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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 | 809 ratings
RUBYCON
Tangerine Dream
4.26 | 243 ratings
MIRAGE
Schulze, Klaus
4.56 | 27 ratings
CATCH WAVE
Kosugi, Takehisa
4.21 | 236 ratings
TIMEWIND
Schulze, Klaus
4.14 | 684 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
4.04 | 157 ratings
AMBIENT 4 - ON LAND
Eno, Brian
4.23 | 33 ratings
ALIO DIE & LORENZO MONTANA: HOLOGRAPHIC CODEX
Alio Die
4.55 | 14 ratings
ARCHITEXTURE OF SILENCE
Alpha Wave Movement
4.22 | 33 ratings
LUCIFER RISING (OST)
Beausoleil, Bobby
4.15 | 46 ratings
INTEGRATI... DISINTEGRATI
Leprino, Franco
4.14 | 48 ratings
FILAMENTS
Rich, Robert
4.01 | 164 ratings
NEW AGE OF EARTH
Ashra
3.98 | 401 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Tangerine Dream
3.98 | 284 ratings
ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
Eno, Brian
4.10 | 41 ratings
GREEN RAY
Zanov
3.95 | 329 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

SYNTHETIK 1
seesselberg
TUSSILAGO FANFARA
Anna Sjalv Tredje
SYNTHESIST
Grosskopf, Harald
WUNDERBAR
Riechmann, Wolfgang

Latest Progressive Electronic Music Reviews


 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.

 Carbon/Core by LUSTMORD album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.50 | 4 ratings

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Carbon/Core
Lustmord Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Lustmord's general approach seemed to have been locked in by The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, and Carbon/Core is largely a continuation of that. There is, of course, a question of just how unnerved and spooked out you can be by dark ambient music when you have largely come to expect you're going to hear, but then again just as there is the fear of the unexpected - the jump scare, the awful revelation, and so on - there is also a fear of the expected. You know that this is going to be a dark trip through cyberpunk hell, but you listen anyway - because it's just that good.
 Hyperborea by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.48 | 193 ratings

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Hyperborea
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tangerine Dream's stint at Virgin had seen them transition from the psychedelic electronic pioneers of their early days to the sleek, technologically advanced unit poised to absolutely glut the market with material over the course of the 1980s, particularly through their soundtrack efforts. All snark aside, though, this is one of the better Tangerine Dream albums of the 1980s; like Exit and Thief, it's very much a product of their new post-transition sound, but it's one of the more gorgeous and intricate examples of it, and the production standards have hold up well to this very day. A fascinating electronic trip, with a mysterious, awe-inspiring atmosphere - like the soundtrack to a documentary about a lost civilisation that never existed.
 Cosmic Ground Live by COSMIC GROUND album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Cosmic Ground Live
Cosmic Ground Progressive Electronic

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars COSMIC GROUND marks a progressive electronic studio and solo project actually. And so for one or two it may be a big surprise to notice, that on both occasions, from where this live recordings are taken, Dirk Jan MĂźller moreover will be accompanied by Horst Porkert on synths, who is also known for driving the German Sunhair label. Everything sounds harmonic, so much for the start. You should notice, I never had a considerable relation to pure electronic live concerts. There is a die hard fan base given of course, regarding The Netherlands too. So they once participated at E-Live Festival in Oirschot, a venue with reputation. At least the first song can be clearly associated to this gig.

Five improvisations are available in total, where Anomaly seems to be a bonus, solely when it comes to the digital download option. The rest is ideally designed for a double vinyl release. Adansonia Records have taken this task again. Dark Enck and Unground I (hey, ridiculous, I'm always reading 'Underground') are similiar in execution. The very start goes to the melancholic mellotron. Though this is sooner or later evolving into an extended partition of somewhat rhythmic sequencer loops. A very hypnotic affair in both cases. Sounding like accompanied by tribal percussion Cairo Grind in principle continues on this path.

With Unground II it's all changing to a more key driven sound. It feels like I'm underway in deeper and darker realms now, like undertaking a deep-sea expedition and being faced with odd creatures hereby. You may really sense the water pressure in some way. Man! What an atmosphere! Have you ever been to an oceanographic museum? Perfectly matching background music, especially when arriving at the darkest and deepest ground. This album mirrors a well made, mostly relaxed and laid back performance, spiked with common references to Klaus Schulze respectively Tangerine Dream. Not an everyday case of course ... when you're in the mood to release yourself for some time, and this ideally supported by headphones, a wonderful experience is guaranteed. As Dirk turns out to be a master of building suspense levels.

 Particles by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Particles
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Vinyl Connection

— First review of this album —
3 stars The album opens with '4.00 Session'. It's an epic, a pulsing, sweeping, hypnotic journey in the grand TD tradition of Phaedra or Stratosfear. But whereas the average length of a 70s Dream-side was seventeen minutes, '4.00pm Session' clocks in at almost half-an- hour. Although it is interesting and enjoyable throughout, there is a vague sense of absence, of something missing; '4.00 Session' is like a well developed draft, just waiting for a little injection of magic?a flash of melody here or a piercing guitar jab there?to elevate it to greatness. Perhaps what is missing is Edgar Froese, that's what I think as I flip the record for side two.

Two pieces here, a reworking of 'Rubycon' (17:25) that opens with some experimental sounds before settling into the classic analogue pulse. It's great, if not revelatory. Then a fair dinkum cover version, the theme from "Stranger Things". Well done, sure, but, er, why?

The second LP is a live set, recorded in concert at Schwingungen Festival+ in 2016. It is a kind of brief introduction to post-seventies Tangerine Dream, offering nicely crafted performances of a selection of TD pieces:

"Mothers of Rain" from Optical Race (1988)

"Power of the Rainbow Serpent" from Mala Kunia (2014)

"White Eagle" from the album of the same name (1982)

"Dolphin Dance" from Underwater Sunlight (1986)

"Shadow and Sun" also from Mala Kunia (2014)

It's well done, all of it. Yet somehow you feel like you are listening to a very accomplished Tangerine Dream Tribute act. In fact, that's the feel of the whole set. Something tentative about claiming the name; some missing adventurousness maybe. As a tribute, it's fine, but Particles is marking time.

Schnauss, Quaeschning and Yamane have done a sterling job of creating an homage to their fallen leader, but if they want to really breathe life into the brand name they need to be bold, to move out of the master's shadow without abandoning his legacy. They need to integrate the particles of Froese's vision into their own manifest skills. There is absolutely no doubt this trio is capable of that feat. Let's hope they give it a go.

[Edited version of a review that appeared at the Vinyl Connection blog. Review copy: vinyl 2xLP, released June 2017]

 Phaedra by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.14 | 684 ratings

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Phaedra
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Like a snow cyborg, cold and robotic: 8/10

I'll be honest: I never liked electronic music. I have always associated it, on its entirety, to EDM - almost like bigotry -, which in turn alienated me from exploring it further. It was a shocker to discover how old and prolific electronic music is, not to mention the fact that - behold! - EDM isn't electronic music's only branch, let alone its most influential (at least on evolutionary terms). This review, then, is from the mind of a layman first introduced to this.

The first thing I noticed as I discovered TANGERINE DREAM is how groundbreaking their music was for their time. I wasn't surprised, especially after listening. I assume that, especially on their epoch, this unconventional stuff was an eerie sight. There are no riffs, no sections, no structure. This makes PHAEDRA entirely cold, robotic, experimentative; a lifeless tool. I don't see this as a problem though, because electricity is by default lifeless, and electronic music's proposition has never been to create "impacting, heartfelt melodies". However, it's not "artless" rabble like EDM. PHAEDRA has a purpose, originality, it has no life just like EDM but it's not a repetitive, meaningless bunch of artificial noises put together to make people mindlessly dance to.

PHAEDRA, generally, is cold and rather indifferent. As I said, it's experimentative, and it bases itself mostly on central "melodic pieces" (consider this a synonym of "proto-riff") sprinkled with countless effects. I'll go more specific on each track down below.

Phaedra sounds "futuristic", rushed, nervous and even dark. Look at the album cover: it is a mysterious, abstract object. Just like Phaedra's sound. It feels distant, in distraught, "uncertain". I imagined a foggy, snowy and dense forest as I listened to this. This rather creepy imagery doesn't make the song uninteresting or aversive, au contrair, it's an attraction. The first part features an up-tempo bass-y keyboard arpeggio (that consists the "melodic piece") whose limelight is often stolen by countless different electronic effects that overlap it. The second part is chilly, as if you just entered a huge, dimly lit cathedral, and you can hear the environment's quietude, the immensity's silent ambience. There is also this weird effect that sounds like a dog's high-pitched whine. Highly anxious and intense, it's a definitely interesting song.

Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmare is symphonic and immersive. Whatever is the disturbance that made Phaedra so uneasy has been deal with, and now things are calmer. While it sounds cozier, like a choral, I enjoyed better the previous track's constant intervention of effects that broke the sound's stillness. It made it more dynamic. I also find the title rather ironic, considering the ominous image brought is not fitting for the track. "Choir of Angels In An Empty Forest", at least as I see it, kind of is.

Movements Of A Visionary focus most of its three first minutes on distorted rattling effects that sounds more often than not like a sack of pearls being stirred, chirping insects on a dense jungle, a maddened xylophone, and a locomotive's movement. The second part swaps to a more "conventional" sonority, abandoning part. It features a sweet duet of Phaedra's first section's arpeggio and a hymnal organ (shyly present in the first section). I like to imagine this section as a crystalline, translucent composition crafted on a sparkling ice castle under a boreal night. t breaks the album's hitherto electronic experimentation approach, sounding more like musical logic. Its variated, melodic and immersive experimentation convinced me to adopt it as my favorite track from the album.

Sequent C''s , for me, is in-between synthesized Japanese-esque flutes and electronic violin. It's enigmatic, meditative, faraway. I think it's too short though, it had potential on becoming something interesting.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this experience. I wasn't expecting it to be nearly as pleasing as it was, considering my - now extinct - prejudice for electronic music. I believe this is a great introduction for laypeople. Important to note is that PHAEDRA's frostiness might be harsh to embrace, so more than a single listen will be necessary. Afterwards, it'll not feel warmer, but you'll learn to enjoy the cold.

 Privée (with U.S.O.) by SCHULZE, KLAUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
3.98 | 6 ratings

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Privée (with U.S.O.)
Klaus Schulze Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars 2016's `Privée' originally appeared sixteen years earlier on a long-deleted boxset from German electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze entitled `Contemporary Works', which saw the early Krautrock notable collaborating with guitarist Razoof Lear and drummer Olli Finken, two members of a Cologne DJ/music collective Solar Moon System. The trio deliver a cool instrumental set of lengthy modern-meets-vintage pieces that fuse everything from dub, ambient, trip-hop and chilled electronica to Schulze's more expected unhurried Berlin School electronic atmospheres, making it hardly an example of a vintage master lazily stuck in a rut and merely remaking his past.

This reissue opens with `The Keyhole', a short and moody solo ambient drone from the master, and Klaus' keys almost take on a spectral choral majesty. It segues right into the nineteen-minute chill-out `Privat', powered by cool trip-hop beats and dreamy electric guitar chimes flitting in and out around Klaus' lush synth caresses. Think along the lines of The Orb crossed with some of the laid-back early Krautrock bands, and the whole pieced is flecked with the lightest of reggae, jazz and psychedelic flavours.

The title track `Privée' is pulsing urgent electronica fuelled by bouncing beats and liquid reaching guitar tendrils weaving throughout, but as it slows down for a reflective and lush ambient finale and several moments where it's laced with searing runaway Mellotron races over skittering sequencer ripples, it quickly reminds of the Schulze of old.

The twenty-five minute `Private' floats through everything from dangerous bleeding synth twitches melting over a pattering of slinking beats and coasts into mellow slithering electronics, and while he doesn't openly solo, moments where Razoof's guitars emerge call to mind Manuel Göttsching's coolest Ashra and solo (E2-E4) moments of ambient dance and loved-up low-key jamming. A short four-minute bonus track `Privatissimo' is also included, and it's another head-bobbing trip-hop saunter that's essentially nothing more than a slight variation on the second track here.

There will be many vintage Berlin School purists who will probably find the whole thing a bit too `trendy' and too far removed from the thick moody atmospheres of the landmark Seventies period, and admittedly there's a couple of stretches where Schulze's contributions seem very low-key. But if you pay close attention to the most subtle of sounds, you'll hear how carefully put together whilst still retaining a vitality and freshness the album is. It's a very respectable modern effort from the German master with the help of some musical collaborators, and just a cool chill-out album overall that makes for a perfect laid-back summer album.

Four stars.

(dedicated to the biggest `Privée' fan I know, David `Guldbamsen', thanks for the recommendation in the first place!

 Deluxe by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.29 | 41 ratings

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Deluxe
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars The 2/3 Cluster, 1/3 Neu! supergroup HARMONIA released their Kosmische Kraut followup to their debut "Von Musik" only a year later and was recorded in the secluded forests near Forst, Germany. DELUXE took all the ambient charm of the debut and added a few new elements to the mix which included a real drummer to take the place of the rather mechanical analogue rhythm machine that had been implemented in the past. The band invited Guru Guru founder Mani Neumeier to use his unique vetted motorik style of percussive drive which added a whole new element to the mix creating a much more rocking sound compared to the ambient dreamy debut. Also new to the sound was the use of vocals on a few tracks with both Roedelius and Rother adding their different musical utterings to add a new texture to the band's carefully crafted rhythmic parade of electronic sounds. In short, DELUXE is an improvement in virtually every aspect with the main emphasis on catchy dreamy keyboard oriented melodies crafted by Roedelius that are shrouded in a misty brume of electronic textures provided by Moebius' mastery of synthesizer antics with a robust guitar presence of Rother. Also creating a distinct timbre to the mix is the electro-acoustic use of the Japanese Nagoya harp.

All of these changes steered the musical sound of DELUXE into totally different arenas as it sounds as if the cast members have found the perfect comfort zones in adding their idiosyncratic musicalities into the melting pot. Roedelius and Moebius bring all the Cluster components back for a sophomore appearance but on DELUXE there is much more of a Neu! presence of Michael Rother who in turn also brings a little of his Kraftwerk days along for the ride. In fact DELUXE sounds like a unique blend of Cluster's "Sowieso," Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" era and early Neu! The result is a perfect mix of the three elements with Cluster's dreamy ethereal side slinking around the percussive Neu!-esque rhythmic drives accented by Neumeier's nuance filled motorik drum style. The tracks are vary significantly this time from one another and complexity level turned up for the compositions that somehow nurture pleasant gleeful melodies into stomping pulsing electronic sensations.

DELUXE is a true mastering of nuanced elements that results in a fairly unique sounding album that exists in that strange universe where Kraftwerk stringent rhythms , Neu!'s hypnotic groove and "Cluster's Sowieso" dreaminess merged into one seamless entity. Despite the nerdy electronic precision dominating any given moment, the album is polished with outstandingly strong, catchy hooks that have an air of Berlin School progressive electronic simmered into a steaming hot pot of tasty electro-Krautrock. DELUXE shows the possibilities and positive results of a supergroup and how collaborative efforts can bring out the strengths of the members on board instead of watered down infighting. It sounds as if HARMONIA should have found some sort of cross-over success with this one but the band soon ended after this one and although they would participate in some recording sessions with Brian Eno, those sessions wouldn't be released until the 90s. Personally i much prefer this second HARMONIA album over the monochromatic ambience of the debut.

 Laserscape by YOU album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.67 | 2 ratings

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Laserscape
You Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Laserscape by this German electronic combo YOU really took me by surprise. Mainly because it came out in 1986, certainly not a favorite time period, musically, for me (OK so I was 13-14 at the time, and definitely wasn't interested in what was popular at the time like hair metal and synth pop). Tangerine Dream's Underwater Sunlight from the same time I felt was pretty mediocre. Laserscape is much better! This is how I felt electronic music should have went in the '80s. By 1986 it was clear electronic music had either went synth pop or New Age. YOU refused to go that way. Here they use lot of digital synths and samplers, but what's shocking is they use Mellotron on this album and puts it to good use here! It's really difficult to find recordings from the mid 1980s using the tron because everyone preferred the convenience of digital synths, which were widely available by '86. They even use sequencers which Tangerine Dream had abandoned by this time. What I love is they often conjure up an eerie and ominous atmosphere, something that Tangerine Dream lost by this point (to be honest, Underwater Sunlight sounds pretty harmless, that's why I'm not a fan of it). I'm usually not a fan of how many artists in the '80s were using digital sampling, but these guys take a rather interesting and creative use of it. The cover makes it look like you're getting another typical sterile, soulless '80s type of album, but I'm happy to say that's not what you get here. Quality control really went awry in the '80s, so obviously I didn't have high expectations with Laserscape. I was expecting an Underwater Sunlight type of album, and instead got something much better and pleasing, the way I felt 1980s electronic music should have been like. Plus the presences of Mellotron sure helps! I am generally not a fan of digital sounds, but this group did it in a way to make it sound very appealing. This album actually comes recommended by me.
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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
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