Neu Harmony NH036
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The snappily titled 'Our Communications Satellite Has Disappeared' is a very impressive opener. Lovely thick analogue cosmic whooshing might sound like quite a standard way of beginning a track but there are ways of doing it- and there is The Omega Syndicate way of doing it! In electronic music the choice of sounds is vital and these really are impressive- indeed they are some of the best space sounds I have ever heard though you will need a pretty good system to appreciate them fully. Out of this stellar bliss first one high register sequence then another massively bass laden one surge forwards. Again the sounds are awesome. They constantly morph and move in and out of the mix almost like gusts of wind surging one way then another in a storm, reeking havoc as they go. Little lead lines fizz between the pulsations like lightning, the mellotron being heard from time to time as if the hand of God is making an appearance, personally conducting the mayhem. There is no atmospheric beginning for 'Onyx' as we are straight into a swirling constantly changing sequence. Indeed you could say it is completely self-sufficient containing rhythm, melody, power and atmosphere all in its ever-shifting pattern of notes.
By the third minute it has departed and we get an atmospheric section full of tinkling tones (as in a soft rain) and slow tuneful pads. It reminded me of water gently falling on a wind blown lake. A stunningly beautiful flutey lead line takes an already exquisite track up a further gear then in comes the most gorgeous melodic sequence you could ever wish for. A slightly more powerful six-note sequence gives added oomph but without destroying the pure beauty the lead line and original sequence had already created. A third sequence comes in, almost mimicking but also in support of the first then the second is cranked up in response. Pure words make this all sound rather mechanical but nothing could be further from the case. There is an organic' quality to this whole album. Everything is a constant state of flux but also perfect balance. It is as if the music is a living entity not just mere 'compositions'. We now commence the first episode of the seven-part title track with shimmering metallic atmospherics. This only lasts a few seconds though before we enter the multi sequencer layered part two. What grabs the attention most however are the wonderful lead lines ranging from lush to awesome bass, speaker wrecking growls. It is so powerful!
This sort of intensity can't be kept up forever so we return to atmospherics for the beginning of 'Part Three' Another brace of sequences reek devastation, one hurling thunderbolts whilst the other issues forth a torrent of rain. The lead again is like the intervention of some divine being. But we have only started. Unbelievably the quality gets even better and more powerful. The sequences develop a snarl to their edges then increase in pace as if a wolf has chosen its moment to pounce in chase of its pray, leading to the inevitable bloody conclusion. The fourth part calms things down with a short piano passage before the sequences return once more for 'Part Five'. They are rather tuneful ones acting as a perfect base for some lovely lead lines and mellotron backing. This is still retro bliss but with a touch of tenderness. The eye of the storm I suppose.
'Part Six' is another very short piano interlude taking us back to the steamroller sequences of Part Seven- slow but powerful. You wouldn't want to get in their way. When I first heard The Omega Syndicate I loved their attitude of just having a bloody good time producing Berlin School inspired music. It was exciting stuff but didn't take itself too seriously. I am sure the tracks on this album were done in the same spirit but these guys are learning their craft so quickly that the quality of what they are now coming up with is of the very highest. This album marks a sort of coming of age - the realization if you like that life also has a darker side. (DL)