September 28, 2020


By Kristi Kates | May 20, 2017

Ulrich Schnauss – No Further Ahead Than Today – Pias America
Schnauss’ first album since joining the band Tangerine Dream seems to have been affected by his work with the pioneering outfit, with more broad — dare we say, friendly — approaches to his compositions and a lighter selection of instrumentation. This more reachable take on his sound includes “Wait For Me,” which brings in several different ’80s audio qualities and weaves them around a modern melody. Another standout is “Love Grows Out of Thin Air,” which fires off an arena-ready triumphant exuberance sure to enthrall the next round of listeners discovering Schnauss’ music. ***

Raymond Scott – Manhattan Research – Basta Records
The late Scott was an inventor as well as a musician/composer, so it’s no wonder that sounds both mechanical and metallic found their way into his weirdly wonderful jazz-inspired music, often via the range of quirky instruments that he invented. This new collection brings together two discs’ worth of his previously unreleased material, most of it composed for radio and television, and many showcasing some of his initial attempts at working with primitive emulators and sequenced notes. Numbers like “Cyclic Bit” and “Domino” could fit right into today’s electronic music scene. *** ½

Goldfrapp – Silver Eye - Mute
Electro-popster Goldfrapp tends to shift focus from album to album, crafting a new experience for its fans with every set while still somehow keeping many elements of what its musicians have made “their” sound intact and recognizable. This new set, while slightly inaccessible at times, harkens back to the band’s earlier heavy-synth days, which beckon you to a flashing dancefloor with every precise, striding beat of “Systemagic”; the pensive, brooding tones of “Zodiac Black”; and the slightly-out-of-place “Faux Suede Drifter” with its lighter audio ambiance and ’80s instrumentals. ** ½

Jonn Serrie – The Sentinel – New World Music
Serrie’s latest collection of tracks is almost more a series of audio sketches than it is actual compositions or tunes. Influenced by a set of dramatic ’70s spacecraft books by Stewart Cowley, it’s easy to hear the reason why many documentary shows utilize Serrie’s music. As he says, his musical goal is to “dissolve the veil between source and destination” so that his audience experiences the music much as he does. That virtual reaching out is evident here on tracks like the appropriately spooky “Ghost Ships” and the eleven-minute-long epic that is “The Veils of Beta Pavonis.” ***


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