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Sequentia Legenda - Renaissance CD (album) cover

RENAISSANCE

Sequentia Legenda

 

Progressive Electronic

4.95 | 2 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars More Berlin School magic from Klaus Schulze devot' Laurent Schieber, the Mulhouse Maestro seems to be pulling together an LP per year (or, more accurately, every nine months) all the while increasing in confidence, quality, and allure. While last year's Ethereal was a veritable prog masterpiece--and remains on my frequent rotation playlist-- I've been so busy this year (since May) that I've had little time to listen to much new music much less 20+ minute long epics like these. But, I can now say, these are every bit as much up to the standards set by Laurent's previous work--and by the master himself, M. Schulze.

1. "Out of the Silence" (21:55) starts surprisingly familiar and takes a little time growing and developing (a little too much time, in my humble opinion). A drummer's cymbol play enters and joins the sequence over the course of the fifth minute. It sounds live (not looped)! Full drums enter in the seventh minute, total key shift at 7:35 and then back to original formation at 8:25. Two more different key shifts in the tenth and eleventh minutes with a few more percussion noises added to the mix, but the song doesn't really go anywhere new, different, or exciting--not even the shift to a more minor key spectrum at the 11:00 mark--though it is nice that there are four key shifts to choose from instead of the usual two. At 14:00 all rhythm tracks are dropped and multiple layers of synth chords and synth noises hold their own in a new universe of spacey-ness. I like this section. Especially the hypnotic four-note electric piano arpeggio repeated as the central foundation. The brilliance of Rainer Br'ninghaus's work with Eberhard Weber comes to mind. A solid song with a wonderful final third--again, a song that is displaying the growth and development of Laurent's confidence and mastery. (8.5/10)

2. "Ici et Maintenant" (25:40) opening with a much darker, foreboding soundscape than is usual for Sequentia Legenda, the slow fade in of the rhythm and percussion tracks and multiple loops of synth washes brings with it a softening of the tension, a slight brightening of hope. By the fifth minute all levels seem set. By the ninth minute the repetition is starting to wear and then--boom!--at the 9:00 mark, just in perfect timing, there is a big shift--a key change which settles the nerves. Awesome! Laurent is getting so good at reading his listeners (or, at least, me). Something about this key makes the music so much more settling, more relaxing, then, at 11:00, the key shifts again--back to its original, but thanks to that two minute reprieve, it is much more tolerable, enjoyable. Another shift at 13:00--and with it some new synth and keyboard "harp" chords and flourishes. Nice! At 15:00 we enter yet another key. The sequenced items are feeling so friendly and close now. New percussives are being added-- prominent kick drum in the lower range and hi-hat cymbol in the high. After 17:00 a few more synth noises: insect buzzes, full synth wash chords, and an orchestra-like snare track. Nice. The soundscape is so perfectly balanced-- and not overly full. The subtle introduction of so many elements helps me, the listener, to stay entranced and entrenched . . . in the Here and Now. Tom-tom runs are added to the mix in the twentieth minute and then, quite suddenly, at the 20:00 mark, everything collapses; all tracks but the synth washes and a few two-note rhythm tracks disappear. This is awesome! I am so stupefied by the slowly panned and flanged single note "guitar pluck"--I'm reliving my deep connection to Propaganda's "Dream Within a Dream"--one of my all-time favorite songs. Love the prolonged exit with the percussives and upper octave electric piano arpeggi. Awesome song! Definitely a showcase piece of a Berlin School master! (10/10)

3. "Valentins Traum" (17:24) a long opening with minor or discordant chord choices over which odd and eerie, even disturbing, sounds flit in and out of the soundscape. The sequenced rhythm track stays far in the background, fading in and out of the aural spectrum. Only in the fifth minute does it begin to emerge and stay, even rise to a place within the thick of the sonic palette. By the end of the sixth minute an electronic harpsichord riff, insect zip!- buzz, electronic tambourine, and rotation of synth strings washes have established themselves as the mainstays. The chord selection is not quite as dark and scary now, though eerie, unnatural sounds continue to fly in and out of the soundscape. That "harp/harpsichord" riff is so hypnotizing! In the eleventh minute multiple components of a drum kit are introduced and interwoven. The eerie sounds become more frequent, constant, and layered in multiplicity as the drums and rhythm tracks fade out by the end of the fourteenth minute. The d'nouement is slow, gradual, and steady, so I'm guessing that Valentin's dream was a bit of a disturbing event, though not one that caused sudden fright or night terrors, but the persistence of the scary sounds continues in the fore despite the slow fade of the music into the background, so perhaps I a wrong. Nice work. Definitely engaging, mesmerizing, and convincing as a representation of its subject matter. (9/10)

Five stars; another masterpiece of Berlin School-inspired progressive electronic music from this evolving master-- and another superb masterpiece to contribute to the lexicon of Prog Electronic Epics and Prog Valhalla.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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