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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Robert Schroeder D.MO Vol.2 (2008)

This second set of studio leftovers is full of tracks as good as those we heard from that time

1 Hello 3:35

2 The Nomad Theme II 7:22

3 Door to Heaven 7:24

4 StarLights 8:58

5 Wired Systems 6:55

6 The Nomad Theme I 9:57

7 Synth Waves 7:22

8 Modulations 4:27

9 SpringTime 5:31

10 Analogue Vibes 5:08

11 ProTones 3:43

(CD/CD-R 70:33) (V.F.)

(Berlin School EDM)

This 2nd collection of Robert Schroeder's unreleased tracks covers the period 1980 to 1983. A time where analogue minimalism rhythms as well as ambiences wrapped of galactic synth lines and of cosmic essence crossed the first tones of electronic music (EM) new digital era. That was the belle époque when the German synthesist was making jewels like Galaxy Cygnus-A and Harmonic Ascendant, two works that left their sonic footprints in the chessboard of EM and of which some scents can be find on this compilation following D.MO Vol 1.

Hello starts D.MO Vol 2 with a soft harmonious techno on waving synth lines that seem to come out of time, and a Vocoder that borrows the robotic narrative paths of Kraftwerk. It's a musical style that brushes the era of the Space Detective single. The Nomad Theme II opens the portal to the gentle minimalist and hypnotic movements that decorated Robert Schroeder's musical approach at the dawn of the 80's. The rhythm is finely hammered by a hesitant sequencer pattern that nonchalantly undulates in a heterogeneous atmosphere filled of metallic grooves and mellotron choirs. We are in a cosmos surrounded by intriguing sound effects where keys multiply and intertwine in varying sequences over sober percussions and dark heavy pulses that grace a superb hypnotic progression. Door to Heavens presents a similar approach to The Nomad Theme II. The mood is very similar with more incisive and screaming synth lines and effects wandering in a composite sounding sphere and on hypnotic minimalistic pulses in a structure progressing with its more enveloping synth that is draped with good mellotron haze. More fluid, StarLights rests on a good melodic synth that swirls its airs in a galactic Galaxy Cygnus-A-like ambience. It's a good synthesized procession full of solos and loops with mellotron choirs over a light hypnotic beat. We are still under the spell of StarLights that Wired Systems takes over with a nice atmospheric ballad. The echo of the chords waddle in a melodic emptiness streaked by a synth with floating and haunting waves. With its slow and hypnotic rhythm The Nomad Theme I is the exact preamble of its successor. A track with an intro very close to Klaus Schulze on Mirage, but with a more demented progression, Synth Waves stands out with its loops that coo in a boiling electronic universe. Like a volcano exploding with sounds as multiple as they are composite! It is also the point of rupture between the analog movements of the 80's, since Modulations, Springtime, Analog Vibes and ProTones offer more structured tracks and closer to a harmonious technoïd style. If Modulations hesitates between the 2 visions, SpringTime bursts of freshness with a good bass rhythmic and a vaporously melodious synth. This is the kind of track that catches on at the first listen! Analogue Vibes is simply amazing with a heavy and sensual rhythmic beat under a contrasting melody. The solos are incisive, and the layers are enveloping with mellotron choirs. It sounds like a progressive Kraftwerk playing harmonious Berlin School. A robotic minimalist approach makes move Pro Tones which concludes this compilation with juicy electronic pulses over good twisted solos, reflecting the lonesome world of the Aachen-based musician-synthesist.

Listening to D.MO Vol 2, I wondered if it was really possible that such little musical gems have been lying forgotten for so long. If it's possible, it just shows that Schroeder was throwing away one's cabbage. This second compilation of studio leftovers, the other one being D.MO Vol 1, is full of tracks as good as, or even better than, those submitted at the same period. A clear sign of the talent that inhabits Robert Schroeder, an artist as important as Edgar Froese, and by ricochet Tangerine Dream, or Klaus Schulze in the evolution of EM. It only remains to wish that he drags enough material in his vaults to make a follow-up as imposing as that of his mentor.

Sylvain Lupari (March 31st, 2008) *****

Available at Spheric Music

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