SynGate CD-R FSX1 [with original CD cover] released 2001
This is a retrospective covering tracks recorded between 1985 and 1989. For this album only the former of the usual FS duo Georg Reiter and Christian Feher are present, other artist include Stefan Ambs and Marcus Stahuber with others guesting on specific tracks.
The opener 'Birth' features some strong synth sounds with a heart-beat style backdrop. 'Planets I' is another strong piece, again with surging synth lines and unlike other FS pieces the sequences are simplistic and there as background effect rather than a significant feature - for me this is a shame because when FS hit the sequence groove they can really rock. 'Planets II' is unremarkable, followed by 'Planets III' which is better with more searing synth sounds. Unsure that the original tapes are, whether cassette or multi track - generally they have cleaned up very well, though some slight dropouts are noticeable.
'Outer Worlds' is the strongest piece so far - stylistically the same as previous tracks, it has the advantage of an infectious melody which the searing synth lines pick out in epic and grandiose style. 'First Impressions of a Human Being' is initially very promising, and as the sequence lines emerge (the strongest yet so far on this album) it all bodes well - unfortunately the whole thing is overlaid with the sound of a baby crying then gurgling with joy. Cliched, and frankly with 3 young kids of my own I listen to EM to get away from this sort or sound - but then again I'm just a miserable old git so you all may find this truly profound:-)
Track 7 'Memories' is a poignant and well played piano / synth piece. The melody is strong and meaningful, the only blemish is slightly tinny sound quality - probably the result of much post production of a hissy tape. The end of the piece is suitable grandiose and overall this is a classic piece.
'In Your Head' is an excellent piece with a chugging sequence and some well judged melodic synth interplay. This is more like the FS heard on their more recent albums and fans of their style will revel in this. Track 9 'Crystal Lake' has a very appropriate title, with a bright tinkling sequence forming the backbone for synth effects. Finally 'Grieselgram (An experiment)' ends in a relatively weird mode, though there are still the bones of a melody throughout the track.
Overall this is a useful "archive tapes" type of album, not as strong as their later work which can be slightly inconsistent and perhaps ironically this album is more consistent - but it lacks the magnificent highs of previous works. Still worth a try. (GG)