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Soniq Theater - Brandenburg CD (album) cover

BRANDENBURG

Soniq Theater

 

Crossover Prog

3.07 | 5 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Soniq Theater as the bio says, is a one man band, the project of Alfred Mueller. The album "Brandenburg" is his 2019 self- released album and is available as a FLAC download on bandcamp.com or on his self-released CD-R. The music is completely created electronically and on keyboards, but in the case of this album, there are 3 tracks that feature guitarist Ralph Brandenburger. These tracks are "Antarctica", "Brandenburg" and "Mariana Rift (guitar version)".

The tracks that stand out more are the more authentic sounding tracks, especially those that utilize the real (not processed or manipulated) electric guitar as these have a better feeling of authenticity to them. "Antarctica" is especially great and is the perfect opener. Even the drums sound real on this one, and it is more progressive sounding, but with an accessible sound. The guitar work and the keyboard work is perfect on this track. But immediately after this, you get "Springtime in Siberia" which sounds more like something from early Rick Wakeman albums, not that it's a bad thing, but it does feel very non- organic.

"Brandenburg" follows this and is the 2nd with the guest guitarist. Again, this has a more authentic feel, but the overall track is not quite as interesting as the first, but it is good enough anyway. It reminds me more of "Manheim Steamroller" even though that band uses real instruments, the overall tone of it is similar to some of their music. The next track is "London Town" and I must say that I really enjoy this track. The percussion is done very well and sounds quite real. The lead instrument on this is the organ and that also helps in that nothing here sounds like it's trying to be something that it's not. It has a great, solid beat and an interesting melody and structure. It was actually a very, nice surprise.

"The Cyclades" is a short track that is simply a chord progression both ascending and descending. Not much happens on this one. "Weekend in Morocco" is pretty good, but other than the funky bass sound here, the music is definitely electronic sounding. After this, things seem to get not quite so interesting as we get into shorter tracks. The music isn't as authentic sounding again and I start to lose interest. I did notice that "NYC" has some similarities to Keith Emerson, but it ends up being buried amongst the less interesting sounding tracks.

The last track is actually a re-imagining of a track released on a previous album. The track is "Mariana Rift" and has more of a professional feel to it along the lines of "Tangerine Dream" from around the late 80s, even down to the sometimes European and sometimes Oriental influences that appear. This is also the 3rd track to feature the guest guitarist. It seems more time was spent on these three tracks that feature the guitarist and they seem better developed.

I find 4 worthwhile tracks on this album that seem like they were more perfected than the others, ("London Town" and the 3 tracks featuring Brandenburger) and had all of the songs had the care that these tracks had, then this would have easily been a 4 star album. But because there are several tracks in between that seem to have not been given as much time or effort in their final sound, the album feels a little uneven. However, the music is mostly enjoyable and interesting, though it leans on the more accessible side than it does on the progressive side, I feel that 3 stars is a good rating, even though there are a few 4 star tracks on here.

TCat | 3/5 |

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