1. Tear 1 [13:24]
  2. Tear 2 [3:42] MP3 soundclip of Tear 2 [1:00]
  3. Tear 3 [6:18]
  4. Tear 4 [6:03] MP3 soundclip of Tear 4 [1:00]
  5. Tear 5 [13:55]
  6. Tear 6 [21:58] MP3 soundclip of Tear 6 [1:00]
  7. Tear 7 [5:14]
  8. Tear 8 [6:55]
Detlef Keller - Access Virus and Quasimidi Polymorph synthesisers
Arcanum - guitar on track 6

Detlef Keller connects a variety of facets and styles of electronic music. The autodidact Keller produces his by Vangelis, Klaus Schulze and Ashra inspired music in his near Duisburg located studio since the early 80´s. One of the big disadvantages to like a more marginal music is to notice the pure and simple disappearance of jewels that have ennobles its crown. Released in 1999 on Manikin label (MRCD 7041), this “Behind the Tears” from Detlev Keller is a very beautiful album that is out of print since moons. Thanks to the SynGate label, which specializes in the re releasing of great EM works lost in the lack of financial resources, this superb fresco of a minimalist electronic art is for available level in a version which respects the sound depth of its originality.

Right from the beginning Detlev Keller shows all his control of the Teutonic minimalist art with "Tears 1" which widens its 13 minutes with rhythmic and harmonious elements which get juxtapose in a mesmerizing minimalist structure, builder of earworm. The intro begins with a rippling metallic which spreads out an intense melancholic veil. Gliding on ochred mists, it debauches a shy line of piano among which the crystal clear notes skip in uncertainty before following the soft gallop forged in the pulsations of a bass line. Quietly "Tears 1" takes shape. The synth lines instill a dramatic approach ŕ la Vangelis, enveloping a harmonic pattern which is amplifying on a velocity augmented by the skipping of the line of bass. And the whole thing is toppling over finely towards the 4th minute when the piano elaborates its harmonious approach with some subtle variances in the movement and tone, while that the rhythm becomes heavier, more pulsatory with hypnotic knocks of percussions. Fluty lines are appropriating the strummed melody, while percussions of Bongo style drums adorn a cadence perfumed of these lines of apocalyptic Vangelis synth. And the rhythm explodes at around the 6th minute. Heavier, curt and steady it skips firmly keeping jealously the harmonious lines of its genesis which fatten a musical itch lost into uncountable layers with sinister ambiences. "Tears 2" offer a soft lullaby like we heard with these ballerinas which swirled in the musical boxes of our youth. The musical envelope is very poignant with its line of acuteness flute, its dreamy choruses and its orchestral pads which wrap up a wonderful innocent bed song which widens these harmonious ramifications up until the beginnings of "Tears 3" which takes the rhythmic airs of Chariots of Fire. It's another very beautiful track showing an excellent hold of poignant melodies from Detlev Keller. "Tears 4" presents a splendid cinematographic structure with violent hits of bows of which the hatched pads forge an echoing structure. Fluty lines and nostalgic piano are hooking in a heart rending mood finely depicted on a music of the most dramatic. And of its serial dexterity, Keller spreads his musical armaments which intensify a structure become as heavy as the sorrow that it transports.
"Tears 5" transports us in an a little more experimental sphere of “Behind the Tears” with an approach closer to studio improvisations than of a coherent minimalist montage. The intro is filled with a thick mist where hums a synth of its ghostly line. Riffs of guitar are structuring a latent rhythm which gets organized in the background whereas that the bass line is more direct by freeing pulsating chords. The minimalist shroud pierces this cerebral introduction with a rhythmic structure which settles down little by little, elaborating a furtive pace which beats under suave twisted solos and short lines of sequences. This shy rhythm is of use as basis to a structure that will explode a little after the 6th minute, offering a sharply more homogeneous rhythm where sequences and percussions hop with firmness under the breezes and intense solos of a synth as harmonious as acrobatic. "Tears 6" continue the exploration of more progressive musical structures and closer to the soils of a calculated improvisation. The intro is of ether with Bernd Franz Moritz Braun's guitar (Arcanum) who scatters his notes and his evasive melody in the scattered breaths of flutes and breezes of synth which throw a black meditative ambience. A line of crystal clear sequences shakes its keys which glitter as a circular prismic movement, while "Tears 6" goes out little by little of its rhythmic languor to swirl in the silvery furrows of sequences. These sequences stretch out their impacts, chiselling the ambience of scissors snips of which the crisscrossed steps flicker around percussions and jingle of cymbals which are on the watch. They watch this slow rhythm which increases on the rotating dance of sequences. And "Tears 6" goes out of its torpor in the halfway. Pounded by pulsatory percussions, the rhythm is linear and hypnotic. It lays the foundations for a Teutonic movement that nervous sequences are amplifying of a frenzied pace, giving free rein to a synth and a guitar that are exchanging great solos, as in a jam of e-blues. "Tears 7" knocks down the order of things and is the witness of the very big versatility from Keller/Schonwalder's other half. The rhythm is fiery, tilting sharply into Jean Michel Jarre's techno style with intensive hammerings of a hypnotic bass-drum, agile rolling of percussions and lively sequences of which the crisscrossed movements team up very well with the vertiginous orchestral arrangements that had made the delights of dance floors. Look out for your walls and floor slats! These influences of Jarre can also be found on "Tears 8", which on the other hand is quieter, although very intense, with heavy and dark layers of a black organ that reminds me the period Revolutions. The structure is dark and dramatic. It's built in the mould of the tear 4 but with a more somber approach and intensely more melancholic. A soft melody swirls there. Flogged by dark pads, it isolates itself to get lost in intense layers of a big black organ which swallows all its delicate fragility.

In the numbers of the excellent initiatives of SynGate, “Behind the Tears” revolves at the top of list. This superb album of Detlev Keller has the right to a 2nd life. Its minimalist structures, its rhythms of lead, its heart-rending melodies and its ambiences of cerebral mysteries make of it an inescapable in the Teutonic electronic universe.

2012. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com Emerging from the very heart of European EM are the Berlin School productions of Mario Schonwalder and artists like Detlef Keller, and this release, for me, represents some sort of landmark in terms of quality. Playing Access Virus and Quasimidi Polymorph synthesisers and delivering a pristine signal, Keller combines all the elements of traditional Teutonic electronica, but also manages to imbue fresh vitality whilst still satisfying melodic sensibilities. Keller gives us the minimalist titles ‘Tears 1-8’ and offers the listener the opportunity to make up his/her own according to mood.

‘Tear 1’ begins with expansive and dramatic synth pads, a hint of piano melody repeated at intervals with an itinerant, pulsating, bass sequence oscillating from speaker to speaker. Then, after the four minute mark, the sequencers and rhythms are introduced, the earlier motif is revisited, albeit in more anthemic, expansive form, and Keller then proceeds to explore melodic variations, strategic key changes and rhythmic textures before slowing down the pace for the final reprise. A thoroughly satisfying 13' 24 seconds.
‘Tear 2’ is a finely constructed, overtly romantic, miniature of child-like innocence and something of a departure in style, whereas ‘Tear 3’ is equally impressive melodically, but is more reflective and melancholic but maintains the high standards of the set. Keller begins ‘Tear 4’ with echoed strings and an evocative theme accompanied by classy piano glissando which then develop into a more organic, orchestral mix. ‘Tear 5’ begins with a sensitive, more tranquil setting before a hypnotic, cyclic, melody is repeated against carefully building strata of sequencers and soaring, inspiring, improvisations. The listener is thoroughly absorbed and swept along by the tide until, just before the 7 minute mark, Keller compacts the sequences and percussion into a more focused, driving piece allowing him then to experiment and improvise with melody, texture, and light and shade. At nearly 22 minutes ‘Tear 6’ is the longest cut and features a long hypnotic guitar overture by Bernd Franz Moritz Braun (Arcanum). Keller introduces gradual, almost subliminal, electronics at around the 6 minute mark as Arcanum extracts every last iota of melodic variation from the introductory guitar work and Keller fades in, almost subliminally at first, the sequences and rhythms. The music is allowed to evolve gradually building in intensity until more insistent percussive treatments appear at 11 minutes, accompanied by Keller's flowing improvisations and more guitar improvisations.
By way of complete contrast, ‘Tear 7’ is a brisk, more commercial blast of fresh air. Initiated and propelled by Keller's superb sequencing, the composer proves here that he can rival Jean-Michel Jarre. The melody is as instantly memorable as the frenetic sequencer bridges and harmonics. Finally,
‘Tear 8’ slows down the pace to end the album with powerful dramatic chords evoking a strident quasi-religious atmosphere and ends with suitably glorious classical piano bringing to a satisfying conclusion a very impressive album.

Keller has proved here that he is a leading exponent of the genre. Recommended.