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Product Format: CD               ** Regular Stock Item **

Price: £16.66 (exc) £19.99 (inc)


Synthesizer music album from the United States – it is no ordinary synthesizer music album – in fact, it is an extraordinary synthesizer music album!

Chuck Van Zyl is an incredible US based Synth musician / Space Music DJ has been making electronic music in the style of early 70’s TANGERINE DREAM since the 1980’s, and he continues to successfully do so.
His early releases were cassette only production, with in the early 90’s Centaur Discs in the UK released: ‘Celestial Mechanics’ (1993) and the double disc set: ‘The Relic’ (1995). After his self-produced 1996 album: ‘Regeneration Mode’, recorded with Peter Gulch, 2010’s ‘MemorySpace’ is the 2nd release on his own label, and the standards are just as high as ever.

The album It begins with: ‘Time’ - just over three minutes of time, to be fairly accurate – and what Van Zyl does with that time is create a density of cosmic music, amorphous clouds of deep bass rumbles and twinkling stars.
Clouds drift straight into the cascade of notes that introduces the near seven-minute: ‘All Souls’ Day’ as a Mellotron choir rises from the depths to accompany the cyclical rhythm, while all around are introduced synth melodies that stretch out and expand. Slowly ascending and descending bass notes provide a solid foundation on which the rest proceeds to soar, the effect being a multi-layered and vari-textured musical canvas slowly transforming into something that casts glimpses of Teutonic times gone by, so tantalisingly close that you can almost reach out and grab them.
The Mellotron takes centre stage with a gorgeous soundpool as the cyclical twinklings continue to shine over the deep bass that’s there in the distance. Eventually the twinkling synths disappear to leave a beautiful layer of bass-range string synth bliss, which segues straight into the twelve minute: ‘September Cemetery’ - a gorgeously flowing slice of space music. With the previous layers kept moving, electronic stars twinkle along the way, with the combination of bass synth drifts and Mellotron melodies at either end of the spectrum linked by flowing mid-range, cosmic and choral sounding space synths. Barely perceptible sequencer rhythms are there in part, and it all adds up to a slowly yet constantly moving electronic cloud of breathtaking proportions, that shimmers, expands, deepens and changes its shape throughout.
Another segue moves us over into the near five-minute and genuinely beautiful slice of truly mesmerising space synth/Mellotron music: ‘Grave Matters’ – a track very much in the feel of '73-'75 era TANGERINE DREAM cosmic-music.
Almost as if to reinforce this comparison, the near fifteen-minute: ‘Marble Orchard Nocturne’ begins with the continuing cosmic flow, before a magical and familiar Tangs-like sequencer rhythm begins and the process of ever changing layering continues moving. These constantly flowing layers of synth expanses takes you right back to the heady days of TD ‘Ricochet’-era pioneering, and for once, when anyone says “why not play the real thing?”, you can genuinely reply “coz I have this – and it's even more stunning!” - which it is! Chuck Van Zyl gives us the early seventies on a tantalising Teutonic plate, and the effect is once again breathtaking, as you become truly captivated in a world gone by that exists once more in the here and now for your delight and long-term enjoyment. This track offers a faultless fifteen minutes of memorable music, with the final five ending as cosmic as it began.
A seamless crossover into: ‘Dead Of Winter’ initially takes the form of a slow undulating synth rhythm introducing a light series of sequencer rhythms and phased, cyclical space synths. The layering technique used effortlessly creates a slow-motion sea of warmth as a Mellotron rises up to provide added seventies orchestral depth. While the multi-layered rhythm pattern remains, the canvas of sound strengthens and becomes a lot deeper on a more bass level as it all travels forward and gathers intensity like some black cloud looming ominously in the distance after a previously beautiful day. By seven minutes in, the rhythms have all but dropped away, and the rain cloud threatens but fails to deliver, the darkness, instead, a thing of hypnotic beauty in its own right.
This then travels right into the four-minute space drift of: ‘Desolate Consort’, and it is absolutely fitting, as from the ether emanates the sounds of distant high-sounding Mellotrons wrapped in the same coat of cosmic colours that exists all around.
The just short of fourteen-minute: ‘Stories In Stone’ runs the gamut of the first third sounding positively identical to any one of a number of TANGERINE DREAM multi-textured passages of cosmic bliss from the early Virgin years, through to a more melodic, almost eighties sea of synth leads and layers, climaxing in a sea of space synths that is just out of this world - again seriously Teutonic but with that extra sense of flow and depth that really stands out. Here Chuck has fused together all these elements to create such a stunning slice of darn near perfect music that will keep you hooked for many years to come.
With ‘Memento Mori’ the album drifts right into the final four minutes of Dream-like cosmic space synths, as layers & textures shimmer and drift, soar & rise for one final time to leave you awestruck in a blissful mood outside of space and time.
Like I said, absolutely extraordinary and, for what many may call “retro”, not only head and shoulders above the rest, but sounding so fresh it's like the rest never happened – a truly remarkable, brilliant and timeless album!

Review by Andy G

Also available:
CHUCK VAN ZYL: CENOTAPH (2013) - Stock # 1611292
CHUCK VAN ZYL: REGENERATION MODE (1996) - Stock # 317169
CHUCK VAN ZYL: SOUND MUSEUM (2001 Remastered 1991 Cassette Tape) - Stock # 484960


01. Time (3:23)
02. All Souls' Day (6:39)
03. September Cemetery (12:34)
04. Grave Matters (4:49)
05. Marble Orchard Nocturne (14:56)
06. Dead Of Winter (8:57)
07. Desolate Consort (4:08)
08. Stories In Stone (13:40)
09. Memento Mori (4:52)

TPT – 74:00