Neu Harmony NH028
Andy Pickford & Paul Nagle = S.T.D.M.
This is an incredible album, not least because if it wasn't for Rainbow Serpent having to pull out of their 2002 Jodrell Bank concert it would never have happened! For us listeners it goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining. It was very good of Andy and Paul to accept my offer of filling the gap at such short notice. The music is flowing, sometimes gently but at other times like a raging current. There are elements of trance in here but rhythmically much more inventive and the sequences stronger than much of that style. The melodies are also superb, often subtle but always captivating. 'Disinformatsiya Part 1' begins with soft pads rising out of gentle percussive effects. Its all rather cosmic, that is until a wonderful melodic loop emerges. A slow deep bass line comes in to join it developing all the time, fizzing with awesome energy as we hurtle forwards. The power contrasts with layer after layer of melody which isn't in yer face but never the less gets under the skin. We return to cosmic atmospherics for the transition to 'Part 2'. A deep pulse beats out time as a melancholy lead line weaves a wonderful spell. A sequence joins it as the pulse speeds up. Just in the background distorted vocals can be heard then we shift up a gear. 'Part 3' is initially rather relaxed but with a feeling of pent up energy which is finally released in the form of the most devastating sequence so far. Its all so cool and trance inducing.
'Part 4' begins with Wolfgand Tiepoldesque cello- very classy and rather moody. Vocoded vocals can be heard but it is difficult to make out what they are saying and another sequence builds, increasing in intensity through the vocal. Virtual electric guitar then starts to let rip momentarily heightening the excitement still further but just as quickly we enter another atmospheric section heralding 'Ramayana Part 1'. A delicate rhythm emerges out of a haunting solar wind. It has a slightly Eastern feel to it which is emphasised still further when the lead line emerges. The rhythm becomes more prominent but still restrained and the melodies just get better and better. By now I'm in complete bliss. It's a devastating track, rhythm and melodies fitting together perfectly, the combination of sounds chosen being inspired. We get more virtual cello as we move into 'Part 2'.
A high register sequence drives things forward over a slow bass throb. 'Part 3' initially features a wonderful virtual acoustic guitar- moody, moody stuff! The tranquillity is shattered somewhat by a rotor blade type sequence full of attitude which grabs hold only letting go when we descend into eerie atmospherics at the beginning of 'Part 4'. Gradually the track becomes increasingly rhythmic and just when its worked itself up into quite a bubbling brew yet another excellent lead line is tossed in. It gets even better and intense with more blistering virtual electric guitar before calming down to a gentle finish. 'Laternentrager Part 1' begins with flutey synth, gentle melodic pads and an electronic piano type lead but then the sequences start up and what sequences- powerful and wonderfully melodic. Add rhythm, yet more great vocoded vocals- heaven.
'Part 2' starts with solar winds out of which a slow beat forms. It has real attitude and develops into an infectious groove. An ethereal lead line winds round the pulsations hitting the spot perfectly. A sensitive piano melody can be heard in the background which takes us to the end. (DL)