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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MIND OVER MATTER: Music for Paradise (1987/2007)

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Music for Paradise is the astral door to a fascinating universe that will propel Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock in the firmament of EM's unmissable names

1 Paradise 22:29 

a) Being One (Air) 6:54  

b) One Being (Water) 4:43  

c) Changes of Being (Fire) 4:37  

d)  Being Home Again (Earth) 6:15  

2 The End of Time 9:19  

3 Kandy Sweets 6:14  

4 The Silence 7:14

5 Ganga (The Live Version) 10:20  

6 North Star 4:48

IC 80.059 (LP 48:54)

IC 872359-2 (CD 64:06) (V.F.)

(Ambient, spiritual, tribal and Berlin School EM)

Finally, a first chronicle of Mind Over Matter's music on Synth & Sequences. And what could be better than to start with the very first album, MUSIC FOR PARADISE. But let's talk first of all about the man behind this project; Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, aka Cosmic Hoffmann, whose first steps in music were guided by guitar and drums. It's by hearing symphonic rock that the German guitarist, born in Duisburg in 1951, discovered a passion for keyboards and synthesizers, but especially for the Mellotron whose opening of Watcher of the Sky by Genesis had totally enchanted him during a concert in 1972. After playing with the German group Alma Ata at the end of the 70's, he set up the band Cosmic Hoffmann at the dawn of the 80's. And then during a trip to Asia, he created Mind Over Matter in 1986. The music would be inspired by Hindu spiritual essences and would be a sensorial sound adventure for the imagination whose first lines emanated from this long composition that he has been weaving for almost 3 years; Paradise. One thing was clear; Mind Over Matter would be like nothing. And over 25 years later, Mind Over Matter and Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock remain as mystical as they are incomparable. And here is where this fascinating musical adventure has begun…

And it's a whole universe of paradisiacal idleness that Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock knitted for our ears. Arpeggios with glass tones fall into delicate periodic cascades, like a sonic waterfall flowing from the sky to caress the trees and the songs of their inhabitants. Chirps of bird are cooing behind this frame of tranquility where a fine morning mist rises and where quietly a gentle and bewitching rhythm is born from the bass chords of Heinz Weidenbrück. Everything is woven in delicacy in order to bring the listener to a phase of meditative rest. Paradise Being One (Air) comes to life with a fine tempo with percussion tablas drummed by Peter Jörgens who accompany this soporific procession. And voices of gurus incant a song of hypnosis which is very discreet, just like the chords erased from the guitar and from this piano with its delicate enchanting melody, behind a misty layer that has become denser. We hardly notice the crescendo at the end of the movement as the guitar weaves scraps of a recurring melody and that One Being (Water) pours with its guitar strata which float behind a slightly more bluesy approach. Suave, the mellotron disperses its mist as much as short fluty chants, while gradually we move forward in the very bewitching Paradise with Changes of Being (Fire) and its heavy guitar which spits solos of fire behind the clamours of a troubled civilization. Changes of Being (Fire) is the culmination with a more dramatic approach where the guitar tears apart ambiences became more boosted with strident solos which will become the trademark, the musical signature of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. The awakening is as brutal as the music can be delicious. And Being Home Again (Earth) brings us back to the contemplative phases with a mellotron that blows the flute, while taking up the main theme, both ambient and melodious, of Being One (Air).

When MUSIC FOR PARADISE was originally published, this Paradise track used to fill the side A of the LP which was released on Innovative Communication (IC 80.059) in 1987. The End of Time started the B side with a heavy ambiospheric movement and with Yves Greder who narrates the end of time, and its rebirth, in an intense multi-sonic canvas. The striations, the laments and the spasms of a wandering six-strings get intertwine to breathes and breezes of a mellotron at both harmonious and bellicose, as well as loaded by esoteric scents. Kandy Sweets stands out in this ambient universe with a lovely ballad that breathes contemplative happiness. It's a kind of tribal folk with an ambient rhythmic pattern undulating under the claws of a sitar which shares its harmonies with a mixture of guitar/synth and a delicate mellotron which blows its flute songs in a rural Sri Lankan universe. At the time, The Silence closed the album. The title is rich in atmospherical elements with its long resonant tenebrous winds which let filter out harmonic particles shattered by a dark mellotron and a very meditative keyboard.

In 2007, MUSIC FOR PARADISE was reissued on CD by IC (872359-2) with two bonus tracks. Ganga (The Live Version) is a lascivious spiritual dance with superb sounds of flutes singing on a bewitching line of a piano which disperses its melody under a swarm of tribal percussions. The ambiences are very cinematic with a high level of intensity and where tribal elements such as sitars, bells, Sri Lankan voices and breaths of raucous gurus refine a slow rhythm that dandles in a state of hypnosis and beneath the pharaonic breaths of the mellotron. North Star borrows the atonal phases of The Silence while releasing a subtle bouquet of Paradise. Is you are a Mellotron lover, this album is loaded by some very beautiful Mellotron raids.

MUSIC FOR PARADISE is a phenomenal album where Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock stamps the EM universe with a new seal for the ambient genre. A meditative environment, as creative as progressive, where relaxation music takes on a whole new meaning. When there is rhythm, it's by slow and intuitive visions. When they are atmospherical phases, they are rich and very enveloping, nourishing each moment with a sonic image which takes the form that we think of. MUSIC FOR PARADISE is the astral door of a fascinating universe which will propels Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock to the firmament of the essential figures of contemporary EM. A superb album which requires a few listenings and which over time is a must of the genre that I can only highly recommend.

Sylvain Lupari (September 8th, 2013) *****

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