Reviews 8-9-2017

Music Reviews 




by Between Interval

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aka Stefan Strand's 

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Back in the days when masterworks such as "Radio Silence", "Secret Observatory" or "Autumn Continent" were released, I was always considering Stefan Strand (actually these gems were recorded under his previous family name Jönsson) as a Swedish wunderkind. Yeah, we are moving back to the years 2004-2006. Followed by another impressive work "The Edge Of A Fairytale" in 2009, Stefan Strand has then disappeared for 8 years. However, the long wait is finally over and since April 2017 we all can celebrate colossal comeback of this hugely crafted soundscaper. Released by Spotted Peccary Music in their traditional 4-panel eco wallet featuring stunning cover art by renowned Polish digital artist and photographer Michal Karcz. With this connection you simply can't go wrong! Additional credit goes to Howard Givens for his fine mastering.

The gates to "The Tunnel" are unlocked and I am entering into awe-inspiring sonic realms, where warmer laid-back passages impeccably juxtapose with cyber-tech infused magnitudes. Briskly illuminating pulses join the spectacle as well along with gorgeously expansive introspections. Short, but absolutely jaw-dropping intro!!! 4-minute "On Track", slightly longer than its predecessor, attracts with hypnotically cadenced patterns carefully confronted with glimpsing ear-tickling euphoric cascades and relaxed hyper modern ingredients.


It's more than evident with "Legacy" Stefan Strand resurrects chillout downtempos from "Radio Silence", but this time he shifts his bravura into a much higher, state of the art plateau of coldly driven electronica, yet exquisitely counterpointed with balmily embracing horizons. It's quite apparent on "Accelerant", which masterfully bridges immensely nuanced drifts with mesmerizingly galvanizing, slightly Berlin School fragranced sequences and unforeseen poetic glimpses. "The Hour Appointed" reveals its deeper drones, organic subtleties, unfathomably echoed metallic tinkles and surreptitiously emerging intangible tribal serenities. Oracular subterranean genius loci is fully awake! The next piece, "Septimal Laws", is immediately ignited by spectacularly high-tech sounding bleeps, pellucidly polished to absolute eargasmic superiority, which are guarded by leisurely undulating curtains. No matter if feeding your headphones or speakers, a reference audiophile sound quality is fully blossoming here!!! "Fields Of Neptune" delves deeper into thrillingly enigmatic terrains, sonorously engulfing, but again glowingly amplified by magnetically pulsing tapestries and backed by gossamery percussive quietudes. Another absolutely phenomenal track! "The Outer Shell", clocking to 8:17 mark as the longest track, keeps tightly on the path of intriguing spatial terra incognitas, when fastidiously amalgamating serenely waving reverberant drones with mysteriously impalpable pulsing signals and clandestinely arising astral gleams. "Gravity Core" is fueled with continuously permeating razor-sharp and heavy pounding beats, spellbindingly trancescaping, and surrounded by emanating and evanescing ethereal blankets, reinforced occasionally by ephemeral meridians. Hallucinogenic voices announce "Inner Guidance", but the sonic spectacle is quickly stolen by persistently climaxing and strongly intoxicating sequencer vignettes, while auxiliary cybernetic fragments are riding atop along with ambrosially euphonious panoptic layers. Another superb composition and one of the undisputable pinnacles of "Legacy". "Closing In" is a very short conclusion navigated by desolate dronescapes, which along the way metamorphose into glancing evocative reflections.

Wow! "Legacy" is only 51-plus minutes long, I could easily enjoy additional 20-25 minutes, but trust me, this is the only low point found on this album. It's totally triumphant work by Stefan Strand, who certainly didn't loose any of his soundsculpting brilliancy. If someone is able to deliver such staggeringly remarkable recording after 8 years of silence, then he must get my excuse. Stefan, no problem!!! But no, seriously, please, don't let us wait again that long... As already mentioned, once you were a wunderkind for me, now you are a true genius of pristinely blazing ambient cybertronica! And by the way, "Legacy" is available also as a vinyl edition (limited to 500 copies), it's Spotted Peccary's first ever vinyl release. So select your preferred format now, because "Legacy" is another milestone by Between Interval and one of the undeniable aural vertexes of 2017!

Reviewed by Richard Gürtler (August 9, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)