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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT SCHROEDER: TimeWaves (1987)

Behind a sumptuous sound fauna TimeWaves presents Robert Schroeder's 2 faces and 2 visions of his musical universe

1 The Turn of a Dream 7:51

2 Waveshape Attack 3:23

3 Waveshape 7:43

4 Waveshape Decay 3:02

5 Love and Emotion 10:49

6 The Message 12:23

7 The Message Part II 5:44

8 Imagine 4:19

9 Flowmotion 4:55

(CD 60:12) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School, EDM)

For quite a few fans and EM critics, TIMEWAVES is the transition album in Robert Schroeder's career. An album where the aromas of a fascinating and ear-catching Berlin School are slightly brushing a more commercial approach in a form of synth-pop a bit funky. If the result may surprise and at the limit disappoints some of his fans, a more deepen listening will reveal that this 8th opus of Schroeder hides 2 wonderful jewels which gnaw more than the half of 60 minutes of this last edition of TIMEWAVES that Robert Schroeder offers with a more detailed and enhanced sound quality, giving justice to an album where the ambiences and the rhythms are carefully coated from this electronic fauna of thousand astral contrasts.

A candid harmonic line with a light fluty bouquet opens the innocent approach of The Turn of a Dream. A lascivious bass line spreads out its high-sounding chords which slyly undulate on a carpet of ethereal choirs while lost synth chords come to stroll and tinkle, adding an additional harmonic touch to a track which negotiates its atmosphere and its rhythm between the suavity of the synths and the backfiring of bongo-style electronic percussion. Waveshape Attack is an atmospheric track with lines of synth floating adrift in the streaks of wandering choirs and percussions with unruly strikes. It's an electro-organic prelude to Waveshape's synth-pop and its virginal melody singing on a pulsating rhythm which disperses its funky chords and robotic strikes in a harmonic universe sculpted in fluty breaths. Like Waveshape Attack, Waveshape Decay extends a cloud of electronic ambience with synth waves crisscrossing percussions' turmoil. The superb Love and Emotion follows. For more than 10 minutes, Robert Schroeder unrolls the canvas of a splendid down-tempo whose slow and suggestive rhythm is based on slow and echoing percussions' strikes. If the rhythm is floating, the harmonies are oneiric. The breaths of dreamy flutes float like perverse chants on a lascivious rhythm, copulating with chords with guitar tones that wander between thine lines of both musical and vocal breaths. It's a superb title which at the time ended the A side of an album where electronic art and its technologies were still at the service of harmonic creativity.

Voted as the best EM track for 1987, The Message is in the purest tradition of the romantic works of Robert Schroeder… on a higher rhythmic scale. The intro presents these chords with duck cackling tones so dear to the electronic universe of the Aachen's synthesist. They cackle of their jerky timbres in ocher mists whereas pulsations trace the pattern of a hypnotic rhythm which unblock a multitude of sequenced circles which swirl in the mists of wandering chorus and in the sharp laments of a synth with harmonic solos. The rhythm is swirling. Merging its intersecting pulses with electronic percussions, it turns and turns in the furrows of a synth with aromas of intergalactic saxophone. The track then kisses a short ambiospherical phase with choirs humming in silvered breezes and over fragmented pieces of rhythms while the knocks of interlocked sequences are alternating with an increasing velocity to redirect The Message towards its initial rhythmic approach. A rhythm which is creator of a formidable cadenced earworm where percussions with hollow tones and sequences with perverse oscillations storm in this intense vocalized mist which continually haunts the ethereal approaches of Robert Schroeder. That really has all it takes to be chosen as the best EM track in 1987. The Message Part II strips off its rhythm of lead to marry a spiral structure that strides along with its heavy chords the ascent of a dreamlike mountain where jingle fine arpeggios. And Imagine continuing on this tangent to conclude with a heavier and more musical circular rhythm, thus completing with panache the beginning of The Message. The bonus-track on this latest edition of TIMEWAVES, Flowmotion, respects the spirit behind this 8th opus by Robert Schroeder with a musical rhythm where rolls of percussions and the shimmering of arpeggios create the good symbiosis of a minimalist synth-pop, a little to the image from The Turn of a Dream and Waveshape.

Robert Schroeder has always refused to stigmatize his creativity behind a single musical style. And TIMEWAVES only confirms its desire, begun on Paradise, to want to tame all the technological breakthrough of EM equipment through a skillful fusion of synth-pop rhythms and the hypnotic progressive structures of the Berlin School. It's a great album that is underestimated where titles like Love and Emotion and the saga of The Message take us into spaces that only him knows how to sculpt for the delight of our ears.

Sylvain Lupari (February 15th, 2013) *****

Available at Robert Schroeder Music Shop

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