Tales - "Interstellar Memories"
(SIT Records, 1998 SIT 19803)
From Aural Innovations #5 (January 1999)
From France, Tales is the work of keyboardist/percussionist Jean-Luc Berthelot. The music is an ambient electronic effort that at times reminded me of Kitaro's mid-80's albums and at others fell fully into early Tangerine Dream territory. Dreamily spacey with lots of sounds and effects, the music absorbed me into it's aural universe as Berthelot weaves his floating electronic textures. I enjoyed the music, but it falls too close to New Age fluff to stay interesting for long. One element that I do consider a strength is that Berthelot doesn't slap on layer after layer of keyboard orchestration. Much of this is quite subtle. At times there will be only percussion and synths accompanied by a flute-sounding melody line. Lightly pulsating keys provide the backdrop for soundscapes that at other times are less for melody than to create atmosphere, or even an entire environment. Listening to this in the dark conjured up images of a nighttime sky filled with millions of twinkling and shooting stars.
I was previously unfamiliar with Berthelot's work, but the liner notes indicate this is the third release from Tales. The notes also feature an unnamed "someone" telling of the spaceship Paradonka and its journey to hundreds of planets until finally settling on Ankalerye. A web page address is given at the end where I found quite a bit of fantasy poetry. Space music of this sort is a challenge as its easy to fall into the mundane. Good for a listen or two.
Click here to visit the Tales web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz