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Stendeck – Sonnambula

Stendeck - Sonnambula

CD, Tymanik Audio, 2009

The American label Tympanik Audio has released lots of interesting stuff lately (Access to Arasaka and Displacer, to name a couple), and this, Stendeck’s long-awaited new album, is one of them. Though he belongs to the electronica scene, this artist really has a trademark of his own. His compositions are sprinkled with beautiful piano parts and contemporary classical music elements which perfectly melt into the electronic sequences, and his synth lines and samples sound pretty original and elaborate (he doesn’t seem to use just machines’ presets like too many people do these days; on the contrary, he explores and manipulates sounds in a very skilful and inspired way).
Distorted beats are here combined with hypnotic pads, contemplative melodies and complex structures to create a whole universe of light and darkness, and to take listeners on a stirring journey through it. From one of the album’s seventeen tracks to another, the rhythmic side (“It Must be Heaven”) or the atmospheric side (“Lunar Attraction”) of Stendeck’s music more or less takes precedence, and a subtle balance is eventually settled, making the album a coherent whole.
The track titles, which are often long and strange, reflect the narrative dimension of the record, expressing the artist’s personal feelings on one hand (“Every Time I Try to Reach You, You Just Fade Away”, “I Fear All the Moments You Will Need Me and I Won’t be There”), and revealing an assiduous observation of nature and the external world on the other (“Through Tiny Windows We Wonder Constellations”, “Different Exotic Forms of Lightning and Collateral Atmospheric Phenomena”). This proves that you don’t necessarily have to sing or to write lyrics to tell stories through your music; instrumental tracks can become as descriptive and touching as songs. With “Sonnambula”, Stendeck brilliantly succeeds in this endeavour. Without a doubt, here comes one of the ‘not to be missed’ records of this year’s beginning.


— Olivier Noel

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