seems invariably absent.
The build-up is familiar. The dramatics are taken directly from the manual. And the obligatory arrival of sequencer is delivered as precisely as the ticking from a Rolex watch.
The first epic mastodon “Shadowlights” is a grandious nocturne, suitable for immersion activities. The atmosphere is the principal, and the production overdraws on Schulze's actual musical capacities and, not least, creativity.
A hidebound standstill from the Farscape era reigns, as well as the otherwisely excellent Kontinuum.
The violinist lifts the track to delicate and venerable heights. It is the soaring fiddling on the violin that cuts right to the nerve of the track and hits bull's eye in the emotional gamut. One seems almost, note my choice of word, almost, thrown back to the heyday of Trancefer.
After sixteen minutes the listener gets a well-earned feeling of tangible texture, when programmed drums makes the floating music stream more consequent and insistingly into the listener's sensory system. The harmony of violin and processed voices from the archive ignites something disturbingly beautiful. A crescendo is under construction and climaxes. A well known trump from Klaus Schulze's live enterprise. That creates an intensity unlike the dark, thick airiness from earlier on. “Shadowlights” gets a quick fade, and dies a beautiful death.

Bongorama
On the other side, comes the divided, yet inseparable amalgamation of “In Between” and “Licht Und Schatten”. By way of introduction, the narrative is opaque. Already from the diffuse and dizzying start with artificial voices, the abstract character is an immediate winner. Previously used factory settings surfaces. “Constellation Andromeda” from the re-release of Dreams, haunts the entire performance. Later on, fast sequencer embellishes the story, and it gets a sharper outline.
A bongo like (synthetic of course) entrance dresses the sound image in an eloquent psychedelic outfit. The percussion stands alone, when the second part, “Licht Und Schatten” arises. Lisa Gerrard's digital nonsense vocal influences the sound image. Weird decision to index a track here, as no remarkable progression happens, or something one would want to fast forward to.

Halfway through “Licht Und Schatten” there is a breaking up to a hybrid semi-avantgarde meets pseudo-new age, with a lamenting computerized Lisa Gerrard upfront. Well known string chords enters. A bridge is build to sequencer. The progress is static, until we once again get a quick and brief fade.

Narcolepsy
The bonus material is as long as the actual album, but might contain some of the best moments. At least in in “The Rhodes Violin”. The audience shouldn't be surprised about its kinship with “The Theme: The Rhodes Elegy” from Virtual Outback. In the same vein, a repetition goes on endlessly. A delicious, spacious motif is the backbone to cinematic improvisations, performed on primarily acoustic sounding instruments.
The narcotic, and instantly relaxing quality from “The Theme: The Rhodes Elegy” is only present during the first half of the track. Although with a special middle eastern aura.
After 26 minutes it awakes from its hibernation. The long-lived violin changes from being plucked to being played with bow, when the sequencer from disc one returns. Again Trancefer comes to mind.
The pace is increased, straight after the regulations. The fade happens quickly. Despite the well known formula, Schulze treads new land briefly, which he should do a lot more, if you ask me.

Summary
In “Tibetanian Loops” I don't hear a remote reflection of brilliance. That repetition amplifies comprehension has been exhaustedly displayed on the four, previous tracks. Symbolically, it full circles and finishes Shadowlands in a slightly bad fashion.

I am bored quite a few times during this two and a half hour long oeuvre. An effort of stark unoriginality, especially after the long wait. There are almost nothing new under the sunset. Schulze himself enters the same level as the listener, by adding to previous (after the philosophy) half-baked works, without the ability to come closer to a conclusion.
If you prefer the great wide open and loose ends, you will definitely find joy in Shadowlands brief fraction of the infinite. Isolated, Shadowlands is a King Solomon's mine of beautiful tones, if you can forget the meisterwerks from the past.

Kluster re-issues.

reviews - soloOprettet af Jacob Pertou lør, februar 09, 2013 11:02

MOJO, DECEMBER 2012



Q Magazine, FEBRUARY 2013.

Zanzi Billboard review.

reviews - soloOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, januar 22, 2013 17:07

Billboard - 28th September 1996 - page 85.

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