Traumklang are a new name to me, but the Frank Klare connection led me to expect EM in the traditional style. My expectations were largely filled, and in some style! Abstract wind effects herald the opening piece - 'Hydrogen'. Angelic pads take over, accompanied by tasteful acoustic guitar. A crescendo of solar flares at the 2 minute mark signal a change in feel as a steady rhythm enters the mix. A few seconds later a distinctly 'celtic' melody makes a mournful entrance – I visualised Stefan Whitlan bobbing away behind his minimoog, and that's a compliment! Symphonic pads swell in the background, it's certainly stirring stuff! You can hear the 'but' can't you? And here it is, for me the track strayed a little too far into 'easy listening' territory – though I suppose 'lightness' is required for the element Hydrogen! 'Water' is a different kettle of fish (sorry!) altogether. Abstract effects again open the track, but are followed this time by a rapid, mid-register sequence in the 80's TD style. Swirling, phased pads offer harmonic support as an intermittent, melodic sequence adds to the rhythmic brew. With the patterns locked in place we can sit and enjoy the journey. At the 6 minute mark we enter an abstract section, but soon the sequences return to be joined by a delicate solo and syncopated drum pattern. By the 10 minute mark the beat becomes heavier and the synth solo swaps to a hearty, 'brassy' moog-like voice. A new sequence enters, played on a marimba-like sound. Swirling drones wrap around it and a proud, symphonic melody rises from this synthetic soup. The Berlin influence is clear on this track but I'm also reminded of Ultravox's instrumental pieces from the early 80's. I expected 'Oxygen' to be light and airy – so I wasn't surprised to hear classical guitar and swelling orchestral pads. Yet another beautifully played synth solo joins the mix whilst effects create aural halos in the ether. A ticking arpeggio is slowly added to the mix. And then, oh! A stunningly beautiful melody is unleashed. The level of musicianship on this CD is very high indeed. W e close quietly with wave effects, guitar and gentle pads. 'Silicate' is a heavier track, with a pounding bass drum pattern establishing a solid foundation early on. Beautiful melodies, accent swells and effects ensure that interest is kept high. By the 4 minute mark a rapid, high-register sequence has been introduced, and the beat given a course of steroids! Fasten your seat-belts! A beefy arpeggio, simple pad and heart-felt acoustic guitar get 'Silicon' underway. Again I'm impressed by the musicianship; the guitar playing is under-stated but beautiful; a supporting solo synth enhances the guitar without 'battling' with it. The backing track is also expertly judged: with symphonic swells and new rhythmic elements added judiciously to support the central guitar and synth melodies. This is a very sophisticated track indeed.
I really liked this CD – though I still think track 1 is a little cheesy! Traumklang combine Berlin-style sequencing with very classy playing. Many of the tracks nod to synth-pop in the rhythm-programming department, but for me this a plus! Recommended. (WP)