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Adelbert Von Deyen - Inventions (with Dieter Schütz) CD (album) cover


Adelbert Von Deyen


Progressive Electronic

2.91 | 3 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars "What's going on here?!" was my first reaction when I purchased the LP of Adelbert von Deyen's 1983 album `Inventions' with Dieter Schultz - the two previously collaborated on the pleasant 1982 album `Planetary'. Gone were the sci-fi/fantasy paintings depicting alien worlds that had been a trademark of the previous albums from Mr von Deyen. The man himself was depicted on the cover photo in some very sensible and normal clothes, very far removed from the Jesus-like pure white robes he donned for the `Atmosphere' sleeve back in the 70's! A quick scan of the back cover reveals a whole bunch of mostly brief tracks, some even shorter than the streamlined pieces on his previous two albums. Coming from an artist who used to compose side-long freeform drifting pieces of electronic space music, the signs were not good.

Thankfully `Inventions' sees the artist more successfully than not applying his spacey soundscapes into compact, easy to digest approachable pieces. The ten tracks are a mix of ambient drones, new age music and synth-pop, but there's still some longer pieces on both sides of the LP. Despite the titles such as `Baltic Sea', Peace on Earth' and `Jungle' perhaps suggesting a more earthbound theme, it only takes you to close your eyes, and many of those spacey qualities and cool electronic atmospheres come racing back and unwrap around your ears. Perhaps the album is nothing groundbreaking, but it's not a pitiful or desperate last gasp of zero inspiration. It's always pleasing, sometimes a little bland, occasionally captivating but mostly quietly and subtly effective. The key here was accessible, without being overtly commercial.

Dieter Schulz's acoustic guitar weaves around low-key synth breezes and an up-tempo clicking beat for opener `The Awakening'. `Speed For You' intertwines multiple synth patterns with a metallic robotic coldness, while the more joyful `Peace on Earth's organs and shimmering synths are let down by some chirping looped percussive beats that are a little too cute. `Baltic Sea' is all icy and intimidating machine coldness that wouldn't have sounded out of place on `Planetary' or even `Atmosphere' with a little reworking, so it's definitely one of the best pieces on offer here, as is the three part `Lunar Opera'. This almost 9 minute piece is more like the older von Deyen works - lots of open atmosphere, a subtle ambience and transitions between light and dark movements. There's ominous mechanical industrial tension, a variety of maddening beats and even some triumphant romantic themes. It's only let down by the fact that there's a fade-out before the third and final section that really breaks up the flow of the piece.

Side B still offers some nice compositions, starting with synth-popper `Farland', a shame that it's ethereal keys are overwhelmed by plodding beats. `Apache's Pain' is a pretty useless and uninspired electric guitar solo from Dieter with only the slightest of synths in the background, good thing it's barely two minutes long. `Jungle' is a Hammond solo over thick bass and a repeated synth refrain, forgettable but nice all the same. `Vulcano '78' is another album highlight, a gentle floating synth piece with a lovely theme that brings a nice optimistic quality and low-key skittering beats in the background to propel it softly forward. Despite a cringe-worthy title, the seven minute `Valley of the Monsters' is a respectable album closer. This more ambitious piece is a dream-like sound collage complete with ambient passages, nature sound effects and a eerie cinematic tone. Dieter's heavy brooding guitars contrast well with von Deyen's restrained synth soloing, and the piece highlights the two artists in strong unison with eachother. If only more of the album had more experimental and daring pieces like this one, or this one had even been stretched to a challenging side-long piece...

Of course `Inventions' is no match for the early trilogy of works from 1978-1980 or the real heavy hitting electronic works from defining artists like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, but it still makes for a respectable if mostly lightweight addition to von Deyen's discography for forgiving listeners. Sedate and easy to enjoy as a background listen, it may also appeal to those who like the more melodic and gentler electronic works like Jean- Michel Jarre's `Oxygene', and even make for an easy introduction to the electronic genre for newcomers.

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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