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Wolfgang Riechmann

Progressive Electronic

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Wolfgang Riechmann Wunderbar album cover
3.14 | 19 ratings | 4 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wunderbar (5:40)
2. Abendlicht (4:21)
3. Weltweit (7:00)
4. Silberland (7:41)
5. Himmelblau (8:38)
6. Traumzeit (1:11)

Total Time: 33:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Wolfgang Riechmann / electronics

Releases information

CD Sky Record B000025ITL (1978)

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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WOLFGANG RIECHMANN Wunderbar ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (53%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WOLFGANG RIECHMANN Wunderbar reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars The title "Wunderbar" certainly describes this obscure relic of electronic Krautrock, the first and (tragically) last album by multi- instrumentalist Wolfgang Riechmann, a gifted musician whose life was cut short before his solo career had even begun. Previously Riechmann had played keyboards and guitar in the mainstream German Prog band STREETMARK, but nothing in the more conventional sound of that ensemble compares to the uncluttered maturity of his own album.

It was released the same year as KRAFTWERK's "Die Mensch Maschine" (1978), and you can draw more than one parallel line between the two albums. Both grew out of the fertile musical landscape of Düsseldorf in the mid-1970s; both draw from a similar well of modern electronic music; and the cover art of each shares the same striking affection for colorful lipstick and makeup, in Riechmann's case favoring a ghostly metallic blue over the bold scarlet design of Kraftwerk's Man Machine image.

But the similarities end there. Riechmann's own music is far less robotic than his Kling Klang compatriots, and that welcome human touch (call it Kraftwerk with heart) is what makes it special. The upbeat title track in particular shows a much warmer side to the otherwise antiseptic style of synthetic pop music then coming into vogue, with a simple, catchy rhythm supporting a melody sounding not unlike a Bavarian folk tune updated to the electronic age. The creative layering of atmospheric synths and gently treated guitar give the music an unexpected richness, but with enough repetition to qualify it as a Krautrock classic.

Another highlight is "Himmelblau" (Sky Blue), at 8+ minutes the longest track on the album, featuring waves of pastel synth strings washing over another toe-tapping motorik beat, with Riechmann's singing (a series of cheerful, childlike "la la las") recalling NEU's resident proto punk Klaus Dinger on a diet of happy pills. Contrast that to the album closer, "Traumzeit" (Dreamtime), a brief cinematic coda built on little more than a single throbbing bass note reverberating into the void.

The album could have been the start of something big, but just before it was released Riechmann was stabbed to death in a Düsseldorf bar fight, a senseless waste of his young life and a crime that deprived us of a promising talent. Thirty years later I can't, in all fairness, award his final creative effort more than three respectable stars, a reflection of the album's too modest length (only 33 minutes) and sadly unfulfilled potential. But the music itself is no less fresh than it was in 1978, and deserves to be remembered fondly regardless of the tragic circumstances surrounding it.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There's a direct filiation between Wolgang Riechmann unique album called Wunderbar and Dusseldorf 70's motoric electro pop (from Kraftwerk, La Dusseldorf...). Wunderbar is made of short robotic electronic ambiences covered by static voices and really efficient, catchy melodies. The music reveals a fidelity with Kraftwerk's classic Trans Europe Express period with its almost dancing, post modern mechanical electronic songs. Wunderbar opens the album with a retro-futurist dancing theme. Abendlicht is a much more serious, vibrant & cerebral theme including long floating synthesized strings, slow-cardiac hypno pulses. This is a superb catchy sci-fi electronic composition within a rather moody, dark path (simiar to Adelbert Von Deyen in his first and second efforts). Weltweit is an astral, moving electronic composition featuring common like cosmic melodies and endless running arpeggios (in the genre of Tangerine Dream's Virgin era). Silberland is an immensely powerful and spaced out composition that could be written by Edgar Froese. The album closes with the enchanting, surrounded abstract electronic drama called traumzeit. This album is highly recommended for fans of 70's Berlin and Dusseldorf's experimental electronic underground.
Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars A lost talent?

I have owned this album for quite a long time, but it was not until recently that I got interested in exploring it. This is the first and last release of Wolfgang Riechmann, a musician that was thought to have a great future after releasing an album with the Dusseldorf group STREETMARK and embarking on a solo career at the end of 1977. The main influences for his compositions are said to be deriving from the Berlin school (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze etc.) and the Düsseldorf School (Kraftwerk) of electronic music.

Having limited knowledge of progressive electronic, I can indeed identify some elements in this album that clearly bring Kraftwerk to mind. As described elsewhere in his biography, the melodies in this album are simple, even simplistic, but they are solid and reveal the artist's personality. Quite distinct and beautiful at times, though following repetitive patterns, the sounds of the album create a unique atmosphere. The title track that kicks off the album follows a mid-tempo pop rhythm based on a single (but attractive) melody accompanied by a solid bass background and sounds that resemble to music of American westerns... one of the highlights of this release. 'Abendlicht' follows on a slightly different pattern, in a more 'dreamspace' atmosphere with 'torturously' slow changes in the notes.

'Weltweit' introduces more eastern sounds and gradually turns to a completely modern electronic track in the vein of Kraftwerk, leaving Riechmann to improvise on the keyboards - while the flow is smooth, the track failed to impress me, mainly due to repetition. 'Silberland' flows more or less on the same pattern, however, this time, the harmonies take a more dramatic and 'majestic' approach, filling the sound in this track beautifully, revealing the true potential of Riechmann to create solid, 'brimful' melodies. While the previous tracks sounded sad and danced on dark tunes, 'Himmelblau' flows on an 'otimistic', slightly cheerful mid-tempo (accompanied even by 'happy' vocal sounds on the background), returning to the electronic pop rhythms set at the beginning of this record. Not far off its predecessors, the longest track of the album does not escape from repetition, leaving the short 'Traumzeit' to sum up the album, with a similar melody to 'Silberland' which possibly represnts the most interesting moment.

I believe that prog-electronic fans would agree that there is an unfulfilled potential with this album, as Riechmann was not allowed to prove his abilities in further releases. I have the feeling that these melodies had formed the basis for something better than just a good album...

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Wunderbar is Wolfgang Riechmann's only album and consists of progressive electro- pop not too unlike the work of Kraftwerk, only less mechanic. Wunderbar is much spacier and airy than Kraftwerk's music, as well a bit more optimistic in tone. Each track on this albums is very close to the sound that Tangerine Dream was accomplishing on Phaedra, with the catchy melodies and steady slightly-bassy sequencing, only these tracks are much shorter. Some of the tracks on Wunderbar sound too similar to eachother, giving this album a negative quality of redundancy, which leads me to believe that Wolfgang Reichmann ran out of steam due to lack of creative ideas - the reason why this is his only album. But the reason for this being his only album is much more unfortunate - he was stabbed and killed before this album was even released.

Wunderbar isn't a bad listen, and is actually a decent, obscure gem among the rest of the progressive electronic on this site. The only real problem is that this is a sound that has been perfected by many other, better artists in the genre.

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