AWENSON, alias Joël BERNARD, offers to relive the spirit of the innovative creations stemming from the electronic musics in the Seventies. This French keyboards player was particularly influenced by Germany and the Berlin School. Hence it is no wonder if his second album "Wizard" (His debut was self-produced under the name of AWEN) reminds so much of the atmospheres created by TANGERINE DREAM or Klaus SCHULZE. It wouldn't be right to only see imitation there, and disregard the impact that the artist got from another one in the genre, namely Jean-Michel JARRE. AWENSON draws a really personal music from all this, and it should delight the connoisseurs. Released in 2010, "Wizard" includes two long instrumental pieces with evocative titles, one of 41 minutes and the other clocking half an hour: "Psychedelic Dream" and "Hypnotic Ways". To be discovered !
- Hypnotic ways [30:08]
- Psychedelic dream [40:12]
2010. Press Information
Every year brings its lot of surprises. In 2010, fans of EM were cherished by rich and sumptuous musical epics. Here is one that risks to deeply moved fans of an EM that we believed only accessible through souvenirs embedded in grooves of old black lp’s. Wizard is a surprising EM work filed of analog years’ flavors. These 70’s which awake more than a souvenir with all the audacities and creativities of Schulze, Froese and Jarre. Awenson is Joël Bernard, a French synthesist which grew with its musical reminiscences and in Wizard he presents us a magnificent piece of anthology where the dream is possible. Wizard is a powerful album of an EM with rich ambiances and atmospheres of these analog years. Don’t look for any comparisons between a Schulze or a Jarre, because Awenson goes beyond these comparatives. He establishes his own touch of love for music that artists such as him make timeless. And Wizard will become a great one, such as Body Love or Oxygene.
Hypnotic Ways opens as a flower of which delicate prismatic petals answer to their echoes. Quite far away, in a cosmos to thousand images forged by our ignorance of these places, they sparkle of their brightness stillness and open totally to make poured fine nectar of synth voices. A soft ethereal choir to fine vocal meshes chants an astral prayer beneath sinuous reverberations which wrapped these fine gleaming prisms to prevail of their resonances this oniric intro to elusive crystal clear tones. A magic intro which reminds intensely the musical prayers of Schulze, but without copying them, and which is extending there where our cortex can continue to daydream. Little beyond the 6th minute, a sinuous synth line opens valves to metallic arpeggios which fall as droplets of water. Sequences flowing in vertical spirals alternate their tones under these drops which fall in a harmonious shower, subdividing the melodious rhythmic which awakens Hypnotic Ways. Some people, as me, will think of Thiery Fervant and his majestic Univers while magnificent solos of twisted synth surround movement on alert. A synth which sings under various tones and which embraces the oblivion of analog stampings in our ears subjected by so much cohesion coming from a long movement which made a surprising ambient/rhythm transition. Towards the 15th minute Hypnotic Ways is retreating in a mystic mist where a lugubrious synth pours a light spectral mesh which undulates among of dark resonances. A metallic pulsation embraces this atonal portion, forming a strange pulsating rhythm which beats beneath the aegis of a synth to tortuous and alarming breaths. The 4th portion of Hypnotic Ways is livening up towards the 20th with a slow and heavy pulsing sequence. We enter a dark musical universe, à la Redshift with these sequences which skip and move steadily in the echo of their vibrations. Their resonances, as well as caustic breaths of a synth charmer of sequences, wrap another sequence, softer, of which shimmering chords are waddling and form a curious Halloween nursery rhyme. A sequential hoop which is escaping and sparkling alone in the multipolar immensity of Hypnotic Ways which, quietly, embraces the infinity with the waves of this synth charmer of sequences, vibratory rhythms and dreams in sedition. A little as if we would want Hypnotic Ways to be timeless.
Psychedelic Dream is a wonderful musical sculpture which designs the dream. The intro is besieged by fine and nice oscillatory curves which wind with the heaviness of the sleep between delicate corrosives waves of Schulze years and the soft morphic layers of a Jean Michel Jarre's more cosmic synth. A slow intro where strange pulsations come and go in a synthesized universe fed by static white noises and by a fauna of analog tones which can only bring us near the dream. A little after the 10th minute a circular sequence escapes from the surveillance of Morpheus to dance freely of its chords to hypnotic doubloons. The movement is quiet and espouses a musical ritornello which spins with a surprising delicacy before taking shelter within the spectral waves of a synth to psychedelic glass sonorities. Psychedelic Dream re embraces the morphic oblivion of the analog zones of the 70’s to waking up again to the sound of a crystalline sequence of which glass chords meet another sequence, less formed, which skips randomly under the waves of a reverberating synth. A strange fusion of sequenced chords that eventually ends to shape a surprising zigzagging march. We are beyond the 20 minutes and the rhythm of Psychedelic Dream is sharply awakened by this series of criss-crossed sequences which form an imperfect tempo whereas languishing synths solos glance through this circular parade. The sequential movement gets out of breath to permutated towards a tangent as ascending as circular and forms a stunning incoherence which staggers heavily under analog strands and flows of a synth filled of multiple electronic tones. We are the hearing witnesses of an electronic arrhythmic ballet which roams under laments of a synth to solos and hybrid layers, of which wandering choirs pierce the heavy synth veil which is fed by eclectic and analog tones. A dance of shadows covered with luxurious solos and of a fascinating electronic fauna resuscitated with a surprising skill by Awenson. Quietly this sonorous wealth and musical feast become blurred, letting these erratic sequences provided of a sparkling musical necklace to go it alone. Sequences which are fading away in a dense biting mist, such as the one which is forming when we fall asleep just after an agitated insomnia.
It’s with ears fed and memories drown of a new music that my eyes closed after the last breezes of Psychedelic Dream, convinced now that there always be someone to take over from a surprising music which made so much dream and fed so many feelings. Wizard is a pure small masterpiece and I can only imagine all the colossal work done by Awenson to arrive at such a perfection of music that too many people judge so easily often as abstract. Listen to Wizard and you will hear the feelings and the musical life to take shape in your ears … It is guaranteed!
2011. Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness
Once in a few years you get an album which is full of the atmosphere of the 70's electronic music and comes frighteningly close to the sound of those years.
4 years ago "Shadows" by Awen was such an album, wonderful music that got the attention it deserved.
And now there's a follow up to "Shadows" entitled "Wizard" and the artist is Awenson.
Yes, you are right... the son of Awen :-).
Man behind the music is the same Joël BERNARD. Why he changed his name is unknown to me, but the music is equally beautiful as "Shadows".
2 long tracks each of over 30 minutes make it again a revisiting of the great 70's electronic music.
So a great album that brought me back 30 years in time.
2010. Ron Boots