ROBERT SCHROEDER: MOSAIQUE (1981)
“Apart of it's Cosmic Funk vision, the high quality of Mosaique was to avoid the tendency of the beginning of the 80's which gave a metallic timbre to EM”
A1 Mosaique 12:03
A2 Utopia 6:09
B1 Aix-La-Chapelle 4:25
B2 Computervoice 12:33
IC | KS 80.016 (LP 35:10) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, Cosmic Funk)
Always very avant-gardist, Robert Schroeder liked to go off the beaten track by propelling his electronic music, guided by the PPG Wave 2synth, in an approach of rock band with the contribution of real musicians, either; Charly Büchel on guitar, Rob van Schalk on bass and Fred Severloh on drums. The result gave a rather Funky album, a style that Robert Schroeder will push even more in the coming years. The particularity of MOSAIQUE was that it could be read as much in 45rpm mode as in 33rpm, not to mention that this 3rd album in the discography of the German musician was released only in vinyl. For a reason of author's rights, this album, that Robert Schroeder seems to deny, has never known a second life on CD or has been remastered with a new mixing or with minor differences such as with Floating Music and Paradise. And several people, including me your humble servant to have approached the very question with Robert, don't see when or how a new remastered version will hatch on CD. That would be very pleasant though to have a special mixing with both speed. We can always dream, no!? But was it such a solid album? Produced by Klaus Schulze, the high quality of MOSAIQUE was to avoid the tendency of the beginning of the 80's which gave a metallic timbre to the music with the use of digital synths. And yes, it's was and still is a very beautiful album!
The title-track therefore shows sonic roundness and sonic curvatures as well as a delicate shield of warmth with a good bass which structures an ambient Funk well adorned by Schroeder's electronic effects. The synth chirps and holds a secret language throughout the 12 minutes of Mosaique. A little as in Floating Music, the Cosmic Funk is king and the music is abundantly coated with electronic effects and with loops of exuberant singings which roll in background. Synth pads, under the shape of riffs, cut short on others which are more floating and on other ones which loosen some harmonious effects with a tone of old organ. The oil is on and the band gets organized with shyness, rather making way to Rob van Schalk and Robert Schroeder. If the percussions embrace the gurgling of the bass, and by ricochet the synth lines, the guitar throws some good solos in mode fuzz wah-wah with a psychedelic tendency due to its use of the famous TalkBox. It's after these soloes that Mosaique abandons its uncertain orientation to explode in a good rock supported by wild percussions and by Charly Büchel's greater ferocity. It's interesting to hear rock fought under cosmic effects and ethereal layers. That gives a unique dimension, which today stays a path that only too few artists try to walk in. Utopia goes in our ears with a movement which limps like the gait of this duck that Robert Schroeder makes cackle through his PPG Wave 2. This first movement is charmingly oscillating and releases a shadow which sparkles in the echo of its lame gait. The title becomes a kind of fascinating electronic Bolero both by the appearance of the other electronic effects and by the integration of the drum and bass. Robert Schröder modulates here synth solos which make very discreet, just like the guitar, making the charms of Utopia which accelerates the pace with a more lively drum play. Aix-La-Chapelle is a stunning military march full of life, cheerfulness and tones! It's on the album MOSAIQUE that Computervoice first took shape. And we are quite far from this shortened version that we find on the album of the same name which was released 3 years after. The introduction soaks in a very nice cosmic envelope with layers which shiver while welcoming delicate arpeggios which skip there without a real goal. This so attractive movement of sequences pierces this membrane of cosmic ambiences near the point of 5 minutes. The next 3 minutes belong to history but with clearly more incisive percussions. Computervoice goes away from history in order to end with a strummed approach. The synth unwinds its solos and its fluty harmonies there while the guitar sweeps the horizons with falls of notes, like a strange harp, adding so a dramatic weight in a finale that we would never have suspected. I try to imagine now the frenzy if we play Computervoice at 45 rpm!
We speak rarely about MOSAIQUE and nevertheless it's a very good album, although that I less liked Aix-La-Chapelle, which has all its important place in Robert Schroeder's discography. The first version of Computervoice is clearly more musical while the Face A is simply ahead of its time. Even that it sounds very good today and gives very good vibes. It's a pity that we find so few information about it, although we can find it at a rather decent price on eBay. I have a friend who possesses it in vinyl and I also bought this album a long time ago. I recorded it on tape and later on Mini-Disc. But the sound was already a tempest of fryings …So Thanks to my friend Nick who kindly transferred it on a CD-r so that I could finally listened it again and write about it.
Sylvain Lupari (November 5th, 2008) ***½**