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PROGRESSIVE ELECTRONIC

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Progressive Electronic definition

Born in the late 60's after the expansion of avant-gardist, modern, post-modern and minimalist experimentation, the progressive electronic movement immediately guides us into a musical adventure around technologies and new possibilities for composition. As an author or a searcher, the musician often creates his own modules and electronic combinations, deciding his own artistic and musical action. The visionary works of Stockhausen, Subotnick, John Cage ("concrete" music, electro-acoustic experimentation), La Monte Young, Steve Reich, Terry Riley (minimal, micro-tonal music) express a vision of total reconstruction in the current musical world. Luminous works such as "A Rainbow in Curved Air" (1967) and "Silver Apples of the Moon" (1967) bring an inflexion on opened forms and new ways to explore the essence and the physical aspects of sounds (through time and space). "Static" textures, collages & long running sounds, the power of technology previously exposed in ambitious classical works will have a major impact in "popular" electronic music.

After the artisan & innovative uses of magnetic tapes, feedback, microphones, etc., the instrumental synthesis, the elaboration of global sound forms and the psycho-acoustic interactions will be sublimated thanks to the launch of the analog synth. A great improvement happened in 1964 with the appearance of the first modular synthesiser (Moog). This material (or "invention") brings the answer to the technological aspirations of many musicians, mainly after the release of the popular "Switched on Bach" (Walter Carlos) and Mother Mallard's portable masterpiece (pieces composed between 1970-73).

At the beginning of popular essays in electronica, the pioneering technologies (in term of recording and sound transmission) will not be abandoned. For instance, "Tone Float" (1969) by Organisation (pre-Kraftwerk), "Zwei Osterei" & "Klopzeichen" (1969-70) by Kluster and "Irrlicht" (1972) by Klaus Schulze will carry on the domestication of the electric energy and the use of refined harmoniums, organs and echo machines. During the 70's decade, European groups & musicians such as Eno, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream will make their name in the music industry thanks to an abundant use of analog synthesisers and original electronic combinations. After weird, mysterious experimentation on conventional acoustic & electric instruments, Kraftwerk enjoyed huge success in popular music thanks to "mechanical electronic pop music". "Trans Europe Express" (1977) and "The Man Machine" (1978) figure as two commercial classics. The German spacey electronic scene launched by Tangerine Dream with their outstanding "Alpha Centauri" (1971) and Cluster "I" & "II" (1971-72) will have echoes everywhere, starting from the Berlin underground electronic scene (the Berlin School) with Klaus Schulze ("Timewind" 1974), Michael Hoenig ("Departure from the Northern Wasteland" 1978), Ashra ("New Age of Earth" 1976), Conrad Schnitzler's buzz-drones and repetitive electronics ("Zug", "Blau", Gold" 1972-74) . After several innovations always from Germany we notice the dark, doomy atmospheric manifests of Nekropolis (Peter Frohmader) in "Le culte des Goules" (1981), Asmus Tietchens in his colourful and engaged "Biotop" (1981) and the semi-ambient "Hermeneutic Music" (1988) by Lars Troschen (sound sculptor and synthesist).

In France, the "hypnotic" and "propulsive" electronic essays of Heldon ("Electronic Guerrilla" 1974) and Lard Free ("Spiral Malax"1977) introduce an inclination for industrial, urban and post-modern sound projections. The French "avant gardist" Philippe Besombes takes back the inspiration of " concrete music" (Pierre Henry.) and mixes it to a hybrid rocking universe (published in 1973, "Libra" figures as a true classic). Bernard Xolotl in "Prophecy" (1981), "Procession" / "Last Wave" (1983), Zanov (Green Ray, 1976) and Didier Bocquet (Voyage cerebral, 1978) will follow the musical path anticipated by Klaus Schulze in his kosmische electronic symphonies.

At the end of the 70's until the debut of the 80's Albums as "ambient 1: Music for Airports" (Brian Eno), "Cluster & Eno", "Deluxe" (Hans Joachim Roedelius side project called Harmonia) will announce the emergence of the famous ambient movement, musically characterised by gorgeous shimmering atmospheric textures.

During the 80's, Maurizio Bianchi will be in search of the absolute industrial "post-nuclear" sound tapestry. His visionary musical experience is based on cyclical loops, abrasive concrete noises and vertiginous piano dreamscapes. ("Symphony for a Genocide" 1981 and recently the mesmerising "A.M.B Iehn Tale" 2005). Before M.B and the industrial-bruitist wave, the 70's Italian specialists of electronic experiments had been (among others) Francesco Cabiati (Mirage, 1979), Francesco Bucherri (Journey, 1979), and Francesco Messina for representative, lyrical and spacey orchestrations and also Futuro Antica (D'ai primitivi all'elettronica, 1980) or Telaio Magnetico (Live' 75) for tripped out minimalism.

In the early 1980s and after following the kosmische path of classic Klaus Schulze, The Bay Area / Los Angeles school of electronic created the so called "alchemical" / "Sacred" space music. The music offers a dynamic combination between ancient-traditional music of the West and synthesised sonic soundscapes. The most representative artists of this movement are Michael Stream (Lyra Sound Constellation, 1983) Robert Rich (Numena, 1987) and Steve Roach (Dreamtime Return, 1988).

In the early 80s Ian Boddy (Spirits, 1984 / Phoenix, 1986) and Mark Shreeve (Assassin, 1983 / Legion, 1984) unique spacedout synthesised sagas represented the british answer to the challenging Berlin kosmische school. Their music embodies timbral drone sequences, systematic arpeggiations and synth-pop textures.

Young contemporary bands and artists in electronic experimentation took their inspiration from the 70's "kosmische" analog synth psychedelica of Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, Tangerine Dream, etc. In the spaced out synthesisers spectrum, modern Japanese artists as Yamazaki Maso (noisy avant garde experimentor who contributes to the Kawabata's projects named Andromelos, Christina 23 onna and Father Moo & the Black sheeps) or Takushi Yamazaki (Space Machine) are key figures. The minimal, moody / lysergic epic soundscapes of Omit (Clinton Williams), Cloudland Canyon, Astral social club or Zombi also contribute to the renewal of the "cosmic" synth genre. Many modern electronic artists have taken an original musical direction, surfing on post-krautrock ambient waves (Aethenor), on spherical "abstract" ambient minimalism (Pete Namlook, Biosphere, Robert Henke) or on trancey, (post) industrial drone hypnosis (Alio Die / Amon / Nimh for the italian side and Andrew Chalk with his respective projects Mirror, Monos and Ora).

To sum up things, the progressive electronic subgenre is dedicated to intricate, moving, cerebral, intrusive electronic experiences that get involved in "kosmische", dark ambient, (post) industrial, droning, surreal or impressionist soundscapes territories.

Philippe BLACHE


The responsibility for the psych/space, indo/raga, krautrock and prog electronic subgenres is taken by the PSIKE team,
currently consisting of
- Sheavy
- Meltdowner
- siLLy puPPy
- Rivertree


Progressive Electronic Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Progressive Electronic | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.25 | 812 ratings
RUBYCON
Tangerine Dream
4.26 | 244 ratings
MIRAGE
Schulze, Klaus
4.56 | 27 ratings
CATCH WAVE
Kosugi, Takehisa
4.21 | 236 ratings
TIMEWIND
Schulze, Klaus
4.14 | 687 ratings
PHAEDRA
Tangerine Dream
4.18 | 123 ratings
EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE
Froese, Edgar
4.12 | 213 ratings
X
Schulze, Klaus
4.26 | 43 ratings
AN ELECTRIC STORM
White Noise
4.36 | 27 ratings
IN COURSE OF TIME
Zanov
4.25 | 42 ratings
GREEN RAY
Zanov
4.55 | 14 ratings
ARCHITEXTURE OF SILENCE
Alpha Wave Movement
4.22 | 34 ratings
ALIO DIE & LORENZO MONTANA: HOLOGRAPHIC CODEX
Alio Die
4.04 | 157 ratings
AMBIENT 4 - ON LAND
Eno, Brian
4.22 | 33 ratings
LUCIFER RISING (OST)
Beausoleil, Bobby
4.15 | 47 ratings
INTEGRATI... DISINTEGRATI
Leprino, Franco
4.14 | 48 ratings
FILAMENTS
Rich, Robert
4.01 | 164 ratings
NEW AGE OF EARTH
Ashra
3.98 | 403 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Tangerine Dream
3.98 | 284 ratings
ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
Eno, Brian
3.95 | 331 ratings
THE MAN-MACHINE [AKA: DIE MENSCH-MASCHINE]
Kraftwerk

Progressive Electronic overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Progressive Electronic experts team

HARMONIC ASCENDANT
Schroeder, Robert
MUSIK AUS DEM SCHATTENREICH
Frohmader, Peter
TIME REPLICATED
Bownik, Adam Certamen
SYNTHETIK 1
seesselberg

Latest Progressive Electronic Music Reviews


 Long Thoughts by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Long Thoughts
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Defining American prog-electronic/ambient artist Steve Roach returns at the half-way point of 2017 with `Long Thoughts', another of those slowly unwinding, ever-evolving, lightly psychedelic sound-collages that this master of the genres often delivers with impeccable precision and subtle taste. More along the lines of Roach's `Immersion' series of releases, his recent `Fade to Grey' work or his four-volume `Bloodmoon Rising' set, `Long Thoughts' is a lengthy single continuous electronic aural canvas that weaves a hypnotic spell and concocts a distinctly mesmerizing atmosphere where time seems to blur and stretch on forever.

With no obvious themes or percussive elements appearing throughout this seventy-three minute piece, `Long Thoughts' lurches to life as a drowsy and dream-like surreal electronic ambient soundtrack. An unceasing lulling drone at its core, eerie and lightly stormy thrumming reverberations are rippled with ringing crystalline shimmers and churning electronic caresses. Some moments take on an icy coolness, others a gentler lulling embrace, but all culminate in drifting pools of serenity and mystery, where the most minute of transitions happen so seamlessly they're intangible.

Those after a modern Roach release with more melodic and rhythmic qualities a little closer to a firmer prog-electronic sound should perhaps head to `Skeleton Keys', `Spiral Revelations' or his Robert Logan collaboration `Biosonic' first, alternatively those wanting a more approachable or varied example of the purer ambient styles he works in frequently these days might prefer recent discs like `Painting in the Dark' or `Nostalgia for the Future', released directly alongside this one.

But if you're a fan of Mr Roach's subtle and sedate long-form works, `Long Thoughts' is undiluted, pure ambient music that still holds weight and quiet intelligence, and it will prove to be a great reward for the most patient of listeners, a piece that reminds us to step back and slow down in this busy fast-paced blur of a time we live in.

Three stars for casual listeners, four stars for experienced ambient/electronic fans.

 Adonia  by OSE album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.00 | 17 ratings

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Adonia
Ose Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars OSE was the project of French multi-instrumentalist Herve Picart. He plays moog, organ, guitar, bass and slide guitar. He also composed all the songs here. He brought in an Electronic legend and fellow country -man Richard Pinhas from HELDON who also plays guitar and moog but also sequencers and synths. Richard was responsible for arranging all of the electronic parts which of course is most of this record. Add drummer Francois Auger also from HELDON and we have an incredible trio.

This was released in 1978 the same year HELDON released "Interface" a similar album to this one but one I enjoy more for it's more powerful and dynamic sound. Same with HELDON's followup from 1979 called "Stand By", two albums I prefer to "Adonia" although the cover art for "Adonia" is one of the most beautiful pictures I've seen.

"Approche Sur A" opens with about 3 1/2 minutes of faint spacey sounds with twittering over top. This is tasteful as picked guitar joins in after 2 minutes. Before 3 1/2 minutes the song kicks into gear as we get this louder electronic beat which has a dramatic affect. The flavour changes slightly before 5 1/2 minutes. This is melodic and mid-paced and it's hard not to bob my head to this. It picks up before 7 1/2 minutes and becomes more serious sounding as the drums join in. The guitar arrives after 10 minutes ripping it up over the electronics and drums. So good! This continues almost to the end.

"Orgasmachine" opens with electronic beats as spacey synths come in over top. Slide guitar after a minute. Man this is good! Sequencers before 2 1/2 minutes as the guitar steps aside. Some brief guitar returns around 3 minutes. "29 H 08 MN" is my favourite song on here mainly because of the guitar. Solo moog to start as an electronic beat arrives a minute in and soon electronics twitter over top. The guitar arrives before 4 1/2 minutes then drums and it sounds incredible, like HELDON's two albums from this same time frame.

"L'aube Jumelle" opens with spacey synths blowing over the electronic soundscape. It's dark and melancholic. Relaxed organ joins in as the same mood continues. I think that's bass after 5 1/2 minutes as it trades off with the guitar as spacey sounds continue. Soon bass and guitar join forces in this relaxed and mellow tune. It does turn louder after 7 minutes. Beautiful stuff, quite moving.

"Retour Sur Adonia" ends the album as we get an electronic beat with spacey sounds over top. I'm not a big fan of that melody because it reminds me of something I don't like but it's brief although it is repeated later. An okay song to end it.

Not as adventerous or powerful as HELDON's two albums from the same period but man this is easily a 4 star album for me. I'm a sucker for guitar in Electronic music and the addition of drums is the icing on the cake. Just missing the mellotron(haha).

 The Light of the Spirit by KITARO album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.96 | 5 ratings

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The Light of the Spirit
Kitaro Progressive Electronic

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nice to see this artist added here, though it's among those long-time semi-favourites I wasn't exactly expecting to be added (Clannad is another). Much of KITARO's work that I was familiar with in my teens, at the late 80's, frankly didn't feel very progressive, just like perhaps the majority of electronically produced music associated with the problematic term New Age. To some degree I have expanded my Kitaro discography in the latest ten years and have discovered some very good albums. But this one I bought as a vinyl in February 1988, and I still own it (which is a meaningful merit in my books, because so many vinyls - even pretty good ones - I used to get rid of in my early adulthood). So, in my case there's the nostalgia factor involved, but I daresay that The Light of the Spirit can be considered as one of Kitaro's finest albums. It must be also among those with the longest list of individual guest musicians and producers. Happily the (rather underlined) production had strong material to begin with.

Both vinyl sides have four tracks between roughly 4½ minutes and 7½ minutes in length. 'Mysterious Encounter' is a gorgeous opener full of moods and cinematic, Vangelis-like sonic elegance. The role of acoustic percussions is even bigger on 'Sundance'; its majestic melodies could rival classic Symphonic Prog of Yes or Renaissance, except that the track sadly doesn't evolve very much. 'The Field' is a delicate electronic mood piece, followed by a romantic and slightly pompous title track that features two ladies on a central vocalise role. A wonderful dynamic arc on this vinyl side, and the second, slightly less tight side sort of imitates it.

'In the Beginning' starts Side Two in a rather similar manner as 'Mysterious Encounter'. One of Kitaro's strengths has always been the ability to fill the melodies with passion. 'Moondance' is naturally more nocturnal and serene than its solar opposite. This track of peaceful tempo and simple, repetitive melodies resembles the Silk Road music. The lack of more progressive structures in compositions may easily bring down your listening experience if you let it do so. 'Howling Thunder' resembles 'Sundance'. The percussion on both tracks sounds very good. But at 7½ minutes this one really ought to contain some more progress. 'Journey to a Fantasy' (7:08) has the passionate majestic feel of the title track in less sugared form.

This album would be an excellent introduction to Kitaro for (female?) music listeners that appreciate emotional aspects and accept even sentimental pompousness. Who knows, that might also be a step towards Symphonic Prog with similar ingredients, in your girlfriend's music taste! But for a seasoned prog listener this music, as Kitaro in general, may wear out its power pretty soon. 3½ stars rounded up for excellent production.

 Colder by REDSHIFT album cover Live, 2011
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Colder
Redshift Progressive Electronic

Review by UncleRust

5 stars Cold, but not silent. Far away, but not forgotten. From the first small melody played on electric piano, Sister Moon is darkly captivating.

Moog sequencers like TD collide with deep, angry, almost Industrial sounding bass tones hurtled towards synth string sounds playing something like what you might hear from Dead Can Dance in the mid-1980s.

The shifts in tone, timbre, and pace all very natural while the instrumentation is very far from being organic. Indeed, very far from being easing. There will be no new age ambience here. No, flute sounds here mean business, the kind that you won't forget.

Sirens wail, relentless and solemn. Troops march from the darkness into a calm landscape, but that refuge could only last so long. There is still so much to explore.

Here the whole is certainly greater than any individual part of this 1 hour piece of music.

Derivative? Absolutely, and shamelessly done too. This is space music greatly improved, but owing so much to the musical form invented by the electro-pioneers of the 1970s.

This is progressive; this is a masterpiece. 5 stars.

 Logos... Live At The Dominion - London by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Live, 1983
3.77 | 158 ratings

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Logos... Live At The Dominion - London
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A cheesy but enjoyable live set from Tangerine Dream. Some sections of the epic Logos would crop up here and there in other work over the 1980s - for instance, there's the beautifully dramatic bit about 20 minutes in which was memorably used in one of the most unforgettably dramatic scenes of Michael Mann's The Keep. If you cannot stand the polished, cinematic style of 1980s Tangerine Dream, it probably won't be for you, but if you do it's a treasure trove of electronic playfulness and a welcome break from the occasional sterility of their studio albums of the era. Three and a half stars.
 Redshift by REDSHIFT album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.38 | 9 ratings

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Redshift
Redshift Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If the debut album by Redshift has a flaw, it's that it accomplishes its goals too easily and shows little ambition to exceed them. Redshift play Berlin School-style progressive electronic music in the style of early Klaus Schulze or mid- 1970s Tangerine Dream, and they certainly hit the nail right on the head - but precisely because they are so beholden to that style, they don't do very much that's original or different with it, and nor do they give the impression that they were especially trying to. It's a fun album highly recommended to anyone who can't get enough of this style, but at the same time if you aren't keen on Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream you probably wouldn't enjoy it very much.
 Green Ray by ZANOV album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.25 | 42 ratings

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Green Ray
Zanov Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This was love at first listen. ZANOV was the project of one Pierre Zalkazanov out of France and this was his debut from 1976. This is one of those Electronic albums that ticks all the right boxes for me. I really like the melancholic mood throughout and how darn spacey it is. We do get sequencers too at times but man this is just the perfect Electronic album for me. It's interesting how I have never been able to get into the more famous French Electronic artist in Jean- Michel Jarre, I find his music is light and poppy in comparison to this dark beauty, and I'm not surprised Jarre is more popular because of this.

"Green Ray" certainly starts off on the right foot with those spacey winds blowing over top of the other synths that form a base here. Sequencers kick in at 3 minutes giving this a different vibe for sure as the spacey winds die down. This is still really good though and those spacey winds do return.

"Machine Desperation" has this electronic beat with some incredible spacey sounds over top. That beat becomes more of the focus 3 minutes in as the spacey sounds continue over top. This is dramatic, then the loud beats calm down a minute later. I really like those spacey winds but as I listen closely I dig how it continually changes slightly over it's 10 minute length.

"Running Beyond The Dream" is the almost 20 minute side long closer. Distant sounds pulse, twitter and drift as it builds. It settles back but then turns louder after 4 minutes. After 5 1/2 minutes it's quiet, too quiet, but this song continues to evolve and change. Another quiet section 10 1/2 minutes in then it's louder at 15 minutes. I love how spacey it gets 17 minutes in.

This ranks right up there with some of my favourite RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL albums, it's that good.

 Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil) by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil)
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars After COIL released their debut album "Scatology" in 1984, they quickly released a collection of their earliest primal and mind- altering sonic experiments from the early 80s from the brief time when they would be closely connected with yet another errant electronic band Zos Kia, a project of John Gosling which was an offshoot of John Balance's Psychic TV. The two groups were essentially the same at this point separated in identity only by name showing the complex revolving door policies of the early industrial sound collage movement in the early 80s. These tracks on this only album to be released with the ZOS KIA moniker attached contain some of the most horrific sounds ever to be recorded onto tape with bombilations so utterly unsettling that i can not think of another album that exudes the primal essence of fear and so successful delves deep into the psyche of the listener to locate the ultimate sonic methodology for evoking intense discomfiture.

Originally released by Nekrophile only on the cassette format, the collection would finally find a home on CD in 1997 (with a different track order) by Threshold House and in 1998 Eskaton would reissue a vinyl edition. Finally in 2016 these rough drafts of soundtracks for nightmares would undergo a remastering and released by Cold Spring with two bonus tracks that were recorded by the pre-ZOS KIA noisemakers AKE and show a glimpse of the live underground event played at the Equinox event on June 21, 1983. TRANSPARENT is a bona fide history lesson in the errant nihilistic origins of COIL when they existed side by side on various Rising From The Red Sand compilations with other avant-garde electronically leaning artists like Nurse With Wound, Attrition, Konstruktivists, Lustmord and the Legendary Pink Dots. Likewise these recordings point to the antecedents of COIL's rather eccentric and occult interests and how they relay them in sonic form which continued throughout their multi-decade career which include wax cylinder recordings of Aleister Crowley and inspiration from his disciples especially Austin Osman Spare.

After the somewhat synthpop oriented debut "Scatology" that showed a slightly normal side of COIL, the collection of tracks on TRANSPARENT is downright frightening in comparison. Although some tracks like "Rape" (titled "Violation" on original release) would find their home in a new packaging on a future album (can't pinpoint it), most of these tracks are non-musical and focus more on rhythmic bursts of noise punctuated by intense spoken manifestos or psychotic keyboard deliveries that makes most horror soundtrack music seem like a walk through Disneyland. In sync with the chaos that is the discography of COIL, some tracks are solely credited to COIL, some solely to ZOS KIA and others to both while the bonus tracks are credited to the earlier KIA outfit AKE. Often referred to as monochrome psychedelia, TRANSPARENT even utilizes of all kinds of freaky everyday noises to scare the bejesus out of you. The track "Silence And Sorcery" for example is nothing more than a background of rhythmic crickets chirping with industrial noises randomly jumping from the abyss to signify their presence.

Listening to TRANSPARENT is a journey into the darkest recesses of the mind that captures the most disconcerting sonic amalgamation of factors that create an aura of shock and awe. While COIL would continue on to add more musical elements to their unique style of psychic torture, they would continue to employ many of the same non-musical elements that were laid out at this early stage with some of these tracks being cannibalized and used for sound effects in later offerings. TRANSPARENT is an interesting historical artifact that clearly lays out the antecedents of COIL's ascension into the industrial underground and also displays the less than clear delineation between all the affiliated groups and sub-groups that existed in the fluid world of John Balance and Peter Christopherson. TRANSPARENT is a must for those who crave the shadowy sonic expressions of the underground industrial world of the early 1980s when strange new unthinkable sound combinations were codifying a new "musical" movement that would find more prominence a decade later but for the uninitiated this could be considered a sonic assault that may leave them shivering under their sheets for days.

3.5 rounded down

 Underwater Sunlight by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.82 | 155 ratings

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Underwater Sunlight
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Considering the sheer mass of material Tangerine Dream cranked out in the 1980s between studio albums, live albums, soundtracks and archival releases, it's easy to feel swamped by it all, and there's some justification to the idea that Edgar Froese and his cohorts spread themselves too thin. Underwater Sunlight, however, is a highlight of their mid-1980s torrent of material, with Froese and Paul Haslinger trading soaring guitar solos over an impeccably composed and produced synthesiser backing. It's a bit New Age in terms of both theme and execution, but if all New Age music were like this then we'd be lucky, lucky listeners.
 Blue (Jack Hertz & Wolfgang Gsell) by HERTZ, JACK album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Blue (Jack Hertz & Wolfgang Gsell)
Jack Hertz Progressive Electronic

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Electronic sound experimentalist Jack Hertz could never be called predictable, and along with numerous solo releases to date throughout 2017, each completely different to the last, he has also found time for some fascinating collaborations. Equally inspired ambient/electronic artist Wolfgang Gsell has previously teamed with Jack on several occasions (the most recent being back in January with the superior and intelligent `Sleeping Trees on Earth' disc in conjunction with the Trees for the Future project), and here they deliver an ode to the great blue bodies of water that cover a large majority of our planet. Thankfully we're not talking some bland new-age release with pretty and comfy acoustic guitar strums around lapping water sounds, instead `Blue' is a hypnotic fusion of immersive prog-electronic and enveloping ambient that somehow remains accessible without becoming too lightweight or insubstantial.

On the opening nineteen-minute title track `Blue', the pair weave a shimmering crystalline soundscape of undulating electronic caresses, full of lulling ambient rise-and-falls, fuzzy pulses and twitching, unravelling washes with only the faintest of percussive teases flitting in and out, mostly relegated to the final minutes. There's almost a drowsy, more subdued (submerged?!) take on the soloing-heavy approach of Klaus Schulze on his early Seventies works throughout, and some darker twists near the climax, but overall the languid atmospheres take on an blanketing bliss that stretches on for eternity.

`Ripples' is a relatively punchy interlude in comparison between the two near-twenty minute bookending pieces of the disc, where pristine electric piano ruminations ring with mystery around hypnotic electronic fuzziness, and some sparse programmed beats help ground the piece into a more compact arrangement that stops it drifting into pure ambient breezes. Hallucinogenic closer `Tides' invites complete immersion, a slow to unfold spacey sweep of unceasing approaching/retreating liquid caresses that lap around fizzing synth ripples and serene cascading swirls.

It might still be a little too freeform and directionless for some prog-electronic listeners, but the album refuses to grind to a halt by settling into static drones, and is too full of colourful movement to be mistaken for solely airy ambient music. Both Jack Hertz and Wolfgang Gsell are too clever the artists to deliver something so predictable or obvious, and instead they present `Blue' as a lightly psychedelic, completely encompassing and mellow dreamy soundtrack to float away to.

Four stars.

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Progressive Electronic bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
12 FOLLOWERS United States
6LA8 Pakistan
ACI Germany
AEON France
AETHENOR Multi-National
AFTERLIFE United States
ILDEFONSO AGUILAR Spain
PEKKA AIRAKSINEN Finland
AIRSCULPTURE United Kingdom
ALBERGO INTERGALATTICO SPAZIALE Italy
ALIO DIE Italy
ALLEGORY CHAPEL LTD United States
DAEVID ALLEN MICROCOSMIC United Kingdom
ALLUSTE Italy
ALPHA WAVE MOVEMENT United States
ALTO STRATUS United Kingdom
AMBER ROUTE United States
AMON Italy
PETER ANDERSSON Sweden
ANDROMELOS Japan
ANNA SJALV TREDJE Sweden
ARC United Kingdom
ARPANET United States
EDWARD ARTEMIEV Russia
ARZATHON Sweden
ASCOIL SUN Finland
ASHRA Germany
THE ASTROBOY Portugal
ATOMINE ELEKTRINE Sweden
AUBE Japan
AUTOMAT Italy
AWENSON France
MARVIN AYRES United Kingdom
HARVEY BAINBRIDGE United Kingdom
AIDAN BAKER Canada
SIMON BALESTRAZZI Italy
BAFFO BANFI Italy
BASS COMMUNION United Kingdom
PETER BAUMANN Germany
BAUMANN/KOEK Germany
BEAR BONES LAY LOW Venezuela
BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL United States
CARLOS BELTRÁN Mexico
LÁSZLÓ BENKő Hungary
PHILIPPE BESOMBES France
BETWEEN INTERVAL Sweden
MAURIZIO BIANCHI Italy
BIG ROBOT Norway
BIOSPHERE Norway
BLACK UNICORN United States
TIM BLAKE France
BLUE MOTION Switzerland
BLUE SAUSAGE INFANT United States
WOLFGANG BOCK Germany
DIDIER BOCQUET France
IAN BODDY United Kingdom
GASTON BORREANI Italy
ADAM CERTAMEN BOWNIK Poland
OLIVIER BRIAND France
MICHAEL BRÜCKNER Germany
FRANCESCO BUCCHERI Italy
HAROLD BUDD United States
MICHAEL BUNDT Germany
FRANCESCO CABIATI Italy
ROBERTO CACCIAPAGLIA Italy
CALDERA United States
TOM CAMERON United States
DALLAS CAMPBELL United States
CELLULOID United States
CELLUTRON & THE INVISIBLE United States
ANDREW CHALK United Kingdom
JOHN CHRISTIAN United Kingdom
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WO0 Serbia
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YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Japan
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YOU Germany
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