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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT SCHROEDER: 30 Years After (2009)

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

A quick musical overlook on the career of one of the great names of contemporary EM

1 30 Years Before 2:14

2 Hypnotics 8:10

3 All You Can Dream 9:52

4 Modifiers 7:43

5 Let It Flow 5:04

6 Destination Galactica 8:35

7 A New Message 11:21

8 Mood Control 14:25

9 30 Years After 8:24

(CD/CD-r 75:48) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School, New Beat EM)

For 30 years now, Robert Schroeder has been charming us with his music that constantly follows a tangent as innovative as it is confusing. And to celebrate the event, the man of a thousand rhythms and equally diverse musical visions presents an album that is a musical overview of his 30 years. 30 YEARS AFTER is not a compilation, but rather a creative fresco that represents the different rhythmic orientations of an artist who is the precursor of an EM that has been called down tempo, hip-hop and electronic groove.

30 Years Before opens with a short retrospective of Harmonic Ascendant, an album released in 1979, with as musical theme the fabulous intro of this cult track. Under a voice ochred of a tetanized veil, Robert explains the vagaries of a time when creativity was the major stake in the conception of a work of EM. Slowly we deviate on the more modern rhythm of Hypnotics with a sequence built on percussions and a hypnotic pulsing bass line where an electronic guitar scatters its chords among a solitary piano and spontaneous avalanches of percussions; a trademark of Schroeder's beats. Looped strata, slaved over by veiled vocals, overhang this musical sweetness that forms in a spatial approach. All You Can Dream picks up the pace a bit with fine chords from an E-guitar and groovy percussions that are layered in an enveloping synth and a beautiful, sultry bass line. Slightly strobe-like, the sequences encircle a movement that veers between cosmic and downtempo over a gorgeous piano that blends into a random sequenced approach as well as brief oratorical incursions by the German synthesist. Here, as throughout the opus, the synth adopts tight movements and floats with a dreamy cosmic wandering that recalls the early movements of EM. Percussions, somewhat like arrhythmic pulses, opens a Modifiers that howls through a caustic synth. Early on, the movement gets jerky and explodes over percussions that roll like chimerical thunders in a sphere slowed down by heavy synth layers. Towards the second minute, the rhythm becomes more sustained on a good set of percussions and a heavy and spasmodic sinusoidal enveloped by a no less heavy synth. A track very close to the Chemical Brothers' techno (whose Schroeder inspiration is obvious) that has a punch and that will make any dance floor vibrate, especially with its heavy resonant bass.

Let it Flow is in another register with a more mellow approach. Pulses, bass and pulsating chords evolve on a rhythm slowed down by a dreamy structure. Beautiful, soft and sensual, as only the musician can do with his synth bursts that make circles like a finger makes circles in the water. Destination Galactica's choppy intro rolls with cascading oscillations under layers from a catchy synth. The movement is girded by a rotating sequence in a sound mold punctuated by strong random rolling percussions. It is a long track on a rhythmic approach fractured by flexible permutations whose synth strata fly over heavy jerky reverberations. A New Message is the pearl of pearls on 30 YEARS AFTER. A languorous rhythm on an E-guitar that releases its notes in the shadow of a romantic nostalgia whose breaths get lost in the softness of a slightly undulating cadence. Floating, dreamy and wonderfully tender, it is candy for the soul and the ears. Heavy tribal pounding fused with a sensual bass and a floating synth with a lively sparkle; this is the structure of Mood Control. The longest track on his 20th album exploits a hypnotic rhythm with short cosmic raids. Wavering between space music and vitamin-powered rhythms, Robert Schroeder closes 30 YEARS AFTER with 30 Years After. It starts with a cosmic intro that gets lit up by percussions knocking on the doors of cosmos, creating a suave, shuffling rhythm over a waltzing synth from which the saxophone solos flavor the mood with beautiful harmonious tirades. It's electronic poetry draped with a mellotron choir that swarms wonderfully over an opus that is a splendid and poetic return on the career of one of the great names of contemporary electronic music.

Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2009) ***½**

Available at Spheric Music

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