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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