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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT SCHROEDER: Paradise (83-14)

“Paradise is a splendid opus that shows Robert Schroeder's great versatility, both at the level of the music and the structures of rhythms and tones”

1 In Memory of Paradise 8:05 2 Moments 5:04 3 Deep Dream 5:00 4 Balance 0:57 5 Future Memories 3:35 6 Skywalker 5:03 7 Time Machine 8:58 8 Timeless 7:17 9 SkyWalker (version 1990) 10:48 10 Paradise Epilogue 7:17 IC KS 80.029 Spheric Music SMCD-2030

(CD 61:35) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

Here is a release that have created a whole enthusiasm in the circle of EM. More than 40 years after its initial release and after a powerful sound-lift in 2009, on his own label News-Music, Robert Schroeder passes a new brush-up to his PARADISE. As much to say it straightaway; there are no differences between the 2009 version and this one. I hear a more nuanced and a richer sound, but I have to be very focused. There is also an interesting track furthermore and this new Spheric Music's version is offer in real CD format with 2 bonus tracks. Contrary to the News-Music version, which was offered in a sound update, with only 1 bonus track and in a professional CD-r format, a new mode in order to decrease the costs production. PARADISE 2014 didn't have a sound-lift nor a sound update. In the sense that Robert Schroeder didn't remix the original tapes, but it contains 2 bonus tracks. He revised them with the technologies of today and has kept intact all the ambiospherical depth of this New Berlin School key work. So, don't expect additional synth pads and electronic chirpings. At this level, Schroeder opts for the respect of his work rather than to snipe at it with any sorts of sound nuances. And this is ok! Because PARADISE doesn't need improvements nor fineries in order to seduce and make us listen how much this album is so excellent. Fifth and last album from the Aachen synth wizard on IC, PARADISE follows the disconcerting tangent that he established with the release of Harmonic Ascendant, which was followed by a semi-concept album in Floating Music. So, after the wonderful cosmic and poetic Galaxy Cygnus-A, he goes with another semi concept-album with PARADISE. Side A is simply superb and is in the same lineage as Galaxy Cygnus-A and Harmonic Ascendant's A side, while the B side offers a more varied range, as well as the very first commercial success of Schroeder, Skywalker. Originally produced on the IC label, the album was released in CD format on Racket Records in 1984. For the purposes of its News-Music label, Robert Schroeder presents a version with an amplified sound quality which includes also a bonus title.

The concept part of begins with the stunning In Memory of Paradise and ends with Future Memories. Now we can say that it really ends with Paradise Epilogue. It's with the word, quite hardly audible I should say, Paradise that begins the introduction of In Memory of Paradise. This word rolls in loops, reproducing an effect of breathlessness on soft synth layers with noises of an analog fauna unique to Schroeder's works. Riffs of synth follow to shape a soft ascending cadence with slightly metallic resonant sequences and a keyboard play from which the chords grope around such as cat steps. The juxtaposition of these chords to the resonant sequential movement turns into a delicate melody which follows a tangent at once innocent and dramatic with graver synth impetus, while an acoustic guitar excites the tempo of its weakened notes. In Memory of Paradise pursues its hypnotic and minimalism evolution through noises of a slightly laden highway. Even if the beat is not quite similar, it's hard avoiding any paradox with Kraftwerk's Autobahn but with a more oneiric approach even if always so hypnotic. Subtly we fall on Moments and its smooth acoustic guitar which ties its notes to chords of glass and to a synth with delicate but intense solos. Solos which abound and encircle Moments of superb twisted impetus whereas the tempo increases its pace by more jerky riffs. Riffs which tie up onto the tinklings of glass whereas Moments is flooded of a feverish synth approach with solos and Mellotron breezes on the hypnotic and hopping rhythm which seduces since the first steps of In Memory of Paradise. Deep Dream slows things down with a rhythmic as much hesitating which serves like skeleton since the opening of PARADISE 2014. This tempo is now widely tottering and zigzags in a metallic sound fauna where soft synth layers lull a movement pinched by notes of a wandering acoustic guitar which is as much short-lived than Balance, before that Future Memories redirects the rhythm towards its introductory minimalist shape and these words which are repeating in loops.

A faltering synth wave opens the door to the fluid and constant tempo of SkyWalker. Percussions and repetitive sequences are hammering a keen, minimalist and catchy tempo which is encircled by curt synth pads of which the riffs effect is mixing skillfully to the light resonant oscillations which sound very close to an amazing electronic guitar. Very synth-pop, Skywalker is the first commercial success of Schroeder and would have fit very well to soundtracks such as Beverly Hills Cop or Miami Vice. Well, it was the 80's! Time Machine takes us back to the suave and slow rhythms of side A with a soft minimalist and hypnotic tempo. A tempo which beats beneath the weight of the heavy and resonant sequences while the synth frees brief chords before shaping wave-like solos, which sing like guitar solos in fact, which cut through on a fine metallic mist and float on a tempo which increases slightly the pace. With its plaintive and acid synth layers, Timeless soaks into a strange universe where the time is frozen. Fine notes of acoustic guitars roam into corridors filled of embittered the mermaids' chants whose tooting are floating like metallic threats in a wood eroded and devastated by rains and winds. A dark and iridescent track, Timeless remains quite representative of the very particular character who is Robert Schroeder. SkyWalker (90's Live Version) is a wild live interpretation revamped by furious synth riffs and guitar solos. Wilder it's less cybernetic, so more musical, and just as livelier than on studio, this live version brushes a little bit the Berlin School approach than synth-pop. Although the line remains very thin between both. I prefer this one! Paradise Epilogue offers a great ambiosonic intro where sparkle one thousand sound prisms. Minimalist sequenced chords draw a sober but lively rhythm, like a dance of thinkers which is supported by percussions just as much moderate and wrapped by tears of synth to the colors of drizzle. The ambiences are as much melancholic as on the other tracks which forge the side A of Paradise. Wandering choruses on subdued harmonies plunge the moods of Paradise Epilogue into a somber sinister motif while the synths, and their clothes of Vangelis, draw dreamy solos and cosmic landscapes which caress a rhythm of which the dance of sequences and the strikes of percussions, in the 2nd half, liven up of a two-phase rhythm. Too good, I want more!

PARADISE 2014 is a splendid opus that shows Robert Schroeder's great versatility, both at the level of styles and the mastery of electronic gears that he conceived for most of them, to build electronic moods beyond this world. His synths and keyboards let hear a mixture of very eclectic tones with a strange passion for guitars of which the fusion with those of Guenther Beckers is superbly surprising. It's a nice incursion in an ambivalent musical universe where the emotions sail on the back of rhythms and moods as honeyed as bewitching. To me, it's as much beautiful as Harmonic Ascendant and almost perfect as Galaxy Cygnus-A.

Sylvain Lupari (June 06th, 2011) *****

Available at Spheric Web Shop or CD Baby

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