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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RUDOLF HEIMANN: Touch the Sky (Remastered 92-17)

“Touch the Sky is to me a nice discovery with an odd scent of Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream in a pretty decent remaster”

1 Skywalker 4:23 2 Dragonflight 6:02 3 Fresh Air 4:02 4 Too Late to Turn 4:24 5 Brainflight 6:12 6 Heaven's Gate 6:24 7 Ain't Easy to Fly 6:05 8 Follow the Rainbow 6:39 9 View from a Hill 2:09 10 Dream Chip 4:21 11 Last Chance 5:10 12 Strange Delight 7:40

Bonus Track 13 Midnight Drive 3:31

14 Chariots of the Gods 5:08 Spheric Music SMCD 83013 

(CD 72:58) (V.F.) ( E-Rock, Synth-Pop, New Age)

Here's a very interesting electronic rock album which in the first listening gives the impression of being lacking enthusiasm. Of being cold without emotion. It's with the ears well wrapped in a headset that I devoured TOUCH THE SKY; a key album in the electronic rock of the 90's which got 2 re-editions, of which this one which was remasterised by the legendary EROC and released by the label Spheric Music where we also find 2 other Rudolf Heimann's albums; Twilight Voyager and Tide. This remaster sounds very well, one of the best that I heard, and give all the power to this surprising collection of titles where the essences of an electronic rock very Tangerine Dream of the Melrose and Seattle years navigate cheerfully with those of a Mike Oldfield of the Crises and Discovery years. In brief, I spent a pleasant 72 minutes to nibble TOUCH THE SKY

Skywalker sets the tone to a very versatile album with a good electronic rock which could have been at its place in Mike Oldfield's repertoire. The duel between the guitar and the saxophone is rather interesting, although I have better appreciate that of Fresh Air. Dragonflight is more in the electronic genre as we know it with many New Age effects, kind of synth filled of celestial and/or fluty harmonies, on a good soft rock structure. Brainflight is in the same measure and with harmonies resolutely New Age. Fresh Air moves on with a more rock approach which sways between two speeds on a very appealing mixture of Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream from the Miramar years. The solos of guitar are rather striking here, as well as the synth solos which are very musical with a touch of progressive rock. Too Late to Turn goes in transit between a floating phase and a more constant approach, kind of P' Cock in House in the Storm but less lively, which is of use as bed to a very melancholic saxophone. Heaven's Gate is the title which seduced me from the first listening. The rhythm is slow with a good play of percussions and good guitar solos in a cosmic decoration. There are effects here which add a dramatic weight to the music. Very good! I also liked a lot Ain't Easy to Fly and its slow, even lagging, structure. If the choirs add a New Age touch, the structure of rhythm in riffs is conceived to receive arrangements of guitars and solos which always fire the passions. Follow the Rainbow is a little bit in the same style with its structure moved by jerks and by a steady bass. Except that here it's the synth, its solos and harmonies, that dominates. It's a slow rock which develops like a story told with good arrangements. Its second half is rather spoiled with a bubble-gum approach.

View from a Hill is a short, but remarkable, bed song told by a wonderful Mike Oldfield guitar. Dream Chip is rather in the style of Pop for adult with a saxophone which dominates the soundscapes very well drawn by a creative synth. We hooked to it as fast as we got tired of it! And still there, the arrangements are top - notch! Speaking about arrangements, Last Chance is completely sublime with its structure sat on fluty riffs which move forward stealthily. It's almost classical from the Baroque years! Strange Delight was used to end TOUCH THE SKY in 1992 with a wild approach where the percussions are thundering in a structure which hesitates between rock and a meditative New Age music. The orchestrations dominate without however pour in a too much sentimental side, even if the synth tries some ethereal murmurs. I like too much this New Age/Rock confrontation, the very Funky bass and the percussions are simply striking here, to insist too much on the delicate whispers of the synth. We find 2 bonus tracks on this new remastered edition. Two tracks which are a bit alike! If Midnight Drive is downright explosive, Chariots of the Gods borrows the same ideas, but in a slower structure. Midnight Drive is a big rock with a too dominant saxophone, while that Chariots of the Gods proposes more nuances with a very good melody whistled by a synth in mode; charms. But both tracks are running on a strong pattern of percussions which lead me to forget the sax on Midnight Drive and make me dream on Chariots of the Gods, a title resolutely in the cinematographic genre.

This remaster of TOUCH THE SKY is a very good album to discover in this forgotten era where EM goes in transit towards a commercial approach. Sometimes it's pure energetic E-Rock, on other times it's slightly too Pop and comestible New Age, but the fact that Rudolf Heimann surrounds himself with a solid team of great musicians gives to this album an incredible depth at a time where the MIDI synth exploded from all over the music world. And at a time also where people have snubbed the album without reasons.

Sylvain Lupari (July 9th, 2017) ***¾**

Available at Spheric Music, CD Baby, Syngate and Groove

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