act 335 · architect / sonic area / hologram_ · we are the alchemists · cd

01. steaming the lab
02. spark the coil
03. flying books in the desert
04. solaris splendor
05. primordial soup
06. opening the matter
07. find the light
08. talking with birds
09. a small glimpse into eternity
10. the black stone
11. solve et coagula
12. the great voyager

upc 821272216223
release date: 25.09.2015

released in collaboration with audiotrauma.

all music written and produced by daniel myer, arnaud coëffic (aka arco trauma) & martin delisle.
recorded in leipzig, strasbourg & tours. mastered by arco trauma at kawati studio, strasbourg.
all pictures by fabien delisle. graphic postproduction & layout by stefan alt.

'listen, listen again, separate, join and then, beyond silence, beyond sight, beyond shadows, beyond nights, open the matter and also, break the egg of the ego, more than gold, more than pride, still amazed like a child, in every noise, in every beat, we all are the alchemists'

alchemy is an influential tradition whose practitioners have, from antiquity, claimed it to be the precursor to profound powers. these powers can transform physical energies, but besides that, a true alchemist also has the ability to perceive the world's essence behind its superficial appearance, and it is his challenge to use this ability for showing untaught and open-minded persons what is beyond the daily grind. three prominent and significant projects decided to discharge these powers by bundling their distinct creativity into the fascinating collaboration 'we are the alchemists'. the title is well-considered and it conveys a certain meaning: we all could be the alchemists if we really want to. gold is all around us and it's inside everything - let's release our hidden capacity to stay amazed.

each band's characteristics and strengths realize their full potential in this amalgam: architect (daniel myer), sonic area (arnaud coëffic aka arco trauma) and hologram_ (martin delisle) splice a propellant multitude of powerful grooves, impulsive sequencer lines, atmospheric soundscapes, experimental synth layers and abstract bits and pieces while adding uncommon melodies and detached piano dots. an amplitude of styles between technoid breakbeats, idm, downtempo, modern classical and ambient merge into an ambitious work of contemporary electronica suitable for both listening and dancing - truly an alchemistic hybrid fusing three individuals into one.

architect websites: +
architect full discography:

sonic area website:
sonic area full discography:

hologram_ website:
hologram_ full discography:

if you were guessing that a collaboration between the projects that co-produced we are the alchemists would be heavy on sound design, you'd be absolutely correct. between daniel myer (architect, haujobb), arco trauma (sonic area, chrysalide) and martin delisle (hologram_, republik of screens) you've got a veritable murderer's row of sonic wizards: the sort of scene personalities that blur the line between musician, technician and daw auteur. consequently their new collaborative lp is a lush, elaborately constructed affair that represents all three of its creator's individual strengths, but at times struggles to consolidate them into a singular delivery. a good deal of the time spent listening to we are the alchemsists can be taken up trying to link up individual elements to the producer who might be responsible. are the enormous distorted synth chords that appears numerous times throughout the album's early cuts more common to trauma's sensibility or myer's? the low bitrate drums that make up the body of "spark the coil" sure sound like they could have come from hologram_, but then their stop start and lurching rhythms say sonic area too. the dusty opening to the soundtracky "solve et coagula" makes us think architect, but the sample work that creeps in keeps us guessing. we feel a bit more confident about the submerged arpeggios on closer "the great voyager" being trauma's handiwork. trying to parse the record out on a track by track basis might seem odd, but it's actually a sort of byproduct of the record's own assembly; like a jazz recording it often seems like each producer is taking a "solo" of sorts before fading back to allow the next guy in line to be up front in the mix. this sort of trainspotting may be catnip to anoraks like us, but it doesn't necessarily port we are the alchemists over into being the realm of albumcraft. taken individually, the dynamics between individual producers' fortes yields some great tensions and rhapsodies, as opener "steaming the lab" demonstrates. a soupy bed of clicks and pads is churned into a maelstrom by processed guitars and punishing snares, with chord progressions that could have easily gone unnoticed earlier on now firing directly into the ears. as it fades out again there's a real sense of cyclical completion, of a self-contained, miniature symphony. the issue is that with nearly each track functioning as its own miniature ecosystem, there's not much to link tracks to each other, resulting in a collection of individual tracks rather than a unified album. this isn't necessarily a drawback if we are the alchemists is approached as the sort of metaphysical experiment which its name points to. symphonic, percussive, and sequenced elements kick off each other with vigor and clarity. the prospect of three producers of this caliber doing triple threat transmutation with each other's elements is paid off well, regardless of the final forms their thaumaturgy takes.

for we are the alchemists, architect (daniel myer), sonic area (arnaud coëffic, aka arco trauma) and hologram_ (martin delisle) join forces and fuse their typical characteristics and strengths to create a unique project. in 12 tracks we hear the result: a multitude of powerful grooves, impulsive sequencer lines, atmospheric soundscapes, experimental synth layers, abstract sound clips, distorted voices, unusual melodies and piano sounds, combined to form an amalgam of technoïde breakbeats, idm and modern classic with an ambient atmosphere. as a result of this unusual collaboration, we are the alchemists is a very diverse album. steaming the lab begins with atmospheric synths and good sounding electro drums, but develops into a loud track, with emphatic industrial drones which tend to drown out the melodious synths, while spark the coil leans on technoïde sound patterns, with ping-pong-like drums, nagging synths, repetitive sequencer sounds and even an organ-like fragment. flying books in the desert widens the panorama with a wall of synths and creaking noise, but the track is quite short and no more than a starter. solaris spledor floats on sequencer noise with melodious synths in the background. the track is built around a short repetitive sequence of notes, which in the second half is reminiscent of repetitive opera compositions by philip glass (synths which sound like female voices). primordial soup is a combination of very diverse sounds and gets a soundtrack-like character in which tension is built and chaos suggested. a beautiful and even melodic soundscape at times, while in opening the matter, the musician has chosen a sleek and sober approach with a combination of xylophone-like drums and stunning bursts of synth sounds, complemented with fine percussion and synth lines. very nice. in find the light, dark drones and melodious synths are combined into a heroic sounding soundscape and talking with birds is a simple electro track from the start, halfway embellished with darker electro patterns and whistling and siren-like synths, growing into a widely spread and perhaps even danceable track, while a small glimpse into eternity floats on layered percussion and noise. the dark but melodious drones in the blackstone, together with pounding percussion and creaking noise, suggest an almost ceremonious atmosphere that is halfway undermined by abrasive noise, which leaves the semi-religious character of the track unaffected. the penultimate track solve et coagula floats on layered percussion, to which synths and noise are added. the pace is quite high, but the sound pattern is nevertheless calm without bombastic effects. finally, the great voyager gets a vangelis-like intro, and grows into an atmospheric composition in which the piano sets clear accents against a background of distorted voices and wagging synths: a nice combination of neoclassical elements and electro. we are the alchemists is a very varied album in which noise, electro and ambient elements are in perfect balance and create highly differentiated soundscapes, melodic and sometimes noisy, but avoiding the clichés. without doubt a great album for fans of the genre. (william lienard)

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