Frédéric Gerchambeau / Bertrand Loreau — Catvaratempo
(Spheric Music , 2018, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-12-20
Frédéric Gerchambeau is perhaps the lesser known of these two collaborators, with only a couple releases to his credit, and two more collabrations with Zreen Toyz (aka Jean Luc Hervé Berthelot), yet he brings the more experimental aspects to this collaboration with French synthesist Bertrand Loreau (with about 20 releases on Spheric, Musea, Dreaming and other labels) who has been going strong since the early 90s. Catvaratempo presents four long tracks of around 15 minutes each, definitely rooted in the Berlin School electronics, but with a more avant-garde element mixed with beautiful atmospherics, shimmering and floating across a panoramic expanse reaching out to cosmic horizons. One might be reminded of Klaus Schulze during his Timewind period at times, or even an occasional nod to Tangerine Dream’s Rubycon era, and in fact that was what I was hearing the first time I played this, not a knock-off but constant reminders, but as always happens, with additional spins there was much more to be revealed that wasn’t heard before, unusual sounds and spectres that appear and fade below the surface. While the opener, “Eka,” points to more standard sequenced Berlin EM fare, the opening minutes of “Tri” (track 3) brings forth a plethora of unusual and experimental cosmic sounds that underscore the avant-garde nature of what is going down herein, taking nearly six minutes before sequences start to appear, and in the closing minutes we hear what seem to be floating voice samples mixing with one another on high. A definitive melody begins the closer, “Chatur,” but slowly begins morphing and expanding as a sequenced chord grows just under the surface, eventually taking over and guiding the piece forward in a more experimental direction, with more voices join in around the nine-minute mark, all driving the piece forward to a stunning conclusion. Listeners who appreciate KS, TD and other 70s Berlin School classics will find plenty to get excited about with Catvaratempo.
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.