Beyond Berlin is the collaboration of two YouTube musicians Rene de Bakker (KeesVangelis) and Martin Peters (Attorks). The goal is to inspire each other to make great analog sequencer based music. The music has it's foundation in the Berlin School of Electronic Music. We try to go back to the basics when analog synthesizers and step sequencers ruled the electronic music. But our influences cannot be ignored and add to the music we make. Hence the name 'Beyond Berlin'.
It took a while, but after playing together a few times it was clear, this music had to appear on an album. Three tracks with more than 70 minutes of great Berlin School music. Fine sequences, moving soundscapes and well placed solo's. We can say that we are proud of this production. After the CD was finished we were asked by Ron Boots to do a live performance at the E-Live 2017 festival.
And we agreed directly. But it became clear to us that we needed an extra pair of hands because of the live sequencing we do. So we asked Oscar van den Wijngaard to join us. This was the right decision and after some rehearsals we where ready to ride.
The concert at the E-Live festival was on the 21st of October. We played the 3 tracks of the Fine Tunes album, with influences of Oscar. We also played an encore which was a new track composed by the three of us.
We lost Beyond Berlin on the EM map since that the album Music for Cosmic Nights appeared shyly under the radars in 2013. Nevertheless, this album was warmly applauded by the critics as being an excellent surprise. More than 3 years later, and some 3 solo albums farther from Rene de Bakker and 1 from Martin Peters, the Dutch duet comes to visit us again shyly, this time on the Groove label, dazzling again our ears with a very good ode to Berlin School. “Fine Tunes” is a pretty solid album. A big album of EM as several of you love. There is rhythm. As big than intense. There are ambiences. Ambiences which search for the cracks on the ground from where leak out these chthonian choirs or these luciferian effects while the melodies tinkle in a surprising fragility for an album so heavy. Sat on 3 titles with very distinct dimensions, “Fine Tunes” is this kind of thing of which the only flaw is about time. There is too much on one title and not en o ugh on the 2 other ones...
A plethora of electronic noises, some even disturbing ones, make the line in order to be identified. They form the introduction in two times of "Primum". Because if the noises abound and are strong, the synth layers with Floyd mists and others sibylline, like the purest essences of the Berlin School, are chasing these noisy effects by spreading wide bands of silky caresses. Momentums of synth waves are rushing, adding an esoteric depth to these first moments of "Primum" which always stays possessed by this noisy and luxuriant tonal fauna. The synth layers pile up by playing with their tones, I hear owls to hoot and even flutes which are not there, creating a dense sound magma too heavy to get purify in so little time. There are more than 9 minutes to the meter, and always no rhythm which livens up the instincts of "Primum". It's 30 seconds after this mark that the first pulsations are beating through. Behind petite whistles of flutes, a swarm of static sequences intensely sparkles while 2 bass hesitating pulsations, followed by a set of 3 more fluids' ones, structure the minimalist ambient rhythm of "Primum". Layers and lines of synth pile up in this maze of sequences, which sound very Franke at times, leading the moods to reach summits of intensity. Then a delicious line of melody forged on sequences skipping in cascade gives the shivers to the soul around the fifteen minutes. At this point, a kind of sound anarchy creates an ambient intensity where the whole thing gets to perfection in this great electronic adventure of “Fine Tunes” which will take a new sonic face with "Andra".
Here the rhythm is more fluid and the vibes are more Mephistophelian. The sequences skip in the way with a soberer movement, whereas is whistling a rush of electronic winds coming from the hells. The Tangerine Dream fragrance is still present at the level of sequences, while the melodies which are butt-welded with parts more or less connectable sound as of Mergener-Weisser, without the cosmic vision. The acrobatic choreography of the crystal clear serpentines of sequences is a little marvel for ears. At this level, the transparent sounds of the sequences equal those of a hammer hitting on a big xylophone of unbreakable crystal. Almost more a symphony for sequencer than a ballet for sequences, "Andra" evolves with its various lines of rhythms which criss-cross, intertwine and pill-up into a fascinating rhythmic mosaic which denies at no moment its ambient tones with banks of mist, layers of voices, breezes of synth and effects which place now and forever the portal of both EM universes. A little bit too long but still very good! Layers of voices, THX effects and curtains of lights and tones, "Tercera" jumps into our ears with a hopping and lively rhythm. A meshing of sequences lines and electronic percussions feeds a good structure of electronic rock with some delicious percussive effects, my guilty pleasure. Synth layers spread out floating oases whereas lines of synth throw melodies which glitter like tonal reflections. Harmonies suggest an approach in the shape of solos while these sequenced melodies always tinkle in the background. If the rhythmic fauna is rich, the one which manages the ambiences and the melodies overflow of sounds and colors with multiple lines and effects of synth which melt in a big e-rock became heavier. The rushes of percussions and sequences come by package of twelve, the synth solos get out of their hiding place and the arrangements weave dramatic and intense momentums in a structure which worn out its 20 minutes to put fire in our feet and to boil our energy in one of the wildest and most furious titles that I heard in the domain. A slap my friends! In fact, everything of “Fine Tunes” from Beyond Berlin is a bomb.
2018. Sylvain Lupari / SynthSequence@hotmail.ca