RENE HELL: The Terminal Symphony (Type Recordings)


Posted on Apr 13th 2011 01:36 am

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Rene Hell: The Terminal Symphony

The Terminal Symphony
Type Recordings 2011
10 Tracks. 38mins22secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

If there was any doubt to the electronic nature of James Witscher’s latest project, the title of his second album as Rene Hell spells it out loud and clear: this is music made for computer. The Terminal Symphony is however a much more ambitious project, which, while retaining much of its predecessor’s refinement, aims at reaching an entirely different level of creativity.

2010 was a busy year for Witscher, who, since the release of his debut album barely a year ago, has delivered a number of tapes, singles and split releases on Arbor, Kraak or Agents Of Chaos. But, as this latest offering prove, this was clearly not enough for the inspiration stream to dry up. Witscher embarked on a much more ambitious project when he set out to record The Terminal Symphony. Seeking ideas in classical music rather than in the Kosmische revival favoured by much of his contemporaries in order to give this record a more structured and considered appearance than its predecessor, he has split it into two distinct musical suites, each with their own narrative and progression, and each occupying one complete LP side.

Where Porcelain Opera often intentionally appeared sketchy and free flowing, Witscher has devised here a much more complex and coherent series of compositions, and demonstrate a more structured approach to the whole project. Equally, he is found here expanding on the sonic template of his previous record quite considerably as he builds much more intricate and progressive soundscapes, which can switch from incredibly dense and rich to minimal and introspective forms in the space of a few seconds. This is exactly what he does on Chamber Forte, which opens the album. At first, Witscher works with heavy electronic sounds and noises, casting a somewhat sombre, almost post-industrial, shadow on the piece, but in its second half, the mood changes entirely as these withdraw to reveal a series of ethereal chords. Later on, he follows a brief assault of drums machine with a much more subtle and light sequence of slightly dissonant notes and squelches on Oxford Meter End.

Not all the tracks go through so distinct sections thought, but each of Witscher’s pieces benefit of the same attention to detail. From the pulsating formation of the Kraftwerk-esque Quiet Detail Muse or the deceptively simple, at least at first, format of E.S. Des Grauens In Fifths, which evokes the minimalism Harmonia as caught through a haze of psychedelic motifs, to the incredibly tight and dense hypnotic arpeggios of Lighthouse Marvel or Juliard Op. 66 and the peaceful Adagio For String Portrait, Witscher creates ambitious and contrasted electronic pieces which are best brought into focus against the rest of the compositions. The deeply electronic textures used here hint at the wide exploratory scope of some of the best experimental work of the last forty years, but never entirely settles on a particular era, making The Terminal Symphony a record which appear to operate outside of conventional time frames. Essential.

Like its predecessor, initial copies of the LP version of the album come with an extra CD of entirely exclusive material.


Type Recordings
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

Filed in Albums | Tags: , ,
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