Wolfgang Flür – Magazine 1 album review

26 01 2022

Magazine 1 is a new electronic album from former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flür, in partnership with Peter Duggal and featuring guest appearances from Midge Ure (Ultravox), Peter Hook (New Order) and Claudia Brücken (Propaganda), plus contributions from contemporary artists MAPS, Juan Atkins, Carl Cox, U96, Anushka and Ramón Amezcu (AKA Bostich).

The 9 song album is a celebration of techno-pop, and will appeal to fans of electronic music, as well as Kraftwerk fans.

Deep bass synths and classic 80s drum machines propel opener Magazine.

Read all about it!”

The album has a consistent lyrical theme running throughout, with a commentary on the dis-jointed times we live in, the information we are force-fed, all delivered from a humanist stance, although not always from the viewpoint of humans!

Zukunftsmusi, the first of three U96 collaborations, is a power-house of electronic “Music of the Future”, with a compelling mixture of ice-cold synth lines, topped with rich percussion patterns. A synth motif that reminds me of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds as well as Close Encounters of the Third Kind breaks out of the mix around the half-way mark of Zukunftsmusik.

The second track featuring U96 is the anti-consumerism Best Buy, with a charmingly bonkers vocal performance and an up-tempo, naggingly addictive melody.

“Take-away, night and Day”

Das Beat features Midge Ure, with a warm tale of how music is universal (“beats in Moscow, beats in France”) and a few sounds that appear to lovingly reference Wolfgang’s former band. The chorus stays with you long after the song has finished, which is always enjoyable.

Birmingham features former New Order bassist Peter Hook and vocals from Ex-Propaganda singer Claudia Brücken, and is my favourite song on the album. I’ve loved Claudia’s work since A Secret Wish in 1985, and this is a perfect mix of the darkness of German electronic music, with a sprinkling of early New Order magic (that bass!). The contributions from Peter and Claudia are a potent and powerful blend, and it is worth buying the album for this track alone.

Night Drive draws from a more contemporary electronic palette, and the final U96 appearance (along with Carl Cox) is the charming tale of the life of a robot, Electric Sheep. There may be more to this robot than we initially think. Be afraid!

Detroit’s Juan Atkins joins Wolfgang on Billionaire (Symphony Of Might), a song of greed feeding environmental disaster (“The world needs more wealth, not more people”). Another strong chorus lets us know who has the power and control in this story. Isn’t that always the way?

Magazine 1 ends with the simple but powerful messaging of the anti-war Say No! The music perfectly underpins the lyrics, with slow build ups to the multiple anthemic choruses. This life-affirming song, with its nod to the music of the past along with a promise of a peaceful future, is an emotional climax from this powerful album.

“There’s only one thing to do, say no”

Wolfgang Flür – Magazine 1 is released via Cherry Red on 4 March 2022

Buy Magazine 1 on CD from Amazon

Buy Magazine 1 on vinyl from Amazon

  1. Magazine [ft. Ramón Amezcua]
  2. Zukunftsmusik [ft. U96]
  3. Best Buy [ft. U96]
  4. Das Beat [ft. Midge Ure]
  5. Birmingham [ft. Claudia Brücken & Peter Hook]
  6. Night Drive [ft. Anushka]
  7. Electric Sheep [ft. Carl Cox & U96]
  8. Billionaire (Symphony Of Might) [ft. Juan Atkins]
  9. Say No! (ft. MAPS)

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Claudia Brücken / Jerome Froese – Beginn

16 05 2018

beginnBeginn is a new collaborative project between Claudia Brücken from German 80s electronic group Propaganda, and Jerome Froese the son of electronic music pioneer Edgar Froese and former member of his father’s band, Tangerine Dream.

Album opener [the] Last Dance is a slow-paced piece that sets the mood perfectly. A Roland CR-78 drum machine programme provides the rhythm, underpinned by deep piano notes, as layer after layer of synths build as the song develops. A lovely, under-stated guitar line ushers out the track.

Claudia Brücken’s vocals sound so good on Beginn, particularly on Wounded, one of the albums darker pieces.

“And I wait, till I’m free, from your memory”

Flight [of] Fancy lifts the mood. The most uplifting song on the album has a White Willow, almost progressive pop feel to it. Cards feels a little like a more modern take on the ZTT / Propaganda sound. Edgy synth lines dart out from beneath heavily processed, frantic beats. The music on Cards is a feast for synth lovers.

Light [of the] Rising Sun is a moving piece. Beatless, and sparesely adorned with piano and electronic shards, the short song flows into Whispers [of] Immortality. Softly spoken verses from Brücken, and an adventurous arrangement from Froese make this one of my favourite moments on Beginn.

beginn2

Beginn is clearly a well-sequenced album. The songs seem to get stronger as the album progresses. Sound [of the] Waves was one of my early favourites, and has a feel of Brücken’s work with Paul Humphreys (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) as Onetwo, mixed with the Björk / David Arnold Play Dead single (particularly the percussion).

“a fleeting sound, a silence inside”

Stars Walking Backwards ramps up the feeling of unease. Breakbeats and pulsating sequenced riffs drive the song forward. All thats missing is a Holly Johnson chant of “Who-ha” to make this a piece of pure ZTT synthpop.

Sweet Sense [of] Liberation features Claudia’s co-vocalist in Propaganda, Susanne Freytag. Claudia and Susanne have recently reunited as xPropaganda, and this track certainly has some of the old Propaganda spirit. Another adventurous arrangement lifts the track to another level.

The album ends, as it started, with a slow-burner in Unbound Spaces. Found sounds and deep wave synths ebb and flow through the dreamy album closer.

Beginn is an intriguing first offering, and is probably not what you would expect from Claudia Brücken and Jerome Froese. It’s most definitely not Propaganda with Tangerine Dream keyboards. Whilst the DNA of both bands can be found at times in Beginn, the album has a sound and identity of its own.

Beginn is released on CD / LP by Cherry Red on 15 June 2018.

[the] Last Dance
Wounded
Flight [of] Fancy
Cards
Light [of the] Rising Sun
Whispers [of] Immortality
Sound [of the] Waves
Stars Walking Backwards
Forevermore
Sweet Sense [of] Liberation
Unbound Spaces

Buy Beginn on CD

Buy Beginn on Vinyl

Buy A Secret Wish by Propaganda on CD

Buy A Secret Wish by Propaganda on Vinyl

Buy Noise And Girls Come Out To Play: A Compact Introduction To Propaganda on CD

Buy Wishful Thinking Collector’s Edition by Propaganda on CD

 








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