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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 | 806 ratings
RUBYCON
Tangerine Dream
4.26 | 242 ratings
MIRAGE
Schulze, Klaus
4.56 | 27 ratings
CATCH WAVE
Kosugi, Takehisa
4.21 | 236 ratings
TIMEWIND
Schulze, Klaus
4.14 | 681 ratings
PHAEDRA
Tangerine Dream
4.18 | 123 ratings
EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE
Froese, Edgar
4.11 | 212 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 | 163 ratings
NEW AGE OF EARTH
Ashra
3.98 | 401 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Tangerine Dream
3.98 | 282 ratings
ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
Eno, Brian
4.10 | 41 ratings
GREEN RAY
Zanov
3.94 | 328 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

DEN GÅTFULLA MÄNNISKAN
Malmberg, Eric
ALBERGO INTERGALATTICO SPAZIALE
Albergo Intergalattico Spaziale
WUNDERBAR
Riechmann, Wolfgang
D'AI PRIMITIVI ALL'ELETTRONICA
Futuro Antico

Latest Progressive Electronic Music Reviews


 Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard: Farscape by SCHULZE, KLAUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.34 | 40 ratings

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Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard: Farscape
Klaus Schulze Progressive Electronic

Review by UncleRust

4 stars I am a long time fan of both Klaus and Lisa and this double cd contains (almost) all of my favorite things about both of them. Some of this reminds me of early Klaus, but most of it is closer to Dead Can Dance somehow.

Easing and thought-provoking, the combination of their musical personalities is so fascinating and pleasing that it seems that everyone should own and listen to this daily. So, get to it. ;)

This has been my favorite summertime cd since 2009. Re-listening to it today made me think that I really need to come here to remind all of you that it is, in every way, a wonderful experience.

 Cosmic Ground Live by COSMIC GROUND album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Cosmic Ground Live
Cosmic Ground Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars Recorded over two dates in October and November 2016 and taken from performances in both Cairo and the Netherlands, `Live' sees Electric Orange keyboardist Dirk Jan Müller presenting a series of immersive Berlin School-modelled prog-electronic instrumentals in a concert setting, joined on additional synths by Horst Porkert of Sunhair Records. Like the last two Cosmic Ground studio albums, `Live' is comprised of four side-long pieces that slowly unfold and delicately reveal their intricacies, and while the early Seventies works of Tangerine Dream are the starting point as always, Dirk and company move beyond that as lengthy unhurried atmospheres and welcome surprises emerge throughout the set and take the pieces in fresh directions, with many stretches fusing both modern and vintage sounds effortlessly.

Opening with quietly mournful and groaning Mellotron mystery, `Dark Enck' evolves into a heavy and dense pure Berlin School drift that rumbles with jangling machine-driven tension and echoing cavernous vibrations. `Cairo Grind' quickly builds in tempo to thrum with rapid skittering sequencer trickles and pattering beats that almost take on a relentless trance-like urgency.

At its core, `Unground I' is a slowly unfolding drone with a constant sustaining hum to its backing behind placid synth caresses, but there's emerging traces of unease flitting around throughout, and it ultimately dissolves into more dangerous sequencer-laced tension in the second half. `Unground II' comes the closest to a purely ambient piece with serene lulling synth washes and fuzzy unfurling electronic trickles teeming with life, and it makes for a more soothing, hypnotic and embracing finale.

`Live' maintains the same high standard of the three (to date) Cosmic Ground studio albums, and it captures beautifully the energy and momentum that the live environment offers. Some may find nothing particularly new here, but take the time to look past the surface similarities to Tangerine Dream, give it plenty of repeated plays and dig a little deeper, and you'll discover a hugely rewarding live document from an intelligent modern progressive-electronic artist in Müller.

Four stars.

 Adonia  by OSE album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.00 | 15 ratings

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Adonia
Ose Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a bit of a deep cut from Richard Pinhas' extended discography. It's essentially a Heldon side project, with Pinhas and Heldon drummer François Auger teaming up with multi-instrumentalist Hervé Picart to turn out this mellow piece combining Berlin style progressive electronic performances with psychedelic jamming reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream or Ash Ra Tempel. Props also have to be given to the gorgeous cover art, which puts me in mind of the excellent science fiction art coming out of France at the time by the likes of Moebius and hits the mood of the music perfectly. Put this on when you're gazing out of your space colony on an arid world in the process of being terraformed.
 Deutsche Wertarbeit by DEUTSCHE WERTARBEIT album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Deutsche Wertarbeit
Deutsche Wertarbeit Progressive Electronic

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars Women working in vintage electronic music certainly don't enjoy as much status as the more well-known fellas of the genre, but alongside equally worthwhile artists such as Doris Norton, Laurie Spiegel and many others, Dorothea Raukes, the former keyboardist for German spacerock group Streetmark offered the `Deutsche Wertarbeit' project and album in 1981. It's a constantly rhythmic-based and accessible work that crosses light Berlin School-modelled atmospheres, fuzzy ambient passages, programmed beats and frequently breezy vocoder tunes that drift closer (but not wholly) to synth-pop, with little traces of disco and dance music worked in as well.

Upbeat opener `Guten Abend, Leute' is very much modelled on the popular electronic Kraftwerk era of the mid Seventies onwards, being a slightly kitsch slice of electronica full of dominant upfront reprising themes, pulsing beats, spacey synth swirls and robotic vocoder spoken-word recitations provided by Dorothea herself. The laid-back and easily pleasing `Deutscher Wald' blends sparkling electric piano notes with fuzzy caressing synth washes over light beats, and `Unter Tage' offers strident urgent themes and jangling sequenced beats, softly taking the piece a little closer to Tangerine Dream.

`Auf Engelsflügeln's uplifting gliding synth waves and churning beats on side two almost take the piece into synth-pop territory, effortlessly coasting into a blissful vocoder spoken coda in the final moments, and almost heroic theme comes to life in `Intercity Rheingold' that could pass for one of the shorter soundtrack segments that Tangerine Dream delivered plenty of in the same decade. But for many listeners the near-ten minute closer `Der Grosse Atem' will impress most of all, a delicately solemn, enveloping and unhurried purer Berlin School work. Big on slowly evolving sonic atmospheres, chilly icy drones and eerie electronic shimmerings with just a touch of Jean-Michel Jarre's fizzing spacey caresses, it ultimately takes on a comforting Ashra-like serenity without ever coming close to vapid New Age music stylings (but an unwarranted and obtrusive glitch computer meltdown in the final seconds kills the mood!).

`Deutsche Wertarbeit' (aptly translated as `quality German workmanship'!) is hardly the most demanding or complex of German electronic works, and it's very likely that some followers of the heavier-going Berlin School acts and works will likely dismiss it as being throwaway or insubstantial. But close repeated listens uncover subtle depth and fascinating ideas buried beneath the misleadingly lightweight and effortlessly melodic surface, and it's a shame that Ms. Raukes didn't release any more solo efforts after this promising debut, as she was already revealing a distinctive and unique prog-electronic personality that would have potentially developed in even further interesting directions.

Three and a half stars for this charming album, rounded up to four, an interesting and worthy addition to vintage prog- electronic collections.

 Wonders From The Genetic Factory by YOU album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.97 | 3 ratings

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Wonders From The Genetic Factory
You Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars Let me tell you that YOU's debut Electric Day was amazing, to see that great electronic music can be made in 1979. Wonders from the Genetic Factory is their third album, from 1984, and it's clearly an uneven album. I am not surprised that this would have an '80s sound, it's 1984 after all, but I'm glad they didn't go overboard on drum machines or fell in love with the DX-7, but drum machines are used. "Axis" is a bit off-putting due to the 1980s upbeat nature, and the liberal use of that "orchestra hit" sound (that really got overused to death by the late '80s, I was so glad that use was pretty much over with after 1990). But there are some nice moments as well. "Isotopic Moments" is luckily better. "Europe Transfer" is without a doubt one of the better cuts on the album. What really surprises me is the presence of Mellotron, done really nicely (it was a Novatron, and the band removed the "Novatron" badge and found the Mellotron logo under it, which meant the Novatron was nothing more than a rebranded Mellotron, due to legal difficulties stemming back to 1976). "Sampling Dance" was clearly a big mistake. They were trying to be so trendy for the times with a bit of hip-hop influence (luckily without rapping). I could almost imagine seeing kids breakdancing to this (I grew up in the 1980s, and I remembered very well the breakdancing craze of the mid 1980s). What were they thinking? Luckily the lengthy "Yourovision" more than makes up for it, outdoing anything Tangerine Dream was doing by this point. It even features a little bit of Mellotron which really pleases me. This album has a couple of questionable moments, and is clearly not as consistent as Electric Day, it's still has a lot of worthwhile material, and for the most part, better than most other stuff I've heard from this time period.
 Electric Day by YOU album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.17 | 11 ratings

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Electric Day
You Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars A great electronic discovery for me. The fact this German group You recorded their debut in 1979, and had it released the following year, 1980, was the big reason I passed on them, given even progressive electronic was going downhill by '79, so I couldn't imagine You being worth my time. Well, I was wrong, I was just blown away by Electric Day.

Unsurprisingly this is Berlin School electronic music, very much as you expect: heavy on the sequencers, but also Edgar Froese- like guitar playing and none other than Harald Grosskopf on drums, although he was credited as Lhan Gopal, don't ask me why, perhaps it was due to his contract with Sky Records (his album Synthesis came out roughly the same time). It's perhaps a bit more hyper than even what Tangerine Dream would do, and they do not go for that "calm and sedate" stuff that Klaus Schulze is known for (I do enjoy his calm and sedate stuff, like on Mirage, so not to knock on him). Mellotron even makes an appearance on "Slow Go". What's really surprising is the tron in question is the Mark II, as the Mark II seemed to have disappeared from recordings after 1973 (roughly the time Genesis put out their live album). England's Garden Shed (1977) is often thought of as the last commercial recording using the Mark II until the 1990s tron revival, but it appears to be Electric Day. My big gripe is why they didn't use the tron more? Tangerine Dream certainly used it to great effect on many of their albums and You could have had that potential. Strangely You would continue using a Mellotron through the 1980s, only this time a Novatron, but I hadn't heard those albums, but apparently a cut above what many other electronic acts were doing at the time. Anyways, I was also happy that there are no new wave, new age, synth pop or modern elements in Electric Day, which makes me ever so happy. Strangely this music reminds me of some of those newer progressive electronic artists you might run across on Bandcamp. Whatever the case, another great album highly recommended to the fans of Berlin School electronic music.

 Where Are We Captain?... by WAVEMAKER album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Where Are We Captain?...
Wavemaker Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

— First review of this album —
4 stars Wavemaker was one of many projects created by people who worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, in this case Brian Hodgson and John Lewis. They created Electrophon Studios, so no surprise many albums recorded by these people were recorded there, including In a Covenant Garden by Electrophon (Hodgson and Dudley Simpson), and Zygoat (American Burt Alcantara with Hodgson and Simpson), and of course both Wavemaker's albums. Where Are We Captain is the first and to be honest his is more or less a continuation of the sound created by Zygoat. There is a strong reminder of Synergy here, so this sounds like the UK answer. If you enjoy Zygoat, there's no reason not to enjoy this album. "Double Helix" is some really great and adventurous piece of progressive electronic. "Lodestar" features some interesting synth sounds, while "Wavemaker" is more simply tripped out sounds. The music has that rather hi-tech futuristic sound overall. I'm glad to see these musicians working for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop did much more than create music and sound effects for Doctor Who, but went out of their way to record albums that were available to the public. Sure Wavemaker can get a little cheesy at times, but there's no denying great stuff making Where Are We Captain? a worthy addition to your collection. Unfortunately it's never been reissued, luckily original LPs can still be had for a reasonable price.
 The Dark Path (Alien Nature & Michael Brückner) by BRÜCKNER, MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Dark Path (Alien Nature & Michael Brückner)
Michael Brückner Progressive Electronic

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

— First review of this album —
4 stars Frequent Syn-Gate label-mates Alien Nature (Wolfgang Barkowski) and Michael Brückner are fresh off two very interesting recent releases this year, with the former offering the noisy Krautrock-flavoured `Unter Null' by pairing-up with Christian Fiesel on the Aural Films label, and the latter reworking an earlier electronic/ambient/world fusion project by collaborating with a range of guests on `All the Pieces Fit Forever'. But the notable modern progressive-electronic German composers team up here for a pure Seventies-modelled Berlin School instrumental stunner, `The Dark Path', which lies somewhere between vintage-era tribute and a deeply atmospheric exploration all its own.

Throughout opener `Mandala', long drawn-out sustained veils of dark symphonic chords and warbling spacey effects build an eerie unease, the piece eventually taking on a more ashen drama with an almost imposing industrial iciness once pulsing colder beats kick in alongside searing slivers cutting through the air. A trilling loop then flits in and out of the slinking electronica of `Endemonic Howls', given a touch of psychedelic weirdness by colourful little bleeding twitches.

The unceasing backdrop of almost twenty-eight minute `Auf Sibernen Pfaden' is pure stormy deep-drone ambience, lightly coated with the fizzy rising/falling sprinkles of Klaus Schulze and his ever-unfolding vast landscapes with manic up-front soloing, and the relentless maddening pattering beats, bubbling effects and aching Mellotron choirs that remind of Tangerine Dream here are the closest Bruckner and Barkowski come to openly acknowledging their Berlin School musical forefathers.

The aptly-titled `Blissful' is absolutely sublime, soaring through deep space with hypnotic swirling electronics and lulling crystalline chimings without ever drifting into overly placid ambient patterns for even a moment, making it one to listen to over and over, completely enveloping and rapturous. Closer `Ionic Master' continues the nice come-down by incorporating tribal percussion and spiralling flute into chilled electronica grooves, truly becoming the soundtrack to a secretive ancient ritual on some faraway alien world...probably!

Even in its more shadowy moments, `The Dark Path' is never quite as pitch-black as its ominous title might suggest, instead preferring to graft mysterious moods to its furthest-space travels, and while the pieces are all unhurried and carefully unfolding, Brückner and Barkowski ensure they are full of movement and never become uneventful or too vague. It's also much more than mere slavish hero-worship recreation going on here (even if the longest piece in the middle comes the closest!), the compositions mostly aiming higher than simply remaking Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze's music using their exact same sounds of old - and let's face it, there's endless lesser electronic artists doing just that. Many repeated plays prove `The Dark Path' to be extremely rewarding and holding a quality that will likely reveal it to retain a timeless quality, and this is pure Berlin School music done right with a couple of other musical diversions also thrown in as well from two intelligent modern progressive-electronic composers.

Four stars.

 Nada by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.92 | 4 ratings

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Nada
Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I found a copy of this for cheap, the 1980 American pressing of this on Celestial Harmonies. This album was first released in 1977 in Germany on Wergo, and when it was released in America, the artwork and packaging made this album look more like what you'll be expecting is insipid New Age. Had I known nothing about this album prior to purchasing, I'd probably pass this by and end up regretting it. By this point he moved away from the Terry Riley-type minimalist music of his 1972 double album Hamel (I am not familiar with Between, but I should remedy that if I can find a copy) and in Nada went right in the world of Schulze style electronic music. The title track features minimalist synth patterns utilizing the Elka Rhapsody (amusingly the album states it was an organ responsible for this, and there's not a single jot of organ in this album). It has that nice '70s feel to it which I really like. "Silence" sounds more like abstract avant garde to my ears. "Slow Motion" sounds like a piano variation of the title track. It's all played on piano, and I usually find the piano boring and overrated, but this was surprisingly effective piece of minimalist piano music. "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" takes all of side two, and it really isn't too different from the title track, except longer, and it starts off slower and then picks up speed as it progresses and then slows down towards the end. There doesn't appear to be much in the way of world music influences here, the Berlin school and minimalist music is most dominant, and it actually works well. Nice album well worth having.
 Kotrill by POLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.81 | 2 ratings

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Kotrill
Pole Progressive Electronic

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

5 stars The obscure act PÔLE which originated in the avant-garde underground of 1975 Paris, France is much more than a mere experimental act that released a mere two albums and then disappeared into the netherworld only to leave scant traces of its very existence. On the contrary the PÔLE appellation is synonymous in the underground world of avant-garde noise music as the epitome of far out and alien soundscapes. The name in fact belongs to the record label that released a handful of wide ranging genre LPs of different artists from 1975-77 and then disappeared without a trace. The label was founded by Paul Putti with his wife Evelyne Henri who would sign up some of the strangest left field acts of the day and even engaged in the most unorthodox salesmanship antics of pitching them door-to-door. The very first of these groups on the label would be Putti's own musical creation which despite the confusion was also named PÔLE. As a label, Putti would go on to release several albums from 15 different artists but as an experiment artist collective they would only release a mere two LPs that would both come out in 1975 with KOTRILL being the first and much more experimental of the two. PÔLE wasn't really a group per se but rather a collection of tracks with different experimental sound artists participating randomly throughout the two albums. To make things somewhat more confusing a so- called third album was released in 1975 (although with Putti, i'm not sure i subscribe to the logic) under the Besombes-Rizet moniker and guess what the album title was. Yep, it was PÔLE of course!

"Kotrill" (16:35) begins with a sputtering electronic sound rhythmically upping the tempo as counterpoints of electronically induced sputterings join in and drop out to create a free flowing river of synthesized sounds that meander on to infinity. The pitch is tense and gradually changes higher and lower as the percussive spastic drip sounds drop in and out randomly. The back masking of vocals eventually joins in as the dissonant electronic callithump parade strolls down free improv alley. The gist of this piece is that one element dominates while the others slightly change it up around it. As one drops out, the other becomes the leader. After a while a synthesized "free fall" sounds like it jumps out of an airplane for a while before it's joined by a jittery hyperactive "typewriter" sounding electronic percussive attack. All of these different elements take turns entering the scene and then dropping out. This title track is a very effective alien sounding track that offers hidden patterns embedded within but totally out of the context of anything remotely melodic. Despite the absence of melodies, the rhythmic drive becomes quite pronounced by the end of the track practically obliterating the cosmic electronica swooshiness in the background.

"Osiris" (3:30) is the "little" track stuck between the two lengthy behemoths. This one begins with what sounds like a theremin raising and lowering pitches with a percussive monastery type gong or something of the sort creating a background soundscape while whizzing electronica buzz around like angry hornets coming and going as randomly as pollinating honeybees in a blooming springtime meadow. As the percussion drops out the electronic buzzings start to talk to each other and create unnerving tension that ends sounding like a UFO just abducted someone and hyperspaced out of the galaxy.

"Villin Gen" (20:52) is the second sprawling track that begins with an unnerving drone sound that sustains one note before a second note joins it and sustains longer than expected. An unexpected melody slowly unfurls reminding of a very chilled out "Saucerful Of Secrets." The background ambience sounds like a UFO hovering in the distance just close enough to feel the uncertainty of its nebulous intentions. As the track continues the simple organ notes become entrancing with only a faint heartbeat type of percussion in the background. The UFO flying sounds also take a back seat but never really leave and change pitch and tempo and sometimes even drop out. In the middle it becomes more drone induced with water dripping. As the heartbeat loop continues on, the track slowly unwinds and fades out. This one is the most minimalist of the three tracks and the most hypnotizing as it sprawls on.

KOTRILL sounds like no other album and rightfully earned a place on the tripper's Holy Bible of experimental music "Nurse With Wound List." While it could be compared to early electronic pioneers like Finland's The Sperm or the more experimental freak outs of Can on Tago Mago, those are only the closest approximations. PÔLE was fairly ahead of its time for electronic music and created soundscapes totally unlike anything the Berlin School scene or other free form experimentation of the day were releasing. It wouldn't be until the 80s and 90s that other electronic acts would catch up and create equally alienating soundscapes utterly divorced from convention. Unfortunately the two PÔLE albums along with the entire catalogue of the label were only released on vinyl LP. Although there was a second pressing by the Tapioca label, these albums remain some of the most mysterious and obscure of what the 70s had to offer and easily go for hundreds of dollars. Needless to say they are in dire need of being rediscovered and re-released for a new era. I find this type of free form noise mixed with scant musical elements to be a very difficult tightrope act to accomplish. As with all minimalism, it takes a heavy dose of restraint to prevent a total derailment of connection and with KOTRILL there is a perfect flow of elements that align in the exact right places. I'm simply enthralled with KOTRILL like i am with scant few other albums of this sort. Someone PLEASE re-release this! It needs rediscovery! This one is only for the most adventurous seekers of all things lysergic ;)

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Progressive Electronic bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
12 FOLLOWERS United States
6LA8 Pakistan
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