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TRACK LIST: 1. Dragon's Treasure 11:52 2. Golden Dawn 11:53 3. Key of Salomon 12:48 4. Phaethon 14:04 5. La Foret du Perceval 13:55 6. Rose & Croix 10:14 All tracks: by P. Frohmader. SOLO PILOT: Peter Frohmader - - synthesizers; 5-string & fretless basses, - electric & acoustic guitars; sampling Produced: by Peter Frohmader. Engineered: by P. Frohmader at "Nekropolis", Munich. Artwork: by P. Frohmader.
Prolusion. Peter Frohmader released so many albums (some are only on cassette) during his long musical career that it's almost impossible to count them up accurately. The 75-minute "Advanced Alchemy of Music" is from 1994. It consists of six long tracks, and the CD booklet features an amazing surrealistic artwork done by Peter himself.
Synopsis. All the constituents of this album - the artwork, the titles of the songs, and the music itself - arouse associations with Practical Magic and Hermetic Science, the Knight Templar order and its grandmaster Jacques De Mole (faggoted by the French king Philip IV "The Handsome" in 1314), etc. The music is outstandingly unique and innovative and, with the exception of Peter's very own "Eismeer" (and only in some ways), can't be compared with anything. It is filled with a Gothic atmosphere, is usually dark and even sinister in places, and the wail of the wind, the sounds of the bells, and the other natural effects add even more tenseness and mystery to it. There are very little rhythmically accented themes on the album. Being fixed mainly by pulsating, low-tone solos of synthesizer, these are present only on the first two tracks: Dragon's Treasure and Golden Dawn. Both of them are musically about a complex conglomerate of Symphonic Art-Rock, Space Rock, Avant-garde, Electronic Rock, and, to a lesser degree, Space Metal and Classical Music. The arrangements are mostly intensive and eclectic and are especially notable for effective tempo and sound contrasts. The soloing instruments are bass, electric and acoustic guitar, piano, and varied synthesizers, including those (excellently!) imitating the sounds of Church organ, clavier, and bugles. Starting with Key of Salomon (3), music turns more into 'academic' realms - those related to Classical and Avant-garde Academic Music. But while this composition is still rich in elements of Symphonic Progressive, and also contains a few of those of Space- and Electronic Rock, both of the longest tracks on the album: Phaethon and La Foret du Perceval (4 & 5) are almost crystal-clear stylistically. Apart from those of piano, organ, and bass, to the forefront of arrangements are brought the parts of string and chamber instruments. The nature of contents of these tracks doesn't raise any doubts: this is a 'Gothic' union of Classical and Avant-garde Academic Music. (Fans of RIO, please note this!). The last composition on the album: Rose & Croix is the only track here, the music on which is quite calm and isn't as complicated as that on the others. Stylistically, it represents a blend of Classical Music and mellow Space Rock.
Conclusion. The more I listen to Peter Frohmader's music the more I make certain that the Godfather of Gothic Space Rock is just one of the greatest contemporary composers in general, and as applied to progressive music - in the broadest sense of the term. Let me assure you that "Advanced Alchemy of Music", as well as both of the latest albums by Peter: >"Eismeer" and >"Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1" are just terrific. In my honest opinion, you shouldn't set them aside on any account. The latter of these albums and the hero of this review can be ordered direct from Peter's Nekropolis Records, and "Eismeer" from Musea Records.
VM: September 13, 2003
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