ROBERT SCHROEDER: Flavour Of The Past (2015)
“This is an impressive musical legacy from an artist who shows how much he was, and still is, so indispensable in the evolution of EM”
1 Die Story Der Final Legacy 10:37 2 Sax Delight 5:14 3 Big Joe 8:00 4 Just a Love Song 4:25 5 Quick Shot 3:16 6 Galactic Floor 4:55 7 The Beat 3:27 8 The Sound 4:08 9 Polarisation 6:16 10 Diamond Stars 4:36 11 The Final Legacy Theme 9:35 12 Sounds and Noises 4:42 Spheric Music | SMCD-2033
(CD 69:33) (V.F.)
(Mix of cosmic EDM, synth-dance and synth-pop of the 80's)
Very prolific since his comeback in 2005, Robert Schroeder publishes his works like a dying person who is in a hurry to liquidate his legacy. The D.M.O. series, 30 Years After and Paradise 2014 are only examples of compilations of old unpublished titles which are put in the order of day or remixed titles that the synthésiste of Aachen has offered through a regular production of totally new music. But this time FLAVOUR OF THE PAST offers a little something different. It's a collection of titles which appeared around the 85 years or so, and which have disappeared in the spiral of time. Music, for the greater part, that we have found in video games, in advertisements for computing equipment or electronic music gear and in diverse compilations which have disappeared since moons. And who says 84 to 86 years says also hurdy-gurdies tones and it's doubtless the key point of this album which throws us literally 30 years behind. Some people will like, others a little less. But no matter, this sound document demonstrates all of Robert Schroeder's indispensability in the evolution of EM.
And that begins with the sharp whistlings and the parasitic noises of the video games of that era which decorate the long intro of Die Story Der Final Legacy. Flavors, in particular at the level of the atmospheres and of these noises which parade into thin belched braids, awaken the good moments of Computer Voice, while a voice-over tells the story of the futuristic world which surrounded the Final Legacy video game that several have played on the system Atari Computer Inc in 1984. The rhythm which hatches is dynamic and catchy. The percussions are alive, old-fashioned but alive, and the synth pads are incisive. The melody is lively and sculptured in a MIDI style keyboard where the keys resound like with a xylophone. The sound effects are heavy and are resounding while others burst like fireworks. I find the voice of Arnold Marque, a legend in Germany, rather boring, thus I prefer, and by far, the version all in music of The Final Legacy Theme. The sound, the progression of the loops of rhythms, the percussions and the setting do very kitsch and it's with surprise that we remember ourselves how much we liked this kind of synth-dance or synth-pop back in the beautiful MTV years. Appeared on the Music for the 3rd Millennium Vol. 3 compilation, Sax Delight is a slow tempo pampered by percussions, which are flavored by sudden brightness of cymbals, and a good line of bass which crawls and draws a slow groove between our ears. The sax is more like a flow of voices, but it's not what makes the charm of Sax Delight. Released on the Searching For Life - The Mars Project Vol. I compilation, Big Joe is a beautiful ballad decorated with big cosmic waves and structured well with beautiful arpeggios which sparkle into our ears always with a bit of freshness. It's one of the good tracks in FLAVOUR OF THE PAST. We are full in the MIDI era where when everything is alike and sounds rather cold, but successfully Robert Schroeder is always on top of everything with solid arrangements and a nice palette of sounds. Just a Love Song and Quick Shot are two tracks coming from the New Age Music compilation released by IC in 1987. Just a Love Song is more or less an acoustic ballad with a beautiful guitar and with some false voices which seem to come out of cosmos. Another great track! Quick Shot offers a more nervous structure where the percussions sound like a very out-of-date beat box machine. Galactic Floor is a Maxi Single of 1984. It's a big heavy and nervous funk which pounds on an ultra-bombastic bass line and on synth pads too docile for the agitation of the rhythm. The melody breathes of these chords extract from a xylophone which has a cold and which so proper to the MIDI era. The same kind which surrounded the sonic excursion of Die Story Der Final Legacy and the new synth-pop era of the mid 80's. With this track, The Beat and The Sound, designed to promote the SEIKO keyboard in 1985, we are in the very dance phase of this fascinating collection. We could find Polarization inside a German magazine and it's a more or less ambient track with a thick cloud of sequences which sparkle in a static armor and beneath an envelope of many sound effects. Diamond Stars presents a slow rhythm, a little as in Sax Delight, but with a lot of Mellotron effects, while that Sounds and Noises is a beautiful ambient piece of music with a thin trace of rhythm which will be the trademark of Robert Schroeder's musical gems.
In the end, FLAVOUR OF THE PAST is not bad at all. Certainly there are bits which annoys, but one needs to understand that we are travelling back in time and have to compose with the evolution of the EM which has to pass by the exploitation of MIDI platforms and all these dreary percussions which rang more as too much accelerated pulsations than as of real rhythm. Kitsch rhythm which seemed to be hammered on cans. But no matter what, Robert Schroeder's talent surfaces and puts into boxes these small annoyances, making of its nth compilation a good rendezvous with time. His time when he was constantly in search of the EM limits. Like nowadays by the way!
Sylvain Lupari (July 8th, 2014) *****