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Adelbert Von Deyen - Atmosphere CD (album) cover

ATMOSPHERE

Adelbert Von Deyen

 

Progressive Electronic

3.75 | 15 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars On his third, perhaps best album, Adelbert von Deyen delivers his warmest and most varied album so far. It seems to be coming from a much happier place, as it's often far removed from the deep-space darkness of `Sternzeit' and chilly isolation of `Nordborg'. Compare even the difference in the cold covers of those previous two, with the earthy and summery painting on this one. Absolutely gorgeous.

Clearly determined not to repeat himself, this time von Deyen has added a sparingly used live drummer, utilized programmed pulses and beats more prominently, started experimenting with shorter pieces and even adding some lighter musical tones. This album is exploratory in many new directions, with von Deyen displaying endless captivating ideas. There's a distinct Pink Floyd and even fellow German's Eloy influence, which would manifest even more on the album after this, `Eclipse'.

`Timemachine's driving drumbeat sounds like a call to arms! Lots of tension, echoing and shimmering keyboard runs throughout the whole piece. Very relentless and extremely catchy, this shorter up-tempo piece is very new ground for the artist. Great way to kick off the album.

There's a distinct Pink Floyd influence all through `Silverrain', with mellow slow Gilmour-like guitar strums, plodding and restrained drum-work, all behind an ocean of dreamy and eerie synths. This track is very intoxicating and mesmerizing, with a real floating quality to it. There's an abrupt change at the end, as uplifting spectral organ enters. This part is a precursor to the segment titled `Dawn' from the second side, it's a glorious and triumphant theme.

At least on this album, von Deyen showed how easily he could make effective and atmospheric pieces of music without feeling that the shorter running time would be equal to a compromise. Ironic, then, that he would follow up these two with the longest continuous piece he ever recorded, the 34 minute epic title track. Spread over two sides of vinyl, and further split into 8 titled sections, `Atmosphere' is probably the best piece of music the man ever recorded.

`Sunrise' bridges the old von Deyen sound with the new, sounding slightly more along the lines of his previous two albums, with those shimmering glacial keys, purring synths, whirring pulses, and electronics swirling all around. Very psychedelic. About two minutes in a slightly darker tone tries to break through in `Altitude Flight', but lighter synths prevail and a gentle meditative sound carries you away. While this drifts on, a darker solo is faintly heard in the background moving closer. Bubbling liquid effects erupt during `Astralis', and an impenetrable wall of pulsing keys takes us on a comforting veil of synths that leads to our fadeout. This beautiful hypnotic and floating piece is stunning, but the best is still to come.

The second part of the title track on side B begins with a haunting keyboard melody, ghostly and spectral. Truly blissful, enveloping, even comforting, `Skyward' is one of the loveliest and most subtle themes von Deyen ever conceived. At about the 6 minute mark, a looped programmed beat enters, and we can already feel the tone shift to something a little darker, taking the piece in a much cooler direction. A longer droning and repetitive pattern, `Crystal Clouds' blurs into a maddening looped keyboard melody that will drive you to the edge, although it's somehow eerily pretty. `Voices Of Infinity' is haunting with a ghostly male choir. The album ends on a reprise of `Dawn', the blissful climax of side A's `Silverrain'. It's majestic theme wraps up the album in a joyous and grand manner.

I really can't adequately explain how much I love this album, and how much it has come to mean to me. I've listened to it at least 50 times over the years, and I still get completely lost in it's gentle beauty. This album has a very mysterious, uplifting and graceful sound to much of it. Whereas with `Sternzeit' I felt fear and depression, `Nordborg' isolation and loneliness, with this album I feel a sense of wonder, of warmth, happiness and being at peace.

Sadly this was also to be his last great album. With the next one `Eclipse', von Deyen changed so many elements of his music, leading to a complete shift in sound. Despite a few brief moments of quality over the coming years, this really was the end of the `classic' von Deyen sound.

An album full of drifting mystery and floating space, I'm so happy to have this in my collection, and it's one of my favourite albums. In an career often dismissed as a blatant Klaus Schulze clone with nothing new to offer, `Atmosphere' easily proved to be Adelbert von Deyen's most original and artistically successful album.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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