Many musicians who play keyboards and who are interested in electronic music have been inspired by acts like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. They both made groundbreaking music in the seventies. Most people recognize their musical style as belonging to the Berlin School. Their way of playing with synthesizers, sequencers and Mellotrons set a standard which could hardly be ignored. Even nowadays you can still hear influences of their music in electronic and synthesizer oriented CD-releases.
A good example is Wizard, an album recorded by the French musician JoŽl Bernard, but released under his artist name Awenson. The album consists of only two long tracks which both last more than half an hour. However, Hypnotic Wave and Psychedelic Dream have both been equally composed starting very mellow without any rhythm at all. You only hear Mellotron-choirs or synthesizer waves. After a couple of minutes the sequencers join and the pace increases. These sequencers continue and then the synthesizer takes over to play a melodic solo. Itís just a pity that the sequencers overrule these synth solos in the final mix. After the solos itís time for a break: the pace decreases followed by another mellow part.
Unfortunately, I have to say that I didnít hear anything that I would describe as musical fireworks on Wizard! Therefore the long pieces sound too modestly. Iíve heard it all before and way better. Itís very easy to make a quibble about Awenson and the album title, because the compositions arenít awesome at all and JoŽl Bernard certainly isnít a keyboard wizard. Itís true: the artists mentioned above not always made good albums either. Very often they sounded too mediocre for my musical taste. This is also the case with this release. Perhaps we have to wait until Awenson really gets inspired. Maybe one day heíll deliver a top-notch album or an album less boring and more adventurous than this one.
** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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