Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Organic chemistry: That Which Prevails, the new album by Computerchemist



Computerchemist's ninth album is a solid island of complex Berlin School-style electronica in an ocean of myriad other mainstream / trendy electronic music releases. Once again, instead of taking some 'fashionable' commercial route, the music is true to its central aesthetic - and delivers on that.

The presence of 'organic' instrumentation in the electronic landscape is (or always should be) a very welcomed artistic choice. If one recalls Klaus Krieger's or Chris Franke's drumming on Tangerine Dream records, Klaus Schulze's drumming on his solo albums, or Manuel Göttsching's guitar improvisations enveloped by Schulze's electronic textures, then one knows what these combinations can deliver as an experience for the listener.

What we have here is much more electrifying than a purely synthesised soundscape. Dave Pearson's guitars and the drumming by Zsolt Galantai (of, among others, Ossian fame) adds a vital organic element to the Berlin School sound unfolding in these tracks.

We have tight sequencers, which are captivatingly pulsating and giving structure to the tracks' lush atmospherics, PPG Wave-like characteristic sonic gems (check out the final track especially), and impossible to resist mellotron-like textures. Everything a Berlin School aficionado could possibly want...

However, in addition we have fluid and, one dares to say, emotive guitar leads, with aforementioned drums on the third track. Even the drum programming on the other tracks feels organic and eminently non-robotic, unlike what happens in some other eminently synthesised, even synthetic, sonic journeys.

It makes the tracks feel more fluid, ever-changing, without static sequencer patterns. Things constantly develop, which is increasingly rare in latter-day Berlin School records & jams inundating the internet.

The opening track is already landing us in catchy Berlin School territory, and characteristically, the sequencers are there to provide structural support to animated electronic rock, rather than totally taking over.

Time Is A Great Healer (parts iii-iv) is another good example where we may believe we are in for a digital trip, as PPG Wave-like sounds open the composition, but then we can quickly take a flight with guitars making a solid appearance...

A Dali-esque Dreamer is a superb homage to Edgar Froese, who passed away five years ago. It once again shows how the tracks do not stand still and there is solid compositional development, whilst keeping an almost improvised feel, too with the guitar leads.

The title track, That Which Prevails is again a perfect example how a retro-sounding organ intro can develop into a fiery electronic rock piece.

Yours truly used to say, even write, about classic TD and Schulze gems that there were no straight lines, only waves and curved surfaces in those records. The same accolade applies to this album, too.

While there is clear compositional thinking with structural development, each track achieves that sense of catchy fluidity that normally only comes with inspired improvisations.

Computerchemist's catalogue can be purchased on CD from CDbaby.com and amazon.com in the US or direct from the artist's site via bandcamp.com. Digital distribution is through bandcamp.com, CDbaby.com, Apple iTunes, Spotify and other popular streaming services.



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