Total time: 71:09
Sometimes the imagery and titles Indra uses can make his albums seem as if they are aimed at the New Age market. Before listening to the music that was certainly my assumption here. Not for the first time however (as with his Call of Shiva albums) I was completely wrong. This is a superb album, in full on melodic sequencer territory with a decent amount of bite.
We kick off with ‘True Heart’ and immediately a sequence breaks through accompanied by excellent rapid echoing melodic note runs. Subtle rhythms are introduced, giving proceedings added oomph without being too intrusive. Euphoric lead lines are deployed in the seventh minute, increasing my enthusiasm for the track still further. The sequences then explode into even greater and more wonderful life than before. What an opener!
‘Initiation’ begins with a few seconds of percussion which are blasted asunder by first one bass sequence then another high register but both travelling at 100 miles an hour seemingly chasing each other. The bass one momentarily disappears and the other morphs wildly first one way then another. By the third minute however it is all change. Initially we descend to brooding atmospherics but then yet another sequence rises through the mix to be joined by a rhythm that really kicks, wasting no time in getting into a real groove. A couple of minutes later everything mutates again, percussion, sequences and rhythm weaving around each other in seemingly increasingly complex patterns. Not for the first time with INDRA’s work there are similarities with Klaus Schulze at his mesmerizing best. Things become even more syncopated then a wonderful melodic lead line lets rip over the top. We are only ten minutes into this track’s twenty-five minute duration and already it is awesome! Nothing is allowed to remain in one pattern too long as we move through one section to another, each with its own individual character and mood but also fitting together as a whole so well. From the eighteenth minute there seems to be yet another cranking up of the pace. Surely we are working ourselves up to some cataclysmic explosion! But no, even though new sequences come and old ones go, the lid is kept on this pressure cooker environment until the track’s conclusion. Brilliant.
‘Ritual Night Dancer’ has the deepest bass line so far, rumbling away low in the mix, being felt as much as heard. A percussive loop is added to proceedings whilst all sorts of cosmic analogue sounding effects fizz and ooze from the speakers. A mesmerizing loping rhythm becomes the main focus but the mind is also drawn towards some lovely slow melodic pads and rapid sequencer runs that move in and out of the mix. The strongest lead lines on the album so far are then deployed creating quite a sultry, on the edge of a dream, type feel.
‘U Hunger’ begins with a splashing rhythmic loop that sounds a little like a locomotive hurtling down the track towards us getting louder all the time. I couldn’t keep my hands still as they were drumming like crazy things on the desk in front. Little melodies bounce over the top of the infectious pulsations and now I was wanting to air keyboard at the same time as beat out time. All very infectious stuff indeed. Some trancey type lead touches and rhythms are added nearer the end. It didn’t really need them.
‘Fearless’ has a spooky opening through which insistent rhythms and almost psychedelic sequences emerge. The way the beats mix with the pulsations is all rather trippy. Way out man! This is an excellent album, the first three tracks especially being my favourite Indra compositions so far.
2006 David Law / Synth Music Direct
Sold separately from its sister disc Tara, Kali shows INDRA in more energetic mode, eschewing the overtly retro style for a melding of future and past. Sequencing still abounds, but beats are more regular and insistent, maybe even dance floor ready.
‘True Heart’ gets right into it with a brisk bass line, warm pads, crisp fast percussion, and equally speedy synths. This is music that floors the accelerator from the get-go and never lets up.
‘Initiation’ starts majestic and slow, but that lasts only seconds before we take off again. Light crystalline sequencing swirls quickly about, then dissolves into a rhythmic section that moves at a more moderate tempo for a while, but the energy level remains high throughout most of the rest, all 24 minutes of it.
‘Ritual Night Dancer’ rumbles in like thunder, then spacey electronic twittering floats in above it. The beat is heavier, slower, with a tribal flavor to it. Pads and synth strings fill things out nicely to complete the package. More tribal still is ‘U Hunger’, which is all drums and dark atmospheric synths. It sets an ultra cool groove down and then stays with it, gradually building the intensity just so.
‘Fearless’ wraps things up with more bass and beats, thoroughly unabashedly electronic with a strong nod toward Klaus Schulze, though of more recent vintage perhaps. By the end of this energetic album, you may be tired but you’ll also likely be very happy.
2007 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
The curious thing about releases from INDRA is that the cover art suggests it’ll be new age music but many of his albums are actually melodic EM with strong Berlin School influences. Such is the case with Kali (the first disc of a special edition set) which is another of INDRA’s take on traditional sequence based electronic music a la Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze.
After a couple of run of the mill tracks a taste of something more substantial comes in the piece ‘Ritual Night Dancer’. This is a slow burn piece beginning with slow winds blowing across the soundfield and a resonant rhythm in the background. A percussive and hammering rhythmic section then begins to march like a person on a focused mission. Almost imperceptibly the mood becomes more intense with the addition of dramatic synth refrains.
One thing that sets Indra apart from others doing this kind of music is a lightness of touch, even a jolliness at times, which makes his music particularly accessible. Indeed, the track ‘U Hunger’ ventures toward techno territory. Distorted night-time sounds quickly lead into a hypnotic animalistic percussive rhythm. Around this whistling wind effects occasionally rush by and plinky notes play out a melody conveying a sense of hungering or yearning for something.
Closing the album is ‘Fearless’, a piece with an implacable feel in the hard syncopated rhythms and spacey washes. It’s like a merging of human and machine elements; there’s an undercurrent of emotion as resolute as machines carrying out their limited actions.
Fans of sequencing will find much to like in Kali. This is the genre that INDRA seems most comfortable with judging by the number of his releases in this vein.
Like a metallic raindrop, a key falls with resonance and multiplies itself in a wild cloud. They dance and circle lasciviously on a whirling rhythm, which pulsates and humbles like a big flashing light. Nervous, they bore among unsteady percussions and flighty clapping sound effects, a little like tiny metal dragonflies. A sequencer exploits a fast and repetitive keys sequence, up to power 10, which plug the rhythm always draped of superb synthetic line which fly over this pulsating storm. ‘True Heart’ is very representative of Kali, the last opus of INDRA. A CD full of astonishing sequences, hypnotic rhythms and daring percussion. One of the most creative and wild title I heard so far this year.
A huge Tibetan bell announces Initiation. A synthetic sequence waves, supported by tinny bells and a soft bass line, she wavers until kissing a heavy buzz. A cold hypnotic pulsation got away from it, doubling its power with the arrival of a more conventional percussions type. Rhythm goes faster by jerky movements and is wrapped by buzzing synthetic layers. It holds the line until a small subtle change of movement completely reoriented the musical structure of ‘Initiation’. Consequently, the rhythm ravels and spins, like a rollercoaster, with superb melodious synthetic lines, briefs solos and other delicious random movements. And it is what makes the charm of this long tortuous title. Whereas we are subjugated by these hypnotic and infernal beats, it changes orientation and modifies its beat, suddenly or subtly, with new sequences which intermingle with others. A minimalism movement deviating on a sinuous trance hypnotic movement, surrounded by divine sound effects and hiccupping sequences. And we are always on the alert, all the time, even in hypnotic mode, wondering what Indra prepared us. Quite simply marvellous, a great track.
‘Ritual Night Dancer’ perspires agreeably well its title. On a lugubrious atmospheric intro, percussion hammer and roll in echo on a slow and bewitching rhythm, dressed by analog sound effects and a cloud of violin strings synth. The movement extends majestically, with large symphonic synthetic layers, nourishing a tempting Gothic procession. Tempo agitated on a fast sequencer which does not explode, trapped that it is, in this long and dark ritual dance of the night. A heavy wind, supported by wolf’s cries and sequential percussions as dement as Franke could only play, ravels on a tribal rhythm.
‘U Hunger’ charms by its crystalline iris sequential moods, at the same time nervous and hypnotic, which undulates on a suave melody and tight percussions which deviate on more animated rhythms, bordering soft techno.
‘Fearless’ is a title with ‘tsitt-tsitt’ disco music dances percussion. On this air of the 80’s folklore, INDRA uses a VCS3 synth style which made the joy sounds of ‘On The Run’ from Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon. But there the comparison stops. ‘Fearless’ is as static as a ‘tsitt-tsitt’ disco music can allow it on heavy and powerful sound effects. At maximum level sound, the subwoofer fights a hard battle.
More than ever, INDRA consolidates his influence as being the worthy successor of Klaus Schulze in the marvellous world of EM. He is not just a copycat of Klaus Schulze. He is a brilliant artist like Schulze, who dares and disturbs by his originality and his will to exceed itself, title after title.
Telle une goutte de pluie métallique, une note tombe avec résonance et se multiplie en nuée sauvage. Elles dansent et virevoltent lascivement sur un rythme tourbillonnant, qui pulse et bourdonne tel un phare sonore. Nerveuses, elles vrillent parmi des percussions et effets sonores volages et claquants, un peu comme de minuscule libellules métalliques. Un séquenceur exploite une séquence de notes rapides et répétitives, à puissance 10, qui tamponnent le rythme toujours drapé de superbes lignes synthétiques qui survolent cette tempête pulsative. ‘True Heart’ est très représentatif de Kali, le dernier opus d’INDRA. Un CD plein de séquences étonnantes, de rythmes hypnotiques et de percussions audacieuses. L’un des titres des plus créatifs et endiablés que j’ai entendu en 2006.
Un immense carillon tibétain annonce ‘l’Initiation’. Une séquence synthétique ondule. Soutenue par de petites clochettes et une fine ligne basse, elle louvoie jusqu’à embrasser un lourd bourdonnement. S’en échappe, une froide pulsation hypnotique qui double sa puissance avec l’arrivée de percussions conventionnelles qui copie le beat. Saccadé, le rythme est rapide et enveloppé de strates synthétiques bourdonnantes. Il tient la route jusqu’à ce un subtil changement de mouvement réoriente complètement la structure musicale de Initiation. Dès lors, le rythme défile et vrille, comme des montagnes russes, sur de superbes lignes synthétiques mélodieuses, de brefs solos et d’autres mouvements aléatoires. Et c’est ce qui fait le charme de ce long titre tortueux. Alors que nous sommes subjugués par ces rythmes hypnotiques et infernaux, il change d’orientation et modifie son beat, soit sec ou subtilement, avec de nouvelles séquences qui s’entremêlent aux autres. Un mouvement minimalisme déviant sur un sinueux mouvement transe hypnotique, encadré d’effets sonores divins et de séquences hoquetantes. Et on est toujours sur le qui vive, tout le temps, même en mode hypnotique à l’affût de ce qu’INDRA peut bien nous réserver. Tout simplement merveilleux.
‘Ritual Night Dancer’ transpire agréablement bien son titre. Sur une intro atmosphérique lugubre, des percussions martèlent et roulent en écho sur un rythme lent et envoûtant, nappé d’effets sonores analogues et d’un synthé enveloppé d’une nuée de violons. Le mouvement s’étend majestueusement, avec de grosses nappes synthétiques symphoniques nourrissant une séduisante procession gothique. Le tempo s’agite sur un séquenceur rapide qui n’explose pas, trappé qu’il est, dans cette longue et sombre danse rituelle de nuit. Un vent lourd, appuyé par des cris de loups et des percussions séquentielles aussi démente que Franke savait les rendre, défile sur un rythme tribal.
‘U Hunger’ charme par son iris séquentiel cristallin, à la fois nerveux et hypnotique, qui ondule sur une suave mélodie et des percussions serré qui dévient sur des rythmes plus animés, aux limites d’un soft techno.
‘Fearless’ est un titre à percussions ‘tsitt-tsitt’ disco danse. Sur cette air de folklore des années 80, INDRA exploite un synthé style VCS3 qui a fait les joies sonores de ‘On The Run’ de Pink Floyd sur Dark Side of the Moon. Mais là s’arrête la comparaison. ‘Fearless’ est aussi statique qu’un ‘tsitt-tsitt’ de disco peut le permettre sur des effets sonores pesants et puissants. À plein volume, le subwafer livre une dure bataille.
Plus que jamais, INDRA consolide son emprise comme étant le digne successeur de Klaus Schulze dans le merveilleux monde de la MÉ. Comme Schulze, il ose et dérange par son originalité et sa volonté de se surpasser, titre après titre. (vendredi, 15 septembre 2006)
2007 Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness