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FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT

Progressive Electronic • Netherlands


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Free System Projekt biography
Initially, Free System Projekt was a solo-project of Marcel Engels. His first albums, especially the fine "Pointless Reminder", show a melodically version of the Berlin School. Since the album "Atmospheric Conditions from 2002", "FSP" is a trio when sequencer-specialist Ruud Heij (also known from PATCHWORK) and Frank van der Wel become bandmembers. Trio's and electronic music bring Tangerine Dream in mind. Nothing is less true with FSP because their recent albums have all the traces of classic TD-albums: fantastic sequencers, the Mellotron sounds, the strings and the effects. Maybe together with the English bands RED SHIFT and RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONALl, FSP is the best descendent of TD .
(written by Paul Rijkens, reviewer for electronic music magazine Edition)

Marcel Engels about himself: "It was around 1980 (at the age of 7) when I heard records from JEAN MICHEL JARRE and TOMITA. I really liked and still like those records, although I didn't had a clue who they were or how they made such music. Later I knew. When I was 14 years I bought my first keyboard. It was a small Yamaha keyboard and I was very happy with it. Later came a new keyboard and soon after that the first synthesizers appeared. I now have a nice studio at my home where I can experiment with sounds and record the things I like. As Mike Oldfield once stated in an interview: "It's a room with possibilities".
Marcel Engels about his music: "Although I find it very difficult to say something about my own music, I would like to try it anyway. I use a mixture of analog and digital synthesizers, because I think both have their advantages and disadvantages. I always try to make a kind of atmosphere, often heard in the e-music of the 70's and begin 80's. To create this kind of atmosphere it is usual to make tracks longer then a pop-song you hear on the radio (with the exception of classic and jazz). Bands/artists who, I think, also create this kind of atmosphere are, to name a few: TANGERINE DREAM, NEURONIUM, JARRE and SCHULZE. But also bands like PINK FLOYD, CAMEL, PULSAR, OZRIC TENTACLES, ORBITALl and FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON. I happen to like these bands a lot and I got partly influenced by them."

Line-up:
Marcel Engels/keyboards (Arrick Synthesizers.com modular synthesizer, Access Virus advanced simulated analog synth, Yamaha A3000 128MB/2.1HD sampler, Kawai K4 digital synth, Eminent Solina String Ensemble, Korg Polysix 6voice analog synth midified, Kawai 100f monophonic...
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Pointless ReminderPointless Reminder
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FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Impulse
1996
4.00 | 2 ratings
Pointless Reminder
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Passenger 4 (with Dweller At The Threshold)
2004
3.33 | 2 ratings
Protoavis
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Moyland
2005

FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Okefenokee Dreams
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Atmospheric Conditions
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Gent
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Narrow Lane
2008

FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Substance
1997

FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Narrow Lane by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Live, 2008
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Narrow Lane
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

— First review of this album —
4 stars This Dutch electronic group is simply one of my great new discoveries, yet they've been around seemingly forever (since the 1990s, but it's now 2013). I know Holland has never had a big electronic scene, I am aware of Peru, that's about it. Narrow Lane is yet another live offering, the first part recorded the National Space Centre in Leicester, and the second part at Hampshire Jam 6, in Liphook. This Dutch group seems to hang around the same UK venues that Radio Massacre International does. In fact I like to think of FSP as the Dutch equivalent of RMI, only I think FSP's music often rivals that of RMI. FSP often uses modular equipment, like the Arrick modular synth, which is a modular synth based off the Moog. Arrick is based out of Texas, so the synth is American made. They also use vintage gear like the EMS Synthi A, Elka Rhapsody, and Solina String Ensemble, but the Mellotron is sampled, using the Yamaha A3000. FSP is always the vehicle for Marcel Engels, but he gets help here from Ruud Heij, and for the first part (recorded in 2006), Frank van der Wel. Unfortunately v.d. Wel had left shortly after that performance, so the second part, recorded late in 2007, was without his presence. Regardless, this stuff is right up your alley if you enjoy Rubycon/Ricochet-era Tangerine Dream, even these guys use many of the same synth timbres. It can be said that this might not bring nothing new to the table, but I don't care because this stuff really blew me away! If they done something very much like what a certain well-known electronic group had done some thirty or so years earlier, and do it well and do it convincingly, I have nothing to complain about. It's strange how many other countries are taking up to the Berlin School of electronic music. In the '70s you had Anna Sjalv Tredje in Sweden and even Zanov in France (Jean Michel Jarre might have been influenced by it, but of course, his style isn't Berlin School), and now you have Radio Massacre International, Airsculpture, and Red Shift in the UK, as well as FSP in Holland. This comes highly recommended to fans of this style of electronic music!

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 Moyland by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Moyland
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Clandestine Seam

A tale of fan-boys turning into the very image of their adoration pt. 3.

Now we come to an act I personally find inspiring, haunting, mysteriously gripping and everything Tangerine Dream were back in 1975.... and then some. Moyland is a combination of modular synth soundscapes and breezy mellotron washes. Then for my favourite part of the ride, the one that pops a cherry on top of your already delicious ice cream, - you get served with some aggressive sequencers that throb and heave like small electronic tap dancing mice on cough medicine. I personally think these rhythm segments are damn near perfect, and strangely enough those exact same snarling sequencer attacks were usually kept outside the studio, back in the heyday of TD. You'd have to buy a live album or attend one of their live shows to get these stuttering robotic blitzes. What they do, and what sets them apart from most rhythm devices, is adding to the music a somewhat fluent surface of sound that repeats itself in insanely fast paced patterns, bobbing and weaving ever so slightly according to the pitch and feel of the given musical surroundings. This is where you are able to spot the real and prodigal electronic artists, because what may seem like a walk in the park to the casual bystander, is indeed very difficult to attain. To get it right, and to be able to attack with the sequencers, can actually accomplish the same sort of vibe and motion as a lead guitar, a moog - a bleeping saxophone, - mind you we're talking when the instruments are used to express a certain sustained sound - a feel that when used in the right manner, absolutely sends shivers down my spine.

The first long track here sounds like a freeform composition that turned out brilliantly. It was recorded at Hampshire Jam 111, Liphook in 2004. I suppose the guys here, consisting of Marcel Engels, Frank van der Wel and analogue synthesizer maestro Ruud Heij, not really sure what they had achieved, listened to this recording after getting back to Amsterdam, and then over a cup of tea and a big grandpa doobie one of them went:

"Wuuuooooiiiiiiiiii!!!! Damn what a killer jam you guys!!! What the hell!!!?! Allright, if we take this down to the studio and maybe tweek a bit here and there, and wow man, I almost forgot - I've been thinking about doing this sort of WOW, I don't even.... but hey it's going to be great and y'know - just build upon what this vibe is giving off and make it into a floating continuous piece....What d'you say guys?"

And so they did, and what a piece... Divided into 5 parts, the big Moyland track here starts out very floating and airy without a trace of rhythm - just hovering in these slicing synth manoeuvres. When you finally start thinking you've bought an ambient record, that's when the bobbing bom-bom-bom-bom sequencer starts relegating its menacing bass foundation, and you know you're in for a magnificent ride. Yes, it reminds me of Tangerine Dream live anno 1975, but then again what's not to like about that? - Furthermore, you'll find far more hiding underneath all of these layers - ambient flickering sections of glacial synthesisers - the sudden altering of the sequencers midway that transforms into something infinitely more metallic sounding, yet at the same time infusing an unlikely humane touch to the proceedings, even if that sounds terribly contradictory in itself.

This is a fine place to start your journey in the prog electronic genre. Moyland mixes a brew of tumultuous electronic segments washing in over you like a polyphonic serenade of sound patterns. It's overwhelming at times, but never out of touch with that eternally soothing and esoteric image of the Berlin school of electronics. Entrancing stuff to say the least, and highly recommended to newcomers to the genre.

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 Pointless Reminder by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Pointless Reminder
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars This is a CD that has lain dormant in my collection for many years. Probably due to the awful band name and the equally forgettable cover. The track titles don't do much to inspire me with hope either.

However, during the past week this is all I've played, discovering finally, that it's actually an excellent modern day 'Berlin Electronics' album by one of many bands who have been out in the search of the Holy Grail - the followup to 'Rubycon' by Tangerine Dream...

So many of these shameless copycat bands set out with the same goal... to find that missing link between the perfect 'Rubycon' and the lightweight 'Stratosfear' through bands such as Redshift, Arc, Radio Massacre International and even Ian Boddy. 'Free System Projekt' are the most authentic of the bunch, creating sounds that border on the beautiful, but just don't sound as threatening or weird as their luminaries.

The truth of the matter is that what they seek will remain forever hidden and unatainable. 'Pointless Reminder' (Yeuch!) is a solid electronic album using modern technology in an effort to sound 1975. The arpeggiating sequencers are fantastic. Crystal clear and bouncy, they skip back and forth like a tennis ball from one ear to the other, leaving you believing that you're actually listening to a long lost mid 70's Tangerine Dream treasure.

Many may say I'm viewing this from the wrong perspective, but when you hear the plagiarism involved, then I'm sure you'll agree.

'Pointless Reminder', despite it's lousy title is a good, purely electronic album with touches of Jean Michel Jarre's 'Oxygene' thrown in for good measure.

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 Protoavis by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.33 | 2 ratings

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Protoavis
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I knew when I started collecting Radio Massacre International CDs that there were other groups operating in a similar manner. Like this Dutch act Free System Projekt, lead by Marcel Engels, with some help from Frank van der Wel and Ruud Heij. They might as well be the Dutch Tangerine Dream, and in fact, like RMI, you can't avoid the comparison. Lots of sequencers, analog synths, Mellotron. Unfortunately FSP CDs seem to be hard to find (I've had little luck finding online dealers stocking them). It's one of those if you didn't buy them at the time, you're out of luck. It seems these guys seem to perform at many of the same electronic music shows that RMI go to, so it's a safe bet if you like RMI, you'll like FSP, plain and simple.

If this 2004 release Protoavis is anything to go by, I'll be looking forward to many more releases. This CD consists of three extended pieces. I like the sinister mood these guys come up with, before the sequencer kick in, then you start thinking of Rubycon. Oh yeah, they actually use a Moog IIIc, as well as an EMS Synthi A, Solina String Ensemble, Elka Rhapsody, other synths, and most of all, the Mellotron put to great use. I really dig the title track. I was expecting it to be this dark ambient piece throughout, and out of nowhere the sequencers start kicking in. RMI tends to avoid big, bulky gear and I love the way they come up with similar results to these guys. I really don't know what else say, but I'll say this right off, if you ran out Radio Massacre International CDs to buy, you can't go wrong here, and Protoavis is a great place to start if you don't know Free System Projekt.

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 Moyland by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Moyland
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a Dutch three piece formation that plays electronic music with obvious hints from Tangerine Dream (74-78 era). In my opinion FSP their music deserves more attention from the electronic music aficionados, what an outstanding trio from my home country The Netherlands, I am really proud on these guys!

This CD features the titletrack in five parts, ranging from 7 to almost 20 minutes. Part 1 starts with a spacey atmosphere featuring soaring violin - and flute Mellotron waves and soft synthesizer flights. Halfway pulsating sequencers enter and gradually the music swells to exciting electronic music with great synthesizers sounds. Part 2 delivers floods of compelling violin - and mighty choir-Mellotron along deep bass sounds. Part 3 has a percussive oriented climate with many pleasant synthesizer sounds. Part 4 is the highlight on this CD, it contains the strongest hints to the 74-78 Tangerine Dream era: very exciting featuring propulsive sequencing, awesome choir-Mellotron eruptions and synthesizer runs that are very similar to distorted guitar as on the live 2-LP Encore from TD. Part 5 starts spacey with soaring violin-Mellotron and soft, slow bass sounds. Then the music swells delivering great interplay between the three keyboard players with lots of fine synthesizer runs, Mellotron waves and 'rolling' sequencers, another strong track! The final composition is entitled Transition, first it has a spacey climate with soaring strings and pulsating sequencers, then a catchy rhythm with beautiful syntheiszer sounds. The interplay is very tasteful and carries you away to an 'electronic music heaven'.

THIS IS WONDERFUL MUSIC FOR THE ELECTRONIC AFICIONADOS!!



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 Okefenokee Dreams by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Live, 2000
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Okefenokee Dreams
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars On the back cover of the small booklet is written: "the first Okefenokee gathering of Tangerine Dream fans to spawn the celebration of Electronic Swamp Music". Well, say no more, it's an obvious tribute to the pivotal electronic music that Tangerine Dream made in the "Phaedra"-"Encore" era. This CD (my favorite one from FSP) is recorded live in the USA between April 9th and 13th in 2000 and performed by Dutchman Marcel Engels and USA citizen Dave Brewer, both keyboards. The music on the four compositions (between 11 and 32 minutes) ranges from soaring strings and soft pulsating sequencers to electric piano and spectacular synthesizer sounds, even electric guitar. It sounds very pleasant and melodic, if you like TD 1974-1977 (and early Klaus Schulze like on "Moondawn" and "Timewind"), you will be carried away by this wonderful electronic music!


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 Protoavis by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.33 | 2 ratings

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Protoavis
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Free System Projekt is an electronic trio featuring Marcel Engels, Frank van der Wel and Ruud Heij. They have delivered a beautiful album, containing three mega-long tracks. It opens with "In the ocean of Tethys" (22.39), this track is based upon the warm and unique sound of the string-ensemble, interwoven with flute-Mellotron solo runs and floods of choir-Mellotron. If you like Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream, this is an 'electronic nirvana' for you! Halfway pulsating sequencers join in, accompanied by lots of typical synthesizer sounds. In the second composition "Protoavis" (36.35) the trio succeeds to translate the dark and mysterious underwaterworld into a hypnotizing and a bit eerie sonic landscape, using a wide range of keyboards and electronic devices. It has obvious echoes from Jean- Michel Jarre. The last part contains a spectacular rolling sequencer sound and lots of synthesizer flights. The final number "Desolate landscape" (16.12) has a fat and low synthesizer sound, lots of violin-Mellotron, culminating in a splendid tribute to the retro- sound of early Tangerine Dream (74-77). This fine CD is a proove of the blossoming Dutch electronic music scene (annual festivals, some good labels and a wonderful magazine entiled E-dition), I'm looking forward to the next great electronic rock CD from The Netherlands.


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 Passenger 4 (with Dweller At The Threshold)  by FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Passenger 4 (with Dweller At The Threshold)
Free System Projekt Progressive Electronic

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars This site frequently features praise for the "Phaedra"-era music from the pivotal electronic music from Tangerine Dream. Here in Europe, especially in The Netherlands and the UK is a blossoming electronic music scene delivering bands like Redshift, Radio Massacre International and Airsculpture. A very appreciated EM band is the Dutch Free System Projekt from Marcel Engels. This album is a collaboration of the Free System Projekt (Marcel Engels with Ruud Heij and Frank van der Wel) and Dweller At The Threshold (Dave Fulton and John DuVal) from the USA, a kind of 'Transatlantic electronic super ensemble'. The equipment they used on this album is a mindblowing range of keyboards: ARP Odyssey, EMS Synthi A, Nord Modular, EMU Vintage Keys, Oberheim OBMx, Mini - and Polymoog, ARP Pro Solist, Elka Rhapsody, Clavia Nordrack and Roland JP8080, welcome to the machine! A very long and impressive list, about the music I can be much shorter: it sounds like the Tangerine Dream from the 1977-era, including lots of bleeps, sounds from the sea and wind, floods of Mellotron (especially the flute-Mellotron is very similar to TD), pulsating sequencers and layers of floating synthesizers. Very beautiful and tasteful like the long fourth track "Passage" featuring majestic Mellotron sounds. I often had the idea that I was listening to 'the lost "Encore" tapes' from Tangerine Dream. So I presume this music is meant as a tribute. Anyway, for me it was a splendid session. Highly recommended to the fans of early Tangerine Dream (74-77).



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Thanks to erik neuteboom for the artist addition.

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