Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography - Elsewhere CD (album) cover



Progressive Electronic

4.52 | 4 ratings

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4 stars is the alias name for electronic ambient artist Yves Potin, and his 2007 release `Elsewhere' could not be more appropriately titled. Listening to this beautiful floating and energetic album transports you to another time and place altogether, taking you away from all your stresses and worries. It's a hypnotic and blissful trip through progressive music, New-Age soundscapes, gentle jazzy diversions and ambient atmospheres. There are frequent world music elements and ethnic instruments that enhance the experience and give the album a greater variety without sounding messy or fragmented. The three long pieces that comprise the album run through a variety of tempos, styles and emotions to provide a richly rewarding and exciting work.

The nearly ten minute `Indian Mood on Thethys' begins the album with delicate electric guitar picking and Koto strums over the top of the most gentle of synth washes. Just a hint of mystery and fascination to this introduction, and like a cool wind it blows softly around the listener. Soon the guitar playing jolts in and out of slightly uneasy King Crimson-like urgent snaps and darker keyboard tones. Ethnic percussion enters, chimes dazzle and gulping udu (essentially acting as the bass) murmurs along in the background before a disorientating fade out.

`Dawn In The Snow' is the piece that most reflects the album cover to me, even the title of the 12 minute piece suggests both the opposing sensations of `warm' and `cold'. Fading in with chilly electronic droning with pulsing effects and distant tension that draws ever closer and louder in volume, it envelopes the listener in ice and brings a sense of loneliness and isolation. Ominous and sad synth tones float in and out, yet like the beginning of a sunrise in the morning, warm keys start to gently rise and melt away the solitude to offer a sense of hope. A programmed drum loop, electronic humming bass and a wavering jazzy synth solo brings a feeling of wonder and renewed energy. Gamelan cymbals mark the end of the day, as soon the night is back upon us, but perhaps we're in a better place than we were at the beginning. We've brought a sense of hopefulness and positivity from the day to carry with us into the great unknown.

Like all good electronic-related works, a long extended piece (or a side long piece for those with a nostalgic affection for vinyl like me!) such as the 25 minute title track here is a grand statement of intent. Some sections of this piece even resembles elements of the Berlin School electronic artists, while Potin's eclectic variety of instruments and blending of genres brings his own unique identity. Beginning as a long glacial drone, cold keys and shimmering effects rise and fall, until a warmer and comforting synth melody gracefully washes forward, pushing in and out against the listener. Soon more of that Crimson styled manic guitar playing and frantic Gamelan gongs dance over the top of those humming electronic waves. The piece seamlessly morphs into a wild frenzy of programmed and live drums, harsh electronics and murky tension. A dirty and distorted electric guitar solo weaves through the chaos, carrying us through the danger, and before you know it we've arrived at a very Tangerine Dream-like soundscape with pulsing trance beats and swirling urgent keyboards. There's lots of energy here, perfectly advancing the track from the old world ethnic setting to a modern and sleek future, before falling away into a soothing and dreamy finale. So many ideas and genres blur effortlessly together on this piece!

Special mention must go to the tastefully simple and evocative cover artwork. I love the icy landscape, with the African Udu, like an undiscovered jewel, waiting in the middle to bring a sense of spiritual release and warmth to the barren world.

Although I've come to enjoy many of his albums, `Elsewhere' in particular has been been like a close friend over the last few months, providing me with an escape from the difficult place I currently find myself in. The constant sensations of an exciting future and confronting present make for an emotionally-charged and richly rewarding album to me, and it's one of many superb albums that make Yves Potin a very unique and special electronic related artist to me.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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