Titles are arranged alphabetically with recent additions highlighted in yellow.
A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-T | U-Z
1996 electronic music a la Vangelis and Changing Images.
Thought Guild is the duo of Gregory Kyryluk and Christopher Cameron, performing traditional mid-1970s Berlin School e-music. Context is from 2002. Alpha Wave Movement is Kyryluk solo and tends to be warmer, more melodic, rhythmic, and energetic. Beyond Silence is from 2005, while A Distant Signal is from 2002. Drifted Into Deeper Lands (2000) has a guitarist on two tracks. This 2007 re-edition contains a 7-minute bonus track recorded in 2001.
On The Mystic and the Machine (2007), Kyryluk shifts to progressive rock and is assisted by British musician Steve Hillman on electric guitar and “vintage authenticity”. Hillman himself is well-known for working in both the electronic music and progressive rock genres. Kyryluk describes this CD thus: “...melds the beautiful melodic orchestrations of classic prog giants such as Genesis, Camel, ELP with a sprinkle of cosmic rock by virtue of synthesizers, samplers and a tasteful splash of electric guitar. The Mystic & the Machine is a sonic road-trip into the fairytale land where melodic progressive rock instrumentals meet modern day electronica.” It’s a great crossover work that carves out a unique niche, like a blend of the ethereal side of early Genesis with Tangerine Dream, with touches of the aforementioned Camel and ELP.
Apeiron is the alias used by German synthesist Andreas Prinz (formerly Konrad). Imagic (1993, 60-minutes) is great melodic/rhythmic electronic music, generally close to Tangerine Dream’s non-commercial 1980s/1990s style. It is cosmic yet warm sounding, and a couple pieces use drums to up the energy level. The album shows more originality than many Berlin school-influenced electronic musicians. Apeiron doesn’t limit himself to vintage gear for the sake of sounding retro, and neither album locks itself into one particular style.
Following the career trajectory of Steve Roach and others, Apeiron shifted style for Mirror Images (2001, 49-minutes), which adds lots of Asian ethnic influences and is more mystical and deliberately paced. Vasudeva is actually one Udo Winkler, who adds sophisticated percussion as well as soundscapes. It’s a very seductive blend, even bordering on King Crimson of that era on at least one of the hypnotic pieces.
This 1993 album is synthesist David Arkenstone’s original score to the movie Robot Wars, which is presumably a film about robots not being able to work out their differences. Aside from one track of light rock, the music is very good orchestral simulation in the Hollywood epic soundtrack style.
AstroVoyager is French keyboardist Philippe Fagnoni. Temporal Gravitation is his 2006 debut, containing 15 tracks of accomplished melodic/rhythmic synth music influenced by Jarre and Vangelis, with symphonic layers that suggest Fagnoni has also taken cues from prominent movie soundtrack composers. (Fagnoni cites Hans Zimmer and Eric Serra.) There is also a multimedia track for Mac and PC.
ElectrOpera Act 01: Pulsations (2012) comes in a printed cardboard sleeve and counts as only one-half CD for shipping. Listen to ElectrOpera - Introduction on YouTube.
2008 digipack CD of ambient soundscapes. Read the review at No Eyed Bird.
Jean Michel Jarre plays the music of Genesis? Backyards is the project of Frenchman Marc Devidal, former keyboardist of Merlin and Morrigan, who uses Jarre-style keyboards plus programmed drums to play instrumental synth rock with a strong Tony Banks influence evident. The Banks style is more prevalent on Horizon (2011), while 2eden (2012) would more fairly be described as heavy, rock-oriented synth music, though the two albums are not terribly different. YouTube has the songs Presto and So Close To.
This 2010 CD from the ex-Hawkwind synth wizard is full of cosmic/rhythmic synth music in the classic style. Electronic music fans who may have no interest in Hawkwind can dive right in here, as this is pure EM. For the most part, it is a high-tech version of mid-to-late 1970s Tangerine Dream, with touches of Vangelis and some of the French synthesists, and lots of twittering synths Hawkwind-style. Several tracks use electronic percussion to up the energy level. This is as good as the Berlin school heroes.
These are the 2016 newly remastered editions on Esoteric’s Reactive imprint of Peter Baumann’s first two albums: Romance 76 (1976) and Trans Harmonic Nights (1979). Both had been unavailable on CD for many years. Both restore the original album artwork and include a booklet with new essay. Baumann of course was a core member of Tangerine Dream. He composed Romance 76 while still touring with the band and left TD in 1977. These two albums are his best and closest to the Tangerine Dream style, transitioning into something more distinct with Trans Harmonic Nights.
The new genre referred to by Danish musician Bjarne O. Henriksen is virtual orchestra music, something made possible by the existence of high-quality orchestral sample libraries today. Not to suggest that this style of music has never been done before. Some of Bjarne O.’s pieces are reminiscent of the early Synergy albums, though of course Larry Fast had to do it the hard way, with primitive analog synths. Bjarne O. lists his influences as progressive rock (ELP, Peter Gabriel, Yes, Genesis), contemporary classical (Aaron Copeland), film music and world music. His music is indeed often cinematic and huge, not really classical but rather rock and contemporary instrumental music using an orchestral palette. And his music extends well beyond orchestra simulations into other areas of energetic electronic music and new age. Face On has a world music flavor, as here Bjarne O. also uses samples of a variety of Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic instruments, percussion, and voices. Bjarne O.’s compositional and arranging skills are exceptional.
Yes (2006) is brilliant, as Bjarne O. has perfected his virtual orchestra, and on this album he sometimes adds reharmonized vocals a la Deep Forest. With some pipe organ recalling Rick Wakeman, maybe the title is a reference to the band. One can now say assuredly that this goes well beyond the early Synergy albums, making full use of modern tools, and the music is higher-energy. China (2006) is a 21-minute CD-EP inspired by Bjarne O.’s admiration of the two-stringed Chinese violin, the Erhu. The music however is Western, with the same high level orchestral music, flavored by Chinese music but without sacrificing energy. In lesser hands, this could have been the sort of boring world music that there is no shortage of, but the music on both Yes and China features thunderous orchestral percussion and a progressive rock sensibility.
C:> SpaceWalk is a 2002 release from The Black Sea, an American duo producing electronic rock of the deep space variety. In addition to all the synths and effects, there is some electric guitar, and most pieces have drums, sometimes driving, sometimes hypnotic. The music blends the melodic with the sinister, while sampled dialog is used throughout, clips from NASA transmissions and sci-fi movies. The final track Home From the Hill is reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream, but otherwise The Black Sea avoids the floating, free-form style in favor of the composed and focused. Nothing new age here. Read the Aural Innovations review.
Artist Paul Whitehead has spent his life creating unforgettable images for progressive rock bands (Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, many others). His lifelong interest in science fiction led to the creation of the Borg Symphony, a collective of musicians assimilated from various countries, primary among them Italian keyboardist Alex Carpani, who is also credited with composition. Ode to Hero Tixe (56-minutes) first appeared in 2006 as a CD-R, but this December 2012 edition, which comes in a cardboard sleeve, is the first replicated CD edition and is considered the first official release. It is primarily a symphonic and rhythmic electronic music work with aspects of progressive rock, an other-worldly feel and sparse narration. There are industrial sounds, grinding guitars, and neoclassical musicians (flute, violin, bowed cymbal and Theremin), creating music with the feel of a sci-fi movie. Read the Music Street Journal review. Counts as only one-half CD for shipping.
Richard Burmer is one of the most respected American electronic musicians, who you would group stylistically with Vangelis, Patrick O’Hearn, and David Arkenstone. Treasures of the Saints (1996) is his fifth album.
Belgian Laurent Calomne is a music teacher specialized in music theory in addition to being a composer of electronic music. His first album Monstres et Chimères (2005) contains melodic, symphonic electronic music, sometimes rhythmic, with references to Vangelis, Synergy, and Tangerine Dream.
Guillermo Cazenave is known to many for his collaborations with Anthony Phillips, but much of his solo work is in the cosmic music vein, and Ser (2008, digipack) is probably his best such album. It was recorded at Anthony Phillips’ studio in England. Jeremy Morris has a couple guest vocals, otherwise the music is instrumental. This is not a retro, Berlin School album, though that influence is present. There are acoustic instruments (guitars, flute, sitar, santur) in addition to electronics, so the music has a more organic feel than most electronic music, and crosses over into progressive à la Jade Warrior.
Belgian electronics duo with a 2000 sci-fi concept album in the Jarre and Kitaro veins.
Cinema is a current German electronic music project, but the man behind it is a veteran: Jürgen “Pöngse” Krutzsch, once the guitarist of the German 1970s prog band Tibet. There was a privately-released 1985 Cinema LP titled Isolation, then nothing until The Magix Box (2013). Here Pöngse is aided by two other musicians. The music is warm, melodic/rhythmic electronics that sounds like an updated blend of Ashra and Vangelis, also reminiscent of modern Mike Oldfield and modern Tangerine Dream. There is prog rock crossover appeal due to the use of electric guitar and the well-formed melodies. Eroc (Grobschnitt) did the mastering. Watch the official trailer.
Loopings (2014) is the follow-up, full of classic electronic music goodness that leans a bit more toward Tangerine Dream. The same musicians are involved and Eroc again mastered. A listen to the generous (11:31) official trailer should convince EM fans that this is a must-have.
Instrumental synth album from Japanese musician Toshiyuki Fujita. As synth albums go, this one is fairly (prog-) rocky, with lots of programmed drums, similar to 1990s Tangerine Dream at their most rock-oriented. Fujita lists his heroes and, aside from Vangelis, they’re all prog rock bands, so not surprisingly this could be likened to a more rock-oriented Vangelis.
Keyboardist David Cosgrove was the main force behind the band Makkiwhipdies. Gift of Time (2008, pro CD-R) is one of the best electronic music CDs we’ve heard in recent years, much of it better labeled ‘electronic rock’ because of the drums. It is melodic, rhythmic, high-energy synth music for wide awake listening, great in the car player for nighttime driving. The CD comes in a cardboard sleeve and counts as only one-half CD for shipping.
This 2CD set reissues the complete works of Dionne-Brégent, the Québécois duo of Vincent Dionne (drums/percussion) and Michel-Georges Brégent (keyboards). Their two instrumental albums Et le Troisième Jour (1976) and Deux (1977) are actually quite different from each other. The first is an electronic music work that begins symphonic and spacey, with some influence of Terry Riley, but much of it is abstract and menacing a la the earliest Tangerine Dream. Deux is a beautiful progressive rock album, though there are still touches of electronic music such as sequencers incorporated into a driving rock piece. It has a much fuller sound, with the addition of a string quartet, harp, and brass. In addition to remastered versions of both of these albums, there are two bonus tracks. One is a performance of a Karlheinz Stockhausen piece by Vincent Dionne, the other a lost Dionne-Brégent soundtrack that never appeared on LP. A lavish 20-page booklet completes another essential reissue from the ProgQuébec label.
This is a symphonic rock work from Hungarian composer Julius Dobos featuring a large choir, orchestra, and (on one track) the vocals of Márta Sebestyén. Much of this sounds like Vangelis at his most powerful, playing with an orchestra. There is also one track of symphonic Celtic music, and some rock elements that Vangelis never used. If this was a Vangelis album, it would rank among his very best. Read the allmusic review. Watch the video for the track Life.
Behind the dumb album name lies an exceptional 2004 instrumental electronics album by a young French artist. The music is very cinematic and very warm, probably using one of the high-quality orchestral sample libraries now available. The symphonic electronics and piano are often combined with engaging rhythm loops, so rather than background music, this is energetic and compelling, orchestral trip-hop if you will. The loops are not allowed to run on too long, which is what most lesser musicians do. Imagine Vangelis circa Blade Runner but able to utilize today’s music software tools. While other electronic musicians rehash the same old Berlin school sounds, this is an album that takes electronic music into new territory, incorporating the latest technology to widen the scope of what is possible and carry the listener off into other worlds.
Back circa 1985/1986, Robert Schroeder teamed with guitarist Charly Büchel under the name Double Fantasy and released the very successful album Universal Ave. Food for Fantasy is the continuation of Double Fantasy. Most likely the IC label still owns the rights to the name “Double Fantasy”, or the name change may be because the guitarist is now Phil Molto. The music on this 2006 album is the same though, improvised in the studio during relaxed nightly sessions, with the best parts later selected and edited in post production. The result is a melodic, flowing, laidback, sunny style of EM, with cosmic keyboards, hypnotic sequencer and percussion grooves, and sympathetic, liquid guitar leads. 77-minutes. There is one mp3 sample and a review here.
Christopher Franke is the ex-Tangerine Dream synthesist/composer who, while prolific, can’t hold a candle to his old band in terms of number of albums released. (We estimate there are over one million different Tangerine Dream albums.) Pacific Coast Highway (1991) is Franke’s first studio album, lighter and brighter than Tangerine Dream. The London Concert is a live recording of a 1991 concert, possibly in London.
Klemania (1995) is his second studio album, a return to where Tangerine Dream was in the 1980s when he left. Universal Soldier (1992) is the soundtrack to the film of the same name. Raven (1993) and Babylon 5 (1995) contain music composed for the TV series of the same names. New Music for Films (1993) is music composed and orchestrated by Franke for the films Eye of the Storm, McBain, and She Woke Up, performed by the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra along with Franke.
The Garden of Emotions is the 2009 album from Apocalypse’s keyboard player. Listening to Fritsch’s now large body of work, it’s evident that his two heroes are Rick Wakeman and Vangelis. But Apocalypse provides an outlet for Fritsch’s Wakeman style, so while The Garden of Emotions opens in classic Wakeman style, the vast majority of this 74-minute work is classic Vangelis style. This is such a good Vangelis album that it could be Vangelis’ Greatest Hits That He Never Wrote. The music echoes just about every important Vangelis album: Heaven and Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral, China, Chariots of Fire, and more.
Atmosphere (2002, 70-minutes) is very much in the Vangelis style and every bit as good, so much so that if you heard it without knowing the artist, you’d just assume you were hearing a new Vangelis work. With the Greek guy not so visible these days, Eloy Fritsch is the man to turn to for symphonic electronic music with exquisite melodies and textures.
Mythology (2001) is Fritsch’s fifth album and is more rock-oriented than his first four. This is primarily in the Rick Wakeman style, with touches of Vangelis.
Cyberspace (2000) is Fritsch’s fourth solo album; this one is high-quality electronic music. Two tracks are in the Jean Michel Jarre melodic/rhythmic style, most of the rest are firmly in the Vangelis symphonic style, with doses of Tangerine Dream and Rick Wakeman added. Nothing meditative or abstract here.
This is the CD reissue of the 1977 French classic originally released on the Pole label. Comparable to Clearlight and Vangelis, the album consists of instrumental music with Grancher on piano, synthesizers, organ, and Mellotron, with other musicians adding synths, acoustic and electric guitar, bass and drums.
This 2003 CD is the project of Canadian guitarist Martin Heon, who wanted to widen the sonic spectrum of the electric guitar beyond what we are used to hearing. He put a Fender Stratocaster through all manner of software plug-ins, sometimes giving the impression that we are listening to another instrument. A year of intensive research was necessary to create these original sounds and has resulted in this 40-minute instrumental piece, divided into 12 parts, inspired by the great mystery of life and death. It is surprisingly listenable, pulsing along rhythmically much of the time.
With over a dozen albums to his name, Steve Hillman has been a leader in the electronic music genre since the early 1980s. Opener of the Ways (2002, 74-minutes) contains Steve’s take on the 1970s Tangerine Dream style. There are a few abstract tracks, and a lot of sequencer-driven rhythmic tracks. Hillman recorded new versions of some of the best of his earlier works, even replacing drum machine with drum kit, and this is what distinguishes his music from Tangerine Dream. The drums kick the energy level up a notch and make this electronic rock.
The 75-minute Riding the Storm (1996) is a compilation of remastered tracks from Hillman’s cassette releases.
After ten cassette-only releases of Tangerine Dream-style electronics, Hillman recorded Matrix in 1994, in which he adopted a more rock-oriented approach, with electric guitar leads, drum programming, and his wife Linda adding some flute.
Spiral Realms is Simon House, the violinist of High Tide, Hawkwind, The Third Ear Band, and David Bowie, assisted by keyboardist Len del Rio. These CDs feature electronic/symphonic space rock with House’s trademark violin, lots of keyboards, and programmed drums. Trip to G9 (1994) and Crystal Jungles of Eos (1995) both come with a second CD of remixes of the original album tracks; both are on the cosmic and abstract side. These albums have elements of Hawkwind but are more symphonic and refined. It’s a beautiful combination of symphonic/spacey electronics, soaring violin, and programmed drums (which fit perfectly with the music). Aside from the violin, the music is sometimes close to the early Fonya style, though House tends to go for a sonic stew with less separation of instruments. Sometimes the sonic stew is impenetrable. (You’d think the remixes on Trip to G9 and Crystal Jungles of Eos would be less murky than the originals, and you’d be wrong.)
Solar Wind was originally released in 1996 and was the second album to be recorded under the name Spiral Realms. It was recorded live during The Space Ritual 1995 U.S. tour and contains a selection of Simon’s work as a solo artist, the Hawkwind song The Forge of Vulcan, and the Syd Barrett composition Interstellar Overdrive. Del Dettmar plays on a number of tracks. It’s the style of symphonic space rock we’ve come to expect from House, and though his favorite reverb setting is still “aircraft hangar”, this one is actually clearer sounding than some of his studio recordings. All the CDs in this series are the 2005 remastered editions on Hawk Records, personally remastered by Simon House.
Hurry Hurry are so called not because they’re in a rush or like Rush but because they are two Australian brothers, Wayne and Rob Hurry. They first released Life (2010, 73-minutes) themselves as a CD-R, but this is the Musea CD edition. Life blends melodic/upbeat electronic music and symphonic rock like a combination of Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Gandalf, and Jade Warrior. Most of the sounds are from synths, with sampled drums/percussion and some electric guitar. The album plays as one continuous piece with female narration tying the tracks together. Since ‘new age’ became a marketing term back in the 1980s, there have been enough bland or amateurish works in this style to make listeners wary, but Life is exceptional. Read reviews here.
This 2003 CD is a collaboration between Lambert Ringlage and Alien Nature (aka Wolfgang Barkowski). Ringlage is known for his Berlin school style albums, while Alien Nature’s style is dark ambient. The combination of the two is somewhat similar to Klaus Schulze at his darkest. Rhythmic sequences emerge from the dark and eerie atmospherics, subtle melodies appear, tension slowly builds and lead lines carry the long pieces to climax. 73-minutes.
At the time of this writing, these two Jarre CDs are out-of-print and fetching much higher prices than this. Metamorphoses is Jarre’s 2000 studio album. Les Granges Brûlées (digipack), which translates to The Burning Barns, is Jarre’s second album, a film soundtrack released in 1973.
Jiannis is short for Jiannis Zedamanis, who follows the Vangelis naming convention. Plugged is firmly in the mid-1970s Klaus Schulze style, just three long tracks spanning 73-minutes, full of analog synths, Mellotron, and sequencers. The Plugged CD is from 1997, but the recording is apparently older than that, probably from the late 1980s. Berlin school devotees will have found heaven.
Timeless Vision (74-minutes) was originally released on cassette in 1988, then re-released on this 1999 CD. This is actually the recording of a live concert, though there is no crowd noise. It was taken directly from the mixing desk. Both Jiannis and Lambert are hugely inspired by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, though each has his own approach, and this album effectively combines them. Lambert’s style is more melodic and rhythmic. The dominant style on Timeless Vision is the early 1980s Tangerine Dream style, more melodic, romantic, and upbeat than the Jiannis solo CDs.
2011 debut by a French multi-instrumentalist.
Sequentaria (2008, 71-minutes, digipack) is the third album for American Jeffrey Koepper, who relies on a large array of vintage analog synths, drum machines, and analog sequencers in order to construct EM in the Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre styles. The overall feeling is playful and inspired and, for fans of this style, more than a little nostalgic. Steve Roach mastered the album and was integral in the final arrangement and finishing effects. Read the Star’s End review.
Keyboardist Esa Kotilainen has been involved in the Finnish music scene since the 1970s, best known for his tenures with Wigwam, Tasavallan Presidentti, and Karelia, as well as his 1977 solo album Ajatuslapsi. Turquoise Planet (2009) and -51°C (2010, digipack) are his latest solo works and are in a symphonic/ambient style that would be perfect as the soundtrack to a non-narrative film of Nordic landscapes, varying from enchanted summer forests to ominous snow-swept vistas. There is a Scandinavian flavor that one can also hear in the work of Ralph Lundsten. Kotilainen uses electronic keyboards ranging from vintage (Moogs, ARP, Mellotron) to modern, but also accordions. One of these albums is colder and bleaker than the other; we leave determining which as an exercise for the reader. Read the Eurock review of Turquoise Planet. At the time of this writing, there is one track from -51°C on the Presence Records MySpace page.
Andrew Laitres is the man behind the bands The Winter Tree and Magus. Singularity (2015, digipack) is his first album of pure ambient electronic music: instrumental, atmospheric, and meditative.
Lambert is Lambert Ringlage, who runs the Spheric Music label. Inside Out (66-minutes) is Lambert’s 1991 debut, lively and accessible EM that has been compared to Jean Michel Jarre, Michael Garrison, and Tangerine Dream.
Finis Terrae (1997, 61-minutes) is a collaboration between Lambert and Christian Schimmöller, aka Palantir, inspired by and recorded in Finistère, part of Brittany. “The addition of some environmental recordings has created an incredible sense of atmosphere. Finis Terrae is a remarkable achievement, a CD which has given a serious meaning to the usually flippant sound of the synthesizer, and which has magnificently incorporated location recordings and abstract sounds without veering too far into the field of purely dark ambient music. As such, it’s to be applauded, although it remains heavy going to listen to the album all the way through in one sitting. Perhaps that’s just a tribute to the intensity of feeling which Lambert and Christian have managed to capture in their music.” [Mark Jenkins / AMP Music]
D’Une Rive à L’Autre (2006, 59-minutes) is the sixth album for French synthesist Loreau, assisted here by three other musicians. The music is generally bright and melodic, in the romantic Vangelis and light classical new age styles. Passe Compose (2002) is Loreau’s fifth.
Symphonia (1996) is quality electronic/new age with an orchestral focus by Corsican keyboardist Maestracci, along the lines of Changing Images or Patrick Broguiere.
The French composer Frédéric Maillet is a devoted disciple of the 1970s electronic music scene. His first opus Inlandsis (2005) is a 55-minute album composed of just two suites of cosmic electronics in the 1970s style. The cover photo of bright arctic ice is appropriate for the music.
“MoonSatellite is the nickname chosen by a young French musician keen on 1970s electronic music, a huge Jean-Michel Jarre lover above all. He progressively built his own studio, with computers, sequencers, and a large array of analog keyboards. Among a dozen published works, his calling card is a complete cover-version of Jarre’s Oxygène in 2007. The five long tracks on Missing Time (2011) are obviously a faithful tribute to his idol, but also to Klaus Schulze.”
40 is the 2006 debut for Belgian synthesist Moulin, the album title probably a reference to his age after having spent the 1990s leading a rock band. It is one of the best and more original releases on the Dreaming label. One aspect of Moulin’s style is dark orchestral music, suitable as dramatic and poignant movie soundtrack music. But he marries this with electronic rhythms and electronic sounds to create something original. A guest on lead electric guitar takes the music into progressive rock territory in spots.
Olyam is the nom de plume of French composer and musician Olivier Brigand, who is comparable to Vangelis, merging his synths with human voices and acoustic instruments (guitar, bass, percussion). Like Vangelis, he is versed in rock, classical, and traditional/ethnic musics. On Orpheus (1997), the vocals take the form of Gregorian chant (on 3 of the 13 tracks), while the music is powerful and larger than life.
Attacama (2001) is a collaboration with Chilean musician Hernan Saavedra, who plays pan pipes, quena, charango, and acoustic guitar. Vangelis vacations in the Andes.
Cristal Rêveur (2002) is 55-minutes of beautiful relaxed instrumental progressive/new age music blending electronics and acoustic instruments. Olyam plays synths, percussion, and acoustic guitar, while other musicians add trumpet, bass, flute, accordion, violin, cello, and voice.
Orange Love (2005, 72-minutes) is the most modern and rhythmic of these albums, in an essentially romantic style close to Vangelis, but on this album each song is propelled by rhythm loops. It fuses electronic and acoustic sounds, the results sometimes close to progressive rock, both relaxing and revitalizing. Olyam plays both guitars and keyboards, with significant use of vocal and traditional instrument samples. Guests contribute bass and trumpet. We would rank Olyam among the top contemporary practitioners of electronic music.
In the mid-1980s, there were two great Polish electronic bands: El Division and Omni. While the El Division LPs have yet to be issued on CD, the 1985 first album by Omni has. This is the Metal Mind re-edition, which adds three bonus tracks. Omni is a duo making melodic/rhythmic electronic music somewhere between the Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre styles, but very high-energy and very exuberant. Classical themes are blended with racing sequencers and electronic drums.
Nothing more was heard from Omni until Mermaids (2006). The core of their sound remains late-70s/early-80s Tangerine Dream. The first of the four tracks is electronic rock, as Omni add rock guitar, drums and wordless female vocals. The remaining three tracks stick mainly to electronic music, but each is quite distinct. One member adds cello at times, which is one element Omni use to elevate their music beyond ordinary EM. The 23-minute final track is a beautiful example of EM that builds from ambient/cosmic to a powerful sequencer-driven conclusion.
Despite the new agey title, this is loud, buzzy, in-your-face electronic music from a Canadian artist. Machines take over the world.
Palantir is the name adopted by composer, musician, and audio engineer Christian Schimmöller for his music projects. There is a melodic and a rhythmic component to his music, but its main feature is an exotic, other-worldly feel and the highly-imaginative use of background sounds of all sorts: spoken, sung, natural, industrial, and indescribable. With the 78-minute Empire of Illusions (2000, digipack), Schimmöller has created a wondrous dream world that has few parallels, ultimately relaxing but so full of detail that it never becomes background music. On headphones, the music takes on a three-dimensional quality due to the binaural recording technique used.
Elemental (2013) is the debut by Chilean band Quarks, a new project of keyboardist Claudio Momberg (SETI, Taurus, Clive Nolan’s Alchemy, Subterra) with guitarist Alamiro Arias and keyboardist Ricardo Riadi. This is high-quality Berlin school electronics, pure and simple. Watch the album preview video.
This 2012 reissue is the first time on CD for the 1978 solo album by Lutz Rahn, keyboardist of Novalis. The album contains eight short instrumental tracks of progressive electronic music. There are lots of analog synths including string ensemble, while Rahn also employs Hammond, Mellotron (choir, flute), Clavinet, Rhodes, and grand piano. There is a guest drummer, though analog drum machines are used most of the time. The music might be compared to Yellow Magic Orchestra or occasionally Jean Michel Jarre, and there were other German and French solo artists around this time or shortly after (Serge Blenner, for example) making a similar type of melodic/rhythmic, pop-influenced electronic music. But few had Rahn’s prog credentials, and his keyboard playing separates Solo Trip from the pack. The booklet contains a 2012 interview with Rahn. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Simbiosis (2013, digipack) is the debut album of electronic music from this Mexican musician. Read the Exposé and Progressor reviews. Listen to Caos on YouTube.
This is a 2004 album of sophisticated electronic music by French synthesist Richet. It comes closest to Vangelis, but Vangelis’ more ethnic side rather than his symphonic side. Most of this is powerful and high energy, yet the overall effect is hypnotic because of the long tracks with repetitive rhythmic elements.
Spanish synthesist Dom F. Scab has quite a large discography and has established himself as an important figure in electronic music. He is taking the Berlin school of spacey sequencer-driven electronics in new directions. Crosswords (2005) and Necessary Fears (2006) both have strong influences of Tangerine Dream circa Stratosfear, plus a few instances of more Vangelis-like material. Never too abstract or experimental, his music is full of classic Teutonic sequencing blended with melodic elements.
Most fans of electronic music are familiar with Robert Schroeder, a protégé of Klaus Schulze who released his first album Harmonic Ascendant in 1979. After a break from EM for the past several years, Schroeder released his 14th CD Brainchips in 2005. In an unusual move, there is an instrumental and a vocal version available. The vocal version adds singing and some spoken word (mostly in English but several other languages as well) by the Moroccan Rahal Brimil on five of the album’s 12 tracks, giving those tracks a multi-cultural flair. This album has fine electronics in the traditional Schroeder style, gently rhythmic, sometimes close to Klaus Schulze’s style but more melodic. Schroeder distinguishes himself from most other EM practitioners by playing electric guitar in addition to keyboards. This is as good as anything Schroeder released in his early days, but if you just want to hear the same old Berlin school stuff repeated ad infinitum, this album may not be for you. This album see Schroeder broadening his style in new directions such as electronic trip-hop and demonstrating that he is at least aware of developments in electronic music over the past decade. Along with his new project Food for Fantasy, Schroeder is in the midst of a creative renaissance. 74-minutes.
Shadowlands (2013, digipack) is Klaus Schulze’s first solo studio album in six years. This is the limited edition, which in addition to the 75-minute first CD includes a second CD with another 73 minutes of music. Yes, Klaus just lets the sequencers run until the disc is maxed out. Violinist Thomas Kagermann accompanies Schulze on this album for the first time since 2000’s Contemporary Works.
These are the remastered digipack deluxe editions with bonus tracks, enhanced booklets, new photos and new liner notes. Originally released between 2005-2009 on SPV’s Revisited Records label, most of the older titles went out-of-print but are reappearing on the Made in Germany label. Klaus Schulze is a synth music icon and, together with Tangerine Dream, is the father of electronic space music.
Miditerranean Pads (1990) is the only album in this series without a bonus track, but the CD is already 72-minutes long.
En=Trance (1988) has the 8-minute bonus track Elvish Sequencer added, taking the album length to 78:49.
Dreams (1986, 79:50) includes the previously unreleased 24-minute Constellation Andromeda as a bonus track.
Originally released in 1984 as the soundtrack for the Austrian judicial scandal documentary film Angst (a.k.a. Schizophrenia), Schulze’s music acted as a storyline for the unedited film, rather than incidental music added to a completed story, thus allowing the score to drive the film. As standalone music, Angst is typical of Schulze’s moody, serene, and atmospheric symphonic synth style. The previously-unreleased 32-minute bonus track Silent Survivor brings the total time to 72-minutes.
The tracks on Audentity (1983) appear in a different order now and the CD includes as a bonus Gem, which is an album in itself, 58-minutes long and broken into five tracks.
Dziekuje Poland Live ’83 was recorded and originally released in 1983 during the Audentity tour. The original release was also credited to Rainer Bloss, and though Rainer’s photo is still on the back, his name got dropped from the front. This may be the best of Schulze’s live records, as they are some of the most dramatic and powerful electronic works on record. This 2CD reissue contains two previously unreleased bonus tracks: Dzien Dobry, recorded live in Gdansk, and The Midas Hip Hop Touch, a studio recording from the same era.
Trancefer (1981) was the first album released on Schulze’s own IC label and features Michael Shrieve on percussion and Wolfgang Tiepold on cello. The bonus tracks are alternate versions of the two album tracks and take the CD length up to 75-minutes.
Live (2CD, 1980) was Schulze’s first live album, consisting of four extended compositions recorded in Amsterdam 1979, Berlin 1976, and Paris 1979. Arthur Brown appears on one track. This edition includes the 18-minute bonus track Le Mans au premier, taken from a 1979 concert at the abbey L’Epeau near Le Mans in France.
Moondawn (1976) has to be considered one of Schulze’s classic albums. This CD adds the 21-minute Floating Sequence as a bonus track, taking the total time to 74-minutes.
Picture Music (1973) now includes the 33:00 bonus track C’est Pas la Même Chose, taking the album length up to 80-minutes.
Das Wagner Desaster was recorded live during two legendary 1994 concerts staged by Klaus Schulze in Paris and Rome. Schulze then edited the shows into two different mixes, with Disc One featuring The Wild Mixes and Disc Two The Soft Mixes. There is also a 19-minute bonus track Encore Sevilla, bringing the total time of this 2CD set to 154-minutes.
The 79-minute Le Moulin de Daudet is the soundtrack to a French film and had previously been available only in France. This edition adds a rare 16-minute bonus track from 1994.
In Blue was originally released in 1995 as a double CD, with Manuel Göttsching guesting on guitar. This 3CD Deluxe Edition adds a third CD of live material which also features Göttsching.
Originally recorded between 1998-2000 and only available in the now deleted 10-CD boxset Contemporary Works I, The Crime of Suspense is a welcome addition to the Klaus Schulze re-release catalog. On Good Old 4 On The Floor, Schulze delivers a trance classic with soul, while Overchill is refined by the beautiful voice of Julia Messenger. Two previously unreleased bonus tracks have been added, taking the total time up to 80-minutes.
The four-part Ballett series was recorded between 1998-2000 and was also part of Contemporary Works I. The 77-minute Ballett 1 features cellist Wolfgang Tiepold, who also played on Dune, Trancefer and Audentity. Ballett 2 features Thomas Kagermann on flute and violin, while Wolfgang Tiepold plays cello on the 24-minute Wolf’s Ponticelli. Ballett 2 has an ethno, eclectic vibe, one that is more prevalent than on Ballett 1. One bonus track has been added, expanding the CD to 80-minutes. Ballett 3 (79-minutes) has one bonus track, as does Ballett 4 (78-minutes).
Vanity of Sounds (78:33) was recorded between 1999-2000 and was also part of Contemporary Works I.
After performances by Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, the organizers of the KlangArt Festival invited Klaus Schulze to play in Osnabrück in 2001. The concert from June 9th is actually the last time Schulze played in Germany, and was originally released on two separate CDs in 2001. Both CDs are now available together in the Live @ KlangArt 2CD digipack, with two bonus tracks adding another 18 minutes.
In 2002, Schulze released the second part of his box set series Contemporary Works. Virtual Outback is the first of five CDs from this set, which was only available online and has been sold out for some time. The CD is now available with a booklet including new liner notes and the bonus track Chinese Ears, which Schulze recorded for the China Millennium Show in Beijing.
Moonlake (74-minutes) is Schulze’s 2005 release. The tracks Playmate In Paradise (30:07) and Artemis In Jubileo (17:49) were recorded live in the studio, while Same Thoughts Lion (10:38) and Mephisto (15:23) are new tracks recorded at a concert in Poland in 2003. Schulze currently prefers the live element in his music, the opportunity for improvisation. This is a good album for Schulze, as rhythm plays a more dominant role than has been the case for some time. Thomas Kagermann adds violin and voice to Playmate In Paradise.
As if Schulze didn’t release enough music under his own name, around the end of the 1970s he began also releasing music under the pseudonym Richard Wahnfried. Drums ‘n’ Balls (The Gancha Dub) was originally released in 1997 and now with a 15:21 bonus track added, runs 72:28. Trance Appeal (76-minutes) was originally released in 1996 and now includes a 13-minute bonus track.
Miditation (1986) features a guest appearance by Steve Jollife on flute. This 2012 digisleeve edition on the Made in Germany label has been remastered and features new artwork.
Tonwelle (1981) was the second album under the Richard Wahnfried name and features Manuel Göttsching and Michael Shrieve. The original vinyl was produced for playback at 45 rpm. The slightly-silly 2012 2CD digipack edition on Made in Germany contains the correct speed (45 rpm) music on the first disc and the same music at 33-1/3 rpm on the second disc, apparently for those who played back the vinyl at the wrong speed and remember the music being slower and lower in pitch. (Schulze’s tracks are long enough without the time dilation.)
Sula Bassana is the pseudonym used by German musician Dave Schmidt, a veteran Krautrocker Kosmonaut who has numerous other projects. Shipwrecked (2016) is a departure from the previous Sula Bassana album, as this is an electronic krautrock album (think Harmonia, Neu!, Kraftwerk, early Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze), allowing Schmidt/Sula to employ all the vintage electronic gear he’d been stockpiling. The album features synthesizers, organs, drum machines, sequencer, Mellotron, guitar, bass, and toy mandolin. Eroc did the mastering. Read the Aural Innovations review. See our German page for more Sula Bassana CDs.
Hopefully Synergy, alias Larry Fast, needs no introduction. For many of us, he was the electronic music pioneer in the U.S., as his albums are just far more interesting to rock fans than those of the few other U.S. electronic music pioneers. Prog fans also know that he had a large hand in the sound of Nektar’s Recycled album and, as Nektar was falling apart, joined Peter Gabriel’s band. But the Synergy albums are his true legacy.
Reconstructed Artifacts was recorded in 2002 and features new performances and new recordings of Synergy classics using modern digital keyboards and software, a great introduction for newcomers and lots of fun for existing fans. These are all the latest remastered editions on Third Contact / Voiceprint.
“It is melody that sets Synergy apart from literally 95% of other 1970s electronic artists -- there is no confusing Synergy with Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream. Beautiful, sweeping and soaring compositions with clear cut beginnings, middles and endings.” [Prog Archives]
This is the 2013 U.S. edition of Zeitgeist Concert, a 3CD set subtitled Live at the Royal Albert Hall London 2010. Tangerine Dream first played this hall 35 years earlier. This is the 2013 U.S. edition of The Gate of Saturn: Live at the Lowry Manchester 2011, which is fairly self-explanatory, a 3CD set with nearly three hours of live material. Click the mp3 icons above to view the track lists. Each counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
These are the U.S. editions, which tend to lag the releases on Tangerine Dream’s own label by two years. The Island of the Fay (2011) is the first installment in the Sonic Poem Series, in which Edgar Froese (with the help of Thorsten Quaeschning) will probably compose one album for every book or poem he has ever read. The Island of the Fay is based upon the short 1841 work by Edgar Allan Poe, which is reprinted in the booklet. Read the Synths & Sequences and Sonic Music Review reviews.
This is the 2015 gatefold mini-LP sleeve edition of Finnegans Wake (2011), which is based on the James Joyce book. Consider that it’s a hell of a lot easier to listen to this CD than to read the book, which is like 700 pages long and which Joyce spent 17 years writing. Joyce just couldn’t knock ’em out like Tangerine Dream can. This series is some of Tangerine Dream’s strongest work of the modern era.
Tangerine Dream’s Sonic Poem Series continues with The Angel of the West Window (2011), based on the 1927 novel by Gustav Meyrink (original German title: “Der Engel vom westlichen Fenster”). The novel is steeped in alchemical, hermetic, occult, and mystical imagery and ideas. Amuse yourself with videos for the tracks Hoël Dhat the Alchemist, The Mysterious Gift to Mankind, and The Strange Idol of Baphomet.
This is the 2012 U.S. edition of Tangerine Dream’s Under Cover (2010), which must rank as one of the more unusual covers albums, as this is Tangerine Dream reinventing Top 40 songs. The songs include David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Heroes, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood, and 10 others. See the Wikipedia entry for the complete track list. Read The Sonic Music Review.
These are the 2010 U.S. editions on Purple Pyramid of Parts One through Four of Tangerine Dream’s Five Atomic Seasons, originally released 2007-2008. Five Atomic Seasons is “a song cycle inspired by the devastating effects on both the human psyche and rural landscape of the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945.”
These are all the U.S. editions on Purple Pyramid. Chandra: The Phantom Ferry Part 1 is Tangerine Dream’s 2009 studio album, based on a science fiction story by Edgar Froese set at a military base near Thule, Greenland.
Views from a Red Train is Tangerine Dream’s 2008 studio album, concentrating on energetic rather than ambient material, featuring lots of guitars and (on two tracks) acoustic drums.
The London Eye Concert is a triple CD live set recorded at the London Forum in 2008, nearly three hours long and including some very rocking renditions. Fat case, counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
The Great Wall of China is the original motion picture soundtrack to the 2000 documentary film of the same name. The CD expands the typical Tangerine Dream palette to include instrumentation and melodies inspired by the Far East.
Hyperborea 2008 and Tangram 2008 are newly recorded and newly imagined versions of Tangerine Dream’s Hyperborea (1983) and Tangram (1980) albums, updating two excellent albums with the band’s current sound and technology. Similarly, Phaedra Revisited updates their groundbreaking 1974 album, one of the landmark electronic music albums.
Each edition of Booster is a 2CD compilation that includes new tracks, recently re-recorded versions of favorite Tangerine Dream tracks, unreleased and rare material, some drawn from various limited-edition EPs released on the band’s own label that are no longer available. Really, if we could figure out exactly what all these tracks are, we’d tell you. The first Booster comes in a super jewel box, the others in standard jewel boxes. Watch the videos for A Snail’s Dream and A Streetcar Named Desire from Booster IV.
Edgar Froese and company continue to reinvent themselves, as Madcap’s Flaming Duty (2007) is not an electronic album so much as a sort of adult contemporary progressive rock album with male vocals throughout. The album is dedicated to Syd Barrett, while the lyrics for the songs were adapted from English and American poets from the 17th and 18th centuries. The synths and sequencers form the backbone of the music. The band is a sextet plus guests here, with the instrumentation also including bass, drums, electric guitar, flute, violin, mandolin, bagpipe, recorder, and more. One track is an Irish traditional tune, with guests on bouzouki and bodhran, and is really quite good. The album is generally relaxed, though a few tracks up the energy and tempo and are about as close as Tangerine Dream have come to sounding like a conventional progressive rock band. More instrumental passages would have been welcome to break up all the vocals, as the CD runs 74-minutes and many of the songs share the same laidback tempo. Given the expectation of electronic music from Tangerine Dream, this album is guaranteed to be a controversial one with their fan base. One thing is fairly certain -- there is more humanity and soul here than on any other T. Dream album. This is the green-tinted jewel case edition (EGVP106CD).
Paradiso (2CD, 143-minutes) is the third and final part of Tangerine Dream’s take on Dante’s La Divina Commedia, following the CDs Inferno and Purgatorio. Tangerine Dream recorded it live with the Brandenburg Symphonic Orchestra and opera singers at the Hans-Otto Theatre in Potsdam in January 2006. After about 40 years of making music, Edgar Froese is still coming up with new approaches. “This spine-tingling prog-opera, in all its heraldic glory, harks back to the band’s earliest and best-loved work.” [AllMusic] This is the jewel case edition (EGVP101CD).
Inferno (2002) is the first part of the Dante trilogy. This is the jewel case edition (TDI CD032). Read the AllMusic review.
East (2004) contains a remastered 1990 concert, the complete main set plus one encore of the one-off concert TD performed in February 1990 in East Berlin, about three months after the fall of the Berlin wall. It was the only gig remotely supporting the studio album Lily on the Beach. Other tracks are taken from Le Parc, Optical Race, Miracle Mile, and Destination Berlin. Furthermore, TD appeared with a line-up of five musicians for the first time; in fact this was the first live appearance of both Jerome Froese and Linda Spa as part of the band. Hubert Waldner did no other live performance with TD. This is the jewel case edition (TDI CD037).
The Dream Mixes (1995) contains 67-minutes of Tangerine Dream tracks from the albums Tyranny of Beauty, Rockoon, and Turn of the Tides remixed by Jerome and Edgar Froese, plus four new tracks in a similar style. To quote the back panel, this album energizes the famous TD sound with an infectious beat. This is actually one of our very favorite wide-awake-listening Tangerine Dream albums. The rhythms are not the monotonous thump-thump of techno but rather tasteful rhythm patterns that change every few bars. Perhaps TD had listened to the high-energy EM of Mark Shreeve and Andy Pickford and thought they’d better not let those upstarts eclipse them.
Architecture in Motion (1999) is the soundtrack to the film What a Blast. This is the U.S. edition on Miramar.
Taurus is SETI and Subterra keyboardist Claudio Momberg solo, a hybrid of classically-influenced electronic music and progressive rock, sort of Tony Banks meets Synergy meets Vangelis. Dimensions is from 2010, Impressions from 2011.
These are the 2013 digipack editions on Esoteric, all newly remastered and personally supervised by Vangelis himself, with booklets that restore the original album artwork. Vangelis’ time on the RCA label yielded his greatest albums. Those include Heaven and Hell (1975), Albedo 0.39 (1976), and Spiral (1977). (His 1978 album Beaubourg was also on RCA, but it is radically different, pure musique concrète.) Heaven and Hell was the first album to be recorded at his personal studio in London. This epic work in two parts features the English Chamber Choir and Vangelis’ first collaboration with Jon Anderson, the beautiful So Long Ago, So Clear. Those only familiar with Vangelis’ later, lighter works may be in for a shock, as Heaven and Hell is dark and powerful. The follow-up Albedo 0.39 was used in the television series Cosmos and contains some of Vangelis’ most iconic works, while the album contains elements of rock and jazz. These two are our favorite Vangelis albums and are landmark albums of progressive music.
Spiral is just a notch below those two. It contains the song To the Unknown Man, one of Vangelis’ best-known pieces. After Spiral, Vangelis did make some very good albums, but his style was never quite the same. Of course, the same was true for any number of first-generation prog artists as the 1970s drew to a close. The Spiral CD includes a rare bonus track, previously unissued on CD: To the Unknown Man Part Two, which was a single B-side.
By the time of Direct (1988), which was recorded for Arista, Vangelis had moved to Athens. “Like most Vangelis, this defies categorization. It has strong elements of rock & roll, symphonic synth ambience, and new age instrumental aspects. At the same time, the bold synthesizer strokes and washes fit the Berlin school of electronica. Given Vangelis’ proclivity for soundtrack work, it is no surprise that this disc sounds like great film music. It is a great CD that will appeal to many different audiences.” [AllMusic] Note the mp3 icons above link to allmusic.com, which not only has audio samples for these albums but also a review of each. Lots more reviews can be found at Prog Archives. You’ll note the RCA albums have the most raters of any of the many Vangelis albums with the exception of his Blade Runner soundtrack, which has more to do with the movie than the soundtrack per se.
There aren’t many electronics artists that really turn our head these days, but Catalan Sam Vitoulis is one such artist. His 2003 album April 4th 1984 is brilliant, a very sophisticated electronics CD based on Orwell’s 1984. Several other musicians contribute both electronic and acoustic instruments. It is heavily-influenced by Vangelis circa Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner. After the album proper, there are two bonus tracks recorded live at a Spanish festival; these and some of the later tracks of the album proper are much more in the late 70s and early 80s Tangerine Dream vein, though still with some Vangelis touches. Despite the debt owed to these artists, this album is a work of art in its own right.
Le Voyage (2001) also comes closest to Vangelis, but less so than Vitoulis’s other albums. There is a tiny amount of spoken word and one track with English-language vocals from A. Warner, who is probably the same Alex Warner who sings for Pi2. This album is lighter than April 4th 1984 but is an excellent example of how music can be relaxing without being insipid or simplistic.
Léonard (2005, 67-minutes) is a collaboration between Vitoulis and synthesist Sergio Koval of Argentina, who is also influenced by the Berlin school (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze). It sounds like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream were locked in a room in 1975 and told to come up with an album. More to the point, you could describe it as Vangelis (circa Heaven and Hell) with sequencers.
Sergio Koval’s 1995 CD Clon is a first-rate EM album, with great power and style, warm melodies and lively rhythms. Koval is influenced primarily by the Berlin school (especially Tangerine Dream) and to a lesser extent by Vangelis, Jarre, and Synergy, but there are many original elements to his music. He apparently composes television soundtracks – this music sounds like the work of an experienced composer. Start with April 4th 1984 if you are more of a Vangelis fan, with Clon if you gravitate more toward Tangerine Dream.