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Robert Schroeder - 2020 - "C'est Magique"

(59:53, Spheric Music)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. C'est Magique 12:05
2. Magnetic Streams 9:04
3. Spiritual Spice 8:11
4. Mysterious Science 4:38
5. Black Magic 5:09
6. Mystic Dawn 7:13
7. Glowing Energy 5:55
8. Secret Elements 7:38


Robert Schroder - all instruments
Carolle Borda - voice

Prolusion. German composer and musician Robert SCHROEDER has been a feature in the electronic music scene since the late 1970's, and he has created music ranging from Berlin School electronic progressive music to EDM and ambient / new age oriented escapades over the years. He has been a productive artist as well, with several dozen albums to his name. In fact, "C'est Magique", released through the label Spheric Music earlier this year, is his 41st studio album.

Analysis. Electronic music isn't a genre of music I have all that much detailed knowledge about, hence my associations for those with a deeper fascination with this type of music will probably come across as somewhat limited. That being said, my main impression about this particular album is that it is mainly revolving around what I'd describe as ambient music. There isn't much drama and any insistent drive to these creations, the more repetitive and odd patterns that dominate what I'd describe as Berlin School music aren't dominant aspects of the material here, and while nods towards what I'd describe as late 80's techno music is present it is again mainly as a secondary aspect here in my opinion. That being said, there's a lot to enjoy about this production as well, as long as you focus on what is being served rather than what you'd want it to be. Floating keyboard textures are of course used liberally throughout, as soft constant presences as well as in wavelike organic sequences. Haunting synth solo runs is present too, as are more distant cosmic overlays and darker toned undercurrents. There's also room for different kinds of noise effects, vocal like synth textures of harmonic as well as more eerie sounding orientation, and textures reminding of violin, cello and guitars also find their way into the landscapes here. Hence this is very much a multifaceted experience, and while relaxing and dreamlike there are also passages that are more challenging and demanding as a listener experience. Haunting, cold synth textures and electronic rhythms reminding me of early 80's Tangerine Dream is perhaps the association that I noted down most often when listening through this album, with atmospheric laden, futuristic sounding touches that made me think of Vangelis' soundtrack to Blade Runner a close second. The more EDM-oriented escapades here occasionally made me think about good, old 808:State, while some rhythm tendencies with more of a mechanical touch to them struck me as more of a Kraftwerk oriented affair. I also noted rhythm details that arguably had something of a world music vibe to them, and in a sequence or two in a manner that brought the artist name Kitaro up as a possible reference. This, as well as a sequence or two where I see I noted down the word dub. Multifaceted, as already mentioned. The most intriguing of these soundscapes for me was the second track 'Magnetic Streams', which might also be described as the second movement of a five part single composition. This due to the five opening tracks leading into each other, concluding with the song 'Black Magic'. The detail on 'Magnetic Streams' that caught my attention was a recurring subservient synthesizer motif, rather delicate and with whistle properties, and moving in a pattern I suspect most fans of the old TV-series X-Files will find oddly familiar sounding. Not the same sound, not the same pattern, but close enough that it brought an instant and strong association for me. Otherwise this album is for me one that documents the skills of a veteran composer: There isn't anything here that isn't worthwhile, and just how much you will enjoy this album will by and large be a matter of subjective taste.

Conclusion. Those aware of Robert Schroeder's works will probably know what they can expect on any new album he releases at this point, and as I am unaccustomed to his previous 40 albums I cannot honestly make any comparisons towards the past here. For those who do not know the catalogue of Schroeder, I'd describe this most recent album as one residing inside an ambient cosmic music tradition, with recurring details reminding of more universally known artists such as Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, and with a very occasional nod in the direction of 80's techno.

Progmessor: July 2020
The Rating Room

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