DRIFTIN' THOUGHTS: Secret Dimensions (1997)
“This is an honest album which keeps this cachet of the EM albums of this period. Besides the long title-track is one of the very good from those years”
1 The Spirit of the Trees 6:50 2 Silence After Midnight 2:50 3 Rain 4:31 4 Secret Dimensions (Parts 1-4) 19:01 5 Panta Rhei 6:41 6 Windward 3:54 7 Disguised Illusions 6:23 8 StrangeLand 8:51 9 Broken Mirrors 5:23 10 Serenity 5:33 11 Forgotten Places 3:38 Spheric Music | SMCD 8001
(CD 74:56) (V.F.) (E-Rock & New Berlin School)
The 80's and 90's represent a little the dark side of EM of the Berlin School style. Abandoned by its main leaders who vainly tried a more commercial approach, the kind has waded in a creative slump where the emergent artists, and even some of the golden era, have tried hard to ally both poles. It was doubtless the starting point of the New Berlin School. Several names appeared with a short series of albums and are disappeared in the creative labyrinths of EM. Driftin' Thoughts is part of this category! This project of the German musician Marcus Hildebrandt counts a thin total of 3 albums plus some titles that we find on uncountable compilations which appeared on various labels of this time besides a compilation of unedited tracks released in 2000 on the Spheric Music label. Apparently inspired by the approach of Tangerine Dream's most melodious years, SECRETS DIMENSIONS, also released on Spheric Music in 1997, proposes a very beautiful mosaic of styles which represented at that time the twist of the Berliner style towards a more concise approach where the melodious side and the rhythms of the digital synths dominated now all this analog side that the pioneers had developed in the 70's.
The Spirit of the Trees starts things up with a structure of circular rhythm. The sequencing, as discreet as sneaky, draw oblong 8 while the percussions build a structure which balances between electronic rock and a good New Berlin School with another movement of sequences of which the keys cavort and are fool around out of time of the very linear approach of the main movement. The movement and the melody remind me of Johannes Schmoelling and the effects of percussions hook on the spot the attention of those who like the colors of sounds. It's a great opening! And if we like this kind of electronic rock highly inspired by TD's Jive years, we shall like this album. Especially with titles as Disguised Illusions, StrangeLand and Serenity which alternate between a good e-rock, dance music and a bit of Electronica with a Techno zest. The melodious approach is at the heart of this collection of small titles and Driftin' Thoughts offers to us beautiful ballads tinted with a romanticism a la Tyranny of Beauty and Turn of the Tides years. I think of titles like Rain, Windward and Broken Mirrors with Dirk Radtke's very edgy guitar. Here, Linda Spa's essences soak these moods of Easy Listening of these 3 titles. The atmospheric side is also very present with tracks such as Silence After Midnight, Forgotten Places as well as the good morphic ballad of Panta Rhei.
From good e-rock to cosmic/ambient moods while going from Electronica as well as to syrupy ballads, Marcus Hildebrandt also proposes a very good evolutionary piece of music with the very long title Secret Dimensions (Parts 1-4). The adventure begins with layers of synth which float over the echoes of some crystal drops and of which the ringings resound in a submerged cave. The voice of Andrea Hoffmann, that can also be heard on StrangeLand, waltzes lazily with these layers which spread a cosmic aura, bringing a touch of esotericism to the introduction of this key title which is flooded with the influences of Tangerine Dream from Le Parc era. The sequences begin to stir some 90 seconds later. The alloy with the percussions gives tones of the Hyde Park track. Flooded of layers and of cosmic effects, the rhythm is heavily harpooned by percussions while the sequences get wriggle all over this structure which always looks for its melodic approach. The approach lives in fact in the sequencing pattern and when the title dives towards a short ambiospherical phase, the rhythm returns with clothes of e-rock in a style which is more into Jean-Michel Jarre. The percussions are very enticing at this point. Solos abound also in this part with a touch clearly more melodic than sequences. The three phases structure of this long title remind me a little of the brilliant Travelling Tune that we find on the album Breezing Sequence from TeeKay, released in 1989 on Innovative Communication.
SECRETS DIMENSIONS is an honest album which keeps this cachet of the EM albums of this period. Those who are fond of these more rock and more ballad periods of Tangerine Dream will be delighted by this album where Johannes Schmoelling's essence and those superb effects of percussions, one of the main attractions of this album, are what stands out the most. And Secret Dimensions (Parts 1-4) is one of the very good titles to have emerged from this time.
Sylvain Lupari (October 13th, 2016) ***½**
Available at Spheric Music