Dying Sun / Scarlet Moon - Artemi Pugachov

"De Natura" gets this album underway with heavy effects and a rumbling bass line. A great melodic theme follows with traces of Kraftwerk's "The Robots" in the way the sequences and rhythms are built. Some key changes follow with various pulsating electronic sounds coming and going. Excellent, varied EM! "Draconian" follows in a similar manner - urban synths (house-like), pulsing rhythms, twittering effects... all this accounts for a typical, trademark Nattefrost sound. A gentle, 4/4 rhythm gives the track a sense of purpose and brings in that extra dynamic element. This track is fairly somber and is loaded with fat sequences. "Music for the Man" is moodier, darker and with a wicked beat that sounds like Kraftwerk gone Industrial. The use of vocoder reinforces that feeling.

 

"Die Kinder der Erde", co-composed by Matzumi, is a rather intense track, with galloping sequences and fat synth pads. It's dramatic and engaging, following traditions set by German masters of the 1970's. There's even a fair bit of spacey Mellotron choir towards the end. "The Swan" is a funny, and somewhat unexpected remake of Saint-Saens' well-known piece. I am not sure if Bjorn had been listening to a lot of early 1970's "Moog Pop" lately or there was some other obscure reason to do this kind of thing. Anyway, it's fairly enjoyable, if somewhat trite. I should also mention that it is not exactly in line with the rest of the material of this CD. "Seduced by Grief" is a comparatively minimal track with a dominating rhythm and a few mysterious background pads / melodic hooks. There's not much in terms of sequencing, most of the pulsations being rather simple and minimal, with the lower end being the most pronounced. "Ghosts from the North" combines spooky electronic textures with a narrating voice in German. However, the track then turns into a heavy sequencing hybrid, spiced up with a Techno beat. Not exactly my type of thing, I think it will appeal more to the Trance crowd. "The Dark Spell" has an ambient intro. Out of this sonic melange rises a menacing sequence, coupled with bleepy arpeggios. I didn't find the melodic content on this track particularly successful, though. It is nice but not exactly up to Bjorn's usual standards. But I'll give it to him that he created a different track, exploring new territory. "Close Encounter" is made by a duo of Bjorn and Michel van Osenbruggen aka Synth.nl. This track has a more playful character and excellent melodic synth soloing (courtesy of Michel I would guess). It is amazing how well the styles of the two artists merge into an excellent pulsating, melodic EM hybrid. It is certainly one of the best tracks on this album. "My Wake Up", composed by Heidi Mortenson, sounds like a musical joke. It's basically a bunch of funny melodies ala early 1970's "Moog Pop" and some atmospheric textures used for contrast. This is what EM would sound like in a parallel universe where cartoon-loving Daleks have conquered the Earth. This album is a box full of surprises. Some of the tracks are extremely good, some not so interesting in my opinion, but overall it's an enjoyable listening. Well done!

 

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