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Antiklimax - 2009 - "360 Degrees"

(40:44, ‘Antiklimax’)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Europa Center 3:10
2.  360 Degrees 1:55
3.  The Test of Time 4:23
4.  East of the Sun 3:47
5.  Empty Streets 2:55
6.  Dream the World 4:53
7.  Drift Away 4:24
8.  Auaruusromua 6:20
9.  Homeless 4:03
10. Goodbye to Berlin 4:54


Vincent Benesy – keyboards; guitars; programming
Jaana Palonen – vocals (9)
Maya De Luna – voice (6, 7)

Prolusion. ANTIKLIMAX is an international project, lead by Vincent Benesy, and based in his homeland, France. The first two productions under this moniker have involved other artists to a rather great extent, while the most recent one, "360 Degrees" from 2009, must be regarded as more of a solo effort by Benesy. This is also the first Antiklimax outing not issued by Musea Records.

Analysis. On Antiklimax's homepage we're informed that the starting point of this album occurred on a trip Benesy made to Berlin towards the end of 2008. And as for the impressions I got from this venture, this is a pretty good starting point to describe it as well. First and foremost due to the distinctly German associations I got from the opening of this album, where the first four compositions in particular made me think about legendary German band Kraftwerk and their album "Trans-European Express". Musically the resemblance comes across strongest in the choice and use of rhythms in my opinion, but also the overall mood and to some extent the choice of textures gave me strong associations in this direction. Benesy isn't as fond of the minimalistic approach as these German pioneers were, though. Richly textured sonic tapestries featuring multiple layers of synths and quite often fragmented sound effects are red threads throughout this effort, and the guitar does add some neat touches to the proceedings on this production as well. The melodies and themes explored tend to be somewhat minimalistic, despite the rich layers used to create them, an ambivalent trait that at its best creates striking and highly engaging atmospheres. The opening numbers aren't the most intriguing efforts on this disc though, whether due to or despite the resemblance to the artist and album mentioned I'm not quite sure myself. That conclusion is pending. What I am sure of is that the fifth number, Empty Streets, is a pivotal effort here. This composition is a dark, bleak and brilliant minimalistic affair that for me sounded like the perfect score for a scene depicting a lonely soul drifting through the utter blackness at the edge of the universe. Sad, melancholy and with an overpowering feeling of being alone that was truly astounding. The following five efforts return to the richer veins that opened the album however, but now the moods and themes explored reach out towards other territories, still giving me some German vibes though, with both Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream as points of reference for these creations. but also with subtle impressions venturing outside of these highly influential acts.

Conclusion. While the opening numbers of "360 Degrees" might be described as somewhat derivative, I found the second half of this album to be a really fascinating affair. This isn't an album exploring any new musical territories though, and those interested in the more challenging and experimental varieties of progressive electronic music might not find this effort too intriguing either. However, fans of late ‘70s Kraftwerk and early ‘80s Tangerine Dream should find quite a lot to enjoy on this album, and in particular if they fancy influences from these artists utilized in richly layered and textured compositions.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 12, 2010
The Rating Room

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