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The Cosmic Jokers - The Cosmic Jokers CD (album) cover


The Cosmic Jokers



3.95 | 137 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A collaboration of members of Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein, the self- titled album `The Cosmic Jokers' is an immersive psychedelic space-rock album, comprised of two side-long pieces that takes the listener on a journey through the most wondrous and loneliest corners of deep space. A voyage of innermost discovery, filled with the most amazing sensations of wonder and, eventually, feelings of come-down and cold isolation. The album can be compared to various works of the above mentioned artists, as well as lost-in-space albums such as `Dom - Edge Of Time'.

Like early `Saucerful'-era Floyd live, Side A's `Cosmic Joke' has a dark drama, a definite sense of unease contrasted with moments of real joy and comfort, provided by Manuel Gottsching's lilting and gentle guitar melodies that twinkle and shine like the surrounding stars. Dieter Dierks' drifting and plodding bass is hypnotic, while Harald Grobkopf's percussion and drum-work is gentle and light. Very low-key synths from Klaus Schulze dance in the background, but they're eerily present at all times. He has a much more prominent role on the second side. The second section has strange bubbling and echoing electronics that are instantly uneasy, the drama raised by the now chugging guitar and bass and heavier commanding drumming. The final part has a constantly sluggish and ambient tone, with dreamy drawn out bass notes that make your mind feel like it's moving in slow-motion. Some more typical melodic and gentle guitar from Manuel, before some very threatening keys from Klaus that are almost gothic in their grandeur, very unsettling with a hint of mystery and threat in them. He then adds some stabbing and whirling synths, and the track falls away on a fadeout after an oppressive robotic voice.

Side B's `Cosmic Joy' is anything but that to my ears! A predominantly Klaus Schulze electronic based piece, it's more ambient, freeform and abstract like his early solo work, and also just as frequently terrifying and oppressive. Beginning with ghostly spectral synths that envelope the listener, Schulze brings in harsh shimmering electronics amongst howling winds and mucky far-away bass. It creates a very isolating, sinister atmosphere. Eventually the synths form into monolithic glacial walls of stone that surround and trap the listener. The murky distorted tuneless bass is repulsive, backed with cold, distant, almost tribal drumming. The final section sounds like it's performed underwater, with a fierce thunderstorm booming overhead. The most maddening dirtiest bass, vile and gloomy muted drums and punishing bass sounds truly apocalyptic. Although the piece ends on a ghostly and spectral melody, it's a lovely escape from the suffocating horror of the second side overall!

The album offers two very different sides of space music to appreciate - the dreamy and floating first side, with the gloomy and oppressive second side. It's not an album you'll play all the time, but one that will haunt you when you do dig it out. It's a hugely emotional and refined musical work that's endlessly fascinating.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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