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Level Pi - Entrance CD (album) cover


Level Pi



4.05 | 3 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars LEVEL π (that's the Greek letter PI) is the alter ego of the Berlin School and Krautrock addicted German musician Use Cremer, born in 1965 in Düsseldorf and currently residing in Cologne. Having grown up in the fertile German underground, Cremer has steadfastly refused to leave the scene that put Germany on the map behind. Although his musical output has included more contemporary sounds such as post-punk, gothic rock and even trip hop, Cremer's musical inspirations seem most heavily rooted in the Berlin School world of Klaus Schultze and the progressive electronic sensibilities of Kraftwerk. Add to that the space rock guitar sounds that oscillate between classic Pink Floyd and the more homegrown style of Manuel Göttsching.

As LEVEL π, Cremer has released four albums to date with this debut ENTRANCE hitting the scene in 2006 on the Garden of Delights label which is a strange thing for a label that specializes in reissues rather than contemporary releases. This album of eight tracks would've fit right in among the 70s trippers of the day as it pretty much exists in the same vacuous caverns of the mind brought to life by the sonic tones and textures of cleverly crafted synthesizer manipulations and sparse percussive grooves with the occasional guitar wails to connect it with the Earthly plane.

"No Cello," the 12 minute opener takes a cue from 70s Krautrock in the vein of Ashram Tempel with gnarled electronic sound effects swirling over a more modern trip hop styled beat. The guitar solos emerge from the Pink Floyd playbook and although not exactly dripping in originality, still offers an interesting mix of elements not usually sitting side by side although if someone were to tell you that this came out in the late 70s and has remained an obscurity ever since then it certainly would not sound out of place and is quite convincing in its dedication to the authentic zeitgeist of that place and time.

As "King Arthur's Mantra" continues, the electronic aspects become ever more disfigured and float freely like a helium balloon hovering in the sky and subject to the randomness of the atmospheric changes however it still retains that trip hop beat to give it some sort of containment but by the time we get to the third track "Hubble's Dream - The Beginning" we have completely broken free of Earth's gravitational pull and are drifting somewhere outside of the galaxy with ominous droning effects in the dramatic world of the Berlin School electronica that sounds exactly like something from 70s Klaus Schulze.

This continues with the second part "Hubble's Dream - Dream Without End" only adds some obvious 70s Pink Floyd moments in how the melody punctuated by bass stabs enters the scene. The musical motif unfortunately goes from Floydian influence to near plagiarism but does evoke the ultimate "what if Pink Floyd collaborated with Klaus Schulze" moment. The first vocals emerge on "Bad Weather" but offer a feeble delivery that reminds me of some of those prog bands of the 70s who didn't bother to hire a decent vocalist which always drags the overall experience down a bit, however considering the album is almost predominantly instrumental, this little blip isn't OMG horrible.

The album concludes with the three part "Level Pi" which is the ultimate strewn out tribute to Floydian dreams decorated with Berlin School regalia. The ultimate fusion of these styles and not a bad one however by the end of this album it's obvious that too much attention was placed on crafting catchy pop hooks enshrouded by electronic atmospheric ambience rather than crafting an album that takes the Berlin School ambitions of the 70s and carries them into new arenas where they maintain that sense of otherworldliness and escapism. In the end this is a decent album to experience for sure but the overbearing Pink Floyd moments seem to detract from the moments where the album is really starting to take you for a ride across the galaxy.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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