Total time: 66:53

Recorded: 1994
Distributed: 1995
Republished: 2006


We begin with the curiously titled ‘Passion Around’. Spaced out pads float from the speakers. Staccato notes provide detail but with no obvious melody. The atmospheres hinted at Klaus Schulze but when the sequence started up the comparison became even more obvious. It bubbles along in a rather understated way, all lush and tranquil. The sharp stabbing notes return but this time they form a more discernible melody, moodily rolling above the sequence. In the eighth minute all descends to shimmering atmospherics. The sequence emerges once more and a rather breathy lead line weaves a mysterious spell.

‘Colosseum’ is a live track and clocks in at over half an hour. It kicks off with a rapid bright melodic sequence that rapidly mutates this way and that. Another more bass laden sequence comes to join it and what a wonderful combination they make. A ticking percussion line is added, the sequence still changing direction from time to time. By the eighth minute I was thinking this is OK but I need a little more substance rather than just shifting between one sequencer pattern and the next. Things become a little moodier in the tenth minute. Crashing sound effects are heard low in the mix and the sequences start a slow fade to oblivion. Little tinkling percussion and piano then take things away from the Berlin School into a more Vangelis like section. All dissolves to gentle float for a short time. Drum flourishes add some detail and another sequence begins to form, solidifies and is joined by a more regular rhythm. Gradually things return to Schulzian territory but I would have preferred to hear a little more bite and direction instead of gradual meander until a minute before the track’s conclusion and a reprise of the main sequence from earlier in the track.

‘Deus Magnificent’ has a good start in an atmospheric Schulze sort of way with an effective gentle rhythm which fits perfectly with the backing. Other little drum flourishes around the main rhythm create even more interest. It’s all extremely moody stuff, ideal for closing your eyes to and letting your mind voyage where it will. In the tenth minute a delicate melody is brought in, hanging in the air, used sparingly but fitting the rather tranquil mood. In the thirteen minute all descends to float with just the slightest of percussive detail. So to sum up, there is some nice stuff here but the title track just didn’t do enough to hold my interest.

2007 David Law / Synth music direct, UK

Composed in 1994, Colosseum is the 9th title in the INDRA’s imposing discography. It is re-released for the greatest pleasure of his fans, old as new ones. A good decision, because it is amply worth the discovering. This way, we can follow the astonishing progression of this artist strongly influenced by the Berlin School area. And, like its influences, Colosseum bathes in an atmosphere very Berlin School where the rhythms develop slowly with magnetism.

A light wind blows upon a synth line that strangely sounds like a pipe flute with a mute on. A beautiful bass line, dressed of ethereal chorus hangs to this sweet move, tinted with sensitivity and nostalgia. Slow, bewitching and sensual this soft cosmic ballet progresses among sonorities chords of harps and guitars, wrapped by great mellotron moves, with the discrete effects of increasingly deep cello and chorus, before being mislaid towards a more atmospheric movement. Soft skid with nebulous sound effects, ‘Passion Around’ takes again his celestial winds, with this same sensual groovy bass line and the same flute soaked with arabesques effects. A great movement full of tenderness and hidden passion.

The first notes of ‘Colosseum’ whirl on their echoes, modulating a short melody that looks like a weird lullaby. A bass and waving sequential line installs a minimalism movement. The percussion hammer a hypnotic impulsion which modifies subtly his variations when it crosses a linear harp sequences or nimble synthetic spirals, stuffed of chorus and dense orchestral arrangements, which walk like stray serpentines. INDRA develops a sound structure of an astonishing richness where sequential loops, heavy synthetic layers and multicoloured percussion, like short metallic jolts. This procession enriched with new keys and orchestral intonations throughout its progression until its middle-course where the minimalism movement lost on the waves of a stray piano which seems nostalgic. The movement deviates on a n atmospheric side where the percussion rebel and shake a rhythm which takes again its sequential breath. The tempo becomes disordered and follows this fine sequence under a heavy swarm of chords which cross the delirious cords of untwist and completely diverted violins. An unmatched symbiosis of in a sound universe which comes very close to soft disproportionate madness, but strangely calculated.

‘Deus Magnificent’ is coiled on a lascivious synth and fine percussion on a moving synthetic background. We would believe to attend an arabesque dance, so much the movements are gracious and bewitching. As much synth is harmonious and orchestral, as much the percussion revolve and form a sinuous tempo which melts sensual impulses. The charm of ‘Deus Magnificent’ lies in the percussion play which animates a floating rhythm. They breathe, dance and give short harmonious movements which become more extensive on a beautiful bass line undulating on analog cosmic sound effects and of small tinkling of bells. It is a beautiful soft moment where a superb melody walks with tenderness. Print of a nostalgia to be cut out with a knife, like an old man who has such an amount of pain to tell.

Definitely INDRA seems inexhaustible. Since 1993, the Romanian synthesist produced 31 CDs, several of them are small jewels. Colosseum is a skilful mixture of nostalgia and tenderness on some structural skids where INDRA shows a soft madness in its arrangements and developments. The eponym part demonstrates he doesn’t wallow in the easy way. It is a daring title which shows his taste for risk, his taste to go beyond, to exceed the simple conventional beacons.


(original version)

Réalisé en 1994, Colosseum est le 9ième titre dans l’imposante discographie d’INDRA. Il est réédité pour le plus grand plaisir des nombreux, comme des nouveaux, fans. Et c’est une décision éclairée, car il vaut amplement le détour. On peut suivre l’étonnante progression de cet artiste fortement influencé par la période de la MÉ, style Berlin School. Et, comme ses influences, Colosseum baigne dans une atmosphère très Berlin School où les rythmes se développent lentement avec magnétisme.

Sur un vent léger, un synthé aux sonorités indéfinies, comme une flûte à bec avec sourdine, passe en souffle de vent. Une belle ligne basse, nappée de chœurs éthérés s’accroche à ce fin mouvement, teinté de sensibilité et de nostalgie. Lent, envoûtant et sensuel ce doux ballet cosmique progresse parmi des accords aux sonorités de harpes, de guitares, enveloppé par un synthé mellotronné, aux discrets effets de violoncelle et de chœurs de plus en plus profonds, avant de s’égarer vers un mouvement plus atmosphérique. Doux dérapage aux effets sonores nébuleux, ‘Passion Around’ reprend sa croisière éthérée, avec cette même ligne sensuelle et cette même flûte imbibées d’effets arabesques.

Les premières notes de ‘Colosseum’ tourbillonnent sur leurs échos, modulant une courte mélodie aux allures d’une berceuse. Une ligne séquentielle basse et ondulante installe un mouvement minimalisme. Les percussions martèlent un mouvement hypnotique qui modifie subtilement ses variations lorsqu’il croise des séquences linéaires d’harpe ou d’agiles spirales synthétiques, truffés de chœurs et d’arrangements orchestraux denses, qui se promènent comme des serpentins égarés. INDRA développe une structure sonore d’une richesse étonnante où se croisent des boucles séquentielles, des strates synthétiques pesantes et des percussions bigarrées, comme des courtes secousses métalliques. Cette procession s’enrichi de nouvelles notes et intonations orchestrales tout au long de sa progression jusqu’en mi-parcours où le mouvement minimalisme se perd sur les ondes d’un piano égaré qui semble nostalgique. Le mouvement dévie sur un côté atmosphérique où les percussions se rebellent et secouent un rythme qui reprend son souffle séquentiel. Le tempo devient désordonné et suit cette fine séquence sous une nuée d’accords qui croisent les cordes délirantes de violons décordés et totalement déroutés. Une symbiose des plus discordantes dans un univers sonore qui frôle une douce folie démesurée, mais tout à fait calculé.

‘Deus Magnificent’ se love sur un synthé lascif et de fines percussions sur un fond synthétique mouvant. On croirait assister à une danse arabesque, tant les mouvements sont gracieux et envoûtants. Autant les synthés sont harmonieux et orchestraux, autant les percussions gravitent et forment une cadence sinueuse qui épouse des impulsions sensuelles. Le charme de ‘Deus Magnificent’ réside dans le jeu des percussions qui animent un rythme flottant. Elles respirent, dansent et insufflent de courts mouvements harmonieux qui prennent plus d’ampleur sur une belle ligne basse ondulante sur effets sonores cosmiques analogiques et des petits tintements de cloches. C’est un beau moment doux où une superbe mélodie se promène avec tendresse. Empreinte d’une nostalgie à découper au couteau, comme un vieil homme qui a tant de douleur à conter.

Décidément INDRA semble intarissable. Depuis 1993, le synthésiste Roumain a produit 31 titres, dont plusieurs petits bijoux. Colosseum est un habile mélange de nostalgie et de tendresse sur quelques dérapages structurels où INDRA démontre une douce folie dans ses arrangements et élaborations. La pièce éponyme démontre que le synthésiste Roumain ne se vautre pas dans la facilité. C’est un titre audacieux qui démontre le goût du risque, le goût de dépasser les simples balises conventionnelles. Je me demande si effectivement, la Roumanie ne cachait pas un génie, comme l’Allemagne en a produit quelques uns.

2006 Phaedream / GOD

Dan Bozaru is the person behind the name INDRA, and the only electronic music artist from Romania that I’m familiar with. Colosseum, dating back to 1994, is another album out of his BIG back catalogue to have been re-released in recent years. It consists of three long tracks (of which one is live, and one a bonus track recorded in 2001) styled around fairly traditional EM but with some variation in mood between the pieces.

The shortest track at just over fifteen minutes is ‘Passion Around’ which gets the album underway. A spooky deep whistling drone and spacey washes start off and are joined by a plodding rhythm and airy ethereal washes that I think are partially vocal. Slight changes occur over the track as making this like a long form ambient piece with a rhythm stuck on top.

In contrast the live piece ‘Colosseum’ opens with a tappy melody and assorted effects and quickly moves into Berlin style sequencing while washes and various sounds fill out the soundscape. The pace conveys a sense of urgency and drama as though something is being strived for. In places heavy drums thump the soundscape and a brief section sees the sequence flutter around like a dazed butterfly.

The final bonus track ‘Deus Magnificent’ follows a similar pattern of initial washes and effects leading into and continuing alongside a rhythmic percussive and drum section. The snaking and kind of sensuous washes sometimes make one think of Steve Roach’s work, but the rhythms here are modern rather than tribal. Colosseum is a pleasant, albeit run of the mill, album sitting somewhere in between INDRA’s ambient and upbeat Berlin school work. It’s reminiscent of 1980s Tangerine Dream but done in INDRA’s own inimitable style.

2007 Dene Bebbington, Melliflua, UK

Romania’s answer to Klaus Schulze, INDRA, keeps putting out great Berlin school vintage sounds at a prolific pace. Colosseum is a fantastic set, full of classic Teutonic motifs. The title track moves at a steady clip with laid back synth solos, taking the listener back to the late seventies or early eighties. Sparse haunting piano takes it down a notch in the midsection, a deftly handled change of pace. Then pounding, powerful drums add to the intensity. Several themes are skillfully weaved into the half hour live recording, the centerpiece to the album. Before and after it are equally strong tracks.

‘Passion Around’ makes for a relaxed opener, a leisurely number that sets and maintains the perfect mood throughout its 15-minute course. It actually reminds me more of Klaus in the nineties, but exceptionally so. In presumably a nod to Constance Demby, the final track is called ‘Deus Magnificent’, although the style remains thoroughly Schulze-like. Pure space music, this one floats about for a while, eventually joined by drums that add just the right depth and feeling to it, slow yet potent. I particularly like the last third of the piece, but it’s all good, as is all of Colosseum.

2007 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space