ROBERT SCHROEDER: D.MO Vol. 1 (1998)
Updated: May 7, 2022
“If you liked Robert Schroeder's first works, D.MO Vol.1 is a nice complement”
1 The Roots of the Spirit 12:43
2 Immaterial World 4:05
3 Jumpin' Energy 8:30
4 Frogs 4:17
5 Lullaby 6:06
6 Planetary Dance 6:21
7 Organyser 10:21
8 Dreamcream 4:57
9 Soundscape 4:16
10 Oberhausen 1981 Part 1 11:48
(CD-R 73:10) (V.F.)
(Experimental Berlin School)
With Harmonic Ascendant, released in 1979, Robert Schroeder has stamped electronic music (EM) with his own particular sound, a flowing synth with strident and melodious laments on a progressive minimalist rhythmic movement. At that time the musician from Aachen was building his own equipment, hence the singularity of his harmonies. This was followed by Floating Music, Mosaique and the sublime Galaxy Cygnus-A. A period strongly influenced by the Berlin School à la Klaus Schulze. And for some, it was his best phase. D.MO Vol.1, for demo, is a collection of unreleased tracks that retraces this era of the German synthesist who from 1978 to 1982 was experimenting with his new devices. And this is the spirit behind this compilation which is mainly addressed to the fans of this period. And you have to be a fan because the sound is obviously not in the best shape with sizzling sounds that sound like sequenced sound effects. And it literally sounds like the targeted period.
The Roots of the Spirit takes us back into the analog world of EM with a nice bouncy movement of a sequencer in Berlin School mode. The flow is fluid with an ascending structure that likes to breathe the synthetic haze and where some very good synth solos are setting down. The sequencer movement remains noble with a bass tone. And the solos have that nostalgic imprint of the Galaxy Cygnus-A days. Although exploiting a faster flow, and I do hear the quacking of a rubber duck, Planetary Dance seems to be from the same era with an equally decent sound quality. A metronome ensures the survival of this minimalist rhythm in the middle of the 7th minute. Simple, catchy and retro sequenced. I love it! Also anchored in a minimalist phase, Immaterial World offers a floating rhythm with solos too sharp to be effectively relayed without a slight distortion effect of the sound that erodes even the movement of the sequencer. Jumpin' Energy features a furious rhythm built like a carousel that turns wild in a setting of crazy, crazy, crazy zombies! The synth solos are very energetic, though much degraded during the recording. Wrapped in a slightly damaged sonic shroud, Frogs offers a jazz structure over a rhythm that resonates like the rubbery ball of a bolo palette. Lullaby lives up to its name with a very crystalline recording that tingles the eardrums. Not to be listened to loudly and for a lullaby, it is rather rhythmic. Organyser goes into the complex with a circular rhythm structure and white noise all around as well as sound signals as annoying as those submarine beeps. The melody may be childlike, but it sounds old-fashioned with pastiches of the 60's. And its cold cybernetic texture removes any kind of charm. We also hear a lot of static on Dreamcream. A static effect that sounds sequenced, maybe it's the same for Organyser. But here the mellotron throws beautiful ambient and melodic structures, like a flute. Soundscape is noisy for nothing and offers no structure. Quite the opposite with these sequenced sizzles that we also find on Oberhausen 1981 Part 1 which joins the beauties and splendors of The Roots of the Spirit and Planetary Dance. A collection of demos remains a collection of demos. Raw, unedited tracks that demonstrate the artist's fluctuation on his final works. In this respect, Oberhausen 1981 Part 1 shows the clear influence of KS on Schroeder. Halfway between Galaxy Cygnus-A and Timewind, it's a title torn between these eras that would have deserved a better in-depth look.
If you liked Robert Schroeder's first works, D.MO Vol.1 is a nice complement. A good quality CD-R which presents original tracks, not remixed, soaking us in this unique atmosphere that the German synthesist had created around his first works. While waiting for the next release of D.MO Vol. 2...
Sylvain Lupari (November 20th, 2007)