Ever since his days with the bands Software and G.E.N.E. during the Eighties, German synthesist Peter Mergener has earned himself a place of renown and respect among Europe's talented electronic composers. His solo compositions have graced the soundtracks of numerous documentaries and scientific films, including the internationally successful docu-series "Terra X".
Join us now as we explore a selection of the man's prolific current releases...
PETER MERGENER: Instinctive Traveller (CD on Prudence Music)
This CD from 1997 features 66 minutes of exciting electronic music.
This music was recorded live at KLEM Dag 1996 in Nijmegen. Joining Mergener on-stage are: Carsten Schnell on keyboads and violin, Ingo von Wenzlawowicz on drums and percussion, and Achim Elsen on guitar.
Majestic melodies spill forth with enthusiastic verve. Demonstrative keyboards establish a solid foundation of exuberant chords that twirl and mesh with determined percussion, glorious guitar, and stylish violin. Heavenly airs punctuate these dynamic harmonics, giving the audience celestial respite before the concert launches into its next stage of over-abundant sonic reward. Clever hooks are employed with calculated abandon, resulting in never a dull moment.
Application of rock guitar lends the astral flow an earthy tether, reminding the listener of mortal origins that are easily forgotten from the lofty heights achieved by this music. Comparisons could be drawn to Pink Floyd, except that Floyd never indulged in such truly cosmic territories in their music. Mergener's accomplishment is riddled with emphatic ambience of a sort that defies sedation, evoking instead wide-eyed wonder and breath-taking moods.
PETER MERGENER: Noises in the Sky (CD on Prudence Music)
This release from 1998 offers 62 minutes of cosmic electronics.
Joining Mergener in this studio project are: Achim Elson on guitar, and Ingo von Wenzlawowicz on percussion. While voices (provided by Kathryn Thornton and Rusty Schweickart) grace a few brief tracks, the rest of the album is instrumental in nature.
Giving in to conventional associations drawn by the public between most electronic music and outer space, Mergener explores the galactic void with the music on this release.
Half of this music is vibrant and rhythmic, pulsating electronic textures and chugging chords and propulsive percussion. These tunes possess an expansive quality, outgoing and relentless with subtle pop undertones. Often frenetic rhythms goad the tuneage to breathless velocities as keyboard riffs meld into expressive sequences of celestial awe. Mechanical devices are employed to enhance the illusion of space travel, delivering enormous scope to the melodies. Astral guitar, again squealing in a progrock mode, provides a powerful element to these already exuberant passages.
The peppier, more epic pieces are generally separated by more ethereal compositions, affording the audience the opportunity to reboot their sensibilities in preparation for the grandeur lying ahead in the next major composition. These lighter pieces undulate with languid qualities, giving electronic voice to the nebulous demeanor of interstellar domains.
PETER MERGENER: African Smile (CD on Prudence Music)
This CD from 2000 features 58 minutes of electrified worldbeat music.
This time, Mergener's versatile keyboards and synthesizers are accompanied by Achim Elsen on guitar and Ingo von Wenzlawowicz on additional percussion. Juliette Chaold provides female voices.
For this release, Mergener applies his electronic stylings to the African continent, blending serene atmospherics with African rhythms and chants. A degree of nature sounds are included to flesh out the environmental resonance. Fear not, there is also a definite presence of his upbeat synthesizers belting out highly enticing melodies.
Pleasant tonalities filter through the warm air with congenial effect. Easy-going rhythms accompany relaxed tribal chants to achieve a cultural sedation. Flutish keyboards wind their way through pattering ethnic percussives, delivering the melodies to quaint countryside settlements where glimpses into celebrations afford the listener intimate insight into foreign mind-sets of exotic disposition. Amidst these ambient sensibilities Mergener's sonic vitality emerges, injecting stamina and vibrancy with his energetic synthesizers. A surging dynamic rises from the grassy plains, unfurling searing guitar riffs that pirouette in the arid sky in tandem with exciting electronic chords.
Delicate cybernetic textures intertwine with tribal tempos, conducting the audience on an air-car excursion across languid savannas to visit humble villages. The emphasis here is on the African people, delving into their lifestyles and cultural routines. The dark continent and its jungles play a secondary role.
The result of this mixture of ethnic and modern elements is quite gregarious and highly enjoyable.
PETER MERGENER: Wet Places (CD on Prudence Music)
This release from 2001 offers 42 minutes of aquatic electronics.
Again, Mergener is joined by Achim Elsen on guitar and Ingo von Wenzlawowicz on percussion.
This time, Mergener turns his versatile creativity to examine the oceans and seas of our planet. Expect watery effects to play a significant part in this tranquil sonic outing. Drifting textures of crystalline quality, shimmering and heavenly in nature, are immersed in softly churning waves. Deeply resonant tones lurk in the mix, periodically attributing a sinewy quality to the aquatic soundscapes. Pensive chords, laced with angelic harps and quasi-horns, tinge the harmonic flow with human emotion, impressing personality on the liquid music.
Not all of this music is strictly ambient, however. Strenuous rhythms and stellar guitar are featured with tasty prominence, lifting the tuneage from vast bodies of water to caper overhead with nimble tempos and invigorating riffs. Drenched in fluid properties, lively keyboards lend a refreshing stimulation. These chords dance and spin with exhilarated animation, infusing the music with verve and appealing efficacy.
A blend of new age and upbeat sensibilities make this release a rewarding discovery.
PETER MERGENER: Cruisin' (CD on Prudence Music)
This release from 2002 offers 72 minutes of space age tuneage.
Here, Mergener performs all the instruments, with voices provided by Kathyrn Thornton, Rusty Schweickard, Mark Garneau, and Alexei Leonow.
The sweet tinkle of elegant keyboards filter through a cybernetic haze. Breaking like an airborne surf, E-perc emerges to stir the harmonics, guiding them into less-traveled aerial lanes with snappy rhythms designed to captivate the attention of dance-hungry feet. Angelic chords sweep down from the sky to hang like a honey-coated fog, supporting the now-nimble euphony. Radio transmissions blend unobtrusively into the mix, evoking images of elaborate cargo freighters from the future. Playful catches of mechanical noises intermingle with the symphonic flow, and a demonstrative melody rises from the pleasant atmospheric soundscape.
While retaining a complacent mood, these emergent melodies are laced with vigor and uptempo beats. They do not hang in the air, but cavort with fanciful intent, producing enticing patterns and cyclic chords and agile rhythms. The beats grow increasingly intricate, goading the music into highly appealing territory where intellect and fun profitably coexist. Waves of swirling space-age effects crest and pinnacle, creating passages of transcendental mystery.
This music features a plethora of synthesized tones, mimicking flutes and harps and surging engines and all sorts of otherworldly airs. Regardless of their synthetic origins, though, these sounds conspire with creative dedication to generate lavish melodies that fill the sky with their inspired splendor.
Mergener's compositional mastery is unparalleled, driving these songs to epic proportions that remain as soothing as they are invigorating.
PETER MERGENER et AMICI: Nox Mystica (CD on Prudence Music)
This CD from 2003 features 57 minutes of historically oriented music.
Every year the Roman festival "Bread and Games" takes place in Trier, Germany's oldest city. This album was the official soundtrack for the 2003 festival.
Mergener's keyboards and Alquimia's vocals are accompanied by Achim Elsen on guitar and Oral Shakir on percussion, with Horst Freischmidt providing Latin lyrics.
As one might expect, the music is richly steeped in Roman sensibilities, superbly evoking the pomp and splendor of the gladiator games. Demonstrative keyboards belt out momentous melodies thick with aristocratic airs, reverberating with enormous chords that expand to fill the sky. Whether resounding with modern sonority or ringing with the strains of an antediluvian harpsichord, the keyboards are versatile and commanding.
The percussion shakes the heavens with sovereign marches, painting pictures of thousands of armored warriors striding into the Coliseum with swords courageously drawn and banners raised in pride. These tempos grow to gigantic proportions, capturing the grandeur of these ancient festivals.
Heavenly choirs filter throughout, bringing the approval of the gods to the earth in commemoration of this epic spectacle.
Rainfall, chariots drawn by horse hooves, creaking stone gears, and rattling armor punctuate the songs, lending environmental authenticity to the soundtrack.
A seven minute video track is included on the CD, depicting a beautiful tour through ancient stone passageways embellished by wondrous mists and artful lighting.
PETER MERGENER: Lounge Control (CD on Prudence Music)
This CD from 2004 features 58 minutes of dazzling electronic music.
This time, Mergener focuses his talents on merging contemporary electronics and lounge music. The result is accessible and stunning, forging a bridge between relaxation and fun-time.
Do not fear--there's nothing passive or trivial about these compositions. The music seethes with Mergener's signature expansive scope and spry tempos. Electronic keyboards generate extravagant textures that become punctuated by generously churning riffs of lucid demeanor. The melodies sway and weave with a languid velocity, but retain an upbeat quality that engages conscious attention as well as subliminal. Active percussives agitate the sonic flow with delectable rhythms. E-perc and bongos provide tantalizing propulsion for these congenial melodies, coaxing toes to tap as the audience finds themselves humming along to the enticing harmonies.
Discerning ears might notice a thematic melody carrying from song to song. Mergener's fundamental composition adapts to versatile climates, transforming this central riff into chameleon-like structures--from billiard halls to casinos to urban settings to oriental milieu. The results are never redundant as he tinkers the melodies to evoke unique characteristics often metamorphosed so integrally as to become wholly new sonic entities.
Ignoring these fundamental relationships, the music flourishes with creative verve and appealing stimulation. The different tunes exhibit frolicsome qualities despite the overall sedate mode, delivering tuneage of dazzling consequence.
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