woensdag 20 juli 2011

review: Moon Gangs, Jonas Reinhardt, Mist

Next to a revival of synth sounds from the 1980's there is also a whole world of retro psychedelic sounds that refer to the originals of the 1960's and 1970's. While the neo 1960's bands mostly are pop / rock orientated, like for example Woods and Crystal Stilts, the retro 1970's acts take their cue from the psychedelic synth patterns of Klaus Schulze and friends.

This Berliner Schule was centered around Klaus Schulze and the projects (Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and solo) he was involved with. Often the music was called Krautrock but this scene is also known under another, and better, name: Kosmische Scene.

While some bands and musicians had a definitely pop / rock background (Klaus Schuleze being one of them) there were many with a link to the world of classical/ art music (like Manuel Göttsching and of course Can).

Also today in this field of music you can hear and categorize the projects this way... either being more related to this art music world or very obviously being more of a pop music thing. This is not necessarily done on basis of the background of the musicians. I would rather claim the music itself tells it all.

For example take the debut tape by Moon Gangs. You get two long tracks called "Sea" and "Sky". Lush swirling synth patterns surround you in a way Klaus Schulze could have done it... or the way Klaus Schulze did this. About 40 years ago. Do not take me wrong... I love this tape by Moon Gangs. It is perfect. If want to relax and trip away a bit on mellow, soothing and friendly trance indulging tunes you do not need to look futher. But... it is very close to the original. Nothing new to be found here.

Then there is a new Jonas Reinhardt album called 'Music For The Tactile Dome', a title referring a bit to Brian Eno of course. Their last album was a bit more band orienated or even space rock in a way. This new record is more ambient and yes more Berliner Schule so to say. Funny detail is that the USA based band recorded this album in Berlin... So the ghost of the past did find its way into the machines and comes out in the spacey psychedelic tracks.

Still Jonas Reinhardt does not sound as close to the originals as Moon Gang does. Also the music is more complex at times. While Moon Gangs serves long minimalistic subtle drones of synth sounds, Jonas Reinhardt creates more evolving structures with new sounds and textures popping in from time to time. Still the overal structures are repetitive enough to catch your brainwaves and get you hooked for a trippy ride.

Again more minimalistic but also in a very different way is the album 'House' by Mist, which is their second album. This record I would claim leaves for the biggest part the pop and rock world behind... as this is much more Minimal Music in the sense of the contemporary classical music style. Think Terry Riley and think Steve Reich for example.

Mist composed seven tracks, pressed on a 2LP set, that are built around long repetitive pieces with subtle shifts and changes. These are not just minimalistic pieces of analogue synthesizers, but well considered compositions. Some tracks have that Berliner Schule touch maybe... but some others are definitely much closer to the world of art music / contemporary classical music. All this without being too academic or highbrow.

In the end I would recommend all three of the release as all are truly excellent in their own way... Happy tripping!

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