We are all time travelers, wether we want it or not. Together, we are traveling with a one way ticket to the future. Time is taking us to what is ahead of us, and there is no way of stopping it. Although there are several ways to define time, such as the fourth dimension, a unit to calculate velocity, or simply the dials on your watch, it's impossible to get control over it. Time has control over us. You can only look back in time, but you can't change it. The fourth dimension is the one in which you can't move around freely...
- Lucid Dreaming
- The Time Traveler
- Before Babel
- The Lighthouse
Please join me with my expedition through all four dimensions and beyond.
2012. Rene Splinter
Dutchman René Splinter is a new name on the Groove Unlimited label. But he is not unfamiliar to Groove, because he already gave a concert at the festival “E-Day” in 2011 which is organised every year by Ron Boots and his colleagues of Groove. Also, he donated three tracks to the special sampler that was released to celebrate that day. Next to this, René paid a contribution to the compilation-album “Dutch Masters” with a composition “Singularities” is his first album on Groove, after his earlier cd’s “Almery” and “Transit Realities”.
On ”Singularities” René invites the listeners to an expedition through all four dimensions and beyond. It is an album about time travelers, which we all are, weather we want it or not. René is a big fan of Tangerine Dream and that can be heard very well throughout the whole album. And where many electronic musicians choose to take TD from the seventies as a main source of inspiration, René has taken the TD-sound from the first half of the eighties and mixing this with his many own ideas into an excellent combination. The titletrack opens the album softly with atmospheric sounds and beautiful, Vangelis-like, solosounds. After this, rhythms fall in, and sequences that resemble TD’s “Logos” enter the scene. One of the trademark TD-sounds from the mentioned period, were the crystal clear and totally unique sounds from the PPG Wave computers. René also uses these quite often, like in “Lucid Dreaming”. A track like “The Time Traveler” could easily have come from one of TD’s many soundtracks from that time, including the brass and drumsounds. There is an amount of melancholy in René’s music, which we can hear in “Timescapes”. One of the best pieces from ”Singularities” is “Before Babel” where he shows his more reflective side, using a piano and great ambiences. The piano returns on the last track “The Lighthouse” which well be called the highlight of the album. This is also a track that could be part of a movie. The solo is also great. It is almost if Johannes Schmoelling plays the solo himself!
With “Singularities” René shows that he is a great musician and composer. Listening to his music, you wished the years had been standing still for almost thirty years. It is a long time ago but that time can be brought back through René's music. So, a time traveller René is indeed.
2012. Paul Rijkens / The Netherlands
A breeze tainted by hoarse voices, floating in the groove of the resonance of a unique note of piano which falls heavily, opens the surprising universe of Singularities. Surprising because René Splinter plunges in the musical waters of Tangerine Dream and the Schmoelling years with a disconcerting ease. A little as if he had been a ghost member of Tangerine Dream, the Dutch synthesist succeeds a surprising tour de force by almost persuading us that we listen to through Singularities an album of the Dream forgotten in the recording sessions of the years Virgin.
The hoarse voices of the title-track are blending into a beautiful synth line from which the iridescent breaths glitter among silvered reflections to merge to the keyboard keys which embroider a melody roaming in the uncertainty. Slow, the intro of "Singularities" stretches its oniricity with sweet angelic vocalizes which hum in chimed dusts, weaving a delicious morphic hymn which gets lost in a metallic crescendo. The waltz of sequences begins after the 6th minute. They hatch from a methodical pulsation to zigzag in parallel lines and cross the first percussions whilst that some keys are drawing a melodious approach coated by orgasmic choirs. And it's quite a whole musical cocktail that René Splinter composes for our ears. Between Stuntman (Edgar Froese), Pink Floyd (Animals), White Eagle and Hyperborea, the title-track of Singularities seems to be drawn from the vaults of his influences. The knocks of cymbals, the criss-crossed sequences, the metallic percussions, the echoing riffs, the synth which coos with a fine harmonious approach, the choirs as well the increasing as decreasing rhythms; all that composes Singularities, as its title-track is weaved in those Franke, Froese and Schmoelling years and "Singularities" is a pure marvel which gives the start to an album that will amaze more than one fan of Tangerine Dream, both at the level of tone and musical structures. "Lucid Dreaming" continues in the same vein with a title built on a nervous and spasmodic rhythm which hiccups on a structure forged in the heart of Mojave Desert and No Man's Land. The musical illusion is perfect. One would believe to hear the mythical German trio offering us another surprise à la Silver Scale while "The Time Traveler" is a beautiful melody weaved into nice pads of a very harmonious synth that some sober percussions support of a rhythm worthy of albums such as Risky Business or Firestarter.
Speaking about those two soundtracks, the sequences of "Timescapes" are plunging us there irreparably with keys which skip in the shadow of their rotations to create an oblong minimalist rhythm. A rhythm embroidered by brisk and jerky chords, like in Risky Business or Firestarter, which zigzags with subtle nuances in its evolution and where a synth as harmonious as Johannes Schmoelling’s is covering of fluty harmonies and ethereal pads. It’s quite beautiful but a little bit long. The influence of Schmoelling blows a lot in the shadows of Singularities. Somber and melancholic "Before Babel" is a faithful reflection with its solitary piano which roams on the plains of a devastated land. It’s as much beautiful as it can be that dark! And "The Lighthouse" is a track torn between its balladesc approach and its static rhythm fed by knocks of the notes of a piano which misleads its harmonies in the whirlwinds of a synth to breaths and heart-rending solos. The limpid keys of a harmonic sequencer alternate in a very beautiful fluidity and "Lemniscate" is unfolding around a muffled pulsation, molding a furtive rhythm which espouses a minimalist spiral filled by parallel tributaries. A rhythm which explodes in the 2nd part, to borrow a more electronic rock tangent. Here, as everywhere in this 3rd opus of Splinter, the synth throws some pads filled by scents of metallic voices which are melting into soloing forms and slightly spectral breaths, creating a fascinating melodious universe. Musical elements which wear the print of Tangerine Dream, both on White Eagle and Hyperborea.
A little as in Almery, René Splinter offers us a good album filled by rhythms and ambiences of Tangerine Dream. Always so far from content to copy the heart of his influences, the Dutch synthesist digs into the hidden recesses abandoned by the Dream to offer nice tracks that a lot of people would have liked to hear after the Virgin era of the mythical German trio. And Singularities is a balm for those who, as me, dreamed about a possible reunion of Franke/Froese/Schmoelling that René Splinter virtualizes with a surprising dexterity.
2012. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com
I’ve always been in love with the Tangerine Dream sound Rene Splinter creates with each of his releases. And his latest album ‘Singularities’ is no exception!. The album will indulge you in a serene world of electronic music that WILL leave you breathless for a long time, and make you beg for more of the same. The music that Rene creates is always leaning towards classic 80's sequencing electronic music. And with this album he certainly have eclipsed himself. Each and every track has that stunning melodic and fresh feel to it, and all of the tracks on this album progresses through in great harmony and with some of the very best sequencing I’ve heard in ages!.
The opening track ‘Singularities’ has to be one of my favorites. It starts out in a moody yet uplifting way, with some soft melodic synth pads, which later builds up in a slow moving way with more sequencing and powerful grooves added to it as the track progresses through. The best part of this track is after the 8 or 9 minute mark, as all of the ingredients are all there and really pushes Rene’s magical touch to the limit!. Superb powerful and moving EM of the highest order is what we have here!. Talk about ear bliss!
Other highly notable tracks are ‘Timescapes’ and ‘The Time Traveller’. These tracks are marvelous melodic pieces from start to finish. Both tracks has that truly awesome and infectious sound of the mid 80's. Think ‘Tangerine Dream’ and the music from soundtracks such as ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Heartbreakers’ and this is what you will hear!. Personally, I’m a big fan of the ‘Firestarter’ soundtrack, so I was very pleased to hear these tracks, along with ‘The Lighthouse’, which is yet another remarkable piece that will leave you breathless without question.
Now, all this said, I seriously have to admit that ‘Singularities’ is easily one of the best synth albums I’ve ever listened to, with the exception of ‘David Helpling & Jon Jenkins’ album ‘The Crossing’ (2010). Highly recommend album to any fan of quality EM of the highest order!. Epic ear bliss!
2012. Kristian Persson / Sweden
Wer den Niederländer Rene Splinter (noch) nicht kennt und seinen aktuellen Silberling in die Schublade des CD-Players legt, wird sich wundern und nochmal stirnrunzelnd die CD-Hülle nach einer der führenden Berliner EM-Bands absuchen. Aber weit gefehlt, was so traditionell nach TD klingt ist das perfekte Ergebnis einer Stilweiterführung, mit denen die Ursprungs-Altmeister Anfang/ Mitte der 90er aufgehört haben. Wahrscheinlich hätte man damals Rene gleich von der Bühne weg in die ehrfürchtigen Reihen der "Mandarinenträumer" "rein-engagiert", den Splinter klingt so, wie sich viele der damaligen Fans eine musikalische Fortführung gewünscht hätten. Wer ganz genau hinhört findet aber auch eine eigene Handschrift des Holländers, die immer dann am deutlichsten wird, wenn Rene die Sequenzer Autobahn nach Berlin doch mal kurzzeitig verlässt um den Album eine andere Note zu verpassen. Die 7 Stücke verfolgen aber scheinbar das Ziel, den eigenen Fangeschmack von Splinter zu perfektionieren, in dem er die Musik die er gerne hören möchte, einfach selbst komponiert. Gut so für den Moment, aber hoffen wir doch darauf, dass er vielleicht in der nächsten Produktion noch mehr den eigenen Sound suchen will und vielleicht die "A2" Richtung Berlin wieder verlässt. Der Weg muss ja nicht gleich wieder direkt zurück nach Oranje gehen, sondern darf ruhig noch über viele europäischen Grenzen führen. Das Potential der Vielfältigkeit hat Rene allemal, eine stark wachsende Fangemeinde sowieso und wir die Gewissheit, dass noch einiges zu erwarten sein dürfte.
2012. Stefan Erbe / Germany