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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FRANK KLARE: Solodreams (1986/2012)

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

Already Solodreams was an essential work of Berlin School EM to have, the way that SynGate now presents it makes of it a must!

1 Monomode (Part I) 29:15

2 New Age 5:09

3 Sequence Spheres 2:54

4 Fantasia 3:45  

5 Rhythm Runner 4:38

6 Living Dreams 4:59

7 Monomode (Part II) 23:14

(CD-r 73:56) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Thank you SynGate! Thank you for making us discovering some EM's hidden treasures, in particular from the Berlin School style. Frank Klare is a brilliant German musician/synthesist whose talent has never overtaken the borders of his country. Strongly inspired by the musical vapors of Klaus Schulze, he is interested by EM at a very young age and created with Mirko Lüthge the band SYNCO (for SYNthesizer COoperation) in the middle of the 80's. The duet buys then equipments and instruments from Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. They compose an EM which is inspired by the new wave of electronic digital sound, while having a strong penchant for the long musical structures of the former days. SYNCO will release 5 cassettes between 1985 and 1993, all out of print since years and of which we can find the charms on the other hand on 2 compilations offered by SynGate. In parallel Frank Klare begins a solo career which comprises about twenty cassettes or albums since his very first one; SOLODREAMS back in 1986. Firstly released in cassette, it went out of print quite early and popped out on bootlegged versions during the Napster years. The German label SynGate, always in its quest to make discover the most beautiful jewels of contemporary EM, dusts the tablets of time and releases a version, remasterised by Pete Farn. Sat up on the same precepts as SYNCO, we hear through this album a clear influence for the fiery rhythms and the melodic structures of Tangerine Dream and especially for the long hypnotic crescendos of Klaus Schulze with the magnificent Monomode (Part II) which is highly inspired by the Timewind and Moondawn years. The project of SynGate is ambitious. Besides remasterised the album, Pete Farn works on some unreleased music that Klare wrote in the course of his first solo years and mixes an album entitled Solomode. Now each album, SOLODREAMS and Solomode, can be bought separately. But if you buy both albums you will also receive a bonus album which consists as a long remixed track of both Monomode (Part I) and Monomode (Part II); the Monomode album. Audacious project, because the limitations of the sources are sounding with all the charms of former days. In brief, it is a real return in time with the wonderful surprise which opens SOLODREAMS for the greatest pleasure of the Epicureans ears.

We can't speak about Monomode, both parts, without making constantly links with the ambiospheric and floating structures of Klaus Schulze and of his Body Love years. The hooting of the electronic bats and the fine shy solos which unwind their twisted harmonies in some nebulas mists which catch the crescendo of a ghost rhythm are magnificent elements which converted thousands of followers to the music of Klaus Schulze. And this is just not an imitation. It's a work that would have easily slide in between Moondawn and Body Love. I will write more in depth about Monomode (Part I), which is a bonus track here, and Monomode (Part II) in my review about Monomode. Except that I can already say to you that we have here 55 minutes of pure analog happiness. Simply magical! Soft synth lines are waving in a paradisiacal sky where stars sing with delicate dreamy solos.

After this soft oneiric intro, New Age hangs on to a Teutonic rhythm which pounds with its arrhythmic jolts under some fine solos of which the harmonies, as fluty as digital, strongly remind the universe of Tangerine Dream. This is a very charming track. Sequence Spheres lets hear a pulsing conveyor where the sequences stamp ardently around heavy pulsations. It's a rhythm in two lively parallel phases which evolves subtly towards a heavy synth pop where are singing lyrical and melodious synth solos. Fantasia pops out from the electronic limbs with harmonious slender impulses from synthesizers which quietly let hear a sonic and rhythmic pattern which breaths the Thief soundtrack still from Tangerine Dream. Although the melodious approach differs, the linear rhythm of Rhythm Runner approaches the one of Sequence Spheres with indomitable sequences which sparkle and skip on the resonances of the pulsations and the gallop of the percussions. The harmonious envelope is rather difficult to describe, but the musical ambiences of the Dream are teeming all over the 4 minutes 38. As well as these surprising percussions and/or sequences which resound as wooden castanets. This is quite catchy and really brilliant. Also very ear attractive, Living Dreams weaves a superb musical itch where the rhythm and the harmonies embrace those soundtracks of the romantic French movies of the 70's. It's a beautiful electronic ballad of which the analog perfumes flow all over these very catchy melodic phases that the Dream used to hide in their long structures of former days. Monomode (Part II) ends the cassette, from which the charms should of never have been cloistered, with a heavy pulsating rhythm where the crystalline spectres of KS decorated a heavy crescendo that I will speak to you in Monomode.

In spite of its old-fashioned sounding, its limited tape sources, its Teutonic rhythms and harmonies which remind indefatigably the beautiful years where EM exploded of all its charms, as analog as digital, this SOLODREAMS from Frank Klare remains an essential work to have. It is a real hearing journey in time with structures, rhythms and melodies where we can affix it a sigh, a souvenir. We close our eyes and we remember ourselves the harmonies of the Dream, the sequencing of Chris Franke and the breathlessness of the rhythms fed by his bucolic percussions. And Monomode? Ah...this is another story. And quite a whole one which is simply brilliant.

Sylvain Lupari (October 21st, 2013) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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