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Polaris | Desert Run

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Polaris | Desert Run lupa
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Desert Run is a musical work on its own, and there are no obvious nods to big EM names. In case you've never heard the style of Polaris, and need some guidance as to how to place this in your musical landscape, after scratching my head I might think of the works of Emmens & Heij (who produce tracks much in the euphoric run of Oasis) or even Redshift (the dark intense parts of Derweze or Hastings CutOff).
  • Fata Morgana 13:16
  • Derweze 9:34
  • Dunes 11:40
  • Hasting's Cutoff 9:50
  • Oasis 8:12

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The track titles suggest a concept album built around desert theme, but luckily we don't have to suffer any sitar doodlings, camel baa-ing or muezin-style vocal samples. This is top-notch relaxing, rhythmic Berlin School sound. The music is more about flying over the desert than struggling through its sands.
This record is by no means a "set-the-sequence-on-and-doodle-for-15-minutes" boring Berlin School. True, it employs sequencing intensely, but offers much more than that. Just when you think you know what to expect the next minute, Polaris rotates gently his musical kaleidoscope and all the pieces fall into new place forming another convincing soundscape.
Desert Run is a musical work on its own, and there are no obvious nods to big EM names. In case you've never heard the style of Polaris, and need some guidance as to how to place this in your musical landscape, after scratching my head I might think of the works of Emmens & Heij (who produce tracks much in the euphoric run of Oasis) or even Redshift (the dark intense parts of Derweze or Hastings CutOff). Yes, it's that good.
So here we have the new opus by Polaris who remained silent since 2014's Way Out:
Fata Morgana (13:16) opens with grandeur choral pads, soon to be supplemented by multi-layered sequences and delicate percussives. Around 2:20 it suddenly feels like getting the first sip of your favourite old whiskey: yes, it's the classy Polaris sound, all the fragrances are there in perfect proportions. Sit back and enjoy the taste! By 4:20 a strong soaring solo kicks in, and so well done it is. This record surely won't allow for boredom.The track progresses with myriads of sequences falling like rain from breathy pads that glide like heavy clouds over the horizon. My ears caught some soft tron sounds towards the end. There's an impression here, that I first got while listening to Way Out, of misty depth of the landscape, much like seeing a mountain range on a rainy evening, discovering layer after layer in the distance. This music is more than just a sum of its elements. I have 6 of his previous albums on my shelf but must admit this might be my fav track by Polaris. Whoa. After such an opener, where do we go next?
Derweze (9:34) draws its name from a Turkmenistan site where earth gas keeps burning in a large crater nonstop since 1971, making a great visual spectacle at night time. The mood gets darker at first, but not for long. Slow rhythm works steadily under washes of atmospheric keys, and the chord progression from 7:30 onwards makes you nod to the music without even knowing. And then there's a little flutey tron solo that nicely concludes the track.
Next one is Dunes (11:40), starting with a fat synth underneath and a meandering solo on top. Soon there's a bassline and drum loop added, forming a relaxed flowing music where sequences stay calmer and usher in some brilliant soloing. This tune shows Polaris' more reflective side. Nice work.
Hastings CutOff (9:50) starts in much darker and more industrial feeling, the synths get more angular, jumping around like metal hornets. This is again counterbalanced soon by soothing pads in the background. Then halfway through the track there's a superb mood change, when things get real cosmic and a TB303-like loop rises, at first subdued and restrained, but we old acidheads know it's gonna mutate and wriggle, we know it... and soon it does, gaining more squelch, and from here we float slowly on a spacey acid trip until it ends in an echoed crescendo.
Oasis (8:12) starts blissfully with light pads, and then quick twinkling sequences set in one by one. Polaris soon throws a magnificent solo into the mix. The massive sequencing erupts again around 5:20 and this is one of the finest moments of the whole album. All in all it's an airy, sunny and breathy closure to entire Desert Run, one of those I never want it to finish tracks.
Great step forward in his musical career, while pleasing old fans like myself, Desert Run is well worth the wait.

Michał Żelazowski
Album's tags:

Polaris | Desert Run

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