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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

4.24 | 735 ratings
RUBYCON
Tangerine Dream
4.27 | 216 ratings
MIRAGE
Schulze, Klaus
4.66 | 19 ratings
IN COURSE OF TIME
Zanov
4.60 | 21 ratings
CATCH WAVE
Kosugi, Takehisa
4.44 | 31 ratings
GREEN RAY
Zanov
4.15 | 630 ratings
PHAEDRA
Tangerine Dream
4.16 | 206 ratings
TIMEWIND
Schulze, Klaus
4.20 | 108 ratings
EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE
Froese, Edgar
4.14 | 196 ratings
X
Schulze, Klaus
4.30 | 30 ratings
AN ELECTRIC STORM
White Noise
4.09 | 91 ratings
BODY LOVE: ORIGINAL FILMMUSIK
Schulze, Klaus
4.19 | 41 ratings
INTEGRATI... DISINTEGRATI
Leprino, Franco
4.28 | 27 ratings
EARTHEN
Alpha Wave Movement
4.03 | 147 ratings
NEW AGE OF EARTH
Ashra
4.22 | 30 ratings
LUCIFER RISING
Beausoleil, Bobby
3.99 | 372 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Tangerine Dream
4.02 | 141 ratings
AMBIENT 4 : ON LAND
Eno, Brian
3.97 | 256 ratings
ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
Eno, Brian
4.43 | 13 ratings
ABANDONED CITIES
Budd, Harold
4.19 | 25 ratings
FILAMENTS
Rich, Robert
3.93 | 435 ratings
STRATOSFEAR
Tangerine Dream
3.93 | 301 ratings
THE MAN-MACHINE (DIE MENSCH-MASCHINE)
Kraftwerk
4.15 | 26 ratings
20 JAZZ FUNK GREATS
Throbbing Gristle
4.00 | 57 ratings
MUSIK VON
Harmonia
4.31 | 15 ratings
ALIO DIE & LORENZO MONTANA: HOLOGRAPHIC CODEX
Alio Die
4.28 | 16 ratings
TUSSILAGO FANFARA
Anna Sjalv Tredje
4.16 | 22 ratings
DALINETOPIA
Froese, Edgar
4.75 | 7 ratings
BLACKER
Radio Massacre International
4.20 | 19 ratings
RAVEDEATH, 1972
Hecker, Tim
3.93 | 116 ratings
MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS (WITH DAVID BYRNE)
Eno, Brian
3.95 | 89 ratings
BODY LOVE VOL. 2
Schulze, Klaus
4.73 | 7 ratings
LONG LOST RELATIVES
Syrinx
3.89 | 237 ratings
TANGRAM
Tangerine Dream
4.08 | 28 ratings
LOGOS
Wakhevitch, Igor
3.94 | 73 ratings
SMALL CRAFT ON A MILK SEA
Eno, Brian
4.14 | 21 ratings
SONANZE
Cacciapaglia, Roberto
3.87 | 262 ratings
TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS (TRANS-EUROPA EXPRESS)
Kraftwerk
4.95 | 5 ratings
THE HIDDEN SPRING
Alio Die
4.76 | 6 ratings
NUMINA + ZERO OHMS: BROKEN STARS THROUGH BRILLIANT CLOUDS
Numina
4.07 | 23 ratings
BALLET STATIQUE
Schnitzler, Conrad
3.90 | 74 ratings
STAND BY
Heldon
4.02 | 28 ratings
ICELAND
Pinhas, Richard
4.04 | 24 ratings
DOCTEUR FAUST
Wakhevitch, Igor
4.88 | 5 ratings
DEN GÅTFULLA MÄNNISKAN
Malmberg, Eric
4.29 | 11 ratings
HORSE ROTORVATOR
Coil
3.91 | 55 ratings
AMBIENT 2 - THE PLATEAUX OF MIRROR (WITH BRIAN ENO)
Budd, Harold
3.92 | 50 ratings
THE EQUATORIAL STARS
Fripp & Eno
4.67 | 6 ratings
ARCHITEXTURE OF SILENCE
Alpha Wave Movement
3.88 | 60 ratings
KONTINUUM
Schulze, Klaus
4.64 | 6 ratings
THE VOID
Lynne, Bjorn
3.90 | 46 ratings
THE PEARL (WITH BRIAN ENO & DANIEL LANOIS)
Budd, Harold
4.29 | 10 ratings
ZUG
Schnitzler, Conrad
4.79 | 5 ratings
NODE
Node
4.75 | 5 ratings
LEXIKON I
Benkő, László
4.32 | 9 ratings
LOVE'S SECRET DOMAIN
Coil
3.81 | 144 ratings
UNDERWATER SUNLIGHT
Tangerine Dream
4.17 | 12 ratings
ADONIA
Ose
4.71 | 5 ratings
ALIO DIE & SYLVI ALLI: AMIDST THE CIRCLING SPIRES
Alio Die
3.79 | 190 ratings
COMPUTER WORLD (COMPUTERWELT)
Kraftwerk
4.91 | 4 ratings
DECONSECRATED AND PURE
Alio Die
3.77 | 163 ratings
BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE
Eno, Brian
4.63 | 5 ratings
ELECTRONEGATIVITY - THE CASSETTE CONCERT SERIES NO.3
Schnitzler, Conrad
3.98 | 18 ratings
UBERFALLIG
Schickert, Günter
4.83 | 4 ratings
SIL MUIR
Sil Muir
4.10 | 12 ratings
EMISSARIES
Radio Massacre International
3.98 | 17 ratings
D.O.A. THE THIRD AND FINAL REPORT
Throbbing Gristle
4.78 | 4 ratings
TRANCE SPIRITS
Roach, Steve
4.41 | 6 ratings
VOYAGE CÉRÉBRAL
Bocquet, Didier
3.84 | 34 ratings
SURFACE TO AIR
Zombi
4.75 | 4 ratings
THE SIXTH EAR
Raicevic, Nik
3.87 | 28 ratings
EPITAPH FOR VENUS
Galactic Explorers
4.74 | 4 ratings
QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS
Five Thousand Spirits
3.75 | 113 ratings
CYBORG
Schulze, Klaus
3.75 | 93 ratings
APOLLO : ATMOSPHERES & SOUNDTRACKS
Eno, Brian
4.70 | 4 ratings
CONDUITS AND ESTUARIES
Rapoon
4.14 | 9 ratings
FROZEN NORTH
Radio Massacre International
5.00 | 3 ratings
MOTHER EARTH'S PLANTASIA
Garson, Mort
5.00 | 3 ratings
BLUE DREAM
Sequentia Legenda
4.14 | 9 ratings
WARMTH OF EARTH
Artemiev, Edward
3.74 | 88 ratings
BLACKOUTS
Ashra
3.75 | 83 ratings
PICTURE MUSIC
Schulze, Klaus
4.47 | 5 ratings
TRACER
Omit (Clinton Williams)
3.93 | 16 ratings
MIDNIGHT IN SPACE
Hydrus
3.75 | 57 ratings
ANOTHER DAY ON EARTH
Eno, Brian
3.75 | 59 ratings
AFTER THE HEAT (WITH DIETER MOEBIUS & HANS-JOACHIM ROEDELIUS)
Eno, Brian
4.91 | 3 ratings
HONEYSUCKLE
Alio Die
4.29 | 6 ratings
THE DELICATE FOREVER
Roach, Steve
4.40 | 5 ratings
THE ELECTRIC LUCIFER
Haack, Bruce
4.40 | 5 ratings
THE LAST STRANDS OF FORTITUDE
6LA8
4.19 | 7 ratings
MINOS
Languirand, Pascal
4.86 | 3 ratings
AIR II - TRAVELLING WITHOUT MOVING
Namlook, Pete
4.86 | 3 ratings
A TAPESTRY FOR SOURCERERS
Five Thousand Spirits
3.83 | 23 ratings
HATHOR
Wakhevitch, Igor
4.37 | 5 ratings
STARS FALL DARKLY
Yeti Rain
3.92 | 14 ratings
ELECTRONIC MIND WAVES
Elektriktus
4.82 | 3 ratings
THE CONFESSIONAL TAPES
Baker, Aidan
3.86 | 18 ratings
L'ETHIQUE
Pinhas, Richard
3.69 | 140 ratings
MOONDAWN
Schulze, Klaus
4.00 | 10 ratings
WOLVES OF THE GODS
Lynne, Bjorn
3.94 | 12 ratings
MUSIK AUS DEM SCHATTENREICH
Frohmader, Peter

Progressive Electronic overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

D'AI PRIMITIVI ALL'ELETTRONICA
Futuro Antico
HATHOR
Wakhevitch, Igor
SYNTHESIST
Grosskopf, Harald
TIME REPLICATED
Bownik, Adam Certamen

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Latest Progressive Electronic Music Reviews


 Harmony In Ultraviolet  by HECKER, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 6 ratings

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Harmony In Ultraviolet
Tim Hecker Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tim Hecker gets that "ambient" does not mean the same thing as "featureless", and that a good ambient album should exist in a curious space where it simultaneously fades into the background but also calls the listener's attention without ham-fistedly grabbing or demanding it. Harmony In Ultraviolet is an advanced lesson in the craft which takes a droning bedrock and layers onto it a range of curious sonic happenings which, like the best releases in the genre, offers a Rorschach test for the ear. Particular moods are suggested and some pieces, such as Chimeras, are positively rife with tension, but Hecker neither goes overboard nor becomes excessively spartan.
 Syn-Code by SOFTWARE album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.64 | 6 ratings

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Syn-Code
Software Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars "Syn-Code" is one of the most ambitious albums from the German duo. Consisting in two suites of more than twenty minutes and a third track of nine minutes, the music incorporates different instruments in addition of synthesizers and has a strong orientation towards new-age. However, the long pieces lacks unity and fail at keeping the interest of the listener as for example on "Electronic-Universe Part I".

"Syn-Code-A" begins with a rainy introduction, to then unveil flute and electronic passages. The middle section displays a jungle soundscape with animal sounds, while the ending part concludes the track with aerial voices. There are a few good moments but no true musical direction.

"Syn-Code-Z" is the weakest composition of the record. It features cheesy synthesizers and electronic percussions sonorities typical of the late 80's. The "thunder" section is more lively with the apparition of electric guitar, whereas the ending is just basic new-age. The problem is that the different parts seem disconnected and the overall is not very coherent.

The final track, "Syn-Code-Sunset", has strong reminiscences of what KLAUS SCHULZE was doing in the eighties. The finale is quite mystical.

"Syn-Code" is quite an uneven and strange album. The German duo wanted to experiment and emancipate from their initial TANGERINE DREAM and KLAUS SCHULZE influences by reducing the use of electronic loops and adding novel orchestrations and sound effects. Nonetheless, the result is not convincing and difficult to follow.

The style differs from SOFTWARE's previous electronic progressive acts such as "Phancyful Fire" or "Electronic-Universe Part I". Don't choose this album if you're looking for hypnotic meditative or futuristic soundscapes. Fans of 80's new-age music may however appreciate it.

 Elusive Metaphor by Alio Die & Parallel Worlds by ALIO DIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Elusive Metaphor by Alio Die & Parallel Worlds
Alio Die Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
5 stars This is the future!

"Elusive Metaphor" by Alio Die (aka Stefano Musso) & Parallel Worlds (aka Bakis Sirro) released in 2015 is a MASTERWORK.

7 expansive, rich in textures, truly inspired and unique compositions, including a short collaboration by the ghostly and beautiful voice of India Czajkowska (track 1), whose storm of ideas on each track gives a different and new meaning to conceptual albums.

Deep into the sequences of dream like emotions, these sonic/visions are as abstract as concrete, yet fleeting away their shapes through mutable environments, which even though "earthly", withhold an absolute deep in trance "cosmic/human" quality that is both attainable as it is possible and better yet represented through the art of music.

Progressive Electronics taken for a ride into our planet's inherent aural atmospheres in full amounts of sonic colors and their respective shades and better yet with pitch perfect music composition.

A well hidden treasure full of all the unwritten, until now, possibilities in progressive electronics and contemporary non-mainsream electronic music composition adding up to a Prog music masterpiece!

***** 5 "FULL" PA stars!

 Electronic-Universe Part I by SOFTWARE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Electronic-Universe Part I
Software Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars

"Electronic-Universe Part I" is certainly one the most ambitious studio album from the German duo, as it opens with no less than three 20 minutes suites! As a consequence, the three other remaining tracks are short compositions, but as good as the long ones. Classic electronic prog lovers, get ready to take off.

"Fluting Electronic Universe" is a slow soft new-age piece, composed mostly of flute and synthesizers. It weaves cool dreamy soundscapes. The pleasant "Surfing Saturn" alternates spacey and ambient passages with strange sound effects. The ending can remind TANGERINE DREAM's "Logos Part 2" by moments, however a little less messy. The cosmic atmosphere corresponds to the track name. On the contrary, "Dancing Venus" is a rather odd title. Its first half is quite mysterious with its synthetic haunting voice calls, while the second half is smoother and contemplative. Enjoyable though.

The 2 minutes "Cosmic Calimba" is the shortest track of the record. The sound and style are very close to TANGERINE DREAM's "Undulation". "Add-Space-To-Time" is the best passage from this second half. A trippy and futuristic sequence with a nice progression. "Psychomellow-Planet" is pretty much in the vein of "Cosmic Calimba", however average.

Although not very innovative and a bit lengthy, "Electronic-Universe Part I" fulfils its promises and carries the listener for a long synthetic journey through different spatial soundscapes. The three first long suites are one the most adventurous pieces SOFTWARE ever composed. If you like 80's electronic progressive music like KLAUS SCHULZE or TANGERINE DREAM, you'll surely enjoy this album from this lesser-known band.

 Beam-Scape by SOFTWARE album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.07 | 6 ratings

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Beam-Scape
Software Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars First official release by the Peter Mergener and Michael Weisser duo, "Beam-Scape" can be considered as a draft for the SOFTWARE albums that will follow. The ambient/electronic/new-age style of the band is already present, however the inspiration and ideas are still lacking. The compositions are mostly slow and do not feature enough changes to keep the listener's attention. The cold electronic sound is quite reminiscent of TANGERINE DREAM's "White Eagle" album.

The opener "RainBow" is rather average. Its first half is ambient with various bizarre sounds, while a small sequence appears on the second half. "SunBeam" contains nice synthetic electronic loops and similitudes with KLAUS SCHULZE's 80's material. A bit monotonous, but enjoyable. Not much to say about the 15 minutes "Shooting-Star", rather lengthy and boring, and "Small-Spark", which mainly consists in a repetitive sequence.

"Timber-Wave-Reflections" is a new age track, whereas the pulsing "Roots-In-Abeyance" is more lively and not bad, although it does not feature many variations. "Double-Binded-Sax" is a little messy. As its title suggests, it incorporates a saxophone but this instrument does not really add something to the ambiance. On the contrary, the ender, "Power-Of-Independence", truly stands apart the other tunes. Best track of the record, this good surprise is a nice punchy trippy tune. It proves that the band has an identity to develop.

This record has not been released under the SOFTWARE name, and for reason. Not very innovative, "Beam-Scape" only gives the listener a glimpse of what the German duo has to offer. There are some pleasant moments though, but unfortunately too rare. These ideas still require some maturation, that will arrive just one year later...

 Thief by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.18 | 126 ratings

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Thief
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tangerine Dream had already dipped their toe into soundtrack work with their 1977 soundtrack for Friedkin's Sorcerer, but it was with Thief that they took what had been an interesting diversion and turned it into what amounted to a second career for them. Tangerine Dream's soundtracks were quintessentially 1980s, so I suppose it makes sense in a way that this was produced for that most 1980s of all directors, Michael Mann - and indeed, an awful lot of their soundtrack work consisted mostly of riffing on a bunch of the ideas first aired here.

What makes Thief stand out from some of their more phoned-in soundtrack work is the way that it manages to walk the tightrope of capturing a particular zeitgeist without sounding clumsy or dated. The synthesisers have an undeniably 1980s sound to them, but Tangerine Dream manage to make them work in a way that so many others in the 1980s struggled to by accepting and appreciating the sounds and textures produced by those 80s synths as interesting sonic ingredients in their own right, rather than treating them like cheap, crappy stand-ins for "real" instruments.

By respecting their synthesisers' output in this way, and adding additional elements (like some actually quite decent guitar) to add a few highlights that couldn't be accomplished with synths alone, they produced a piece which ends up being rather more interesting than the sort of imitative work turned out by many of their peers (and, for that matter, themselves) in its wake.

 Second Nature (Steve Roach & Robert Logan) by ROACH, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Second Nature (Steve Roach & Robert Logan)
Steve Roach Progressive Electronic

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

4 stars The pairing of up-and-coming England-based electronic artist Robert Logan with progressive-electronic/ambient innovator Steve Roach delivered a superb futuristic fusion of ambience and experimental electronics with `Biosonic' in April 2016, and the duo also offer a completely separate release originating from the same sessions, `Second Nature'. Whereas the former was more-or-less a continuous seventy minute energetic and lively composition with an ever-changing pattern of programmed beats and loops, `Second Nature' offers four separate pieces in a much more subdued, intimate and purely long-form ambient mode, completely focused on piano and restrained use of electronics.

While some sections are more recognizable in style to many of Roach's numerous other recent works, Robert Logan provides crucial contributions such as his glistening, heart-breaking echoing piano that glides in and out of Steve's floating serene drones. If `Biosonic' had a frequently moving alien-like quality, `Second Nature' removes all percussive elements entirely and is stark and precious in comparison, very much a reflective and grounded fragile inner journey. Both of the musicians personal contributions and individual musical voices can instantly be heard, not only truly complimenting each-other, but working in perfect unison together to create an evocative, unhurried soundtrack, sometimes even desolate and lonely but always with traces of hope and light breaking through in the most crucial moments.

Robert's precious ghostly tip-toeing piano hovers in the air as Steve's gentle lulling synth caresses drift in and out of opener `Moment's Notice', a wistful and sadly romantic opener with fleeting pinpricks of warmth to the gentle melancholy and uncertainty. Initially calling to mind the pristine black and white piano shimmerings of Roach's `Etheric Imprints' from back in 2015, the title track `Second Nature' is a dense half-hour aural collage where elements of dark and light weave around each- other trying to gain supremacy. Delicate waves of synths - some forceful, others soothing - permeate the air, with brief gloomy slivers cutting the atmosphere and fleeting glimpses of a victorious piano theme attempt to rise and take hold. The shorter `Shadowspeak' almost entirely strips back the electronics for a crystalline solo piano interlude with downbeat notes occasionally creeping into the mix, and the twenty two minute finale `Mystic Drift' holds groaning cavernous drones and spectral piano with calmer breezes of synths softly attempting to push away the cloudy unrest, all with an eerie cinematic elegance.

A sometimes intangible and even confronting work, some will find `Second Nature' patience-testing, others will be totally captivated by it, witness to the way it completely alters the environment around them, a quality that so few albums can actually achieve. It grows in power and presence with every listen, gradually revealing so many understated little layers and the most deeply personal reflections, and it reminds that sometimes the most shadowy music reveals the deepest beauty. While it's hardly easy listening, `Second Nature' is truly an exercise in darkly exquisite sophistication, and one of the most challenging Roach-related releases of recent years. It makes for two superb side-by-side works from the pairing of Logan and Roach, and hopefully the results from further collaborations between the two will be equally as vital.

Four stars.

 Provocative Electronics (Electronic Constructions On Traditional Forms) by MEYERS, EMERSON album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Provocative Electronics (Electronic Constructions On Traditional Forms)
Emerson Meyers Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

— First review of this album —
4 stars In 1979 my father bought a copy of Mike Hankinson's The Unusual Classical Synthesizer. It was a classical Moog album not played on Moog but the Putney VCS-3 synth. It was released here in the States on Westminster Gold, a classical label originally called Westminster Records. Westminster was originally independent until bought out by ABC/Paramount. The label went dormant around 1965 and resurfaced in 1970 as Westminster Gold. On the back of The Unusual Classical Synthesizer is a description of the album, and a list of several other titles on WG, one of them being Provocative Electronics, so I was aware of this album since I was a small child but never owned a copy until now.

It's not hard to see this album came out of academia. For one thing Professor Emerson Meyers hailed from the Catholic University of America, out of Washington, DC. Like Columbia-Princeton, they too had their own electronic music center. The album makes claims that the electronic music center had Moog synthesizers since 1964 and as of 1970s, they had 40 of them (I wondered if they had any Mini Moog prototypes by that point?). Unlike Gassman/Sala's Five Improvisations on Magnetic Tape/Music for the Ballet "Electronics" (1961, originally released on Westminster, reissued on Westminster Gold in 1970), a good portion of Provocative Electronics was performed off a Moog synthesizer. Of course the Gassman/Sala album predates Moog, but has that similar avant garde approach. What you won't get with Provocative Electronics is nice melodic electronic on the lines of Jean Michel Jarre. This is avant garde electronic that does not go down easily. I can tell on this it's a Moog (other than it says so) as it don't have the prototype synth sound of an Ondes Martenot or a Selmer Clavioline, but has all the hallmarks of a full-on synth, but with an avant garde approach. It's as what if Karlheinz Stockhausen or someone of his ilk were using a Moog synthesizer rather than prototype electronics or musique concrete. Some of the songs on here are simply a lot of synth blips and bleeps, a few divert from that. For example, "In Memoriam for Soprano and Tape" features, well operatic vocals from Katherine Hansel, with spoken dialog (also by Katherine Hansel). Pretty strange. "Fantasia for Organ & Tape" with organ provided by American of Armenian heritage Haig Mardirosian, with tripped out use of pipe organ and synth effects kicking in. "Intervals I" has a nice often spacy ambience to it, and I swore I heard this watching a 1978 documentary called UFO Journals, either that, or it just reminds me of that. "Fanfare & Raga for Bassoon & Tape" as it claims is all done on bassoon. It attempts to recreated an Indian Raga but with bassoon instead of sitar. The album claims it's all bassoon, but where do all those tabla-like percussion come from? "Moonlight Sound Pictures" was an excerpt for a NASA exhibition called Artist in Space. Only 4:50 is used on this album, it claims there's a total of 30 minutes of it, I really wish I could hear the entirety. There's also an "Intervals II" but as stated on the album, it's not featured here.

This is a nice album of avant garde electronic music, although I've seen my share of poor reviews, it's no worse than anything else I've heard of this style. Not for everyone, like avant garde in general, but I like it.

 L'Affaire Wallraff (The Man Inside) by TANGERINE DREAM album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.24 | 14 ratings

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L'Affaire Wallraff (The Man Inside)
Tangerine Dream Progressive Electronic

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars Just another forgettable movie soundtrack madi in 1990 and released a couple of years later. This is plain enectronic music with drone drumming. An easy kind of electronic melodies of which there was plenty available in that period.

There are some good passages here and there, anyway. "Tobel's Death By The River" is not a bad track, but it sounds so "Eloy" that one can expect the voice of Frank Bornemann to suddenly appear.

The most relaxed moments are quite boring, instead and in the end after listening to the whole album just few impressions remain. Nothing more than background music. Listenable.

2 stars for a collector's item.

 Chronolyse by PINHAS, RICHARD album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.70 | 26 ratings

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Chronolyse
Richard Pinhas Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Initially recorded in 1976 before "Rhizosphère", "Chronolyse" is in fact Richard Pinhas's solo debut. Not as varied and inspired as HELDON's music, the first half of the record is dominated by synthesizers, whereas the second half displays an atmosphere similar to the french electronic band's, however lighter. As you may have noticed, the tracks name are a tribute to Frank Herbert's Dune.

"Variations Sur Le Theme de Bene Gesserit" consist mainly in the same minimalist loops played at different tempos with the Moog and passed through two Revox echo generators. There are seven variations listed, but I personally really count only five of them. The very fast 1st and 4th variations create a pulsating hypnotic effect. On the contrary, the 2nd and 6th variations "Variation II" are much slower. The theme resemble a little the one used for the "Bolero" suite on HELDON's album "Stand By", one year later. The 3rd variation is mid-tempo, while the 5th one is the most original by mixing slow and fast sequences. The 7th variation is the longest and maybe the most interesting, as it features additional sound effects. "Duncan Idaho" consists also in a slow electronic loop that may have been used as a draft for HELDON's "Bolero" suite too. A little repetitive, but enjoyable.

The 30 minutes epic "Paul Atreides" sounds more like typical HELDON. The reason is that band members Didier Batard, at bass, and François Auger, at drums, participate at this track. Pinhas also adds guitar and mellotron to weave landscapes devastated by war, like on planet Dune. Although a bit long and dissonant, this futuristic drone composition is more varied, disturbed and immersive than the other ones. Nice. Where did I leave my spaceship?

Despite lengthy passages, "Chronolyse" is overall pleasant and more convincing than Richard Pinhas' first official solo release, "Rhizosphère". If you enjoy HELDON or repetitive electronic music, then this album is quite recommended.

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OSE France
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SAB Japan
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SOFTWARE Germany
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YOU Germany
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