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

 





White Willow – Animal Magnetism (digital single)

20 02 2015

Animal Magnetism is the firswhite-willowt new music from Norway’s prog heavyweights White Willow since the wonderful Terminal Twilight album in 2011. The single is a cover of a song from German heavy rock band, The Scorpions.

Jacob Holm-Lupo and co have replaced the rock guitar of the original song with pulsating hard synthesizer sequences for the most part. The synths remind me a little of Tangerine Dream and the song serves as a fine tribute to Tangerine Dream’s founding member, Edgar Froese, who passed away in January.

Norwegian singer Venke Knutson makes her White Willow debut on this track, and has slotted in seamlessly straight away. The vocals in White Willow songs are usually very much to the forefront, but for this song, they are heavily treated and sit much deeper in the mix than is usual, which suits the claustrophobic, M83 on acid feel.

Don’t think for a moment that White Willow have watered down the song, it’s still very powerful, and the lyrics are very direct. Sirens and deep bass notes give a feeling of alarm, and the middle section of the song has a wild clarinet solo from David Krakauer.

This feels like a real departure from White Willow – and I can’t wait to hear the new album that’s due later in 2015. The album will apparently be part 1 of a 2 part concept album – so don’t be surprised if the prog returns with a vengeance. Welcome back White Willow.

Listen to a stream of the song below – and if you like it, buy the single on one of the links.

Buy Future Hopes – the new White Willow album, that includes Animal Magnetism  on Amazon.

Read the full review for Future Hopes








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