A track from my new CD "TAXON" (release December 2018 on Groove Unlimited).|
The pulses follow the Fibonacci sequence from 1 up to 233. Instruments used: Prophet 12, Studiologic Sledge, Wavestation SR.
Music © 2018 DreamScape Productions
Video © 2018 Serge Devadder
The Belgian invasion invades more and more my musical tastes! This time it is with the music of Serge Devadder who goes by the Groove Unlimited label to offer us an amazing album that deserves our attention. “Taxon” is the sixth solo album of the Brussels' musician and proposes a music influenced by works of arts of a particular character, zoology and the paintings of the German painter Birgit Schweimler who has already realized the covers of the Cambrian and Ganda albums as well as the one of “Taxon”. The works of the biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel, the cabinet of curiosities from the Dutch zoologist and pharmacist Albertus Seba and finally of the American photographer Henry Horenstein and his illustrations of his book Aquatics are also the numbers of influences which helped to design the essences of this amazing album where our ears will discover a fascinating universe which is closely related to these influences.
It's through a waltz of carillon that begins the exploration of “Taxon”. Tibetan bells weave their timbres collections in an ambient movement which looks like the gait of a pistorello wandering the main street of a new village in the Wild West. Synth layers cover this rather harmonic bells choir of "Chimära" which sounds like a fusion of Robert Rich and Sensitive Chaos with a little of Loren Nerell's lubricant to add a touch of drama to this ballad for a hundred bells under a sky to the colors of despair. There is a world of imagination and a lot of complexity behind the making of this music as well as on "Nixen" which is much in the same genre, but more captivating. "Salamander" adopts a bit the stormy ambiences, by the intensity of the tonal colors, of "Chimära". The decor is gloomier with implosions of bass lines which crash like sound waves while creating a climate of intrigue. Short lines of sequencer emerge between these sibylline shadows and make run 3 to 4 keys that come and go at regul a r intervals throughout the 8 minutes of the play. Their presence is more heard in the last third of "Salamander" weaving a Berlin School decor. Speaking of Berlin School, "Alraune" is a heavy one. As heavy as these sequences which vibrate and throb with resonances in the universe of Redshift. Percussive tinklings pass between the slits of this amphibian rhythmic structure where the synth spits lines as much raucous and gloomy than elephant which are crying of fright when they got encircled by a herd of giant lionesses. It's a very intense title, but there is more! "Vipern" for example, which is a solid Berlin School. The sequences are nervous and flutter on the spot in bass tones which restore a dark ambience, a bit like the Near Dark soundtrack of Tangerine Dream. These titles are monuments of the genre. After two minutes of Steve Roach vibes, "Perlboot" shakes its tonal torpor with sequences which dance like crazy chimes, but without tones, in soft synth pads which vaguely remind me of Tangerine Dream's Silver Scale. "Conchilien" is the quietest, the most meditative title of “Taxon”. The synth pads, or the breezes of big flutes, sound like boat whispers as the ambiances murmur these waters crashing on rocks.
I enjoyed discovering the world of “Taxon”. Despite the styles, we feel the tonal signature very aesthetically dark of Serge Devadder who succeeds in weaving the paintings of a world at once mysterious and attractive. The balance between the rhythm structures and the ambient phases is just perfect, albeit those have a little something very seductive. A very beautiful and poetic album which carries all of its dimension over the listening.
2019. Sylvain Lupari
As for Serge Devadder’s previous cds, the cover of this release features an abstract texture by abstract art painter Birgit Schweimler that somehow reminded the composer of an amphibian organism, which fits perfectly with the concept of the album. “Taxon”, as its name suggests, is heavily influenced by Serge Devadder’s fascination for comparative biology and the act of taxonomic classification as an attempt to bring order to the chaos of evolutionary drift. Its ambient sonic narrative explores the dark, murky, cruel, slimy processes of biological differentiation while expressing the composer’s fascination for its complexity and versatility. Another source of inspiration was the famous cabinets of curiosities (the so-called “Wunderkammern”) of the baroque rulers which displayed a blend of early natural history collections with more bizarre artefacts. Thus, Serge decided to name each of the seven tracks on the album after an organism, either f r om real nature or from the realm of fantasy.
So what’s the music like? Well, it’s a carefully moulded and shaped travelogue of tribal-organic electronics, moody textures and primordial alchemy matched with a few aquatic elements. Also note some distant horn calls merged with spatial sequences and deep spherics (“Alraune”) or gentle bursts of conch shell trumpet (the closing piece “Conchilien”). The sequencing found on the release is also something special, putting things in fascinating yet exciting pulsating motion (“Vipern”) while mesmerizing atmospheres materialize. And there’s the fascinating track “Perlboot” (the German common name for the Nautilus pompilius) having a special meaning on the recording. The chambered nautilus-shell, with its many compartments, is a well-documented example of a near-golden spiral and almost a symbol of how mathematical principles drive growth and differentiation in biological processes. Hence Serge included a reference to the “golden ratio – Phi” Fibonacci-series in this piece (which comes with a beautiful video on You Tube) as the number of pulses follows the series between 1 and 233. This actually reflects the increasing size of the air-chambers in the shell.
“Taxon’s” mesmerizing acoustic-infused, highly imaginative soundworlds are simply ear-candy as it paints its own sonic worlds of natural wonder. Check out this quality release if you like the organic ambient works Robert Rich, Loren Nerell and Steve Roach.
4 stars out of 5
2019. Bert Strolenberg/SonicImmersion.org