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Michael Hoenig - Departure From The Northern Wasteland CD (album) cover


Michael Hoenig


Progressive Electronic

3.77 | 53 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Michael Hoenig's debut album is firmly rooted in the '70s Berlin school style but also shows strong elements of symphonic prog.

Departure From the Northern Wasteland is purely and electronic album of the highest caliber, but the way the longer compositions flow is leaned heavily into the way that bands like Genesis and Renaissance progress in their own songs. Adding to the rock without rock instruments tone to this album is the very immediate and demanding sound of the dynamic synth basslines that sound somewhat organic (though still very obviously synthetic).

The title track, at just over 20 minutes, is the headpiece of the album and is delightfully progressive. Where some Berlin school style long form compositions can sound very convoluted after the first few minutes, this track adds many layers atop one another but still maintains an open area to rest the ears. The atmosphere is very dark like setting off on a long voyage during a day with a dark gray overcast of clouds with thunder rumbling in the distance. The sound of this entire album is rather earthbound than most Berlin school style albums. "Hanging Garden Transfer" follows in the same atmosphere, but has much more urgency to it.

"Voices of Where", though one of the two shorter tracks on this album, is very beautiful. It's very light an airy with a light wavering sound that you'd expect from a mellotron. Because of this, it sounds similar to the short bursts of beauty found on the interludes on various Genesis albums. "Sun and Moon" ends the album on another bass driven Berlin school style track with a slight feeling of accomplishment and hopefulness.

Departure From the Northern Wasteland is one of the most interesting and compelling progressive electronic albums that I've heard from an artist that has remained mostly obscured. Anyone interested in this genre should take out some time to experience this album; I assure you that your efforts will not be wasted, especially if you're already a fan of ethereal symphonic prog.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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