SOFTWARE: Electronic-Universe Part 1 (1985)
“Electronic Universe is a little gem in the field of cosmic EM, nothing less”
1 Fluting Electronic Universe 19:57 2 Surfing Saturn 20:32 3 Dancing Venus 19:37 4 Cosmic Calimba 2:21 5 Add-Space-To-Time 5:33 6 Psychomellow-Planet 6:12 Innovative Communication | IC 710.055/56 (CD 74:12) (V.F.)
(Ambient psychedelic cosmic EM)
Here in North America, EM of Berlin School or progressive styles disappeared from the cultural scene and from the radio waves in the middle of the 80's. Except for big names like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis, whose works were available in imports only, it was the most silence concerning the other names of EM. In that same period, the New Age style sticks firmly its roots with labels such as Narada and Windham Hill Records. And HMV had in its New Age section a band named Software. This is how I discovered the wonderful electronic universe of Software. If in some of my reviews I often make reference to this group, or to the Mergener/Weisser duet which is the same artistic entity, it's because that during almost 5 years the music of Software, as well as a good range of artists from the Innovative Communication (IC) label, like Mind Over Matter and Peter Seiler, were only the links that tied me to the real Berlin School EM, Tangerine Dream had begun its New Age charm on the American markets. My first musical experience with this duo was with the enormous ELECTRONIC UNIVERSE PART 1; a jewel of very psychedelicosmic EM where a multitude of robotics and cybernetic tones are sparkling in an interstellar void and intertwine in synth lines as dark as harmonious. Lost and random voices get grafted to those very cosmic patterns that slept on some finely jerked spherical rhythms. Beyond these lines of sequences, Mergener/Weisser have added a more melodious musical structure where a cold intergalactic universe shines in ambiences torn between its lunar tranquillity and its hypnotic rhythms. In its first version, ELECTRONIC UNIVERSE PART 1 was a double album among which the first 3 records were occupied by a single track. A rather rare phenomenon in a time where a great majority of artists aimed at shorter titles with a more commercial approach. Peter Mergener and Michael Weisser have bet on these long musical pieces with slow and constant evolution and with breakable cadences to play with sounds, rhythms and the uncountable probabilities of digital synthesizers and sequencers.
Undulating white noises and resonant reverberations stimulate the musical winds which light a black cosmos. A duel of flute amazes our ears with harmonies which sing into evasive synth lines. A beautiful line of harmonic rhythm, with crystal clear sequences which coo in cosmos, awakens Fluting Electronic Universe by a delicate rhythm. Keys from sequencers sparkle and flutter in the fluty breezes, creating a galactic symphony which, to this day, is a moment of anthology in the universe of contemporary cosmic EM. We guess a rhythm which takes shape in background. Puny it hiccups of these sequences a bit fluty which encircle this ambience of dream where a thick cloud of chords dances, sings, becomes entangled and eventually embraces the fall of percussions which doesn't modify at all the axis of the floating rhythm of Fluting Electronic Universe but adds a deeper dimension to an evanescent rhythm which faints in the astral sweetnesses of the enchanted flutes. Flutes which continue to dominate the intergalactic black winds, waltzing with the strange visions of a world of science fiction which lives in the spirit of its authors. Another line of sequence emerges a little after the 13th minute. It draws a light harmonious rhythm which lulls of its furtive keys the foggy and fluty harmonies which forge the setting of Fluting Electronic Universe. The waves of the Sea of Tranquillity break out on the introduction of Surfing Saturn. A piano line and some limpid chords give themselves a rendezvous for a harmonious duel which waltzes with a morphic slowness. Frozen in an intense atmospheric broth, Surfing Saturn sleeps into glares of harmonies, lines with waltzing sequences and an intergalactic sound fauna from where emerges a portion of rhythm which lets itself gobble up by a thick cloud of electronicosmic tones. And after a long introduction fed by a solidly enriched cosmic ambience, the rhythm of Surfing Saturn goes out of the limbos at around the 13th minute spot with a beautiful rotatory movement set by crystal clear and twinkling sequences which elaborate a beautiful hypnotic spiral plan where spit other tones, as organic as cosmic, driving this brief rhythmic surge towards the black caves of an even darker cosmos.
Dancing Venus is built in the same mold. The track is more ambiospheric with shouts of stellar whales which radiate in a heavy subdued ambience. Still there; sequences keys, steps in cosmos and silvery strands decorate a setting of cosmic paranoia which can test severely our hearing patience. But we have to persevere to hear these soft cosmic singings which haunt the unstable corridors of the weakest track, according to my tastes, of ELECTRONIC UNIVERSE PART 1. Come then the small short musical pieces of this first opus from Software. The CD version offers 3 of them while that the LP has 5 of those. But we will find these titles later in Software's discography which took the very naughty habit to live on its fruits from the past. Thus Cosmic Calimba is a mesmerizing cosmic ballet with jumping keys which pound in all directions on an increasing movement which exults of a beautiful pirouette as melodic as cosmic. We will find this track among several other works and compilation of Software, as well as Add-Space-To-Time which became the classic of Software with its hatched ions which strum a spherical rhythm. Other ions, crystal clear and melodious, are adding, shaping an enchanting continual coming and going of a rhythm which remains on the whole static, but charmingly hypnotic. A rhythm which runs after the tail of its last ion, under heavy solos and sharp edgy riffs à la TD coming from a nasal synth. Psychomellow-Planet is in the same vein as Cosmic Calemba and of the livened up portion of Fluting Electronic Universe.
ELECTRONIC UNIVERSE PART 1 is a small wonder, nothing less. It's a very atmospheric album where the brief rhythmic intrusions are just well enough measured to not put to sleep the listener who has the ears invades by a surprising and fantastically wealthy sound fauna. A psychedelicosmic element which will become the trademark of Software. Peter Mergener and Michael Weisser weave a cosmic universe of dream where they take good care of elaborating their structures with a surprising delicacy by spreading a balm of poetry to a work which deserves amply to be discovered or rediscovered. Unfortunately, I believe that the catalog of IC is out of print but the cd, and others from this label, can be find easily on the second-hand market. If ever you come across this album grab it. It's a must and a classic in modern cosmic EM.
Sylvain Lupari (May 11th, 2006) *****