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New Electronic Music by Conrad Schnitzler

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Conrad Schnitzler is a grand maestro of electronic music. Considered by many as the grandfather of EM, he is accredited with convincing Tangerine Dream and Kluster to go electronic during his brief membership in both bands during the early Seventies. Since then, he has forged an impressive career as a solo performer which continues even today.

Here are reviews of a few of his recent releases...

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CONRAD SCHNITZLER & BERNHARD WÖSTHEINRICH: 20070709 (Digital Download on Extended Moment)

This release from 2009 offers 62 minutes of harmonic electronic tuneage.

What we have here is a composition of harmonic tones flavored with electronic elements. While intended as embellishments, these auxiliary effects tend to alter the flow, redirecting the droning ambience into alternate avenues of atonal expression.

It begins with a haunting ambience that establishes an atmospheric realm seasoned with mechanical gears grinding amid clouds of vented steam. A series of rotors enter the mix, each pitched differently to generate a layered illusion as additional effects resound in the mix. Gradually, these spinning noises begin to chew away at the overall sonic presence, carving away portions and creating new resonance with each delicate incision.

As things progress, spangle effects enliven the flow with their agitation. These sounds reside somewhere between sparkling lights and artificial percussion, grafting those beats with a glow that softens the impact with a high vibration. For a while, these glistening mutations sashay across the tonal panorama, injecting the sedation with a touch of understated tension.

Eventually, denser sounds enter the mix, tones of bass definition tempered with a hint of teeth. The entire mood descends into a darker place as the music grows ponderous and almost ominous.

A resurgence of clanging achieves a state of clarity, punctuating the ambience with jangly mechanical sounds. One has the impression of walking down a dark corridor walled by chugging machinery hidden by clouds of breathing tonalities. A pause ensues in which the vapors reign dominant for a while, suppressing the mechanical grunts, but soon another passageway is encountered where the machinery speaks with more precision. The gears spin with oiled efficiency. The toggles flip with insectoid clatter.

Until the ambient fog rises and swamps everything, returning the listener to a void of introspective isolation. While the machinery can still be heard, chittering away at the periphery, the focus shifts to an interplay of fresh tones which collide, clash and ultimately merge to form richer pulsations.

One can expect the machinery to stage recurrent coups, but inevitably the ambience wins out each time, filling the sonic expanse with its moody drones and seething miasmic foundation. In the end, though, in a startling maneuver, the industrial nature wins out and the piece concludes with a harsh climax (that fades in the distance, so I the ambience is the ultimate victor).

So...while generally atmospheric and shadowy, this music features a definite industrial edge that gives the ambience an urban character.

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CONRAD SCHNITZLER:Rektifikation (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)

This CD from 2008 features 60 minutes of flowing trace electronic tuneage.

The music on this release is quite different for Schnitzler. Instead of quirky snippet-like compositions, this CD offers fluid tuneage in which his customary sonic palette makes background contributions while the nucleus is distinctly chill-out material.

While layers of eerie tones generate lavish expanses of electronic delicacy, various embellishments come and go, many of them familiar Schnitzler devices, like insectoid electronics, xylophonic rolls, instances of dramatic piano, gurgling and blooping diodes and altogether weird sounds--all making appearances as the trance music streams from one cosmic diversion to another.

One section features a conglomerate of pulsating percussive elements that blend together with a host of celestially ascending tonalities, creating a stirring emotional escalation.

Eventually, that percussive phase mutates into a serpentine crystalline rhythm dogged by auxiliary beats, wobbly drones and surprise electronic eruptions.

This leads to a passage in which various keyboard riffs intertwine to generate an undulant complexity punctuated by an electronic chugging.

Overall, this music is an epic trance excursion that travels through various stages of development, each portion exploring subtle variations on the central theme through the studied application of a bevy of unique embellishments. All the while, strong melodic sensibilities influence the basic harmonic flow, with the result that each portion expresses engaging tuneage.

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Schnitzler also self-produces his own music and countless sonic gems are available exclusively from him. To find out more, you can contact Conrad directly here.

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Visit CON-tribute to learn about Schnitzler's doings and releases.

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