Neu Harmony NH022
What we have here is Syndromeda's performance at Jodrell Bank earlier this year. Its all new material recorded especially for the concert and what a gig it was. If you weren't there listening to this CD is the next best thing. The dark rumbling drones created for the beginning of the opener 'So So Far Away' are so deep they got a pile of CDs I had placed near a speaker to fall over. They were ideal for the cosmic setting of this performance, it was like being near some star about to go super nova. There is so much power here and yet at the same time a sort of peacefulness.
A relaxing melancholy lead line gently drifts in the midst of these awesome sounds. A distorted whispered voice is saying something low in the mix. I doubt you will be able to make it out but the words are printed in the artwork for you anyway- spaced out man! Just as the words echo away in comes the first sequence gradually gaining energy. More dark menacing stabs are added- this is a track oozing attitude. Another playful sequence bounces over the top, then another. Superb effect are also brought into play and then a brilliant lead scorches through everything. There is so much going on here, the power emitted from the speakers is breath taking. We stay at max for a few minutes then return to the dark cosmic pads and whispered voice again to finish. 'The Last Influence' deploys the sequencer straight away then in come some great mellotron sounds which will make you feel as if you are levitating towards some source of power provided by a sinister dark bass drum line. The sound of spectres can be heard taunting you- its so wonderfully brooding and menacing and yet as with most of the album so powerful. After the half way mark vast melodic pads can be heard, acting more like a lead line increasing the feeling of awe still further.
A fast metallic sequence gets 'No Way Back' underway. More tron sounds are added then a deep bass melody issues forth. Yet again this is a powerful track but with a relaxing edge, especially when the second beautiful lead line comes in during the third minute. 'Phaedron' has an atmospheric beginning. Cosmic effects shimmer from the speakers and the pads swirl as if drawing you whirlpool like into a black hole. The drones get even darker and siren type noises can bee heard. Is there danger ahead? Yup! A ballsey sequence rumbles as alien crafts swing into view. Another sequence crackles into life- let battle commence. The leads are particularly brazen, no hiding in the mix here as they hit you right between the ears. 'Slow Heat' starts with more warning sounds. The underlying pads are again extremely thick and dark. At the four minute mark a slow sequence starts up but it basically plays a supporting role to the wonderful atmospherics and sublime lead line. 'Conjunction Area' makes use of a couple of bouncy sequences to provide one of the lighter moments on the album. The lead melody compliments it nicely. Its as if watching an alien take its first few clumsy steps. The mood then gradually changes and becomes more confident as if striding out and looking at the night sky in wonder. The interplay between lead lines and accompanying pads and effects is extremely well done conjuring up fantastic pictures in the mind.
'The End of the Circle' starts off with some exquisite atmospherics but then becomes a torrent of sequences and rhythms topped off with the most amazing laser sharp lead line, the drums becoming fairly thunderous near the end finishing things off on a real high. This album has some of the meanest deepest atmospherics as well as awesome sequences and rhythms. It should give the speakers a real work out - play loud! (DL)