1. Spacetones Part 1 - 00:00 - [38:45]
  2. Spacetones Part 2 - 38:46 - [46:54]
  3. Spacetones Part 3 - 46:55 - [68:48]
SpaceTones is the entire concert that Chuck van Zyl did during E-Day 2018. An entire live set improvised by the master of the Berlin School in the United States, A pure listening pleasure. Some minor play faults are always there during concerts but here there are almost none!! The master at work is the message here. Pure Magic! As implausible as it sounds, I have never heard the music of Chuck van Zyl. This famous DJ from the equally famous radio program Star's End, which has been on the WXPN airwaves since 1976, is also a musician-synthesizer who has produced nearly 40 albums since the mid-80's. In solo or with Art Cohen for The Ministry of Inside Things, along with Andrew Rath and Peter Gulchfor Xisle, his music is mainly focused on long improvisations set which either visit the territories of ambient panoramas or those more animated of Tangerine Dream, the Peter Baumann years. SPACETONES is a second album on Groove and retraces the main lines of his concert at the famous E-Day festival in Oirschot in spring 2018.

It's an opening inspired by the Cosmos and these thrusts of wooshh filled with dusty particles that begins the journey of Spacetones Part 1. In fact, this introduction makes the visions of its title reflect in sounds. Dissonant, distorted noises and twinkling stars twirl in a sound maelstrom of a flowering also inspired by these sound spells of video games, as of these possible dialects with these inhabitants of the stars. Chuck van Zyl doesn't drag on this intro. From the 5 minutes exceeded, he throws the canvas of a rhythmic structure with a first jet of the sequencer. Two small bass pulsations stop the minimalist rush of a lively structure inspired by the Logos years of Tangerine Dream. In a pattern where the sequencer structures protean rhythms, the musician-synthesist from Pennsylvania thrills our ears with a solid almost 40 minutes of rhythms more often frenzied than passive. Another line of the sequencer adds a depth field which gives the illusion of a velocity, while the mass of sequence makes the rhythm almost heavier than lively. The American DJ continues to play with the speed of his rhythm structures which roll at an open pace by inserting a countermeasure, giving a new breath to the structure and to our ears. The s olos arrive around 15 minutes with vampiric chants and layers singing with a supernatural tone. An atmospheric dead end forces the troops to withdraw from the sequencer, which makes undulating a single line around the 20 minutes, when Spacetones Part 1 is resourcing with a new tone which brings out arpeggios as limpid as drops of fire frozen by Cosmos. Teutonic percussions beat with more fervor in this phase which has become much more cosmic with a sampling of tones from the French School's cosmic years. Always very active, the sequencer sculpts lines of adjacent rhythms with lines of keys which oscillate innocently in the heavy rhythmic wrath of other piled up keys and whose mathematical jumps weave a nucleus of very opaque rhythmic heaviness. But during all this time, we are at the gate of 25 minutes, we have the impression that Spacetones Part 1 evolves in active permutation mode so that we neither see nor feel the minutes passed. The rhythm slowed down its infernal cadence past this point to change skins more than once without forgetting to insert ethereal passages with flute caresses. Spacetones Part 1 ends its intense rhythmic burst in these very colorful tones of its introduction which is wrapped this time with Mellotron layers from the Peter Baumann years. Solid from start to end!

After a nice interlude of cosmic atmospheres in Spacetones Part 2, Spacetones Part 3 opens our soothed ears with a big reverberating effect that continues to progress like the snoring of a machine that refuses silence by developing other sound themes that need of this reverb wire to survive. A pulsation, and its echo of two pom-pom, transits around the 3 minutes, modifying its sound axis and its course in order to sculpt the rhythmic protean birth of the 3rd part of SPACETONES. This one is less wild. The rhythm is pulsating, just like the landscape which breathes of these passive knocks from which the velocity resides in the flow of the sequencer which still succeeds in m aking very artistic antics with its lines of keys frolicking like giant rabbits in the land of dwarfs. It gives good impulses, less lightning than in Spacetones Part 1, and this translates into more static rhythmic patterns which oscillate adrift between a shower of asteroids and cosmic tones belonging to different interstellar tribes. The longest sustained rhythm phase is between the 10th and 15th minutes in a good Berlin School which fights another tonal charge to tie-up in with the sweetness of a mellotron lost in space.

I don't know if the universe of Chuck van Zyl is comparable to that of SPACETONES. If so, there will be catching up to do since the music here, and especially the first 40 minutes of this concert, is progressive and wild electronic rock that flirts between the borders of Airsculpture and Tangerine Dream. Amazing and stunning!

2020. Sylvain Lupari Since 1986 Chuck van Zyl has been a man finding his moment, in any live space that will hold him. The double CD Recitals 3 presents music recorded at several 2018 performances. His shows were documented with an ordinary two-track recording device, and, after months of review, two 60+ minute sonic journeys were produced and released as Recitals 3.

In most live improvisations a player is trying to transcend their instrument - but live concerts for Chuck van Zyl are an attempt to transcend a system of instruments. Finding the truest version of himself on stage his wish is that, according to the musician, "the you inside you will know something about the me inside me". Making the music happen in space, as if touching the notes, molding them and shaping them within time itself offers a great quality of expression. Recitals 3 arrives with high expectations and from the start it delights and transports. The live concert, the flickering shad ow of the soul is where moment by moment this music was realized. Musicians know that it takes someone else to hear the truth in their work, and it is in the concert venue that Chuck van Zyl promises to uncover the secret of his own operation.

Disc 1 (71'39") includes music from live performances for MUSIC WITH SPACE, Johnny Brenda's and NEEM Fest 2018 and moves from the dolorous to the ecstatic in a balance of opposing tensions. As if upon the workings of some powerful engine the music moves deliberately in sequencer steps rather than abruptly in leaps. Entrancing cyclical motifs and subtly spun melodic fragments pivot in front of harmonies and phrases and so make the repetitions feel new and novel, yet confidently familiar. In his vast poem of electricity van Zyl threads reciprocal shades of soft-hued tones, dazed sonic introspection, icy reverie, and lunar lullaby into a kaleidoscopic suite of interstellar melody and electronic communion. In sputtering sparks this work s ounded crisply on the mild air of the concert space - while further in, the rolling clicking-clock ticky-tock pulse will unwind your mind. A symphony of thought, The Weakening Eye of Day fascinates the mind, captivates the heart, and stimulates the imagination.

Disc 2 (76'05") features extracts from the abstract passages of five performances, and hopes to bypass the conscious sensibilities for a direct connection to that which is elemental within the listener. Like a meteor seeking a lost sun this passage spends its force searching. Inside the lowest midnight a thousand dreams softly burn. Through shivering chill currents, we pass the control of known forces. Like something falling through darkness, this moonlight swirls in the color of night. Notes collide, collude and combine. Each movement comes at you in a ramble of melody, a search of harmony, a flight of timbre. With chords moving in contrary motion, and opposed by industrial sound effects, the listening ear is pulled through the shadows to light. Throughout To the Close and Holy Darkness Chuck van Zyl develops a poetic idea, suggests a scene, creates a mood. Even as its accord of sounds, so sweet and pleasing to the ear, is opposed by dissonance, we may hear a unity in the arrangement and the message it conveys.

Communing at these concerts the soundscape forms itself around us, and so we may feel human together - the bright tones communicating a sense of repose and clarity and capturing a wide range of deeply felt interior resonances. The music found on Recitals 3 displays the glimmer of imaginative energy that has graced van Zyl's music for over 30 years. Conjoining disparate impulses it evokes cycles of collapse and renewal. Gorgeously colored, weighty in theme, style and construction this music reaches into the world of the surreal. As expected, this live album does feel newborn, yet ghosts are created on every track. In a culture where everything can be explained, the meaning of th is music still eludes definition - because somewhere in its vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered, there is something moving, something profound - is waiting.

- From the Press Release 17 December 2019