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Electronics: Schönwälder & Friends

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FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Analog Overdose 3 (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2003 offers 73 minutes of energetic electronic music recorded live at Satzvey Castle in March 2003.

Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder are joined on two of the four tracks by Klaus "Cosmic" Hoffmann-Hoock.

A graceful opening of serene textures quickly gives way to rhythmic keyboards and looping chords that propel the music to lofty heights. Snappy E-perc mixes with glorious riffs to produce passages of vigorous constitution that swirl and cavort with engaging abandon. Tasty melodies surface and parade their outstanding resonance with exuberant pride. The tuneage reaches an ecstatic pinnacle that refuses to go away. The up-tempo music glistens with forceful and inventive beauty, celebrating the union of flesh and machine with dynamic euphony and clever variations. Nimble-fingered chords agitate the seething pools of thrilling rhythms, generating sonic ripples that ricochet around inside your head like welcome ear-candy.

This music continues to exhibit surprises throughout, delivering a rewarding series of astounding melodies. Never growing stale or repetitious, the superb performance strives to attain rapturous eminence as a relentless constant. This effort is marvelously successful, often reminiscent of Ashra at it finest.

These compositions are infused with lively sensibilities that overwhelm the retro sound with futurist appeal, bringing the Berlin School of Electronics of the Seventies into the 21st Century with luxurious and stunning results.

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KELLER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Noir (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2003 offers 76 minutes of moody electronics.

Detlef Keller and Mario Schönwälder are joined on three tracks (performed live at Club Cadillac in Oldenburg in 2002) by Bas Broekhuis on drums and percussion.

Languid tonalities unfurl like ominous clouds across a darkening sky. Tubular bells and brief bursts of heavenly symphonics punctuate this eerie opening, while snarling synthesizers swoop through the mix like cagey birds of prey hunting for the opportunity to dominate the sonic flow. Wafting on high altitude currents, these solemn electronic textures generate a dense and determined atmosphere, achieving this demeanor with harmonics more than melody. Delicate chords emerge amid the gathering gloom, but they rarely exert any forceful expression, satisfied to softly embellish the music instead of guiding it.

When these embellishments finally rise to devour the nocturnal soundscape, their disposition retains an airiness that perpetuates the sedate quality of the music. Blooping electronics merge with the drifting textures, injecting an edginess to the seething calm.

For the most part, the temperament of this music remains moody and staid, superbly capturing the advent of night descending across Europe.

The advent of percussion introduces rhythms that compliment the intractable atmospherics without disrupting the stately sonic tide. Only during the last two tracks (which are dedicated to Vangelis) does the music briefly adopt a more demonstrative nature.

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