Diorama was started around 1997 by Torben Wendt who had been involved in a couple of previous projects. However, as an outlet for expressing thoughts and ideas, this project was started originally as a solo effort. Pale was the debut album, released in 1999 on Accession Records. Since then two more members have joined Torben with Felix Marc on keyboards and later Bernard Le Sigue joined as bassist. In April 2001, the second album was released and just recently in the fall of 2001, the first single "Device" is released. And now, after a short wait we are presented with the third full-length album The Art Of Confusing Spirits.
This trio's music is simply wonderful for fans of the emotional combination of Goth, Electro and Darkwave music. Similar in some ways to label-mates, Diary of Dreams with their at-times gloomy, yet inspring music, vocals and lyrics. Fans of Diary of Dreams will really enjoy this band. Their music is a little more dancey and upbeat and leans more toward the EBM and synthpop genres, but never lacking in the intensity and depth of the Goth and Darkwave genres.
With a great start behind them with these three full-length albums and a single, they're on their way to becoming another great product of Germany's electronic music scene. Be sure to check them out on Gothic Paradise Radio.
The Art of Creating Confusing Spirits
With their third full-length album, Diorama proves they can take the influences and established sound and evolve it into a more unique and mature style. Over the years as I've followed their work, they've progressed through a very dark, dancey synthpop/darkwave crossover sound similar to labelmates Diary of Dreams to a now lighter, yet still emotional-laiden soundscape. I think this latest album really shows more who Torben Wendt and co. really are and the music they like to make.
While this overall album moves a little more into the experimental and synthpop and away from some of the Gothic undertones, it's still enjoyable and I think existing fans should still really enjoy it. I know that I do... Beginning with the slowly building and emotionally captivating "Velocity", the album begins to take you on a really nice journey through electonic stratospheres, thoughtful lyrics and emotional vocals. "Last Minute" exhibits more experimental electronic sounds, but digs down into the darker and deeper musical elements with deeper vocals and a nice driving beat. "Kiss of Knowledge" breaks down slightly with a more mid-tempo rhythm, but catchy lyrics and chorus.
These first three tracks provide the template and an example of the enjoyable elements on this disc. Of course, they are just 3 of 13 really great tracks. Some more highlights include the most upbeat and the most downbeat songs. The ones in between are still enjoyable, but lack the power and emotional charge the others seem to exhibit.
"Howland Road" is an example of one these great fun up-beat tracks with a solid bass-line and melodic vocals in classic Diorama style. "All That Matters" is probably one of my favorite on this disc with a solid dance beat and beautiful synthesizers. The vocals and lyrics mesh well as they're delivered on the wings of a driving beat and melodic backdrop. I think this is what this group is all about. It's a reflection of their best work, similar to the great tracks "Device" and "Advance" by this group which in my opinion are Synthpop/Darkwave classics. "Klarheit" is another great driving track, but lacking the vocals and lyrics except for a few minor samples. So being an instrumental track, it may lack in my opinion the backbone of lyrics to go with it, but it's really great music and quite moving in it's own way.
To finalize this disc is the track that shows that emotional and ethereal elements are not lost on the Synthpop base that most of the music from this group is based on. "The Convenience Of Being Absent" is raw emotion in a simplistic and beautiful shell. This is the way great albums end, with something you can take to heart and that just seems to flow so gracefully through beautiful music.
While some tracks are lacking in a certain catchy style and rhythm, overall Diorama stay true-to-form and expand their horizons slightly with this disc. They prove they can continue to evolve and grow through musical experimentation and remain catchy and exciting to listen to at the same time. Fans should pick up this album without hesitation.
Label: Accession Records