Recorded in 2010 at Townend Studios (Berlin), Klangwolke (Berlin), OrBeat-Studios (Berlin), Eastgate-Studios (Vienna)
Track 1 and 5 produced by Quaeschning/Heidemann
Track 2 by Beator
Track 3 by Quaeschning/Djirre
Track 4, 6 and 8 by Beator/Quaeschning
Track 7 by Quaeschning
Thorsten Quaeschning - Synthesizer, Piano, Memotron, Guitar, Vocoder, Vocals, Boomwhakers, Percussion, Stones
Sascha Beator - Synthesizer
Kai Hanuschka - Drums, Vocals, Percussion
Djirre - Guitar, Vocals, Vocoder
Juergen Heidemann - Singing Stones, Stones, Vocals, Boomwhakers
David See - Stones
Nadine Gomez - Violin, Vocals
Picture Palace Music is an electronic music band from Berlin, Germany, the city where serious electronic music was born. Thorsten "Q" Quaeschning, keyboardplayer in Tangerine Dream, is head of the project. The main idea of the group that was founded in 2003 is to reproduce the musical dynamic and experiments of old live accompaniment for silent movies and to give them a modern soundtrack with nowadays-technical options. This shows that the old silent movies are not mouldy: they are timeless and fascinating! The music is inspired by more than eighty years old silent movies. Take a deep trip into a mystical world of sounds! Picture Palace Music already has quite a number of releases out, some only available as download but also some on the Manikin electronic music label from Berlin. "Midsummer" is the first one that was released on Groove Unlimited. The theme behind the album is "music for sound divers and baptism-ceremonies". The band is celebrating a wonderful summer sun-worshipping the solstice and the associated famous white nights and blue hours. Vuvuzelas (remember those from the Word Championship soccer?) as an essential part of this particular summer will be heard as well as the beautiful noise of sound-stones. So join the band having a trip through the whole gamut of emotions regarding/reflecting this eventful year - 2010. And a band it is. Apart from Thorsten "Q" the band consists of Sacha Beator (keyboards, who also does a lot of composing), Djirre and Stephen Mortimer on guitars, Vincent Novak on drums and Juergen Heidemann on various instruments and sounds. Of course, with a man like "Q" in the band, a comparison can be made with the music of Tangerine Dream. But Picture Palace Music is more than that: melodically, lively, rocky and even at some cases progressive ("Q" is a fan of progrock and alternative rockmusic which can be heard throughout the album).
With "Chill Crystal Zone" the album already starts in a progressive way with fierce guitars and drums. But on many occasions the band takes a rest, like in the atmospheric "Midsummer’s Morning" in which we hear "Q"’s Memotronflutes and "Drowning Someone’s Sorrow Into The Ocean, part I" (a great title!). He also plays a fine steelguitar: that can be heard in "Seduction Crossing" and even sings, like in "Midsummer’s Night". The texts are by William Shakespeare and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Picture Palace Music creates music that is a perfect mix between electronic music, rock and prog and therefore may attract a diversity of music lovers. And also live, like on the "E-Live festival" in 2010 they proved they are a rising force in EM.
It’s quite difficult to describe the music of Picture Palace Music so much that she’s so disparate. Since the release of Somnambulistic Tunes in 2007, Thorsten Quaeschning’s group doesn’t stop amazing by an impressive variety of styles and tones. Midsummer, their 1st album on Groove Unlimited was revealed during the E-Live2010 festival during a hectic concert that totally amazed the audience. And with good cause! Beyond a hymn to summer, its solstice, the sun and its worshippers, Midsummer embraces big synth rock and keeps an attentive ear to rustles o bluish nights, there where festivities of a world of excitement cross the parallelism of dualistic universes of Picture Palace Music.
Chill Crystal Zone reminds us above all that the leader of PPM is also behind the keyboards of Tangerine Dream. Midsummer’s introductory track starts with a slightly fluty synth dandling on a fine sequential line which waves such a prismatic rivulet on a cozy bed of twinkling arpeggios and guitar notes scrolling in loops. The rhythm is nervous, crossing the wriggling guitar of The Edge (U2) as well as naive and tremulous sequences of Dream from the Rockoon years. A feverish guitar of which riffs are fading behind floating vocalizes shapes a strange melody gnawed by a latent madness. The pace is increasing with more sustained percussions and crystalline chords which waddle innocently before the guitar becomes more mordant and that an avalanche of percussions tumbles with crash, dividing Chill Crystal Zone between a soft melody and an astounding musical fury that PPM had already flooded us with Damsel Dive and Help Murder Help which we find on Fairy Marsh Districts. Moreover, Midsummer will constantly be torn between melodies and anguishes as well as between brightness and blackness.
Midsummer’s Eve follows with an introduction rather similar to Chill Crystal Zone weakened rhythm, except that the rhythm explodes heavily with furious percussions, a line of hemmed bass and nervous guitar riffs which plunges us into the somber universe of King Crimson (Red and Starless and Bible Black). An explosive track where the guitar drags its solos on a hybrid structure with a rhythm broken by short aired interludes, leaning over heavy riffs and dark lines of synth which roar in a cacophony of sounds reminding us that Midsummer is also an album for sound divers as well as for baptism ceremonies, but surely baptisms of another religious order. Sounds, sounds and sounds.
Midsummer’s Morning is full of those and this up to the last hidden recesses of its mystery. It’s a wonderful ode to schizophrenia with a delicious piano which spreads a magnificent meditative melody where voices drag in a furrow disturbing of emotionalism and eclecticism. A soft piano which reminds me the Añoranza on Curicculum Vitae 1 whose atmosphere is similar to it with all this array of sounds as heterogeneous as troubling which crosses this delicate duel piano / flute.
Midsummer’s Day cross a little bit the light rhythmics of the Dream in the Miramar years with its lively tempo where guitar riffs flow on nervous percussions and limpid sequences fidgeting beneath delicate strata of synth. A track which flirts a little more towards the big synth rock, quite as the powerful and colliding Right of Ascension Day, and which knows its increases of creativity with a beautiful guitar and vocals of festivities which plunge Midsummer’s Day in an unreal African rave-up, especially with vuvuzelas which buzz around vocoders.
Seduction Crossing is also tinted of this Tangerine Dream universe, but a darker Dream brought out of Legend paths. A fine sequence swirls after an atonal intro with anguishing breezes. A sequence of which chords are trickling away under good striking of muffed percussions and others which are deeply colliding quite as on Legend. A line of bass fed this spiral sequence where keyboard keys water this strange melody of glass tones. A great track which depicts a nightmarish paranoia, especially when are adding superb spectral guitars strata which sway with stridence, tearing this suave to schizophrenic seduction which lives in Seduction Crossing, one excellent track within Midsummer.
Our eardrums, still knocked out by strikes of the heavy and captivating Right of Ascension, are wrapped by the eclectic and hollow intro of Drowning Someone's Sorrow into the Ocean Part I. Drops stream in the echo of dark caves of which curves go on towards a heterogeneous sound universe where caustic reverberations cross an array of fluty breezes and metallic hoops. A sequence is emerging from it and discreetly astride this plain fossilized of metallic humming.
The movement is delicate and is increasing with the appearance of the Part II where the universe of PPM crosses the tribal tones of Steve Roach's world with a surprising mixture of percussions which teems on a pace spinning in spiral. The tempo becomes more incisive and swirls with such a swiftness that the vertigo takes the lead over the hypnotic magnetism.
Dark, intense and stuffed with composite tones Drowning Someone's Sorrow into the Ocean Part II quenches one’s thirst of furious rhythms on a structure finely hatched where reigns a multitude of percussions and sequenced chords which are bickering beneath howling synths and monastic choirs which are make hearing with the opening of the Part III. Swirling tribal dance, Drowning Someone's Sorrow into the Ocean is a splendid trilogy where the somber incantations of PPM are fed of a stunning malefic and charming spirit.
After this world of blackness Midsummer's Night concludes Midsummer with an infernal rhythm. A big synth pop which crosses synth techno beneath an avalanche of percussions and a twirling structure where keyboard keys tinkle around a vocoder perfectly split with a synth to titanic sonorous flood. A powerful great track which depicts the hybrid universe of Midsummer where the dark and eclectic approach of Picture Palace Music clears superbly well with a more pop, more rock approach and definitively more accessible approach.
I think it’s the best way of learning about the tortuous universe of PPM.
Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness