SERMEQ - TapedLive

Sermeq - TapedLive

10 songs
56:10 minutes
***** **
(self released)


Claude Michels has been performing as Sermeq for nearly ten years now, and since then has released already four CDs. Originally started as a solo project, he soon decided to use the help of fellow musicians to give his music a more organic feeling, something especially useful in the context of a live show. And because playing live is so important for the artist, he has decided to dig through his vaults to compile his first live CD comprising recordings from 2005 until late 2012. Strangely enough TapedLive doesn’t contain any material from his last studio album Nautilus. His first three albums are represented each with two or three songs, and then there are three further tracks that I couldn’t find on any of his previous releases.

It is a risky venture to create a live album recorded at different locations, more so in the case of TapedLive where the settings couldn’t be any more different: from the small pub shows (Urban, Diva) over artistic exhibitions to the major league temples (Rockhal, opderschmelz, Kultrufabrik). And yet Sermeq manages to pull it off, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d believe this was all a big one hour show. Guest musicians are Nder Wagner (guitar), Anna Gelsen (synths), Marc Unsen (guitar), Sebb Laas (guitar), Steve Remesch (bass, effects), Pol Leruth (guitar, flute), Lisa Berg (cello), Romain Junck (bass) and Gast Klares (synths). As you can guess from that list, this collection of more obscure to better known names provide an organic backdrop to Sermeq’s electronic music that let it all shine in its glorious mix of ambient electronica and decent psychedelia. The CD may start rather experimentally with Valentina, a rather abrasive piece of music, but the following kAOs already allows from some dubby vibes.

The CD continues in that vein, always taking care to give the electronic leads a fitting environment, where especially the multitude of guitarists do their best to add their own touch. If there is any criticism at all, it would be that Sermeq’s music could occasionally do with a little more bite. It’s not for lack of experimentalism, as there all a lot of weird, askew moments to be found throughout the record, but the general impression is one of somewhat calculated safety. The CD ends with the ten minute long Zen Garden on which the Sermeq collective achieves some kind of Pink Floyd-like trippy atmosphere.

I dare say that TapedLive is an ideal starting point into the sonic universe of Sermeq, and the lovely layout of the very limited CD edition should make this a much wanted collectors’ item for every aficionado of vintage brand electronica in no time at all. Until then I suggest you visit the artist’s homepage where you can get a closer acoustic impression of what his musical vision is all about.

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