Frédéric Gerchambeau and Bertrand Loreau are two prominent (and current) members of a genre called Berlin School, which, since its birth in the late sixties, has spread throughout Europe - and elsewhere - and still offers us great reminders and nods to what we were already able to do with synths, well before the era of all-digital. If this "school" - it is more discreet in this millennium, and if its teachers and students have grown - some have died, like Edgar Froese - the "hard-liners" who perpetuate gender and analogy against the winds and (raz-de) tides (those of electronica, techno, etc.) are also able to renew it. And, we hope to reach a new audience that was not even born in the early days of analog synths ...|
- Dual crystal waltz [13:17]
- Inner path [8:00]
- Paradigm [7:07]
- Suns above a cloud [10:18]
- Night run [11:17]
- Visions from a future past [5:41]
- All the way to Berlin [6:45]
So we find brilliant Berlin School music here.
Hum … When we say that there are parts of EM of the French School style which are downright more experimental than somewhere else on the planet, this 1st collaboration between Bertrand Loreau and Frédéric Gerchambeau confirms all of this quote! And nevertheless, it's absolutely necessary to tame “Vimanafesto”. Because behind its forms of distortions, its multicolored deformations of sound effects, its dissonant magnetic chants and its wandering layers are in hiding some very nice moments of textural EM. Above all, it's important to consider the union Loreau/Gerchambeau as being very eclectic. If the visions of the latter suited rather well to those of MoonSatellite, his duel with the melodious standards of our friend Bertrand gives some epic sound fights, I think of the superb "Night Run", which will fire the passions of the fans of an EM drawn from the complexities of modular Moog.
It's with airs of Jazz that begins the sound incursion of “Vimanafesto”. Notes of a sort of a double bass handled by an octopus leave some juicy traces in our ears from the opening of "Dual Crystal Waltz". We have to tame this bass because it's all over this album. Little by little, these improbable notes switch clearly into a more electronic tone while a line of sequence skips in the back of the decor. The fusion of both electronic particles is changing into a fascinating intersidereal ballet with a pace which jumps in a nest of jingles. Right above, there are two opposite waves. If one is waltzing of its bright tint, the other one glides like a sneaky shadow to unpack a wide grouchy layer of which the effects of reverberations adjust the tone of the percussive effects of the jingles. They skip and ooze as if they were prisoner of an immense watchmaker's shop which is hidden in a grotto. This wandering movement of "Dual Crystal Waltz" spreads with an apathetic slowness. And it's after having crossed a layer of shower that the percussiv e effects skip with more velocity. Without building inevitably a road of lively rhythm, they give some tonus to a strange title which is a difficult introduction for the greenhorns who try to be interested in EM. And it's not with "Inner Path" that love at first sight is going to happen! Still here, the sequences, these elements of rhythm, sparkle as in "Dual Crystal Waltz" while the synth blows harmonies like a Jazzman lies down his nostalgia on an evening of spleen. Just wait some more minutes and you will discover that the synths are completely sublime in “Vimanafesto”. One of them lays a hoarse and very austere procession on "Paradigm", there where a kind of Berliner processional rhythm leads quietly the ideas and the contrasting visions of the duo Loreau/Gerchambeau towards the more accessible core of this album.
And it goes by "Suns Above a Cloud". But before, we have to cross a storm of sonic radio-activities before hearing the first airs of a more accessible synth which coos like an electronic nightingale facing a bed of sizzling and white noises. Very musical, and especially very nostalgic, Bertrand Loreau's imprint fights fiercely against the more experimental approach and visions of Frédéric Gerchambeau. "Night Run" is the pinnacle of this album. The duel between the chants, the solos of synths is majestic. If one coos, the other one throws its grave and apocalyptic airs which rage in splendid electronic effects. These paradoxical songs of the synths group together behind an immense curtain of voices while the very Berliner movement of the sequencer, the influences of Schulze are omnipresent here, alternate the oscillating and the juicy dance of its keys before showing a swiftness which fits the enchantress finale where a synth will never have been so beautiful and dominant in this album. "Visions from a Future Past" makes re-appear the very melancholic and romantic approach of Bertrand Loreau on a groaning synth. A swarm of sonic balls extricates itself from a cocoon disemboweled by a troop of brightly colored tones, structuring a static and chaotic rhythm which is of use as rocky bed to the slow groan of a heavy but penetrating line of bass. The anarchy of the tones is deliciously tamable here, contrary to the intestine quarrel of sequences on the battlefields in "Dual Crystal Waltz" and in "Inner Path". A title as "All the way to Berlin" quite means. But is it really for Berlin? The bed of noisy sequences which skip and pulse in all directions is starved for a more lively structure. Except that these swarming sequences remain submitted to an approach rather of France style with splendid solos of which the cosmic visions sniff a bit at the glorious past of Jean-Michel Jarre. A very good title which concludes a fascinating album, and in the end attractive, which shows that the French School reinvents itself with its approaches always very audacious. I’ll talk to you soon about Nomad Hands, but in the meanwhile we can get “Vimanafesto” by visiting Patch Work Music Web site. This album is for those pure and hard lovers of an EM which refuses all kind of submission in its evolution.
2018. Sylvain Lupari