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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

Current Team as at 09/06/2012

Philippe
Alex (Sheavy)

Progressive Electronic Top Albums


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

4.26 | 654 ratings
RUBYCON
Tangerine Dream
4.26 | 207 ratings
MIRAGE
Schulze, Klaus
4.14 | 578 ratings
PHAEDRA
Tangerine Dream
4.16 | 195 ratings
TIMEWIND
Schulze, Klaus
4.16 | 190 ratings
X
Schulze, Klaus
4.15 | 107 ratings
EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE
Froese, Edgar
4.39 | 24 ratings
GREEN RAY
Zanov
4.51 | 17 ratings
CATCH WAVE
Kosugi, Takehisa
4.07 | 140 ratings
NEW AGE OF EARTH
Ashra
4.08 | 123 ratings
AMBIENT 4 : ON LAND
Eno, Brian
4.08 | 88 ratings
BODY LOVE: ORIGINAL FILMMUSIK
Schulze, Klaus
4.17 | 39 ratings
INTEGRATI... DISINTEGRATI
Leprino, Franco
3.99 | 335 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Tangerine Dream
4.06 | 82 ratings
BODY LOVE VOL. 2
Schulze, Klaus
4.22 | 27 ratings
LUCIFER RISING
Beausoleil, Bobby
4.35 | 18 ratings
AN ELECTRIC STORM
White Noise
4.42 | 15 ratings
IN COURSE OF TIME
Zanov
4.25 | 22 ratings
BALLET STATIQUE
Schnitzler, Conrad
4.18 | 25 ratings
EDGAR ALLAN POE'S THE ISLAND OF THE FAY
Tangerine Dream
3.94 | 226 ratings
ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
Eno, Brian

Progressive Electronic overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

SYNTHESIST
Grosskopf, Harald
WUNDERBAR
Riechmann, Wolfgang
HATHOR
Wakhevitch, Igor
HARMONIC ASCENDANT
Schroeder, Robert

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Latest Progressive Electronic Music Reviews


 The White Arcades by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.42 | 8 ratings

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The White Arcades
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars Mostly inspired, partly forgettable, around 75% of 'The White Arcades' is as near to perfect ambience as you could wish for.

Once again it took Brian Eno to squeeze out that extra creativity and statuesque sound that is sadly missing from a lot of Harold Budd's purely solo outings. Eno engineered this recording, but his presence is more prominent than that might suggest.

This was mostly recorded in Edinburgh of all places - not a city renowned for ambient music by any stretch of the imagination. This was through his connections with 'The Cocteau Twins' of whom he has had a long and fruitful relationship with guitarist Robin Guthrie.

Recorded at the ripe old age of 51 'The White Arcades' starts with the best tune on the album - it's self titled and displays a sense of foreboding. Cold and icy, delicately drifting textures punctuated by slightly piercing piano which act as rays of light above the bleak backdrop of foggy electronics.

It's not always this good... 'Real Dream of Sails' is a 6 minute piece which has old Harold pottering about aimlessly as droning keyboards flail like sails on a yacht. It doesn't really lead anywhere and sounds improvised.

He always sounds best when using huge delay on his piano. This he does on 'the Algebra of Darkness'. This could easily have appeared on it's predecessor 'Lovely Thunder' which is a bit darker than 'The White Arcades'. It does drag on a bit though.

'Totems of the Red Sleeved Warrior' enters the realms of miserableness but is all the better for it as floating long drawn out keyboard chords leave you contemplating beautiful thoughts or reminding you of the last funeral you attended. Eno is at large on this piece.

The boring track 'Room' is followed by the majestic 'Coyote' as that piercing Erik Satie piano takes centre stage. And the lovely outro 'The Kiss' sees things off to a nice conclusion with a pretty tune played yet again on piano as soft keyboards wash quietly in the background.

For old times sake I'm giving this 4 stars. It was one of the first ever cd's I bought in 1988 whilst still a sniveling art college student. It cost me big bucks back then and to this day it still sounds fresh and bright.

I just wish I could remember who once said: 'Sometimes I'm happy being sad'

 Beyond The Acid Dream by SOUNDS OF NEW SOMA album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.95 | 2 ratings

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Beyond The Acid Dream
Sounds Of New Soma Progressive Electronic

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars SOUNDS OF NEW SOMA are a German duo consisting of Alexander Djelassi and Dirk Raupach. Both are handling nearly all the basic instruments, as there are guitar, bass ... and the complete synthesizer stuff of course. Drums however do not play a role here, at least not on this recordings, since they are underway on atmospheric, dreamy and transcendental paths most likely. Furthermore the SOUNDS OF NEW SOMA members are open-minded enough to cooperate with diverse other musicians. Thus it was a real surprise for me when I recently discovered that they have recorded a split album in collaboration with the Israelian formation Backnee Horn.

Tonzonen Records have released 'Beyond The Acid Dream' in 2014 on vinyl and compact disc format. Four songs are given, easily proportioned on both sides, which feature typical cosmic sounds, stylistically enclosing progressive electronics in the majority, as well as some kraut and space. The album's distinctiveness is manifested through the saxophone attendance by Andreas Lessenich for example, who adds a jazzy note to some songs. Mysterious recitatives are another special contribution. The very inspired Traumfänger convinces me much, during ten minutes they are preparing a fantastic ambiance.

This album, mastererd by Ex-Grobschnitt member Eroc by the way, needs some rounds. In the first instance I could not accept the saxophone for example, the instrument sounded misplaced somehow. But in the meanwhile I had to revert, it's clear that this exactly represents the difference though, the uniqueness within the sound ... so much the more then seems to force the question, why Andreas is not listed as a full member. Anyway, SOUNDS OF NEW SOMA is a promising new project, Alexander and Dirk are offering a lot of inspiration and innovation. So what do you think about a joint venture with Camera next? We will see ...

 Compilation 1991-2004 by BIOSPHERE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Compilation 1991-2004
Biosphere Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
5 stars Talking about dreams!

Biosphere aka Geir Jenssen's "Compilation 1991-2004" , resembles in surface a best hits collection yet it is actually a recopilation of all sorts of over the years prodigal orphan's returns. Full of prog/techno/ambient/noise/COSMIC- electronic creativity, each song will take you to very different atmospheres and still sound like if they were before-thought of as a single release instead of a sum of its parts.

Of course the techno touches will certainly offend most prog-heads, but what the hell! they rarely visit these electronic- lands for starters. Therefore an open minded prog-electronic follower is all it takes to enjoy such an exquisite joyride.

Good things are hard to explain, excellent things? Well you have to be there or in this case, here !

*****5 "masterpiece", not all prog electronic, PA stars.

 Eleusian Lullaby (With Martina Galvagni) by ALIO DIE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Eleusian Lullaby (With Martina Galvagni)
Alio Die Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Real/Surreal

Alio Die's 2007 "Eleusian Lullaby" is a 3 piece set in collaboration with Martina Galvagny, and it delivers an interesting display of contrasts. For starters and kind of a drawback for the average prog audiophile, you kind of have to be previously aquainted with this musician's works to actually enjoy what this release offers, but if not let me kind of explain it to you.

Taking into account the ever slow-paced evolution in Alio Die's musical proposals and musical idiom, this one is more unmusical yet harmonius in comparison to earlier works . The flowing nature of both musician's languages, but especially Martina Galvagni's transparent unintelligible singing voice, adds up ironically the darkest and mysterious tones but in such small and perfectly threaded dosages as to become part of this oniric, back to nature, droning lullabies and not the whole project itself.

Another good and not that far fetched way to kind of understand this album's concept, will be to mention some referentials but not in the sense of comparisons, because there are none, will turn out to be Dead Can Dance but without their complex musical perfections. These lullabies instead, are detached most of the times from being musically rational and closer to the emotional/environmental hypnotic state of dreaming literally speaking not just the conceptual cliche.

A feast of obscure yet beautiful micro-succeeding passages glued in sometimes by the haunting singing, it is ephemeral in disguise, but rich in on coming and on going instrumentation and ever transfiguring compositional ideas, as to invite the listener to dwell in with his entire participation, but makes no compromises in its own perfectly evolutive oniric musical idiom.

****4 PA stars.

 Monuments of Ecstasy (with Byron Metcalf, Rob Thomas) by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 2 ratings

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Monuments of Ecstasy (with Byron Metcalf, Rob Thomas)
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars `Monuments of Ecstasy' features defining electronic artist Steve Roach collaborating with Byron Metcalf's booming live drums and Rob Thomas' didgeridoo and hand percussion to create a series of fluid, immersive and deeply hypnotic ambient atmospheres. While Roach's frequent tribal elements are not as instantly obvious as on his previous album, the dreamtime hallucinatory `The Ancestor Circle', they're always bubbling under in the background, yet the album takes several steps forwards from that sound as well. Considering so many of his recent discs have been more drifting and formless, Roach here favours plenty of cool sequencer patterns and programmed loops to bring a distinctly modern quality to the sound-worlds presented here, and all these elements come together as if the past and future are colliding and constantly weaving together.

Witness throughout opener `Archaic Layers' Metcalf's intimidating monolithic pounding tribal drums battering around Roach's rising and falling cooling synth washes and Thomas' reverberating didge drones. Only the most careful and near-unnoticeable variations in tempo sneak up on the listener and retreat back in the shadows here and there, subtle grooves turning frantic in an instant. Thrumming didge groans like the voice of God throughout `Monuments of Trance', hypnotic primal drums circling around the listener and wavering electronic hums stretching out as if a vast ocean. `Primal Analog' takes a different turn, with a creaking, almost dancey electronic sequencer loop gurgling away that's vaguely similar to the later more electronic-based Ozric Tentacles albums.

Ancient mystery and arriving destiny twist together in `Molecules of Momentum', live percussion eruptions and programmed beats racing alongside each-other. The fifteen minute title track blends natural ambient sound collages with spirited didgeridoo ripples, a haunting piano melody that plays into infinity, gentle sweeping synth waves, slinking Orb-like trance grooves and dramatic drum thunderclaps that sound like the heavens opening up. Album closer `This Place on Earth' soundtracks a brand new world being born, Steve's low key lulling shimmering synths almost taking on victorious and wondrous moments more in line with many of his other recent works.

Earthbound and alien, grounded and dreamlike all at the same time, the trio of Roach, Metcalf and Thomas achieve a perfect unity together throughout this collaboration, making `Monuments of Ecstasy' a precious ambient experience, and yet another intoxicating and evocative atmospheric musical statement from Steve Roach.

Four and a half stars.

 Bestiary by RICH, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.97 | 3 ratings

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Bestiary
Robert Rich Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Welcome to the jungle!

"Bestiary", Robert Rich's 2001 release, is certainly a jungle, an electronic one of course. Experimental without any kind of compromise but his own self-refinement and taste, opposite in that regard to "raw for raw sake" electronic experimentation, this one is carefully threaded .

An assorted trip in every song, it flows freely creating obtuse, obscure, soft and rough, cosmic, unappealing/hypnotic, unearthly/ earthly, uncompromising spaces, full of bubbling as buzzing surprises as showering delights and windy storms. And like a jungle, anything goes, and you have to go through it in able to enjoy.

It is quiet fun to listen to such unambiental "Ambient" music for a change. Those familiar with the Cubase of yore, will certainly re-think its possibilities in the sense of songwriting and sequencing.

Irreverent playfulness, more in tune with Rock in Opposition in a Progressive Electronic environment!

****4 PA stars

 Electronic Meditation by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.33 | 227 ratings

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Electronic Meditation
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars 'Electronic Meditation' was recorded in October 1969 shortly after Edgar Froese asked drummer Klaus Schulze and violin/cello player Conrad Schnitzler to join Tangerine Dream. TD had been around since 1967 and was known to perform free form live jams that sometimes lasted up to 5-6 hours. In those 2 years the band had seen more than 15 line-up changes already and also the Froese, Schulze, Schnitzler incarnation would hardly last a year as first Schulze and then Schnitzler would leave TD in the course of 1970 to join Ash Ra Temple and Kluster. Not credited but also part of the 'Electronic Meditation' recording were Thomas Keyserling (flutes) and Jimmy Jackson (organ).

No official recordings have survived from the 67-69 period and even the release of 'Electronic Meditation' was an accident rather than anything premeditated: there just happened to be a 2-track tape recorder running while they were jamming' It wouldn't be the last time that chance played an important part in TD's music. The tape found its way to Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser who released it on his recently founded record label Ohr.

'Genesis' - Contrary to what its title might suggest, 'Electronic Meditation' contains no electronic instrumentation whatsoever, instead it's free from experimental rock with an uncanny mix of guitars, drums, organ, cello, flute, sound effects and tape recorders. 'Genesis' demonstrates this very well with its eerie slide guitar and tuneless cello drones. As it goes along, distant tribal drums and seemingly random flutes add to what I believe to be a very exciting track, exemplary for what TD was about during their stay on the Ohr label.

'Journey Through A Burning Brain' - Later on Froese would cite contemporary artists such as Ligeti, Stockhausen and Salvador Dali as primary influences but in these early years it were the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix that shaped his music, along with early Pink Floyd. The influence from the latter is the most obvious: the closing organ section of 'A Saucerful of Secrets' is literally the basis for the album's 12 minute centerpiece. The spirit of Jimmy Hendrix is very vivid in the wild jam that this track gradually evolves into.

'Cold Smoke' - An organ spinning minor chord progressions alternates with percussive outbursts. Halfway in you could swear to hear Nick Mason banging away on the skins. In the second half Froese's guitar is very upfront, climaxing on top of the layer of noise produced by the band. It's dirty and gritty but considering this was recorded on a simple 2-track tape it sounds quite ok actually. I guess the way it sounds is an important part of the album's charm (or lack thereof considering where you stand).

'Ashes to Ashes' - This time a more conventional backbeat takes the lead. It demonstrates how Tangerine Dream was still an integral part of the kraut rock scene as this track could as easily have featured on albums from their contemporaries Amon D''l, Agitation Free or Organisation.

'Resurrection' - This returns to the 'Saucerful' organ part and to the slide guitar and cello drones of the opener. It's an interesting way to end the album as the sounds and mood conjured up here would be further developed on their next album. Unlike the more rock oriented jams this particular track would not be out of place on 'Alpha Centauri'.

By far not my favorite Tangerine Dream album but still very happy it exists as the band went on to do entirely different things and we would have had no idea at all of what they were about in their formative years. 'Electronic Meditation' is a fascinating early kraut rock album but it lacks the chops to grab my attention for its entire course. As Froese recalls 'we were still a bunch of amateurs'.

 R is for Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

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R is for "Rocket" and "S" is for Space
Michael Brückner Progressive Electronic

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars German electronic artist Michael Brückner has always shown endless variety throughout his large discography, offering a refreshingly modern take on electronic/space/ambient music, yet still retaining a great respect and love for the work of the vintage artists. His mastery of different styles is instantly evident on 2012's "R" is for Rocket, "S" is for Space". With one exception, all of the tracks on offer here are named for classic science fiction books and anthology stories (see how many you can work out!), and as the title suggests, deep space atmospheres certainly dominate. But while many of the pieces offer upfront keyboard soloing over ticking sequencer patterns and washes of synth wallpapering, there's a great variety of stylish and modern influences brought in, even some light dance elements that make it all sound very fresh and contemporary, and the album reveals even more facets to the talent of Mr Brückner.

Tracks like `L'Etoile Inconnue' and `"R" is for Rocket' favour a sleek Jean-Michel Jarre accessible approachability. `Farewell To The Master', based on `The Day The Earth Stood Still', takes on an almost intimidating symphonic quality. The slowly unfolding twinkling bubbling synths of deep- space sound-collage `The Root of Ampol' is more atmospheric, while the thoughtful `Now: Zero' is a nightmarish clockwork-like experimental interlude. The darker `Ether Breather' offers slinking robotic grooves and an insistent beat over dark exhaling cinematic synths straight out of a science fiction movie. Cool head-nodding beats dance through `The Venus Hunters', the wavering synths of `Thirteen to Centaurus' add plenty of mystery, but be sure to also stick around for the untitled hidden track at the very end, where an improvised chanting vocal brings a world-music quality over a beautiful shimmering synth spiral full of warmth and promise.

But best of all are the two extended pieces. The almost ten minute `The Million-Year Picnic', which jumps from skittering, almost dance-like beats to deep bass murmurs that pulse with evocative symphonic textures. Some of it resembles the later more chilled-out electronic-based Ozric Tentacles pieces, and is it just my ears that picks up a fun and slightly kitschy J-Pop influence in the first few minutes?! Especially listen out for the keyboard duelling back and forth Michael performs (I assume with himself!) at about the half way mark too! Without question, this is one of the coolest tracks Brückner has ever delivered.

"S" is for Space" is the fourteen minute album closer (not counting the secret bonus track!). The longer running-time gives the piece an unhurried quality, and is certainly one of the most restrained tracks on offer here. Swirling ambient synths full of wonder drone into infinity, maddening loops slowly enter and take control, only to be swept around by oceans of synth waves, protective and enveloping. With plenty of subtlety and atmospheric build, this is the piece that most hints at the direction Brückner's albums would eventually take.

Michael Brückner's recent albums may have favoured lengthier and more emotional, challenging long-form compositions, but `'R is for Rocket, 'S is for Space' is pure melodic space music full of variety, colour and movement. Playful and often even fun without being lightweight, it's one of his best albums, makes for an ideal place for newcomers to begin exploring Brückner's work, and is regarded by his established followers and musical supporters as one of his defining releases, and with good reason too.

Four stars.

 Computer World (Computerwelt) by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.79 | 167 ratings

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Computer World (Computerwelt)
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by HolyMoly
Forum & Site Admin Group Forum & Site Admin

4 stars Several weeks ago, I had an epiphany of sorts with respect to this album, and that is the inspiration for this review.

First, a little background: I remember becoming aware of this album way back in 1981 - the pop radio station where I lived played the track "Numbers" several times, probably for its novelty value: a song that counted a bunch of numbers in a robotic voice set to a sequenced synthetic melody eerily similar to that heard the prior year on Paul McCartney's synth fiasco "Temporary Secretary" (which I loved). But the seed was planted. The next time I went to a record store, I saw Kraftwerk's album "Computer World" and almost decided to buy it. Eventually, I did buy it.

Back then, I was in junior high school. Computers were new, a little bit alien, and kind of fascinating. Kraftwerk latched on to our collective curiosity about a world with computers. Today their involvement in our life seems obvious, even inevitable, but back then it was a big question mark. Isaac Asimov and Alan Parsons were wondering if the man/machine relationship would really yield the utopian life the optimists anticipated. I myself composed an admittedly naive but nonetheless sincere collage piece where I questioned the wisdom of letting computers take too much time out of our lives. Kraftwerk, meanwhile, seemed to tell us, hey, don't worry, be happy.

That is the vibe I get from Computer World. It presents man and machine working together in harmony, with the most relaxed and playful melodies you'd ever expect coming out of what sounds like a vintage 1980s Nintendo system.

My epiphany came when I was driving with my family in the car. We'd had a fun day, and we went out after dinner to get some frozen yogurt. I was driving, my wife was on her iPhone, my daughter was in the back seat on her Kindle, and Kraftwerk was on the stereo. As the music played, I heard the blips and beeps from my family's electronic devices, and rather than feel the Techno-Fear that so many of my contemporaries feel upon realizing that their families are spending way too much time staring at computer screens, I felt an odd sort of Harmony going on. The music on the stereo and the incidental sounds coming out of their devices were almost "jamming" with each other! Our lives and the machinery that kept us entertained blipped and beeped in the same kind of rhythmic harmony as the music I was hearing. It all seemed to fit together, and it reinforced an idea I've held for a while: Technology is not our enemy. Technology is as beautiful as a painting - or a piece of music. It's all part of the same wellspring of human ideas.

Ok, Ok, not very politically correct but I'm just relating what I felt. This album really just reinforced some ideas I had first encountered in my favorite tome Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig, that the relationship between man and machine need not be any different from the relationship between man and "nature", because "nature" also encompasses "machines". It's all just different manifestations of the same "stuff". And I will always remember this, and will always associate that discovery with this album.

In a historical context, Kraftwerk, who had pretty much invented synth-pop during the preceding 5 years, presented this album almost as a "hey, remember us?" kind of gesture. The music they had pioneered had influenced bands that were all over the radio by then. Although this album really broke no new ground like Trans Europe Express had, it gave the Kraftwerk guys a well-deserved opportunity to do a "victory lap". It's ironic in this light that I first perceived them as a novelty band in 1981 - they were probably the pioneers of half the styles I was hearing on the radio from my favorite pop stars at the time.

 Legend by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.27 | 47 ratings

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Legend
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Losimba

4 stars I already had quite a few other Tangerine Dream albums when I got Legend. My impression is bivalent (is that an English word?). Most of the songs are quite average, though certainly not bad. The two songs with lyrics and vocals are certainly better than most of the stuff, though Loved By The Sun could do with a wee bit less drama in the chorus. Ok, it's Jon Anderson and his voice IS quite good. But Is Your Love Strong Enough with Bryan Ferry behind the microphone is definitely the better song of the two. But then there is the one song which changes not everything, but at least the album rating. In fact, The Unicornis one of my Top 5 instrumental pieces and I'm more than happy for the reprise at the end of the album.

Without The Unicorn Legend would not be worth more than 3 stars, but with a 6 star song I'm willing to give 4.

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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
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