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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 | 846 ratings
RUBYCON
Tangerine Dream
4.27 | 261 ratings
MIRAGE
Schulze, Klaus
4.22 | 253 ratings
TIMEWIND
Schulze, Klaus
4.17 | 727 ratings
PHAEDRA
Tangerine Dream
4.18 | 136 ratings
EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE
Froese, Edgar
4.25 | 55 ratings
AN ELECTRIC STORM
White Noise
4.36 | 31 ratings
IN COURSE OF TIME
Zanov
4.25 | 48 ratings
GREEN RAY
Zanov
4.11 | 227 ratings
X
Schulze, Klaus
4.29 | 33 ratings
CATCH WAVE
Kosugi, Takehisa
4.53 | 16 ratings
ARCHITEXTURE OF SILENCE
Alpha Wave Movement
4.56 | 15 ratings
LONG LOST RELATIVES
Syrinx
4.81 | 10 ratings
DECONSECRATED AND PURE
Alio Die
4.22 | 35 ratings
LUCIFER RISING (OST)
Beausoleil, Bobby
4.19 | 40 ratings
ALIO DIE & LORENZO MONTANA: HOLOGRAPHIC CODEX
Alio Die
4.14 | 49 ratings
INTEGRATI... DISINTEGRATI
Leprino, Franco
4.03 | 171 ratings
AMBIENT 4 - ON LAND
Eno, Brian
3.99 | 433 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Tangerine Dream
4.02 | 172 ratings
NEW AGE OF EARTH
Ashra
4.28 | 23 ratings
HORSE ROTORVATOR
Coil

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
SYNTHETIK 1
seesselberg
MUSIK AUS DEM SCHATTENREICH
Frohmader, Peter
HELDON IV: AGNETA NILSSON
Heldon

Latest Progressive Electronic Music Reviews


 Cycles by BOCK, WOLFGANG album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.78 | 11 ratings

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Cycles
Wolfgang Bock Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Once again I have to agree with Guldbamsen's review, even the 4.5 star rating. This was Wolfgang Bock's debut released in 1980 and produced by Klaus Schulze. What makes this so good in my opinion are those incredible mellotron choirs but I love that he uses real drums too. Two different drummers per album side and I was especially pleased to see Heab Hobb behind the kit on side two as I have the album he's on released this same year from the band NANU URWERK. And the album cover is pretty cool too.

We start off with "Cycles" the side long opener close to 19 minutes in length. It opens with atmosphere that slowly builds as spacey synths sweep in and out. Nice. Some quiet pulsing sounds as well and check out those mellotron choirs starting before 3 minutes! The slow pulses stop around 5 1/2 minutes and the mellotron before that. Soon sequencers and other sounds arrive as the tempo picks up.

The mellotron choirs are back at 7 minutes. Drums join the sequencers before 7 1/2 minutes then the mellotron will step aside as the spacey synths continue with sequencers and drums. The sound changes around 12 minutes in as we get spacey sounds only coming and going then more electronics but this is laid back and sparse. Sequencers are back before 14 minutes along with spacey synths and they are all going full force at 15 minutes before it settles right back before 17 minutes to the end.

Side two starts with "Robsai(Part I)" and it begins with some majestic organ before electronics take over before a minute. The organ is back quickly along with mellotron choirs. So good. "Robsia(Part II" sounds nothing like the first part as spacey sounds build as the drums join in and they are energetic here. It's pretty much drums only after 2 1/2 minutes then a calm arrives as we get a dark atmosphere only. Man this is good. Sequencers then kick in before 4 minutes.

"Changes/ Stop The World" is the almost 11 minute closer. Drums and electronics to start as the synths cry out. The second part of this track takes over just after 7 minutes as the organ and spacey sounds along with mellotron choirs arrive. The mellotron choirs eventually dominate until it's pretty much all we hear after 8 1/2 minutes. Man is this what it sounds like to be in the presence of God? So majestic I can't believe it. Church bells before 10 minutes as the song winds down to the end.

A killer Electronic album that suits my tastes really well with all the mellotron choirs.

 Visions Of Dune by ZED album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.05 | 12 ratings

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Visions Of Dune
Zed Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ZED was a project out of France led by Bernard Szajner. An Electronic album for sure but we do get some real drums on 4 tracks and guitar on 3 songs. That was the appeal for me along with Klaus Blasquiz being on here. Sadly I have to agree with the majority that this is but a 3 star album. I do like the electronics enough but I was so disappointed with the treated vocals of Blasquiz on that one track. He simply speaks. I was hoping for some chanting that was distorted somehow in a cool way. This album failed to click with me really other than a couple of tracks that are excellent.

A lot of these songs blend into one another. Up first is "Dune" a good start really with those high pitched sounds that rise and fall before atmosphere rolls in. Some guitar follows as the synths growl away. A good start. "Bashar" has drums with swirling synths and more. "Thufir Hawat" has more of the same without drums but experimental sounds come in over top. Not into this one.

"Sardaukar" continues with the swirling synths as drums and more help out. "Bene Gesserit" has electronics that are buzzing with an electronic beat and more. A melancholic synths arrives before 2 minutes then abrasive sounds. It winds down late. "Shai Hulud" has odd sounds indeed along with a beeping sound before an electronic rhythm kicks in. That odd sound continues but it's in the background before being upfront again after 3 minutes with atmosphere and more. Sequencers before 4 minutes and they stop around 5 1/2 minutes. It changes late with deeper sounds and synths firing off.

"Fremen" is a top two and one I liked right away. Drums in this one but it's starts with buzzing synths that rise as others join in swirling around. Synths start to shoot off like fireworks after a minute then electronics and drums. This is good. I like those deep synth sounds starting before 3 minutes. "Harkonnen" is my favourite. High pitched synths before deep electronics kick in as we get a rhythm with drums and guitar too. Nice.

"Abab" has sequencers leading the way but there's more including spacey synths. "Gom Jabbai" has a few different sounds that can be heard, all electronic. "Ibad" has spacey buzzing synths and another electronic sound before a beat then guitar joins in. Treated spoken words from Blasquiz are disappointing after 2 minutes. Not a fan. "Kwizatz Haderich" has loud electronics that come and go along with higher pitched synths in tow. Deeper sounds arrive too. I like this.

An interesting album that could have been so much better in my opinion. HELDON is an example of using drums and guitar with electronics to great success. This not so much.

 Voyage cérébral by BOCQUET, DIDIER album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.26 | 12 ratings

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Voyage cérébral
Didier Bocquet Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I can only echo what Guldbamsen has to say about this French Electronic album from 1979. A voyage indeed best heard with headphones on and the lights out. So cool. He does it all himself with synths and electronics and I like the black and white album cover with Didier on it as it sort of represents the melancholy here. All these songs blend into each other and the title really represents what is going on here.

"Interface" has this quiet start as my ears are searching for what's going on but soon slow pulses with interesting sounds over top arrive with spacey synths as well. "Rencontre Psychique" continues with the slow pulses but sequencers and more kick in over top. Not as enjoyable and it almost seems to fade out before 5 minutes as the sound changes slightly to a more melancholic vibe with sequencers.

"Eloignement" has these high pitched sounds that come and go but they stop before 1 1/2 minutes as driving sequencers kick in and more. "Cosmory Theme" continues with the sequencers leading with synths until a change late as we get an experimental ending.

The second half is much better in my opinion beginning with "Prelude" where we hear what sounds like birds chirping but it's not then spacey waves and static-like sounds arrive along with faint percussion-like sounds. The spacey sounds build after a minute. The melancholic synths before 2 minutes sound so good. Just drifting away into the night here.

"Evell Sideral" turns intense rather quickly as the tempo picks up. It settles back around a minute. I like this. Spacey synths over top with sequencers and deep sounding electronics that come and go. Twittering sounds late. "Amorissage" has these slowly pulsing sounds with pinging then this spacey melancholic sound comes in. Some buzzing after 2 minutes but this is drifting and beautifully sad music. "Voyage Terra" has more of those great sounding melancholic synths along with spacey sounds and more. A perfect way to end the album.

A solid 4 stars and this does seem to get better as it goes. One of the better French Electronic albums in my opinion.

 Silhouettes by SCHULZE, KLAUS album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.31 | 7 ratings

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Silhouettes
Klaus Schulze Progressive Electronic

Review by WFV

3 stars Most who have any knowledge of electronic music know Klaus Schulze is a living legend. The latest entry into his extensive discography is Silhouettes, which follows the trance inducing blueprint Klaus patented in the early Nineteen seventies. Four lengthy tracks all made on synths. There's some melody to the proceedings, but the main focus is atmosphere. 74 minutes of solid background music that shows the Berlin School still can delight the senses and sweep the cobwebs from your brain. Der Lange Blick Zuruck and Quae Simplex are the most interesting and active tunes of the four, but as a collection this album is delightful.
 Cosmic Ground IV by COSMIC GROUND album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Cosmic Ground IV
Cosmic Ground Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars With three studio discs, remix/previously digital only/unreleased pieces compilations and even a live album all popping up in a relatively short span of years, keyboardist Dirk Jan Müller of modern krautrockers Electric Orange keeps up the momentum of his solo career and its alias Cosmic Ground to deliver 2018's `IV'. With his army of analogue gear and creaky Mellotron once again in tow, while Dirk may still have one foot in the door of the defining vintage electronic masters of old, here he expands his Berlin School-modelled atmospheres in all sorts of further directions, infusing them this time with murkier Krautrock textures, cinematic soundtrack-like elegance, dark ambient drifts, gloomy drones, dreamy chill-outs and even sparingly implemented vocoder touches, making for the most varied and unpredictable Cosmic Ground work to date.

The pulsing hisses and stark droning machine-driven suffocation of opener `Possessed' is not `industrial' as such, but it's absolutely oppressive and monolithic in its level of intimidation and Cluster-like enveloping fear. The expertly unfurling Berlin-School drama of `Stained' fuses alien tribal percussion with a sequencer-pattered slink, the bouncing `Obscured's evocative vocoder recitations call to mind Robert Schroeder and plenty of vintage electronic artists (not to mention Pink Floyd, with the piece sounding like the love-child of `One of These Days' and `Sheep'!), and `Greasy' dances with unceasing Ashra/Manuel Göttsching-like ringing trickles that lift into chiming fluffy heavens.

The twenty-minute `Progeny is a multi-part suite that seamlessly moves through strident unfolding synth drones, ever-circling sequencer jangles and drifting come-downs, all rising and retreating with carefully controlled grace and an impeccable unhurried touch. Both `Plains' and `Deep End' are final hypnotic drones, the first ebbing and eerie, the latter adding a bubbling and hazy `Phaedra'-era Tangerine Dream fuzziness and seeping unease.

(And if a seventy-eight minute album isn't enough for you, download copies come with an additional thirty-eight minute piece `Soil', a longform drone of reverberating organ and drowsy ethereal guitar wisps, with the final minutes revealing a cavernous stalking pounding before succumbing to a calming Mellotron climax. It's a beautiful standalone work all its own, and hopefully it doesn't languish as a mere download only and receives its own CD or LP release in the future - hint, hint, Dirk?!).

Dirk Jan Müller keeps refining his approach and implementing new sounds with each successive Cosmic Ground release, and this latest one shows his greatest restraint and natural subtlety more effectively than ever, with long stretches of measured space-music that never become static or uneventful. `IV' can easily sit alongside Thorsten Quaeschning's `Cargo' soundtrack and Steve Roach's `Molecules of Motion' as one of the standout prog-electronic works of the year, and is Müller's defining solo work to date...likely only until his next one comes along and tops it!

Four and a half stars.

 Stand By by HELDON album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.92 | 87 ratings

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Stand By
Heldon Progressive Electronic

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 183

Heldon is a French band formed in the 70's by the guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Richard Pinhas. He is sometimes called as the 'French Fripp''. The name of the band was taken from the 1972 novel 'The Iron Dream'', by Norman Spinrad. Heldon can be identified with their creator and leader Pinhas. He was a passionate about science fiction novels, a theme that will often recur in his career, and he was also a great passionate of music. Pinhas began by absorbing Jimi Hendrix as an adolescent, leaving that behind at the beginning of the 70's, after having heard what Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were doing with synthesizers. And it was then that he discovered the duo Fripp and Eno.

It was in 1974 that Heldon released their debut studio album, ''Electronique Guerilla''. The main idea was to rock and roll on electronic machines. Pinhas was, of course, playing electric guitar, but he was also interested on synthesizers, the A.R.P., VCS 3, and Moog. This was the beginning of the 70's. Heldon released some very important studio albums among which a trilogy that started with the sound of 'Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale'' continued with 'Interface'' and was concluded with 'Stand By''. In total, between 1974 and 1979, seven important albums were released by Heldon.

'Stand By'' is their seventh studio album and was released in 1979. The line up is Richard Pinhas (guitar, Moog, Polymoog, vocoder and electronics), Patrick Gauthier (Mini-Moog, piano, Polymoog and keyboards), François Auger (percussion and Kolossal percussive), Didier Batard (bass), Klaus Blasquiz (voices) and Didier Badez (sequencer).

'Stand By'' was Heldon's last studio release. However, in 1998 it was released an eighth studio album 'Only Chaos Is Real'', with slightly different personnel. Of the traditional line up only Pinhas was present. But, this is an album that cannot be considered belonging to their classic era. It's a strange cross of punk vocals, techno beats and the usual repetitive minimalism. It even doesn't approach at the concept of Heldon. I don't know why Pinhas reformed this band.

'Stand By'' features the classic trio line up with Auger, Gauthier and Pinhas, with some additional assistance from Batard, Badez and the help of Blasquiz of Magma. With 'Stand By'', Heldon truly stands out as a band of the musical experimentalism in the 70's. Heldon successfully blends and incorporates the influential, innovative and original music of their time that expresses the musical freedom and boundary pushing that thrived during those times. You'll hear elements of the 'Berlin school'' electronics (Tangerine Dream), jazz fusion, hard rock chord changes and blistering guitar solos that reference everything from Jimi Hendrix to Robert Fripp in his King Crimson's days. But you'll also can hear something no one else ever gave you, and that is Heldon's own sound. No matter how, but they sound like Heldon.

About the tracks, 'Bolero'' is a good example of what we could play with a guitar and a synthesizer in the 70's. 'Bolero'' is a 22 minute suite based on the classical bolero's formula. 'Bolero'' can be considered, in my humble opinion, as one of the best pieces of electronic music ever released. The expansive 'Bolero'' is a reminiscent of the Berlin school music, but with a real rhythm section and some Blasquiz vocals. Pinhas lays back on the guitar on this release, particularly in the latter stages, wisely serving the compositions even when it means a lesser showcase for his own abilities. This is a track with a bunch of some of my favorite things on prog. 'Une Dr'le De Journ'e'' is the shortest track, but still is a very complex track. Sometimes, if I don't pay attention, I actually think this is something from Vangelis during his 'Heaven and Hell'' album. It plays up the electronic and minimalist elements a bit and has an amusing Magma vocal line not atypical of French progressive rock bands, in general. The title track starts like a great heavy rocker from the early progressive rock bands, in King Crimson's vein. Then the guitar takes over and we get a great jam. Then a little Yes' like interlude, with great drumming of Fran'ois and then the last part goes off into outer space. With track 'Stand By'' Heldon managed to create one of the heaviest songs of the 70's. It's full of metal, futurist synthesizers and drudging base lines that creeps slowly at first and ends up with guitar and hard yet precise drumming.

Conclusion: 'Stand By'' has to be hailed as Heldon's signature work. It contains everything that is good about Heldon. It's Heldon in their mature glory and perhaps no other band was able to toe the line between electronic and progressive rock. Progressive rock drums, bass and guitar blend and merge with bass synthesizer pulses and arpeggios, jazz keyboard solos ride overtop jittery electronic sequences, compositions move from dark moody electronic soundscapes to frantic, pulsing rhythms and then transform into improvisational jams or spacey laid back passages embellished with slithering, smoking guitar solos. This is Heldon at their most experimental and aggressive originality. This is Heldon at their most focused and purely stated. 'Stand By'' is an outstanding document of one of the good things that happened in the 70's. It's compelling and satisfying. Really, this is Heldon at their very best and you owe it to yourself to hear it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Le Parc by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.82 | 124 ratings

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Le Parc
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This was my first Tangerine Dream album, even though it is number 26 in line of albums that had previously been released by TD. The album consists of 9 short tracks (short as compared to most of their previous work). The songs are all inspired by worldwide parks, which is really a great idea. However, sometimes this works well and at others it doesn't.

Now the album isn't a complete failure as some reviews here tend to signify. It just isn't the TD of the past. Understandably, TD tried to make their music appropriate for the decade it was produced, the 80s. So it takes on some faster beats, some slightly new wave-ish sounds and so on. But, surprisingly enough, it doesn't always sound as dated as you would expect.

The first track is "Bois de Boulogne" and it opens the album on a high note. It is a fast tempo song with nothing annoying about it and a very memorable hook. "Central Park" however, does sound somewhat dated to me and an almost techo-disco which you might expect here. "Gaudi Park" has a nice beat and bass line that runs rapidly through the song almost giving it a softcore industrial sound as synths flow around the running rhythm. This one is better. Fourth in line is "Tiergarten", which starts out soft with background noises of children playing and a nice electronic piano. A whistling synth and drums join in later. It is a pleasant song, not too annoying, but commercial and almost New Age sounding and very melodic. It's not a complete write off though. "Zen Garden" is a favorite of mine and reminiscent of older TD. It starts with wind and birds in the background and a hard percussive, but sustained "hit" in the synth bass which slowly drops it's tone as it is sustained and this repeats throughout. I love this sound and synths of all kinds play around this. No rhythm in this one. A female voice singing wordless vocals joins in also. Inspired by the sounds of Japanese music and very pensive and beautiful.

Next up comes the title track "Le Parc". It starts up the second side with a jet flying overhead and immediately a fast beat starts up and synths play around it. This one takes on the sound of European disco/techno, with a very stately melody. It is very commercial sounding, and a little dated, but it brings back memories of Kraftwerk from the same decade. "Hyde Park" begins with some strange clicking sounds. The thumping mid tempo bass starts and provides the basis for the song. Synths are melodic and there are some orchestral sounding "hits" and synth chord progressions throughout that are indicative of the decade, but it's not overly annoying. "The Cliffs of Sydney" actually breaks the 5 minute mark. This one is also European sounding with a throbbing mid tempo bass and then fluttering percussion around that. I like the sound of the main melody in that it sounds like guitar from the old Italian westerns. This rhythm stops halfway through and synths carry the action for a while before it starts up again with the same melody. "Yellowstone Park" is the highlight of the album at over 6 minutes. It starts out with pan flutes and a mysterious sustained orchestral sound before synths start joining in. A slow tribal rhythm begins and wordless vocals from the one of the same singers of "The Great Gig in the Sky" (Dark Side of the Moon). Pan Flutes start again and carry the main motif giving it a Native American sound. A nice, floating tune. You can picture the clouds over the high mountains, the rivers and lakes of the park with hawks and eagles soaring, a buffalo or two loitering near the water, and so on. Yes I've been there a lot of times, and the tune really fits the park.

So, overall , this is a very good TD release, better than what most have rated it at. No, it's not as good as earlier TD, but it holds a nostalgic spot for me because I purchased it when it was first released. I still own the record and love it for it's high points which is worth keeping it around. And it has very nice cover art. Do you have to have it? No, but I would recommend it for easy relaxing listening at least, especially for "Zen Garden", "The Cliffs of Sydney" and "Yellowstone Park". Good, not essential, 3 stars.

 Force Majeure by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.99 | 433 ratings

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Force Majeure
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It was time for Tangerine Dream to move into the 80's and this album marks the start of that transition. The music continues it's melodic sound that was on the previous album, but without vocals this time. The main players of the band is down to two keyboardists, which is to be expected from an electronic band. But real drums, acoustic guitar, piano, cello and a few other surprises await us on this album.

It starts out with an 18 minute, side-long title track. Starting out with some nice atmospheric sounds and a pretty typical TD sound, things seem to be in good order. Then the rhythm kicks in. Many TD fans are okay with this, and at the time, this was a good move, but now in 2018, the keyboards sound very dated against the background of the band. At least that is how I feel it. The rhythm lasts for a while with the keyboards and a couple of breaks, but remaining somewhat unchanging except for a few times. When the rhythm eventually stops, things get atmospheric again and the dated sound goes away. The music gets quite pleasant here and doesn't seem old anymore. Again this lasts for a while, the drums join in again but with a different melody and atmosphere, but unfortunately, every time the drums start, things start to sound dated again. Now, a dated sound doesn't necessarily ruin things for me because I do love hearing a little Kraftwerk every once in a while and maybe even an old 80s band if I'm in the mood, but I can't seem to get into this as much as other TD albums. It sounds somewhat weak to me.

The 2nd side of the album starts with a 7 minute song called "Cloudburst Flight". A nice acoustic guitar and swirling keyboards sounds really nice and pensive. Keyboard bass starts to throb in the background, then turns into a repeating descending pattern while keyboards and electric guitars trade places with the melodic line and drums take on a midtempo pattern which is not overbearing. This is a much better combination than the title track when the rhythm section joins in. The soloing becomes quite impressive and heavy, which I find very enjoyable. Before the end, things calm down again and a nice whistle-sounding synth takes over. Really good especially for a comparatively short track.

The 3rd track is over 10 minutes long and is called "Thru Metamorphic Rocks". It starts off soft with piano and then increases in sound and intensity. Drums come in early on in the build and drive it forward and there are some nice sound effects crashing around. Soon the electric guitar takes over with another impressive solo. The chord progression becomes repetitive however for a while. Then the main melodic motif fades out while it is taken over by the synthesized sounds that I love TD for. This to me, is the best part of the album and more of what I would expect to hear from an electronic album. A rapid progression of notes continue in the background and establish a rhythm as synths improvise over the top with heavy sounds and no melody.

Overall, this is not a bad album, but I do have problems in the title track where things are dated and just too commercial for my taste. About half of that track is like that at different times throughout. The other two supporting tracks are more interesting to me and give the album it's saving grace. This is TD in it's progressive stage, but there are a few places where it all ruins it for me. Overall, I have to rate this at about 3.5, but the repetitiveness of the drums and bass patterns knock it down to a 3.

 Phaedra by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.17 | 727 ratings

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Phaedra
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars To me, the best way to listen to this album (and many of the best electronic albums) is when you are not in a hurry, you can empty out everything in your head and you close your eyes and let your mind take you on a journey which is influenced by the music you are listening to. It's like a mental piece of art that your mind is creating and it will be a different experience for everyone that listens because your mind travels to places based on your experiences, no matter how far out there they may be. It is a great experience when you really listen and let your mind go with it.

From the other reviews on this album, it seems like a lot of people do this, and then describe what they felt or experienced. When I read some of them, I think, wow that is a completely different interpretation than what I had of that piece of music. But that is the beauty of it, everyone sees and hears things differently. In reality, electronic music is just sounds made by an artist by manipulating a machine, computer or instrument and sometimes a combination of these. An expert musician knows how to get the sounds and tones out of that machine in the best way possible. Sometimes they are trying to make a specific feeling and other times it is just improvisation. This may make it sound like electronic music is something that anyone could do, but this is far from the case. I have heard much electronic music that sounds completely amateur and just plain bad, and I have heard a lot of it that is beautiful, flowing, harsh or whatever, and it sounds like it is done by a capable artist.

No doubt about the fact that Tangerine Dream's performers are artists, especially on this album. Sounds swirl, cascade, float and drop into the picture with hardly any warning. To a casual listener, there may not be a lot of forward movement or progression in the sound, sometimes even from one track to another. That is why this music demands to be heard by being listened to. Yes it works well for background music for studying or whatever, but it's best use is by really listening to it. You can hear melodies that come to the foreground which to a casual listener may not seem apparent. You hear sounds that create pictures in your mind, repetitive sequences or loops or just random sounds and movement. These work together to paint pictures and moods, albeit mental, but there all the same.

Many people say that this represents a change of sound for TD, and a lot of this is probably because this is the first time the artists featured what would become their sequence driven sound and would also have more structure as a result. Instead of having a more random direction, the music starts to move forward with a purpose. The first track is the 17 minute long title track which is based on an improvisation that was recorded by the band earlier. For a large part, this track is improvisation with direction. Some of the changes in the sound came about by accident through the recording of the piece because of flaws with the musical equipment, but it ended up giving the sound more structure and direction. These flaws would later be used to the artists benefit. This is mostly a free flowing track that has many changes throughout that may be only perceptible by really listening. There are places were rhythm is introduced and then taken away again. You will hear bass in this track and throughout the album which is also done electronically through a Moog Sequencer. Apparently this instrument was very hard to tune and they spent many hours just to get a few minutes of bass sequence.

The 2nd track is "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" and was created only by Edgar and his wife. It was done in one take on the Mellotron. In it, you can hear some semblance of melodies come in and out of the picture and there are many other pleasant sounds and sequences that were all created in that one take. Quite an amazing piece of work for something done without editing. Edgar says this is exactly as it sounded when he played it in the studio the first time. Next is "Movements of a Visionary" which starts out with a series of eerie sounding noises and continues like that for a few minutes. Rhythm is finally introduced and a melody line comes in with a nice organ sound. There really is nothing melodic about it except for the organ which never really picks up a theme, yet sounds melodic anyway. This is mixed in with the rest of the sounds so that you may not pick it out if just casually listening. The last track is a short ambient piece.

Overall, this is a very amazing listening experience. Also, TD was using new equipment at the time unlike anything out there. This was the main driver along with word of mouth, that made this album so successful, even without any radio airplay. It still stands as an essential and historical recording as it will pave the way for electronic music's future. The sound created here appealed to the public back in the day, and even today you can listen to it even without mind altering chemicals in your system and still be taken away by it. This is definitely an essential masterpiece of an album especially when it comes to progressive electronic music and is also on the list of 1001 albums to listen to before you die. It stands up there with the rest of the most influential progressive albums in history and rightfully so. This is why it gets a five star rating.

 Molecules of Motion by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Molecules of Motion
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars There's no shortage of recent albums from American modern electronic/ambient icon Steve Roach that offer drifting drones of impossibly subtle touches, but here the atmospheric master offers up one of his spaciest and most urgent works in some time, 2018's `Molecules of Motion'. Roach infuses his lulling, meditative synth washes with unceasing yet elegantly implemented rhythmic touches, making it not only one of his most colourful, exciting and actually quite accessible performances of the last couple of years, but one teeming with life and full of all the movement at its core that the album title promises.

The opening title track `Molecules of Motion' and `Grace Meditation' (both running around twenty-four minutes each) set much of a template for the entire disc. Carefully unfolding synth veils float and weave around jangling sequenced patterns, gurgling electronic distortions and seductive enveloping ambient shrouds, with the latter piece being the lightly more coolly soothing of the two. Full of mystery, expansive aural presence and the slightest hints of recurring little melodic touches rising and retreating back and forth, they even surge into brief ringing darker edges and mind-expanding contemplations. `Phase Reverie' holds graceful and gently lethargic synth caresses to lull the listener into a drowsy dream state, and closer `Empath Current' dances with ringing sequencer programming over placid ambient pools, achieving a perfect unison of carefully frantic and sparsely laid-back before a ruminative come-down in the final minutes.

Despite a vast back-catalogue of studio albums, collaborations, live performances and archival releases, it can be extremely daunting for both newcomers and more restrained collectors of Roach to know which works to approach, but `Molecules of Motion' makes for ideal next choice to look into for many reasons. It's far removed from his more challenging droning works, the constant rhythmic elements mean it's full of liveliness and movement, and it even delicately reminds of German Berlin School originator Klaus Schulze's deep-space atmospheres anchored by driving programming in many spots.

`Molecules of Motion' is truly one of the most thrilling and defining works from Roach that can rank among his best releases, from an artist that always puts out intelligent and thoughtful works that have never unashamedly attempted to ever be commercial, and prog-electronic fans are going to find endless things to love about this one.

Four and a half stars.

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CRAWL UNIT United States
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DOLULUS Switzerland
DR. SPACE'S ALIEN PLANET TRIP Denmark
HEINRICH DRESSEL Italy
E-MUSIKGRUPPE LUX OHR Finland
EARTHSTAR Multi-National
EDEN France
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ELICOIDE Italy
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EXPO 70 United States
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FASER Germany
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FFWD United Kingdom
FHIEVEL Italy
FIVE THOUSAND SPIRITS Italy
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FORMA United States
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EDGAR FROESE Germany
PETER FROHMADER Germany
KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN United States
FUTURO ANTICO Multi-National
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GRAHAM GETTY United Kingdom
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MATHIAS GRASSOW Germany
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MUSHY Italy
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OSE France
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YOU Germany
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