ROBERT SCHROEDER: BackSpace (2014)
“This is yet another fine album of dance music and of diversified beats well wrapped in a little vision of Berlin School”
1 SpaceRace 8:15 2 StarDust 6:27 3 BackSpace 13:16 4 Electron Drive 6:25 5 Floating Lights 8:44 6 Behind the Universe 4:12 7 Dream Reminder 9:15 8 Dark Matter 5:03 9 Waves of Imagination 5:53 10 Wake Up 4:54 Spheric Music | SMCD-2032
(CD 73:00) (V.F.) (Cosmic Dance Music)
Like a thick cloud of metallic wings, the cosmic winds of SpaceRace squeak with power before fading in the mist of more ethereal breezes. The noise is resounding! The beatings persist, but they are held at bay by the mooing of a kind of intergalactic siren while some sequenced keys go and come into an uncertain pattern of rhythm. Heavy beatings fall. And the introduction frees other sequenced keys which skip such as steps of Bambi in a pond frozen by the reflections of the ambient tssitt-tssitt before spinning like a legion of will-o'-the-wisp on a stroboscopic line. Until now ambient, the rhythm throws its static swiftness in the kicks of the percussions and the motionless harmonies of the fanciful violins. It's no more a space race, but rather a space rock with a vicious guitar which pitches its solos in the shape of wah-wah in some lively orchestrations of which the increasing flow draws a fascinating intergalactic ride knotted by movements of saccades. And as nothing is ever ended in the structures of Robert Schroeder, some voices invite each other in the dance and add an astral depth while the violins burst out, bringing the listener into a core of a hearing pleasure until then reserved to the philharmonic genre of Bernd Kistenmacher.
SpaceRace warms well our ears and gives the kick-off to another Robert Schroeder's album where the rhythms change skins in an immense gyrating crossroads, as sonic as rhythmic. Well dressed in his clothes of intergalactic DJ, Robert Schroeder offers a rhythmic diversity with percussions which click as much as float, which peck as much as tickle and sequences which quiver as much as resound, which vibrate as much as crawl in another mosaic of varied rhythms where the wealth of sounds and the decorations of ambiances are the privilege of his artistic signature. Whether it's Berlin School, as in SpaceRace, danceable groove or still IDM and even ambient music, as in these peaceful and cosmic Floating Lights and Dream Reminder, the synthesist of Aachen takes the bet to seduce the fans of Berlin School by offering an panoply of rhythms which stamp, skip and wave in the unique fragrances which perfume his impressive discography of more than 30 albums. In fact, one to see BACKSPACE as a kind of fusion between Robert Schroeder and Food for Fantasy. Between his Paradise and his incursions in dance music with his volumes of Chill Club and New Frequencies. And our ears will be as well perplexed as enchanted in front of such an outfit of rhythms, tones and moods. Imagine a big intergalactic gargoyle which caws while rolling his hips on a slow rhythm and you have StarDust. The percussions click and resound, entailing a line of discreet bass and evasive riffs in cosmic mists. Here as everywhere else, Schroeder multiplies stunning synth solos which switch subtly their cosmic perfumes and their long striking solos filled of harmonious modulations for fragrances of jazz with striking tones of saxophone. The ambiences are not outdone. Spattered by allegorical sound paintings and by quirky tones, they surprise the ear with a dosage balanced well between the known and the unknown. The rhythms are also just like the moods by exchanging their static states in order to take more swiftness.
The title-track is a good example. Its intro hooks a musing to our ears with its cloud of evasive voices which hum some long and passive ahhh on a nest of oscillations braided by fluids amplitudes. Some delicate riffs fall at the same time as sober percussions, eaten by tssitt-tssitt, drawing a kind of disco- funk which skips such as a one-legged man on a marble carpet. The oscillations maintain the ambient approach and the jazzy harmonies as well as those gurgling sequences, adding so a sonic painting to a rhythm which embraces a new skin. BackSpace adopts then quietly a tangent of semi technoïd and semi disco where the little wings of steel toast with organic oscillations and these riffs of soft groovy. The track falls into a delirious spheroidal phase, which is not really far from the stroboscopic twists, with superb solos, filled of electronic guitar fragrances, which wriggle violently in the gurglings of sequences. Oscillatory and hopping, BackSpace plays over its 9 minutes to drag the listener in the meanders of a music where the cosmic ambiences go hand in hand with rhythms slightly suntanned by airs of funk, techno and groove. It's dance music at its best, like Electron Drive, Dark Matter and Waves of Imagination, which are a bit less progressive. The jingles of the percussions which machine-gun the ambient rhythm of Behind the Universe make quiver the moods which remind me of London from Tangerine Dream that we find on Tyger. Wake Up ends this album with a lively rhythm, doubtless the most explosive on this last Schroeder's album. The jerky riffs rains down on a powerful, imaginative and lively IDM. This contagious beat makes wave the dance floors with lines of bass and sequences which caw languishingly, and with percussions which roll under the intense fire of the tssitt-tssitt.
BACKSPACE is rather an album of dance music which is well coated by ambiences of Berlin School than the opposite. I do not really agree with the play of comparisons which establishes the link with Slow Motion or still the brilliant Ferro Oxid. I hear much more a fusion of Club Chill or New Frequencies with the essences of these 2 albums here. But no matter, Robert Schroeder never makes anything half. And BACKSPACE is a value more that sure for those who like the funk and groovy rhythms wrapped up well in lunar moods and bloody well furnished by synths to the harmonies as improbable as these splendid solos which make us open wide ears.
Sylvain Lupari (November 13th, 2014) ***½**