It’s on a musical canvas strongly inspired Jean Michel Jarre, Rendez-Vous era, that bathe the rhythms and atmospheres of Synth NL 4th opus solo, exactly like Jarre’s Rendez-Vous. But the legendary synthesist from France isn’t the only source of inspiration which guided Michel van Osenbruggen in the making of Apollo. Born in 1969, or the same year that Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the lunar soil, the Dutch synthesist always maintained robust connections and deep feelings towards Apollo missions and other spatial expeditions. It’s in this context that Synth. NL proposes us Apollo, a solid opus where historic narrator voices and spatial sound effects invade the rhythms and atmospheres which surround 12 titles to strong reminiscences of the cosmic and rhythmic universe of Rendez-Vous.
Cracklings and cosmic noises open the ambient introduction of "LaunchPad". A somber synth wave pulses and lays its tones up to the undulating pulsations of a bass line, leading to vocals samplings which describe a spatial tragedy. Synth waves sweep the atmosphere, such as gyrating head lamps enlightening the debris which are bursting of an igneous color, under the weight of pulsations became more threatening and more insistent. And it’s under the historic speech of Kennedy that "LaunchPad" takes off slowly of an uncertain rhythm, perched on its heavy pulsations and wrapped by beautiful twisted solos which tear the circular veils of a synth to cosmic musical movements. This rhythmic tendency a bit ambivalent fed the large majority Apollo’s titles. So "Apollo 7" has difficulty to lift off from its intro filled of round pulsations which mark time on nice synth pads. Once again vocal samplings of what seems to be the writing desks of the NASA invade a beautiful rhythmic structure which hatch out more clearly with very good percussions flittering in wrong sense on a floating tempo. And I quite like the stereo effect which they throw in our ears on a mid-tempo slightly groovy which demand for other listenings. A beautiful sequenced line draws the spherical course of "Staging". The rhythm settles down. It’s frank and curt, bombarded by pulsations which pound frenziedly on good synth layers before being moulded in the introductory sequences and dancing on a synth of which the melodious keys escape from stormy solos and cosmic waves. "Apollo 8" looks like to be mistaken à Jarre! The rhythm is discreet and languishing, a little as the intersidereal waltzes of Oxygene, and leans on a delicate percussions play of which the wooden echoes are buried by layers of a cosmic synth stuffed with soft floating and spectral solos. A synth with tones of guitar draws a fine approach tinted by melancholy floating among winds and cosmic sound effects, while a fine stroboscopic sequential line encircles of a hatched approach this mesmerizing cosmic and sensual duality which submerges "Apollo 8". It’s a very good title, quite as "Orbit" which presents a whole musical cocktail to the antipodes of an ambivalent emotionalism with an intense apocalyptic intro. Metallic percussions collide heavily, sequences flutter frenziedly and synth hoops crisscross in an infernal din, driving to a heavy spatial implosion. There where celestial choirs hum liberators harmonies and chords of a synth guitar float and structure a suave ode to serenity. The rhythm gets arouse towards the 4th minute spot. Keeping its melodious cachet it will go increasing, by waddling slowly on nice echoing percussions, good heavy pulsations and synth riffs of which light keys float among fine hatched circles and superb synth waves to tones of old organs. It’s very beautiful and rather moving.
A bit as a fragmented down-tempo, "Apollo 9" is fed by round and pulsating sequences as well as by hands banging and echoing percussions which lose their tempo in beautiful ambient and lunar phases. The synth is lyrical and draws some nice structures as much melodious as floating and approaches as celestial as melodramatic. "Docking" is a black cosmic lament where the solitude perspires the discomfort on a soft rhythm a bit jazzy which undulates slowly in a beautiful pond of galactic sound effects. Sharply more rhythmic "Apollo 11" bursts out in a rather synth-pop rhythmic approach, to the limit technoïd. The tempo is encircled by a stroboscopic line and fed by vocal samplings while the synth launches melodious morphic layers on rhythms which are between the energetic titles of Jarre and Element 4. It’s lively, as "ReEntry" which is on the other hand heavier and curter and which also offers good synth solo. With its light and melancholic approach, "EarthRise" reminds me of Tomita’s interpretation of Snowflakes are Dancing. Synth layers float, flutter and crisscross in a symmetric wind while fine pulsations feed a slow rhythm and that delicate isolated arpeggios draw a somber melody. Solos are the cornerstone of the heavy and languishing "Apollo 13", by far the most accessible title on Apollo. The synth forges there some pretty good melodies which escape from these tortuous solos while the rhythmic approach is structured by the warning shots of frank and curt percussions. There is something of intensely poetic and dramatic in the musical approach of "SplashDown" which encloses in beauty this 4th opus of Synth NL. It’s another great electronic ballad which sounds strangely like an intersidereal ride. Between the universe of Jarre and Thierry Fervant, sequences undulate in a static sphere filled with resonances, while the tempo runs away as a cowboy fleeing a mythical troop of dust. I find this terrific and I like this slow crescendo which increases appreciably the pace under solos to caustic reverberations, espousing marvellously the resonances which eat the harmonies of sequences.
Apollo is doubtless the most complete work of Synth NL. Always by leaning on structures at once complex and melodious, lying among indecisive rhythms and atmospheres, Synth NL manages to weave a musical universe where the paradoxes are in harmony with the concept of Apollo. If I have a flat it’s at the level of the vocal samplings which take too much place and annoy in the course of time. That would be better in small dose and on 2 or 3 titles, not that much. With such on use Synth NL floods a little the envy that we have to listen certain tracks over and over, I think in particular of the very beautiful "Apollo 8" and "Apollo 9". But anyway Apollo hides very beautiful pearls which will become classics of Synth NL. repertoire. Him who begins to collect them since Atmosphere.
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