Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Morphing Space of a Canyon Flight
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christopher Franke wanted to explore new musical directions in his solo career, and we can't deny that he did, indeed with a vengeance. However, ever since his concert album, "The London Concert", millions of Tangerine Dream fans worldwide have been nagging him to rather continue where Tangerine Dream broke off in 1987 than to only discover whatever he wanted. I have sensed a bit of reluctance on his part in the few interviews with him I have read, and I can't say I am surprised. With so many ideas and new concepts, going back to the times of Tangerine Dream might be a commercial success, but not necessarily fulfilling in the artistic sense. Franke's attitude to composition earned him my admiration. In 1994 though, he recorded "Klemania", a studio album dedicated to the Dutch club, KLEM, promoting electronic music and unknown artists along with the established names. It was KLEM that published Franke's first solo recording, a rocket of an arpeggio, 'Vermillion Sands' on its 1989 compilation album, "Elektronische Muziek". Having recorded "Klemania", Franke has waved goodbye to the old times of Tangerine Dream, and moved on to new things. Thank you Chris for this wonderful journey.'Scattered Thoughts of a Canyon Flight' is a long suite, over 22 minutes long, a multithreaded expedition into the world of sounds. Although at times it sounds like the old Tangerine Dream, it's throughly new in compositional approach, and it strongly hints at Franke's new world music inspirations, to be later developed to perfection on his last-to-date studio album - "The Celestine Prophecy" of 1996. These two albums share a similar atmosphere, and mid parts of 'Scattered Thoughts of a Canyon Flight' are the best evidence for this intriguing connection. The track starts slowly, to chill the listener in the space of mere 30 seconds, and then accelerate with a dynamic rhythm, which unfortunately dies off after a few minutes of speed roadkillracing. The composition is a feast for fans of Franke. Chris shows off with samples from his solo recordings of the past, "New Music for Films" included; sometimes we hear a short drum burst from Tangerine Dream's "Near Dark", very short guitar riffs from "Raven", piano passages from "Pacific Coast Highway". This track might never end for me - beautiful music bringing something new with every accord, filling the time with so much ideas that would suffice for at least two albums. I admit I very much like Franke's electronic drums, which are always delicate, suitable for the score he composes at the moment; different every time, needless to say. "Klemania" features deep modulated percussion sounds which are rare to find nowadays, electronic music or not. The one only weakness of this track is that it's 2 minutes too long, as Franke stretchesthe composition off the optimal limit. Since he never before and never later made that mistake, it's entirely forgivable, considering.'Inside the Morphing Space' (now we know who thought out the titles for Tangerine Dream's 1979 album, "Force Majeure"!) is another long suite, as satisfying as the first. The flying bumble-bee ostinato in the vein of Rimsky-Korsakov interlaces nicely with bass-accompanied flute tune so characteristic for Franke. Five minutes into this meditative track, we wake up from nirvana sensing that the brief dense atmosphere which seems to be coming, and finally does, although what actually comes, is a surprise. The heavy melody of a stomping electronic elephant finally gives way to the relentless percussive beat. Behind the loud percussion, we hear the intelligent dialogue of basso continuo and a synthesizer. It's very interesting, and for those who have never heard this type of music, this might be a life turnaround point. If you are young enough and a little into electronic music, move over the commercial plastic of Jean Michel Jarre, and take a CD with real music to hand. Buy "Klemania". The third part of 'Inside the Morphing Space' is another chapter in the mysterious journey, sort of a bridge between "The London Concert" of 1991 and "The Celestine Prophecy" of 1996, ending with a tear-jerking tune which you won't forget for years. The album ends with 'Silent Waves', a short composition reminding us of his first solo release, "Pacific Coast Highway". Overall, "Klemania" deserves proper attention; it's a treat for Tangerine Dream old-timers, it's a feast for fans of Christopher Franke, it has a lot to offer for newbies to the genre, and last but not least, is a pleasant and intriguing musical journey for everyone else, provided they like instrumental music."
Unfocused and somewhat directionless meanderings
Steve Benner | Lancaster, UK | 12/29/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Klemania" is Chris Franke's second solo studio album, dating from 1995, some 8 years after his split from Tangerine Dream. The album is hardly generous, clocking in at just 44 minutes overall. It contains just three tracks. But if you were wondering were Tangerine Dream's 1980's sound went, you need look no further than here.The opening track, `Scattered thoughts of a canyon flight', is precisely what it says on the tin: 22 minutes or so of very scattered thoughts, all highly reminiscent of Tangerine Dream's earlier release, "Canyon Dreams". This quite lengthy track starts out very promisingly, with some brooding synthesiser growls, grunts and clanks, which threaten to evolve into a something quite momentous. A minute or so in, though, the drums start up and everything runs downhill from there. While much of the track is fairly pleasant, it suffers terribly from having no apparent sense of direction, with no seeming purpose or aim in mind. Varied this music may be, but unfortunately, it is entirely unfocused and poorly structured, too. Its mood and pace change constantly. At times calm and soothing, at other times it is wild and frenetic. But, as if it were some brooding teenager, these mood-swings occur without rhyme or obvious reason. I find the result is uncomfortably like listening to a movie soundtrack from which the visuals are missing - one gets the distinct feeling that something is going on somewhere, but you never get to find out what! For instance, while the music frequently becomes excited, it never actually manages to become exciting, which is a shame. Even its final fading into silence is a disappointment and gives every impression that Franke merely ran out of ideas! Or else, tape.`Inside the morphing space', which follows, uses a series of cunningly shifting minimalist sequencer patterns - in the finest Tangerine Dream tradition - to underpin another meandering twenty-minute track. Textures throughout are light and, once again, despite a brief grumbling, moody central section - one of the best bits of the disc - the excitement level is never in any danger of rising above `jolly'. Parts of it sound to me for all the world like some early Edgar Froese solo works and it even has some 10-year old Tangerine Dream musical quotes in it. Spooky!The final 3-minute track, `Silent Waves', is another gentle perambulation through a Tangerine Dream soundworld of yesteryear. In some ways, this is the best work on the disc, having a simple but satisfying structure to it. It would (and no doubt does) make a fine encore piece. It certainly brings the disc to a nice close.If you are one of those people who are disappointed with the direction that Edgar Froese's Tangerine Dream took after 1987, this disc could be just the sort of tonic you are looking for. For me, though, listening to this disc is a little like taking a stroll along memory lane, but in a dream world, rather than the real one. While the scenery is familiar, none of it feels to be quite as it should be! Personally, I prefer a little more excitement, at times, too."