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Jeffrey Koepper - Transmitter CD (album) cover


Jeffrey Koepper


Progressive Electronic

3.91 | 3 ratings

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4 stars With over ten full-length releases since his debut `Etherea' in 2003, American prog-electronic artist Jeffrey Koepper has slowly built a strong reputation as a skilled composer of Berlin School-modelled music for the modern era. Jeffrey uses a variety of analogue synthesizers and sequencers to create deeply immersive electronic music in the manner of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Steve Roach and Jean-Michel Jarre, and his latest release is the sublime `Transmitter', his second work for this year after `MantraSequent' arrived in June 2017. Recorded live for WXPN's Star's End Radio in June 2016, the seven fully instrumental pieces on offer move between pure ambient and percussive-driven pieces, yet they all form a continuous unhurried flow of beautiful hypnotic atmospheres.

Opener `Whirl' groans with an ebbing and flowing electronic hum that encases a trilling little crystalline loop teeming with magic and contentment. It maintains throughout `Ions' and its jangling low-key sequencers dancing back and forth and carries on into `Tides', growing more upfront before retreating once more. But it's when the album morphs into the eleven minute cosmic drift `Quasar' that it soars to another level altogether, taking on Klaus Schulze-like fizzing electronic washes over ringing aggressive Tangerine Dream-flavoured sequencer patterns and the large scale atmospheric aural soundworlds of so many legendary Berlin School artists. There's an aching, almost choral-like moan that flits in and out of parts of the piece and a constant momentum surges the piece ever onwards before culminating in a placid come-down of swirling dreaminess stripped of all percussive traces.

Another longer piece at over fifteen minutes, `Darkness' descends into just that, diverting into a brooding canvass of maddening gurgling loops with a gently stalking restlessness and twisting into mysterious hypnotic electronic pools lapping around dramatic pulsing themes weaving through the climax. `Halo' abandons the rhythmic elements again as it floats with rapturous pure-ambient bliss and softly embracing affectionate caresses that call to mind parts of Ashra's `New Age of Earth', and after the opening few minutes swell with bubbling machine hum that reminds of the early Adelbert von Deyen LP's, `Clouds' lifts the disc higher one final time with its carefully clanging sequencer contemplations.

Many modern prog-electronic artists look to the past of the genre for their own inspiration, but there's a classic Berlin School purity here with Jeffrey's album, perhaps because he avoids diverting into uneventful static drones or lazily falling into dance/trance elements that some modern electronic albums do. It helps make `Transmitter' something extra special, a wondrous work that carefully unveils sweeping sonic canvasses and balances it with the lurking darker edges of all the finest space music electronic albums with immense environments, and it proves to be one of the standout prog-electronic releases of 2017.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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