1. Urbex
  2. Pod City
  3. Scenic Reels
  4. Footprints in the Dust
  5. Regeneration
  6. Modern Ruins
  7. Nostalgia
  8. The Pendulum
Forgotten buildings are not just structures left to decay. What remains seems like an empty shell, but hidden inside are the spirits of those who lived, played, worked and died. Forces of decay take what is forgotten, echoing the silence of abandoned heritage. Ja Ron je hebt gelijk, het lijkt een beetje op de muziek van Tangerine Dream in de vroegere jaren maar het klinkt perfect.

2014. Alfred Lof Make relive the disused buildings. Make speak these ruins by the breaths of their ghosts of time who are the silent witnesses of the joys, the sorrows, births and deaths, the murders, the violence and of the forgetting. The ruins are the vestiges of our civilization. And those more modern will be in the centenaries if the avidity for new buildings won't erode the landscape of desolation which upholsters these ornaments deserted for a call to a better life. For his last album, René Splinter has decided to make speak the bones of civilizations destroyed by the wars or abandoned by their occupants to occupy the ruins of tomorrow. A strange project where the pitfalls are in every corner when we know the very melodious style of the Dutch synthesist. And no, the universe of René Splinter hasn't change at all. Alone behind his keyboards, he always likes to imagine what Tangerine Dream would have become with him. And the result of his fantasies is a lways so delicious, even if quietly René Splinter begins to look like Johannes Schmoelling. “Modern Ruines” is his 4th album and his 2nd on Groove. It's an album which offers another vision of Splinter with many more atmospheres than on his previous works. But don't worry, the rhythms built on sequences and on their echoes in the shape of cascades and the catchy melodies are always there, unique to the musical signature of Splinter. Only, the man decided to be more audacious, like a certain Johannes Schmoelling.

Nostalgic chords ring with the transparency of glass in the winds which whistle through the urban pyramids. Shy of its multi phased rhythms, "Urbex" hears the rustles in the rain and the resounding circles which float of their deformed outlines before shaking its awkwardness with the strikings of scattered percussions. Strikings which resound as knocks of anvils and shape a slow rhythm. Chords fall in series of cascades, forming the structure of a finely jerked rhythm which hiccups under the breaths of a very Jarre synth. And "Urbex" spreads its structure of rhythm. A structure where sequences skip in a collective neurosis, jostling their echoes in order to forge a nervous rhythm, as we are going to find on the powerful "Pod City", " Footprints in the Dust " and "The Pendulum". It's a rhythm where the percussions are astride over bed of sequences which glitter as waves of harmonies in a structure which plunges us in the years Virgin of the Dream and those of a Jarre more synth pop than cosmic. We can't love "Pod City". The intro is from atmospheres out of Exit with these opaline mists which float as threats of ether, unfolding some morphic veils under the gurglings of electronic voices which answer such as some percussions in oblivion. A superb line of sequences escapes from there and makes dance its keys in a symphony of shifted rhythms which roll like a serie s of cascades. The percussions fall and hammer a blazing rhythm while that layers of sequences are radiating of gleaming effects, guiding "Pod City" through its permutations in rhythms and its harmonies which run and get their breath back in a surprising anarchy. These two tracks are bombs of which the aura will have some difficulty to survive to the minutes which follow.

After a rather atmospheric track in "Scenic Reels" where the carillons are ringing in a life turned upside down by waves of streetcars noises, "Footprints in the Dust" presents another structure of multi phased rhythms. At first quite soft, the rhythm sparkles of its glass sequences. Sequences in cascades of which the very recognizable pattern of Splinter's harmonious rhythms cavort there, forging a rhythm which marries the shape of a movement of rhythmic canon. Chords of a melancholic keyboard draw a melody all beautiful in its Schmoelling dress while the percussions come to hammer this rhythm which becomes so heavy, even jerky by moments of a technoïd approach, while the shrill synth solos tear of their sharp wings. Let's say that it's the good track which is inspired by "Urbex" and "Pod City" without having their depth. A track suspension with a crowd of disruptive sound elements, "Regeneration" stays of vapor in its approach of metallic cloudiness. We find in here so many so nic elements that Tangerine Dream exploited in the years Exit. Here and on the quiet rhythm of the title-track, even if a bed of sequences wriggles there, of which the structure of subdivided harmonies reminds me constantly of Yanni's first albums and of Johannes Schmoelling. "Nostalgia" wears marvellously the weight of its title with a superb and delicate piano which sings its melancholy in dusts of carillons and the iridescent breaths which quiver with nostalgia. It's also beautiful as the title itself. "The Pendulum" concludes “Modern Ruines” with a crazy rhythm. Agitated sequences, of which the alternative strikings are shaping rollers of ball which hiccup like being on a wild conveyor, build a complex rhythm which spits its moderated explosions in a disorder which inhales a surprising rhythmic coordination. The waves of big synth pads spread the pieces of a Dantesque melodious approach which cannot get through these crazy sequences, alienating and splitting both the rhythm and the melody which get lost in the mazes extremely unbalanced of a pendulum hung in the storm. What a way to end this other very good album from Rene Splinter!

“Modern Ruines” is an album that will please to Rene's fans and also to those who feel at ease with energetic electronic rhythms where the rock and synth-pop are merging with an incredible violence while catching constantly the roots of New Berlin School. If you enjoyed the Virgin years of Tangerine Dream, it will also fit your needs. I like that Splinter goes out of his comfort zone and that he dares to go exploring some atmospheric phases where the emptiness finds a sense. That gives depth to these constant evolutionary phases of rhythms. And from Jean Michel Jarre to Tangerine while passing by the strong recollections of Johannes Schmoelling's harmonious world, “Modern Ruines” inhales the duality between these indomitable rhythms, of which the movements of harmonious cascades push away even more the paths of the sequenced boldnesses drawn by Chris Franke, and these atmospheres of deaths forgotten in the vestiges of the contemporary ruins.

2013. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com In rap tempo heeft Rotterdammer René Splinter zich weten te nestelen bij de betere vaderlandse electronica-specialisten. Modern Ruins is zijn derde album sinds hij een paar jaar geleden de draad weer op pakte van het muziekmaken na een decennium met verstoffende synthesizers in de studio. Hoewel de voorliefde voor het geluid van Tangerine Dream uit het begin van de jaren tachtig nog altijd hoorbaar present is, zijn eigen composities van Splinter steeds verder gerijpt met deze volwassen cd als eindresultaat. In ruim een uur laat hij horen een begenadigd toetsenist te zijn die weet hoe je melodielijnen maakt en lekkere solo's speelt. Niet voor niets is de veelzijdige Johannes Schmoelling, bandlid van Tangerine Dream in de periode 1980-1985, de grote held van René. De beste voorbeelden van melodieuze en aansprekende composities zijn het titelnummer en het prachtige Footprints In The Dust. De sfeer van de grote stad wordt uitstekend verklankt in de eerste twee, relatief lange tracks. Dat maakt dat de plaat ogenschijnlijk wat stroef op gang komt. Via kortere soundscape-achtige stukken slaat Splinter een mooi bruggetje naar de genoemde melodieuze uitschieters. Nostalgia is daarna voornamelijk gevoelig pianospel voordat het feeërieke en zwierige The Pendulum groots afsluit.

Modern Ruins werd uitgebracht op het E-Day festival waar René tevens live zijn album presenteerde aan een aangenaam verrast publiek.

2013. Robbert Schuller / iO Pages With his album “Singularities”, René Splinter showed a remarkable talent in the world of contemporary electronic music, although the music of Johannes Schmoelling and ‘80’s TD were (and still are) big influences. Fresh fruit in a similar, still engaging style is presented on the 62-minute concept –album “Modern Ruins”, taking off melodically and energetic on “Urbex”, while the rapid sequencers take on a spatial shape on “Pod City”. TD’s “White Eagle” sends its regards here, but René puts things in his own different perspective while keeping a clear head and without losing the melodic approach. Soft glowing atmospheric sketches fill the quiet “Scenic Reels”, very nicely turning up the cinematic, introspective alley. The highly emotive “Footprints in the Dust” airs a fine mix of Schmoelling and TD in excellent shape, accompanied by some fine rattling drums. The very open sounding title track leaves a happy, positive feel, due to a nice soaring solo voice hovering over a catchy assortment of TD/Schmoelling ingredients. The reflective mood returns on “Nostalgia”, where René delivers some fine piano accompanying his vibrant, gentle electronics. The final track “The Pendulum” is another energetic piece, almost a symphony, kicking in with sparkling sequencing, classical piano and lush, hovering pads.

If you got and liked “Singularities”, you can purchase “Modern Ruins” without any hesitation. Bravo René!

2013. Bert Strolenberg/SonicImmersion.org