ROBERT SCHROEDER: Spaceland (2018)
Updated: Jul 3
“From start to end this Spaceland is Robert Schroeder's best album since a good while. Period!”
1 Space Discovery 12:07 2 Dream Garden 6:41 3 Terraforming 9:14 4 Ozone 6:19 5 Mineral Extractor 5:32 6 Upcoming Life 4:34 7 Dream Garden Ext 11:45 8 Transmission 13:12 Spheric Music | SMCD-2039
(CD 69:28) (V.F.)
Already a 39th solo album, yes he also made albums in duet with Double Fantasy which later became Food For Fantasy, for Robert Schroeder! And what this SPACELAND is made of? It's not Space Discovery that gives us the answer! Slow footsteps, a fence that is opened by hurting its hinges. The doors of the cosmos open with a sound explosion that lets its reverberations spread a trail of cosmic fog. Space Discovery puts us immediately in the vibes of SPACELAND! With sound effects always very stylized, chimes brewed by a gentle caress and synth solos always bursting with futuristic saxophone tones; Schroeder's signature shine of its thousand sonic fires in an introduction worthy of an interplanetary tale. The solos extricate themselves from synths, always ahead of their time, and groan with songs that stretch their laments in hoarse voice effects or long acrobatic twists. The multiplicity of solos and synth effects here are as tasty as they are poisonous to my ears. If the synths are charming, hushed beats and percussive chords are just as much. They blow a smooth and floating cadence adjusted by torn sequences between rhythm and harmonies. This structure reinterprets a Berlin School that we heard moons ago. In fact, the movement of the sequencer is lunar, even if painted of a modern touch, and that puts a little life at our feet. The chthonic voices are penetrating, mesmerizing whereas this voice of an Elf of the Enchanted Woods groans to make us dream in this musical setting that gradually deviates to a phase of Chill Out, then Space Rock with strong percussive effects, shivering riffs and staccato voice effects which always reminds us that one should never takes anything for granted in the world of Robert Schroeder. The musician of Aachen likes to surprise his public by transiting between the different periods and especially the styles that he deepened, and even initiated, during his impressive career. But the common thread is good and we already know that the other 7 titles of SPACELAND will be at our expectations. And no, Space Discovery is far from representative of the next 58 minutes! The mechanical fog and the remaining voices pull the finale towards the fascinating special effects of Dream Garden opening. Two lines of percussive sequences trace a haunting pattern where the modern and the retro merge into an opening built on relationships between different percussion approaches. One plunges easily into the fantasies of the German musician here with this vision of the intergalactic Caribbean. Fog and synth solos in mode celestial song deepening the fields of charm of this title whose percussions dominate throughout the 7 minutes. This rhythm of cosmic feast evaporates in the atmospheres of astral contaminations which ignite the first 4 minutes of Terraforming. The introduction is intense with an opaque nebulous haze where dull knocks pulsate and where synth solos float whose astral chants drift in a zone petrified by a radioactive mass of sound. These atmospheres move gradually towards a delicate lunar ballad with charming riffs. This title evolves fairly quickly for its 9 minutes with a short approach of the kind up-tempo before returning to the ashes of its opening.
Ozone follows with a similar approach. This time, they are riffs of sequences that gambol lovingly in a much more oneiric context. Synth layers spread a comfortable anesthetic mist and brief incomplete arias. Percussive effects still hang in the scenery of SPACELAND and they animate the structure of Ozone which goes to a sweet mid-tempo where the melody hangs even more with thin lines of seraphic voices. This 39th opus of Robert Schroeder scrolls in a beautiful musical tale without interruption. Each bridge between the 9 titles is thus decorated with meticulousness, plunging the listener into a world of sound discoveries. This is how Mineral Extractor is prepared! The impression of being in a cave is omnipresent with these pulsations whose echoes resound in the seeps of the walls. Percussive riffs soaked with white noises whirl deliciously between my speakers, nourishing my listening room with a contemplative richness. This brief incarnation of rhythm may last for a few breaths that I'm still under the spell when muffled beats, in mode Techno for sleeping souls, are also extinguished in a lunar sky where sparks an ambient melody which plunges my dreams in the beautiful Upcoming Life. This charming moon lullaby presents astral songs that match their emotions with the very Bohemian synth of the one who gave us the imposing Harmonic Ascendant in 1979. Gently, this lullaby illuminated by the caress of the arpeggios in glass goes off in a dried snap (I also jumped here) in order to plunge us in the splendid universe of Dream Garden Ext and in the last stretch of SPACELAND. We enter here in the period that many are fond of; the Berlin School style of the early 80's where Schroeder aligned jewels which have marked those years. Reverberant waves, sound crashes, organic and/or whimsical woods sequences, symphonic percussions and other sound effects of impressive quality; Dream Garden Ext progresses in a world haunted by remarkable percussive effects. The synth sharpens sonic blades which cut out the atmosphere while the rhythm follows a form of hip-hop which waddles in a strange forest of sounds. This rhythm becomes more fluid. Always remaining in the parameters of the Berlin School, it defines a similarly melodic approach that charms under immense layers of chthonic voices. Evolutionary, the movement forces a good electronic rock copiously sprinkled with solos with tones unique to Robert Schroeder. Transmission ends this album in splendor with a heavy and incisive movement that welcomes solos and a sweet melody whistled by a synth with multiple creative functions. Transmission finishes in cosmic mist banks, concluding without a doubt one of Robert Schroeder's best albums since a good while. Sylvain Lupari (December 7th, 2018) ****½*