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Pokerface - Silver Heart - Part 1 CD (album) cover





3.61 | 4 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars In reviewing Transeo, the previous album of the Pokerface project I have looked for similarities. Rereading it I have mentioned Christian Kolf and Ozric tentacles. Now, even if some similarities can be found, I can say that this new pokerface album is highly original and with a very distinctive sound.

There's much electronics, especially in drumming, some touches of jazz spreaded here and there, and a general darkness which sometimes trespasses into the space rock realm.

"Der Schloß Adler" (The Castle Eagle) is different from the other album's tracks, so it can't give a clear idea of what the listener will find. The concertina which sets up the rhythmic base and the drone drumming behind create a sort of dark ambient mixture with some flavor of jazz. The short pauses of silence and background music reminds to the ethnic interludes of Senmuth but absolutely not outplaced.

"Thank You Wendy" is amazing. Dreamy bells on which a guitar plays a sort of blues-rock in a contrast which sounds weird and dark. Bass and percussions add a touch of electronics while the total absence of melody is incredible, Every sound is studied, no notes are misplaced while the electric guitar explores the world of acid jazz. Instruments playing things apparently different and disconnected, including the first "real drums" riff, able to create something structured and consistent. Order coming from chaos.

"Sticks And Stones" opens like a Tangerine Dream track of the pink period: an organ playing discordant chords, but it's just for few moments. The heavy percussion and the choir deploy a layer of darkness, then the song starts. It's a slow jazzy song with a weird arrangement. I've been recently listening to Carla Bley and this song with its sudden but smooth changes of pitch has something similar.

"Autumn-Winter-Fall" is spacey. I have mentioned "trespassing to space rock", well, this is the first journey out of that border. One of the best moments of the whole album followed by "Muttersprache" (Mother's Speech) which runs in the same realm, with a choir whose female voice is not credited (unless it's an effect). I can't follow the lyrics, but it gives me the idea of sounds heard by a fetus.

The next track, "Heartland (To Dad)", is another spacey follow-up with a background layer of, I think, distorted guitar. The voice usually does what's possible to avoid being trivial or even melodic, but this song is the most melodic one. Very dark and electronic, but melodic. "Lost in time" he repeats...I'd like to know what the lyrics say, as my impression is of a moving song, the less experimental which has also a rocking part starting just in the middle of the song and a spacey coda.

The reprise of "Muttersprache" reprises the theme but now the mood is darker. It's not a darkness made of perils and fears. It's a darkness made of incoming dreams, it's faliing asleep and find yourself in a different world, while the muffled sounds of a voice arrive distorted to your ears. It looks like a dark lullaby.

Since now, a number of bonus tracks come. The first is a live version of "Sticks and Stones" enhanced by an excellent trumpet which makes it sound even more jazz. "Beginnings and Endings comes from Transeo. Its live arrangement, thanks also to the trumpet, cries "jazz", as well as "Krtek ve Snu" (Mole in a Dream). The particularity of this second track is the (electronic) drumming line.

This excellent album is closed by an unreleased live track, "Beneath The Tree" whose instrumentation is very particular and reminds me to the early works of Laurie Anderson.

It can't have less than 4 stars

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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