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TRACK LIST: 1. Geneser: Sahne 3:52 2. Radio Message from Kepler -186F 3:19 3. Noorderlicht 3:37 4. Polonioum 6:39 5. Rotierende Reisenbahn 3:17 6. Genesis: Otwarcie 3:36 7. Photosyntese 2:08 8. Fragestellung 2:25 9. Kupier Belt Excursion 3:29 10. Planetoid Exploration Rover 0:58 11. Memory Scan 2:57 12. Genesang: Der Mensch 1:39 13. Gense: Stadt Land Fluss 4:28 LINEUP: Jack Ellister - vocals, instruments with: Sula Bassana - synthesizer
Prolusion. UK based artist Jack Ellister has been active for a bit over a decade, initially operating as a part of the Yordan Orchestra but then opting to start releasing material under his own name from around 2012 and onward. Since then he has a good handful of albums to his name. Set to be released in October 2021 through German label Tonzonen, "Lichtpyramide II" is his most recent solo album.
Analysis. As the album name implies, this is the second album where Ellister has chosen to explore music of a similar type, and in this case progressive electronic music is the chosen territory. As indicated by quite a few of the song titles, Ellister appears to have focused on some of the traditions popularized by German artists in this field of music as a source of inspiration and as pointers for direction. Which, for those in the know, will make genre descriptions such as krautrock and Berlin School obligatory references for those who want to solidify a more specific subgenre placement. For my sake I'll shy away from just that, but I do note that as a whole this album is something of a minimalist experience. Not that the songs here are sparse, as a plethora of different sounds can be at play at any given time, but the arrangements are open and defined, with few truly dominant sounds present and the majority of the sounds and effects used are of the more careful variety. By and large the compositions are fairly uniform in nature too, and rather than exploring a landscape from a starting point to an ending point Ellister has opted to explore what I might describe as snapshots of a landscape. The songs aren't static however, there are subtle alterations and developments, but no real movement as such. This is more like a 360 degree picture of a location than a journey through a location if you like. Various forms of synthesizers and electronic effects dominate most songs, with a lead motif of some kind, be it a synthesizer solo, a sequencer pattern or a drone, forming the key foundation. Fluctuating patterns of sounds, noise textures and effects of different varieties are then placed on top of this foundation in different manners, resulting in quite a few different varieties of cosmic landscapes presented to us. Some of them elegant, others playful, some are haunting and others perhaps even slightly ominous. The differences between songs can be subtle, and as many if not most of the songs directly lead into one another my impression is that the album as a whole is a singular creation, divided into movements. Spoken words and voice effects make their way into many of these creations, and as the album moves on other instruments are added to the mix as well. The acoustic guitar first and foremost, but also electric guitar, flute and drums find their way into the songs at some point or other. And at the conclusion of this album we are also presented with the sole band-oriented composition on this production, with a rhythm section and guitars present to create and explore a richer and more dynamic landscape with more of a grounded, earthen feel to it. Which strikes me as an appropriate manner in which to conclude a cosmic journey
Conclusion. "Lichtpyramide II" is a production that appears to be aimed directly towards an audience that know and appreciate progressive electronic music of the kind that was explored and developed throughout the 1970's in general and by German artists of that period in particular. Sparse and uniform compositions exploring a set landscape in detail is the common denominator, using an array of sounds and effects to accomplish this. Add the word cosmic to this description as well, and you should have a pretty good idea about what to expect. I assume that the majority of people that find such a description tantalizing will find this latest album by Jack Ellister to be a worthwhile production to become more familiar with.
Progmessor: September 2021
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