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Soniq Theater

Crossover Prog

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Soniq Theater Brandenburg album cover
3.05 | 5 ratings | 3 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Antarctica (7:46)
2. Springtime in Siberia (5:11)
3. Brandenburg (6:54)
4. London Town (5:14)
5. The Cyclades (1:41)
6. Weekend in Monaco (5:16)
7. Tasmania (0:44)
8. Daytona Beach (2:46)
9. Brimstone Cave (2:52)
10. NYC (4:53)
11. Mariana Rift (guitar version) (10:43)

Total Time 54:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Alfred Mueller / composer, performer (keyboards, electronics *), producer

* Ensoniq TS10 masterkeyboard, Ensoniq EPS sampler, Yamaha SY85 synth,
Roland JV1080 soundmodule, E-MU Vintage Keys, E-MU B-3 Hammond Organ module, E-MU Orbit soundmodule, Alesis DM5 drum-module, effect processors (Digitec Studioquad, Alesis Microverb III, Ibanez SDR1000 digital reverb)

- Ralph Brandenburger / guitar (1,3,11)

Releases information

CDr Self-released (2019, Germany)

Digital album

Thanks to black_diamond for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SONIQ THEATER Brandenburg ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SONIQ THEATER Brandenburg reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Soniq Theater as the bio says, is a one man band, the project of Alfred Mueller. The album "Brandenburg" is his 2019 self- released album and is available as a FLAC download on or on his self-released CD-R. The music is completely created electronically and on keyboards, but in the case of this album, there are 3 tracks that feature guitarist Ralph Brandenburger. These tracks are "Antarctica", "Brandenburg" and "Mariana Rift (guitar version)".

The tracks that stand out more are the more authentic sounding tracks, especially those that utilize the real (not processed or manipulated) electric guitar as these have a better feeling of authenticity to them. "Antarctica" is especially great and is the perfect opener. Even the drums sound real on this one, and it is more progressive sounding, but with an accessible sound. The guitar work and the keyboard work is perfect on this track. But immediately after this, you get "Springtime in Siberia" which sounds more like something from early Rick Wakeman albums, not that it's a bad thing, but it does feel very non- organic.

"Brandenburg" follows this and is the 2nd with the guest guitarist. Again, this has a more authentic feel, but the overall track is not quite as interesting as the first, but it is good enough anyway. It reminds me more of "Manheim Steamroller" even though that band uses real instruments, the overall tone of it is similar to some of their music. The next track is "London Town" and I must say that I really enjoy this track. The percussion is done very well and sounds quite real. The lead instrument on this is the organ and that also helps in that nothing here sounds like it's trying to be something that it's not. It has a great, solid beat and an interesting melody and structure. It was actually a very, nice surprise.

"The Cyclades" is a short track that is simply a chord progression both ascending and descending. Not much happens on this one. "Weekend in Morocco" is pretty good, but other than the funky bass sound here, the music is definitely electronic sounding. After this, things seem to get not quite so interesting as we get into shorter tracks. The music isn't as authentic sounding again and I start to lose interest. I did notice that "NYC" has some similarities to Keith Emerson, but it ends up being buried amongst the less interesting sounding tracks.

The last track is actually a re-imagining of a track released on a previous album. The track is "Mariana Rift" and has more of a professional feel to it along the lines of "Tangerine Dream" from around the late 80s, even down to the sometimes European and sometimes Oriental influences that appear. This is also the 3rd track to feature the guest guitarist. It seems more time was spent on these three tracks that feature the guitarist and they seem better developed.

I find 4 worthwhile tracks on this album that seem like they were more perfected than the others, ("London Town" and the 3 tracks featuring Brandenburger) and had all of the songs had the care that these tracks had, then this would have easily been a 4 star album. But because there are several tracks in between that seem to have not been given as much time or effort in their final sound, the album feels a little uneven. However, the music is mostly enjoyable and interesting, though it leans on the more accessible side than it does on the progressive side, I feel that 3 stars is a good rating, even though there are a few 4 star tracks on here.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars I think this is Alfred Mueller's 19th solo album, and I'm also pretty sure I have reviewed all of them over the years, so it is safe to say I understand his style and what to expect. Over that time the vast majority of his albums have been pure solo, just Alfred and his keyboards, but here he has taken a slightly different tack and has brought in guitarist Ralph Brandenburger who is a key component on three of the eleven songs (and I presume is also the reason for the album title). In some ways this is an excellent idea, but in some others has also caused an issue, as they work together incredibly well and this moves Alfred's music in a different direction. The first song on the album, 'Antartica', is one of those that features Ralph and I was immediately impressed as this was taking the music of Soniq Theater to a new level. The next song, 'Springtime In Siberia' is very much of Alfred's normal style, with bouncy keyboards up against some symphonic layers, very much in the vein of some of Rick Wakeman's solo material It is actually a really good song, really nice, but I kept wondering what it would be like if he had used 'real' musicians on this as well, and what would happen if he had a rhythm section that breathed as opposed to using electricity.

In some ways this feels like quite a disjointed album, just because there are so many styles on offer, and tracks with Brandenburger are so very different to the rest. However, there are also some gems to be found in the true solo songs, but as I said when reviewing his last album 'Squaring The Circle' it really is time for Alfred to get a full band behind him as it used to be in the Nineties when he was part of Rachel's Birthday. I actually think that in many ways this is his finest album yet, not just for the material with Ralph, but there is a lack of continuity within it. For the next one, even if it isn't a full band, it would be interesting to hear a complete album from them both as they complement each other with great interacting sounds.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars German project SONIQ THEATER has been the creative vehicle of composer and musician Alfred Mueller for the past couple of decades, and he has held a fairly steady pace in releasing one new album just about each year. "Brandenburg" is the 19th of these, and was self released at the start of the year.

Soniq Theater have crafted some of the finest moments in the 20 or so year long history of this project on this latest album, with contributions from guest musician adding depth and increasing the experience for the listener as well as, possibly, inspiring Mueller to be at his very best on those compositions. As a total experience this is on par with just about all previous albums, blending progressive rock and ambient music into compelling and enjoyable soundscapes, but with glimmers of brighter magic in the very best moments. For those unaware of this project, I'd recommend that those that tend to enjoy early 80's Tangerine Dream and music of a similar nature to lend and ear to Soniq Theater, and this album is as good a place to start as any other.

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