ALPHAMAY: “Counting Stars (AMPAX 80er Analog Remix)” from the album “Trans/Fusion”
Cris Frickenschmidt and Henning Hammoor of ALPHAMAY are releasing a 12 track collective retrospective of the band’s history. The songs which have been edited and reworked by 12 remixers, were selected from the band’s 5 albums. Involved in the project are The Psychic Force, Schwarzschild, Ampax, Unplaces, Mangiac, Circured, Dorfschmidt / Gröhder, Gotteskälte, Suicide Tuesday, 0Kontrol and The Dark Movement. The result is more than 60 minutes of playing time containing many surprises. 2019 will also see ALPHAMAY performing live. The band is currently planning an extensive club tour and some festival dates which have already been confirmed. The album “Trans/Fusion” is on the one hand, just about what you would expect from the artists in question – and on the other is fantastic because it is so much more. The blend of surprise and guaranteed pleasure is something I’ll take every time.
From the start I kept imagining which straight-down-the-synth-hook might perhaps be more ALPHAMAY’s, or which shimmering texture and frenetic rhythm might be more the remixer’s, but either way it really doesn’t matter — something like this just emerges and what is more one or the other’s disappear in the joy of it all.
That other sonic approaches to synthpop, darkwave and electronic dance music have emerged and enriched the field in this new millennium is obvious, that there’s still room for this kind of play and pulse experimentation, even more so. The combining of these forces is intriguing to say the least.
With parts of ALPHAMAY’s career highlights firmly based around high energy synth-pop, Goth and Darkwave, the remixers blend in their own outputs to create an eclectic potpourri of new wave, breakbeat, techno, electro, pop and alternative synth-rock sounds that are dramatically stunning to say the least. Album opener “Missing Me (The Dark Movement Remix)” the tone and has the fast pumping blips and bleeps that makes ALPHAMAY’s music such a delight.
Powered by steaming percussion and several additional synth layers, “The God Games (Breathe Remix by Schwarzschild)” culminates in a track with distinctly mesmerizing roots and cinematic overtones. Above all, it’s atmospheric and dark, which seems to be the mainstay of the whole album.
“Counting Stars (AMPAX 80er Analog Remix)” is one of my favorite tracks, not least because in places the moody melody reminds so much like one of my favorite bands, Depeche Mode, mixed with Ultravox.
“Fractures Of Reality (The Psychic Force Remix)”, “Weak Philosophy (Remixed by OKontrol)” and “Decay Of A Dream (CIRCURED Remix)” have enough musical balance, melody, and hi-energy madness to create some wonderful listening. It’s clear by this time that “Trans/Fusion” maybe isn’t one for everyone, but for the synth purist, it marks the connecting of musical minds to make an album of quite immeasurable quality.
ALPHAMAY is one of those rare acts that continue to flourish long after their synth-pop and Darkwave peers have wilted into a hazy memory. Their tracks build, break down, build again more strongly, seeking out an ascendant path through solid rhythmic backbones.
Everything is delivered with a resonating, polished sound, and deep dark grooves, together with engaging melodies and powerful vocals. Which is exactly what happens on “Low In Love (Neumischung by Gotteskälte)” and “Eloria (Excite Remix by Dorfschmidt / Gröhder)”. Cris Frickenschmidt and Henning Hammoor deserve a great deal of credit for continuing to push the envelope and branch out into new arenas.
The idea of reworking and remixing a selection of their songs with the creative bent of outside sources, is a brilliant one. Although I do not like to compare, I think this is a superior recording in many ways. On this album ALPHAMAY seem to be going for different audiences and different emotions. Which brings us to the defiant sounds of “The Carousel (Manciac RMX)” and “The God Games (Remixed By Suicide Tuesday)”.
And then onto the eloquent Gary Numan-ish “Missing Me (Secret Cave By Unplaces)” and finally “The Enchantment Rose ’18 (Reimagined by Alphamay)”. With a palpable honesty, ALPHAMAY sings intense stories full of glorious musical synth arrangements, which is, despite the darkness, extraordinarily uplifting. It’s a genuine masterpiece.
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