Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Michael Hoenig - Departure From The Northern Wasteland CD (album) cover


Michael Hoenig


Progressive Electronic

3.77 | 53 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars This is without a doubt the first electronic music album I ever heard, way back around the time it was released, when I was still in grade school. My father played it a lot, and even at that young age I was fascinated by it. This is the kind of electronic music (which by 1978 had already been perfected by the likes of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, though I did not know this at the time) that drifts gently but insistently on a mobile sequenced note pattern, taking a long time to slowly develop from a quiet drone through a melodic synthesizer improvisation, and receding back into a quiet drone again. So goes the side-long title track, which even today plays like a soundtrack to my youth. It's a "travel" piece, an electronic voyage whose goal is not to dazzle nor surprise nor frighten, but to paint a picture, a mind movie.

Side two opens with the similar "Hanging Garden Transfer", also built on an arpeggiated sequencer riff, but the mood has a greater tension, more urgency than before. "Voices of Where" has several minutes of rhythm-less drone, gradually replaced by a mass of chanting voices. A fairly disposable track. But the final track is really something else - "Sun and Moon", a brief 4 minute number that, though built on the same basic template as the other sequencer pieces, actually has the feel of a song with a verse/chorus format. I don't recall Tangerine Dream doing much of that kind of thing by 1978. It's a lovely melodic piece with a lead organ sounding akin to an oboe, a very nice touch.

For personal reasons, this is my "go-to" electronic album. Other reviewers have correctly pointed out that there's nothing really new going on here (though I might challenge them to show me another example of a short piece like "Sun and Moon"), and that other more accomplished artists had already done the same thing better. But it has a long history with me personally, and even today with the benefit of a greater familiarity with electronic music, I still think of it as a highly enjoyable, very accessible example of its genre. It's highly melodic, fairly simple, and has plenty of atmosphere. I have no issue recommending it highly to anyone interested in 1970s electronic music - it's not too challenging, but not everything great needs to be.

HolyMoly | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this MICHAEL HOENIG review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives