Edgar Froese: Electronic Dreams, 1976. 9/10

reviews - edgar froeseOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 16:45
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With only two solo albums to draw on - Aqua and Epsilon In Malaysian Pale, that is - Brain, Edgar Froese's record company then, releases a compilation, which has become quite a curiosity.
Side one includes two of the more uptempo tracks from Aqua, Panorphelia and Upland:
Panorphelia has a look of Tangerine Dream, by the use of untypical sequencer. It makes a fast rhythm, and then it's up to the mellotron to join the pace.
Bobbly noises and organ peals influence the next track, Upland, which, at the same time, is well considered and arranged, and yet it includes the unknown destination of improvisation.
The last 40 seconds are dangerous, because it's a tape played backwards.
If you play this section backwards, you'll get just as sinister piano playing, exposed to reverb. This piano playing refers to the semi-acoustically orchestrated music of Oedipus Tyrannos.
Side two, on the other hand, is absolutely the carrot on the stick to invest in this rather cheap looking compilation, with a cover of a mouse with a phono-plug on it's tail.
That is Maroubra Bay in its entirety, but definitely not as released on Epsilon In Malaysian Pale. The version is, of what looks like a fault, backwards!
I can, for obvious reasons, not compare with the original, as I've only heard Maroubra Bay in a re-recorded version from 2004.
Haven't I heard that, and probably didn't know it was backwards here, I wouldn't have noticed anything remarkable.
In connection with the conclusion of Upland, there is nothing in Maroubra Bay (or yaB arbuoraM) to indicate a track, consequently, played backwards. The floating impulses from mellotron, synthesizers and sequencers work radiantly, in the reverse order.
This means the composition is very strong, when the original and perilious intro is placed at the end, which releases a horrifying reaction. This version is therefore more anxiety-provoking, as it in contrast to the original, builds up an intensity, instead of toning it down.
Conclusively, Electronic Dreams is a success (unvoluntarily?), and if Edgar comes up with the idea to defy Virgin, like he did with Phaedra 2005, then he'd rather release backwards editions, instead of self-willedly overdubbing and re-recording, as TD's old material, like it's the case of Maroubra Bay, definitely has more compositoric potential in a reversed form.

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Macula Transfer by Edgar Froese, 1976. 10/10

reviews - edgar froeseOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 16:43
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Doubting how the future of Tangerine Dream was looking, Edgar Froese recorded this album, for fun, in some way. It was released on Brain in 1976, and released on compact disc in 1998, in only 1000 copies, on the German label, Manikin, which bought up parts of Brain’s back catalogue, but was confronted by Edgar Froese, who meant that he should give permission to the re-release.
On Macula Transfer the song titles were inspired by flight routes. The music is high tensioned drama, why it has made me presume that Edgar suffers from fear of flying.
The album takes off with OS 452, which is a musical dialogue between has an attempted laidback, outer calmness, while the inner anxiety tries to oppress the calm façade.
AF 765 is a collision course, where the angst almost becomes morbid. A two-note sequence pounds away, like a heart struck with panic. A gradually more and more pessimistic guitar figure is the pilot, trying to let all hope remain, but ultimately loses it all. Edgar’s voice experiments are the passenger, whose life passes in review.
Near the end, the sequencer is lightning fast. The fate of the aircraft is not a big crash, but a fade-out, where it is, in my judgement, an emergency landing in the last moment.
PA 701 also plays on the on the big drama. Airy mellotron and polyrhythmic sequencer cause an endorphin rush, exactly like driving 220 km/k in a sports car. You just don’t know, if you like it or not.
Conclusively, manipulated sounds are heard, reminiscent of applauses after a well accomplished plane ride, a mellotron flute illustrates the feel of relief, as experienced by the passenger.
Quantas 611 is a nocturnal, very sinister piece, which makes it run cold down your back. The passenger has entered a state of sleep, where the smouldering anxieties from previous flights influence the dreams. IF 810 is a reflexive, melodic piece, where the passenger, has somewhat accepted his fear of flying. He walks the long way towards the check-out.

With Macula Transfer, another gospel is added in the bible of electronic rock music, where the synthesizer, the mellotron, and the electric guitar are the trinity. Unfortunately, the album is a bit of an apocrypha, as the circulation of the album is extremely insufficient. I, myself, had only a cassette-transfer to CDR, which played a “little” too fast.(March 2007)

(Although the music is divine, Edgar Froese is not God, under any circumstance.)

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Pinnacles by Edgar Froese, 1983. 9/10

reviews - edgar froeseOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 16:42
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Pinnacles is Edgar Froese's equivalent to Hyperborea by TD, released the same year. Like Hyperborea was name after a bitterly cold northern place, Pinnacle is a western Australian Region, from where, some bizarre rocks had grown out of the desert sand.
Consequently, the nature has always been inspirational to Edgar Froese, and the atmospheric music could make a great soundtrack for a stroll in this fascinating nature.
Specific Gravity Of Smile has a sofisticated complex structure with well ringing synthesizers and sequencers, could remind one of the White Eagle title track, due to the somewhat sad melodies. The spectrum of sounds are in a vast number and they are poetically moody. One of Froese's best solo compositions, and on par with the mesmerizing Drunken Mozart In The Desert.
The Light Cone pales the overall impression, for being a tad naïve, and that drags the rating down to a 9/10. Walkabout has it's best moments throughout the atmospheric parts.
Pinnacles makes up for the entire second side of the LP, and starts right away with its repeating and wuthering sequences. In Pinnacles' finest moments it reaches the same heights as Sphinx Lightning from Hyperborea - even Drunken Mozart In The Desert, as it also has very well composed arpeggios. Like a movie review, I will not reveal anything more, but only encourage you to listen, and swim away in this beautiful musical landscape.
Like Hyperborea and Ages, this album had to deal with a lot of negative critique, because of its repetitions, but that's unfair. If you are about to take a walk in extraordinaire landscapes, Pinnacles should be the tape in your walkman.
Unfortunately this album was his last true pinnacle. When he re-launched his solo-carreer in 1995, and later under the moniker of Edgar W. Froese in 2003 he didn't come up with anything as landmark as that of the 1974-1983 era.

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Edgar W. Froese: Dalinetopia, 2004. 4/10

reviews - edgar froeseOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 16:41
Blog ImageThis album is a tribute to the role model Salvador Dali, of whom Edgar met in Spain, 1967. Edgar has said that his intention about TD was to do in music, what Dali did for the visual art.
However, the inspiration is more evident in the surreal cover, than in the music. Edgar doesn't "reach that unthinkable sphere beyond all realities", as he strives for, in the slightly self-important sleevenotes. Musically compared to that, Dalinetopia is just too ordinary.
Dalinetopia is a typical outpout from the elderly Froese. Relaxing music with acceptable moments, but nothing to bear comparison with his intentions. Perhaps Dalinetiopia is too a personal album, then?
The cd distinguish itself from the fine tracks Daleroshima and Daluminacion.
Do you choose to spend time and money on this album, expect to get bored, as the exciting things are few and far between.

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Mr.Cox reviews - Edgar W. Froese: Aqua, 2005. 9/10

reviews - edgar froeseOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 16:39
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The sound of water, a strange synth sound and some digital percussion. This sums up the ingredients of Edgar W. Froese's reworking of the first minutes of his first solo album "Aqua" from 1974, released in 2005. One can be happy about this update or one can be angry about what Froese did to the originals. I belong to those TD fans who don't know much of Froese's solo records at all, especially as most of them somehow must be considered as rarities. I never listened to these original recordings, so the qualities of the "Aqua" remake lie in something completely different to me, in Froese's ability to combine the vintage synth, mellotron and organ sound with modern drumming and samples.
A wonderful example is the striking bass synth line that flows through the whole title track. "Aqua" remains almost untouched in its essence, with smooth organ drones (reminiscent of TD's "Atem"), bubbling synthesizers (like those on "Phaedra") and some mellotron solos on top. Everything one can admire in TD's music of the middle 70's is there, the only exception being the additional recordings on top of it all. The drumming and modern synth sounds add a trance-like quality to the whole track that fits quite well. In fact as I listened to the preview snippet on TD's homepage I just knew I had to get this CD as soon as possible! Moreover I consider it the best idea about this re-recording that Froese added modern drum sounds instead of recreating a rhythm track as it may have been played in the 70's; there is a sense of adventure in this step. In the last minutes of this 17 minutes long piece some echoed guitar sounds take over, the kind of sound Froese played on TD's "Zeit" album in 1972. And suddenly the muted drum sound in the background doesn't matter at all, it just fades away, returns and fades again, as if to mirror the swirling guitar excursion. The sound of water flowing into Edgar Froese's bathtub closes the track the same way it began.
"Panorphelia" is up next with modern synth chords and a bubbling sequencer motiv in the background. Here the reworking seems to be rather inconspicious, classic mellotron and synthesizer melodies can be heard. But above it all you can also recognize some tones that can also be found on recent TD releases and must have been added to the original. This composition is purely meditative, not too different of classic TD tracks like "Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares". What melodies are concerned it is much more interesting than "Aqua" in fact, at the same time the complete lack of percussion makes it the perfect counterpart to the opening track. The coda seems to be a complete new recording added, including these synth carpets Froese is so fond of.
The sound of a starting plane announces "NGC 891", a recording on which Chris Franke came on board to add Moog synthesizer. Soft digital synths and traffic noise glide in, once more Froese creates a peaceful mood, just the same way as on TD tracks like "Rubycon Part 1". After almost two minutes a soft sequencer sets in. Now we're on familiar mid-70's TD ground, somehow minimalistic, yet very rich at the same time. Here almost no further reworking is audible (except for some modern synth washes in the background). The music goes through various phasing effects, even the sequencer disappears at one point. Different synth and mellotron sounds create a kind of irresistable interplay, it's not until the sixth minute when some newly added synths begin to creep in more prominently. But to my ears this composition is very close to perfection; with the additional harsh synth melody beginning after seven minutes the track reaches a special height. Then a completely new coda with harmonic synth chords is added and the track closes.
A bubbling sequencer sound and a hymnical organ, that's the way "Upland" creeps in, a track that doesn't seem to have been remixed at all. The prominent organ sound always reminds me of Popol Vuh's classic "Vuh", harmonic and melodic but also somehow scary. Like on the two previous tracks the rhythm is build up by various sequenced synthesizer tones, but it remains in the background throughout, just setting the scene for the organ solo. After five and a half minutes the sequencer and organ gradually disappear, making room for some sections recorded backwards (I guess these are short piano sections, but I'm not sure about that). This coda is even more scary than the organ solo.
As a kind of bonus track "Upland Dawn" is added to the first four tracks. Slowed down bell sounds, the "Upland" sequencer and organ plus some modern percussion samples are in the foreground. Then a steady drum beat sets in, much more aggressive than the drums on "Aqua". Soon the original composition is forgotten completely and a new synth melody begins, including some samples sounding a bit like electric guitar chords. This is a radical remix that almost feels out of place on this CD and to my taste the new melody line is too simple for its own good. This recording wouldn't be out of place on "The Dream Mixes" (that was recorded around the same time as this "Upland" remix, by the way).
Well, everyone who loves the original "Aqua" may be irritated by these remixed recordings. But in my opinion this CD is just fantastic, mixing many elements from the early and mid-70's with the technological possiblities of the new millennium. And yes, I still love the drums on "Aqua".
Without knowing the original album there is a lot to be discovered here. And in the case you want your 70's Froese sound unaltered you can buy a copy of the original "Aqua" on CD, it's still widely available. I really enjoy the complete Froese CD collection of 2005 and "Aqua" is no exception.

By Mr.Cox

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