The aftermath of leaving the Dutch Berliner School-trio AKS was a very hard and frustrating period for Hans "Skoulaman" van Kroonenburg. Most importantly, he had to make up his mind how to continue while not losing faith in what he was capable of and had acchieved until then. |
- Dreaming of the future reflecting the past
- Without boundaries
- Sardegna coasts
- Islands in the ocean
- Arabian arp
- Orbital moves
- Voices of an analog
- Sardegna roads
- Far away worlds
"Dreaming of the Future reflecting the Past" is the nicely molded and tasty outcome of this search, persistance and determination, on which slower-paced sequences, emotive/spacious textures and (occasional Vangelis-esque) melodic lines florish. All music, still breathing and extending on the Berlin School style, was all played live and in the moment without any multitracking or whatsoever and recorded using an old computer and a vintage sound card.
The 77-minute result airs a positive and moody vibe track after track. Things never get complicated or diffuse, but display heart, soul and freedom through the nine sonic vistas. In the middle section, pieces like "Islands in the Ocean", "Arabian Arp" and "Orbital Moves" kick in livelier and faster-paced, its interlocking sequencers and moody vintage textures remind a bit of the good old days of Schulze and TD. On the intimate "Voices of an Analog" though, a tranquil and highly emotive Vangelis-flavor shines through the sonic innerscape before things are set in slow motion.
As such, "Dreaming of the Future reflecting the Past" is satisfying and relaxing.
Keep up the fine work, Hans!
The magic of the social networks! It is by means of a video published by my good friend FB Rob Hartemink that I was interested in the universe of Skoulaman. A musician/synthesist who likes minimalist movements moved by echoes and reverberations, Skoulaman is part of this generation of new artists who are influenced by the analog EM from the 70's. From Tomita to Jean Michel Jarre, including Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and even Mike Oldfield, the music of Skoulaman crosses its identity phases until “Dreaming of the Future Reflecting the Past”. A 4th album where the Berlin School style binds itself to an EM with a more contemporary essence. The fusion is great. The result is surprising of a freshness which resources of its old fragrances with a very cosmic approach where emerge and revolve patterns of rhythm to fine permutations. Chronicle of a very beautiful album which is going to exhilarate you until its last second, both by its movements of s e quences and its very lunar synth layers.
Delicate arpeggios, molded in a little bit dark tints, skip delicately in the harmonies of a synth line perfumed of a fluty essence. From the first chords of "Dreaming of the Future Reflecting the Past", we feel that our ears penetrate a sound universe filled with the charms of the analog years. The approach is minimalist, delicate and even dreamlike. Sequences skip with hardly perceptible alternations in the pace, weaving a peaceful wave motion which sometimes will fit to the delicate curves suggested by the discreet impulses of a bass line. The synth divides its harmonious perfumes with tears a little bit piercing which get loose from the mist of flutes, exposing even solitary chords which sound as a pensive guitar in bank of manipulated by nice orchestral arrangements. What jumps to ears is this feeling of attention to details which livens up the musical writing of Skoulaman. Nothing is left at random and every phase grows richer of th e previous one with nice variations in the tints and the tones. We thus notice hardly the progression of "Dreaming of the Future Reflecting the Past" which accelerates a little its pace at around the 5th minute point. The pace is more sure and enriched the perception of this ascent which is always perfumed by a synth of which the multiple fragrances are walking our souvenirs through the ages of EM. Let's says that it starts pretty good! The approach of Skoulaman is very Cartesian, on the verge of simplicity. His rhythms are knotted in the spirographies of the linear and/or rotary movements from the sequences among which the shadows, the echoes and subtle gaps between the editing command the obedience to bewitchment. More lively, more fluid "Without Boundaries" weakens its indefatigable circular loops in a more incisive pattern of rhythm, but always static, beneath the concerts of arpeggios which ring in the furrows of long twisted synth solos. After a very bohemian approach in "Sardegna Coasts", which is a relatively relaxing piece of EM, "Islands in the Ocean" throws us in Steve Roach's movements of Empetus. Superb, the track spreads lines of rhythms which attach their harmonious approaches as in a long roller coaster of which the moderate slopes and curves are undulating in cosmos. The electronic effects a little the genre of Jarre. We follow the crazy race of the sequenced movements with "Arabian Arp" and its deep kicks which oscillate in a dense magma of cosmic tones. The contrast between the slow orchestral envelopes and the deep movements of the sequences is as much delicious as those in the movements and the evolutions of the structures of sequences, like in "Orbital Moves". Sometimes quiet and sometimes agitated, the movement shows its nuances with silvery tones which sparkle in a universe in constant movement. Here as anywhere else, the synths snivel constantly, spreading slow morphic pads whose nasal fragrances remind me of Remy, by ricochet of Klaus Schulze, and counterbalance marvelously the variable flow of the structures of the sequences. "Voices of an Analog" perpetuates the sweetnesses of "Orbital Moves", but in a magnificent lento. Although slow, the flow is furtive with more bass pulsations which skip slowly in clouds of mist. A delicate melody is blooming through the tears of synths, conferring to "Voices of an Analog" the stamp of the most beautiful ambient track that I heard in 2015. "Sardegna Roads" has nothing to do with "Sardegna Coasts". Here, the rhythm is more than lively. It oscillates, it undulates with swiftness, multiplying loops on loops in a very ambiocosmic structure filled with pads of voices and where ring arpeggios which try to draw on an anvil an astral melody. The contrasts are as much fascinating as the subtle upward gradation of the track. "Far Away Worlds" ends this opus of Skoulaman with another pattern of rhythm sculpted in its contrasts and which spreads its attractive volutes in cosmic corridors decorated of starred sparklings.
Object of seduction which wakes in us these delicate memories where EM have made compete, made sparkle its sequences into morphic and cosmic synth layers, “Dreaming of the Future Reflecting the Past” from Skoulaman is an album which will know how to seduce you. If some people hear sonic perfumes of Tangerine Dream there, it is rather true with the fluty synth, and even of Klaus Schulze, for the atmospheres of ether, me I hear influences of Roach, Jarre and even Ulrich Schnauss, for the small fragments of melodies scattered through these labyrinths of skeletal rhythms. But chiefly; I have spent more than a pleasant moment with the some 77 minutes of “Dreaming of the Future Reflecting the Past”.
2015. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca