REMNANTS is a non-verbal film that explores the rise and fall of the Neolithic civilisation of Britain via motion controlled, digital timelapse cinematography.
- Portal Touch Stone Overture
- Neolithic Spring Water Fall
- Circular Earth Banking Security
- The Rising Dolmen
- The Gretchen Tragedy
- Night Initiation
- Farewell Moon And New Suns
- Moon Dial
- Blue Hour Glass
- Giant´s Dance On Air
- Walking The Burial Mounds
In one of the longest continuous cultural developments ever known, for nearly 3000 years the people of the Neolithic era constructed some of the most enduring monuments in the world – standing stones and stone circles. Having been dismissed for centuries by much of academia as the work of "illiterate barbarians," research in the 20th and 21st centuries by a handful of persistent investigators has revealed these Megalithic sites to be not only amongst the oldest, but perhaps the most profound.
Little is known of this civilisation, and its people have all but vanished without trace. All that is left are their remnants, and they too, in the crush of ‘progress’ are disappearing.
This is the music that is from this film by Thorsten Quaeschning´s Picture Palace music.
I always believed that the artistic approach of Thorsten Quaeschning had influenced Tangerine Dream, in particular in the superb Sonic Poem Series. And as strangely as fabulously, it's a kind of a return of favor that we witness with this Picture Palace Music's last album which drinks literally of the nebulous ambiospheric and rhythmic paintings of Tangerine Dream at the top of its mysticism. “Remnants” is the last audacious sonic adventure of Thorsten Quaeschning's band. Audacious because the Q gang has to put in music a fascinating visual odyssey, and totally dumb, on the history of the ascent and the fall of the Neolithic civilization of Great Britain, such as puts in images by the film-maker Grant Wakefield. Navigating on a slow structure, where all 11tracks get tangled up in a long symphony filled by Gothic and druidism aromas, of 60 minutes which incubate its rhythms and its atmospheres in a box bubbling constantly of black emotions, “Remnants” offers all the magnificence of a group which is superbly at ease in its mandates which avoid the ease.
It's with a silence which scolds that "Portal Touch Stone Overture" pierces the blank grooves of PPM's last thin slivery CD. Ethereal voices are floating there, as well as some rippling synth lines which make the bridge between the vaporous atmospheres of a black introduction and the fine line of sequences which makes its keys bounce in their shadows, stamping on a somber and delicately jerked rhythm that breezes from flutes of glass and absent choirs caress of their Mephistophelian charms. Subtly, the rhythm of "Portal Touch Stone Overture" passes of its delicate hatched gait towards wavelets of sequenced prisms which tap in the morphic sweetness of "Neolithic Spring Water Fall". The musical setting is well thought. And already we feel the level of emotionalism stepping up a notch. Riffs of keyboard à la TD fall and spread their Vangelis resonances which crystallize the harmonies ghosts roaming as lost spirits. The rhythm, sometimes absent and sometimes discreet, shows up the t ip of its sequences with black oscillations which plunge “Remnants” into its first phase of sound frenzy with the short "Circular Earth Banking Security" where we hear some strange rustles collided on the ramparts of heavy sequences which spin in dense foggy pads. Memories of the neurotic Curriculum Vitae 1 are feeding our desire to go farther. And bang! We fall into a universe of static rhythms à la Gert Emmens with "The Rising Dolmen". The rhythm is as well lugubrious as heavy. It floats with nice musical oscillations in the filets of sequences which flicker like dozens of fireflies trapped in a small jar for six, while the singings and the solos of synths are as suave as these long cosmic poetries from the Dutch bard. The transitions between every track are the strength of this album which sounds like a long track of 60 minutes. So the lapping of sequences comes back to rock the soft reveries of "The Gretchen Tragedy" and its flute which sings like a lost soul on a twinkling rivu let of sequences. "Night Initiation" is the meeting point between the beginning and the ending of “Remnants”. It's an interlude of ambiences with ethereal voices which hums in the winds of prism, a little as a somber mass of winds and voices blowing in a plain pierced by dolmens.
The fragile structures of "Neolithic Spring Water Fall" come back haunting the very meditative "Farewell Moon and New Suns" which frees a snake of sequences from which the keys skip with transparency under a dense veil of ochred mist. Scattered percussions support the oscillations of this snake charmer of rhythms, while that quite slowly the contemplative melody does the job by conquering our hearing. Although ambient, the structure of "Farewell Moon and New Suns" is striking with its intense coat of mysticism where winds sing with the night elves. And we enter the sublimity with the heavy pulsating rhythm of "Moon Dial". Once again, the movement of the motionless sequences is as attractive as Gert Emmens' lunar rhythms. Except that the madness PPM surrounds these sequences which spit the blackness with paranoiac rustles and filets of ethereal voices. The movement negotiates subtly the redundancy with a fine rhythmic modulation which makes "Moon Dial" swirls on itself while other sequences flicker and hijack the rhythm towards a latent implosion where will roar very vindictive synth solos and solos of a rebel guitar. The rhythmic battle gets intensify and "Moon Dial" fires a phase of electronic progressive rock where the structure of sequences, the electronic percussions and the bites of guitars remind me the fury of Tangerine Dream in Near Dark. This is candy for ears! It's in the breathlessness of the tumults that the first notes of piano light the melancholy of "Blue Hour Glass". These notes dance in a strange harmonious choreography eroded by tremors, while other more evasive and more melodious notes give me the taste to listen again the magnificent and demonic Añoranza. It's dark and melancholic while being as well beautiful as intriguing. "Giant's Dance on Air" cuts out the vapors of serenity with guitar riffs which fail on the stampings of sequences pawing the ground of disorder and of a desire to shake the radiance atmospheres of "Blue Hour Glass". These sequences forge the structures of a lascivious rhythm which swirls in the wavelets of static prisms and the spirals of emotionalism where voices and arrangements embroider an intense dramatic painting and where the intensity explodes with strong percussions which bring “Remnants” to its rhythmic climax. And "Walking the Burial Mounds" to close this last Picture Palace Music's work with winds and voices which float such as vestiges ghosts of a civilization which has set alight so many stories.
When the images take the shapes of music, it gives Picture Palace Music. It gives “Remnants”; a wonderful musical odyssey where this duality between the rhythms and its atmospheres engenders so much delicacy as so much fury and where the poetry as well as the dramatic prose of PPM are of use as background to a movie which takes place as much in front of our eyes as in our head. And honestly; what of better than the very theatrical music (do you remember of the splendid Natatorium?) of Picture Palace Music to put better into cerebral dialogue the images of Grant Wakefield? Splendid! This is some great Picture Palace Music, poetic and theatrical which revisits its own roots.
2013. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca