OceanoGraphy - Artemi Pugachov

Interesting concept album from Dutch artist Synth.nl is what I am going to review below. This work is dedicated to the Earth's oceans and the creatures living in them. Accordingly, each track is named after a specific ocean or a marine animal. "Antartico" kicks in with an atmospheric intro full of wave samples and gentle pads. A relaxed rhythm starts and a nice melody supports the flow. The mood is that of serenity and a sense of wonder permeates this composition. An atmospheric section follows before we return to the melodic theme. "Baleanoptera" starts with the sounds of whales before mysterious chords provide a nice flowing backing to a funky bass line. A loungy rhythm kicks in and a menacing synth theme plays on top. More melodic themes follow and the track acquires a darkish mood that's something not very typical of Michel van Osenbruggen's oeuvre. "Atlantico" is more upbeat, with a steady rhythm pushing things forward and some nice arpeggios and soloing. I like the lovely analog timbres Michel is using on this track. It also has one of the catchiest melodies. "Carcharodon" - a track dedicated to the Great White Shark - begins with very Jarre-like timbres (think "Rendez-Vouz" pads mixed with "Oxygene" EMS twitters).

After a while, a simple melodic theme is heard which is then joined by nice analog bass and a warm soloing synth. This is great EM with a sense of menace lurking inside. "Megaptera", dedicated to Humpback Whales, not surprisingly, begins with whale samples set upon the background of nice pads. The track quickly gains momentum with an optimistic theme that recalls Jarre or even some theme from one of those 80's b-grade movies. A nice change of pace next to the rather austere music that came before. The samples of whale song appear several times throughout this track. The title track then flows effortlessly with a theme so melancholic and bittersweet you'd think you've heard it before. In fact, there's something familiar and nostalgic about it. It's also slightly classically-influenced to my ears. If you enjoy the more melodic / romantic works of Jarre, you will like this. "Tursiops" lifts that atmospheric lever a notch or two, providing a nice experimental sequence / arpeggio, a relaxed rhythm and nice breathy pads. On top of this, a pleasant melody created with a lovely analog timbre plays. There are also lots of environmental samples on this track. "Indico" is the most romantic and soft of the bunch - a slow melodic motif, punctuated by a weeping synth solo. "Chelonia" is dedicated to our best friend in the seas - the dolphin. It's a gentle track with trademark bass arpeggios, a relaxed rhythm and a melody that glides smoothly like dolphin upon waves. A nice lead line is all we really need for an excellent EM track. "Artico" kicks in with the sound of blizzard until various sequenced sounds appear as well as a nice pad. Rich in tone colours, effects and lead lines, this rhythmic track has a strong epic melody that reflects the severe weather conditions that the territory of Arctic ocean is known for. "Orcinus" is the most mysterious track of the lot. Slow, reflective and atmospheric, it's perfect relaxing stuff. Again the programming of sounds is excellent. Intense analog timbres get the closing track "Pacifico" underway. Soon a rapid one-note sequence appears, but as the rhythm and melodic theme kick in, we are clearly in typical Synth.nl territory, which means a tasty and easy-listening mix of relaxed rhythms, great melodies and atmospheric effects. It's a fitting and optimistic way to finish this great melodic EM work. Just like Michel's previous offerings, this immaculately recorded and mixed album was released on the Dutch EM label Groove Unlimited and endorsed by WWF.

 

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