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“Thunderbolt – Live at the Black Sea is a brilliant album of meditation where the soft hypnotic rhythms flirt with strong ambiosonic moods. It’s in INDRA’s pure tradition.”
It’s been a while since we had heard about INDRA. Since 2010 in fact, with his Pyramid Concert album. Therefore it is with a certain excitement that I received an e-mail from him, announcing his coming back and this would begin with an album recorded during a concert given on the banks of the Black Sea on August 27th, 2008. And it was with much enthusiasm that I put the precious silvery disc in my NAD reader to discover that the music of INDRA is still inhaled of these soft perfumes of Tantric hypnosis.
I already see you; the ear sceptical and the eyebrow frowning like a wing, questioning you about the relevance in 2013 to present a long musical opus from 2008. There should be redundancy! However, he who knows and feels the musical universe of INDRA knows also how the Romanian synthesist likes to play nuances and subtleties with his long minimalist structures which spin in time like some endless sonic serpentines fed by contrasts.
Thunderbolt – Live at the Black Sea is not really different from the INDRA magical world of music. The music takes root on a shy rhythm which little by little spits its furious keys before meditating into some ambiosonic phases and then being reborn with a poetic astral voracity. We can recognise INDRA’s signature with these sequences which chirp and fall of the sky such as leaves from a tree caressed by a soft autumnal breeze. These cosmic chirpings, which decorate the minimalist spirals of INDRA, couple with a line of bass of which the stealthy undulating chords are of use as delicate rampart to an ambient rhythm. This bass line spreads its dark pulsations which grope the fragile rhythm of the circling sequences.
While both sonic elements seem to plot in order to take the shape of a lascivious rhythmic symbiosis a bit chaotic, „Modulator” receives a veil of astral voices whose depth seems to restrain the strength of the rhythm. The bass becomes silent. To say the least, it breathes with more lightness. We enter into the hypnotic labyrinths of INDRA as if we enter into a sound mass where the choirs sing on an astral rhythm. Wings of steel, like those of metallic dragonflies, peck this rhythmic ritornello which drinks its passivity in order to draw a strength which increases as the seconds pass.
We are in the 5 minutes and without knowing too much how, we feel that the pace has doubled. Strata of synths throw long sighs while sequences got loose to cavort with more strength on a movement always dependent on its stagnation. The bass line follows the movement with more curved trots. The rhythm becomes then like a strange intersidereal gallop where the trots skip in an iridescent mist. Percussions fall and sparkle in the symphony of the cymbals. Their strikings are symmetric and are drumming the slowness while the waves of synth regurgitate their stars of prisms and the rhythm of „Modulator” embraces the latent vigour that we felt since its very first beatings. And this rhythm spits its venom with well felt percussions of which each knock jostles the sequences which hiccup with more fury. Wow… That I missed INDRA!
The first 35 minutes of Thunderbolt are pure marvels of the contemporary electronic minimalist art. This long ambivalent structure offers what the hypnotic rhythm knows how to make of better with just enough subtleties in the forms to pepper its listening. Always breathing of these hypnotic phases, where the rhythm takes the speeds that we understand of it, it eventually beats of fury between our ears. And INDRA spreads his magic which exceeds the morphic borders of the cradle of his influences that is Klaus Schulze.
Part of the Thunderbolt album, „Modulator” is just as much divided between its ambient phases and its swirling rhythms where the synths are offering lush textures of sound magic to the colors of rainbows and of cosmic auroras borealis. The sequences paw the ground and skip in all senses but remain coherent of this rhythmic spiral which fires the passivity as much as its pulsating furies of which the last one goes out in slow meditative languor which leads us to „Esseum (The Frantic Song)”.
There, the movement is more serene. Sequences dip the end of their fragile chords which skip such as the bare feet of a turbulent child on an ice-cold surface, painting a static rhythm of which the delicate musical nuances are absorbed by a synth soaked with a strong sibylline approach. Lines and layers of synth breathe of a duality, both in the floating harmonies and the vaporous ambiences, that breaths of a foreign horn and airy voices caress of a bewitching veil of mystery.
The hoarse breezes bring us to the very somber and ambient „Moon Shepherd”; a long ambiosonic segment where sequences are isolated in the elvish pads of a morphic synth. I hear some Software with the magic flutes which cuddle as both our ears and our state of profound rest.
Faithful to his habits, INDRA gets us out of our artificial coma with a movement of sequence which moves its jumping keys in an echoing structure of rhythm where the sequences, percussions and pulsations walk in their shadows of rhythm. An always hypnotic rhythm which rocks between syrupy morphic veils. The soft kicks of „Terra Nova” are caressed by superb astral voices while the synth injects dense melancholic layers which drag secret emotions, like the fog transports the sorrows of our ascendants. The rhythm is delicate and beats with a surprising spiritual heat, drawing these circadian rhythms which pulse in a fascinating astral energy. The voices are intrusive. The synth lines lull the angels. And we feel a Jarre influence on this great final which wraps a long musical movement of hypnosis deserving of the big Tantric movements from the Romanian wizard. Simply great!
„Return to Source” quite means what it says. It’s a delicate ambient track. Dark and mystic, it allies sound explosions and ethereal voices which hum an astral melody. It’s intense, sober and very meditative.
As I said it, it was a very long time, maybe too much, that I haven’t heard the music of INDRA. And I feel cheap to have forgotten him in my memories because his music is as well delicious as unique. Admitedly, I had forgotten foe a while this very big sensibility which had rock his creations, his perceptions of a parallel universe where the meditation reenergizes his creativity. Thunderbolt – Live at the Black Sea is a brilliant album of meditation where INDRA structures a long subliminal track which separates its identity in 4 phases as surprising as magnetizing. The magic of INDRA is always there, because when we go over the 70 minutes that the album lasts, we want to hear it again. And every new listening brings its lot of new sonic patterns, new emotions and new musical depth. This is the mark of a great architect of the meditative minimalist movement.
Sylvain Lupari (November 23rd, 2013) – Canada