Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Pacific Coast Highway
Genres: Dance & Electronic, New Age, Pop, Rock
A small, light, beautiful and elegant album
Steve Benner | 01/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in January 1991, "Pacific Coast Highway" is the first studio album of Christopher Franke solo. Exactly at that time, Tangerine Dream burned out as an ensemble, and Franke has already tasted freedom from the band, having scored a few films on his own with the help of Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra he founded. A studio album was due, and Chris was full of ideas as to where he might travel in the sound space. He was always associated with the heavier touch within Tangerine Dream - he was the man behind the rhythmic section, he operated the sequencers, he provided the arpeggiated pulsating background, and did much of the underlying compositional work in the 80s. Thus I am not exactly surprised that for his first album, an album by which he would be judged, he chose something completely different, undertook a different musical path - the lightness of touch. Indeed, "Pacific Coast Highway" is a very light album, almost easy listening, one might say. With an ossacional guitar and orchestral touch, this album is mostly a selection of light electric piano songs. Every song has its own soul, and is perfectly executed, and let's face it - pleasurable to listen to. Millions of Tangerine Dream fans bought this album either expecting him to continue where he broke off at Tangerine Dream (and thus failed in their assumption), or expecting him to create something new, explore new lands with his music; take a step further. "Pacific Coast Highway" does just that. It's a small beautiful album, which to this day is a sweet collection of light songs that brighten my life so much. It bears the compositional stigma of Christopher Franke, and yet it's completely new. When I first heard this album, and the following live album, "The London Concert", I felt close to getting wet. Great music is alive again.'Black Garden View' provides a short overview of the garden where Franke roams with his musical ideas. Excited, we move to 'Mountain Heights', which with a light touch of basso continuo, introduces us to the mysteries of the green land. The third composition, 'Lontano Mystery', is one of the most beautiful electronic ballads ever composed. Harpsichord-like oscillating melody, pulsating, but delicate bass, and electric violin synthesizer. 'Big Sur Romance' is a miniature for piano. Just piano. And I have always thought that only Schmoelling can compose small pearls for piano... I strongly associate this music with America - perhaps this was intended? Driving into Blue is another, syncopated piano tune, this time more cheerful and more dynamic, a classic Franke composition, which hints at his later exploration on "The Celestine Prophecy" of 1996. The sixth track, 'Purple Waves' is a comeback to the times of heavier compositions. In his concert later in the year, Purple Waves was expanded and augmented with a long dynamic arpeggio which tore at our hearts, and convinced the reich of Tangerine Dream fans that the music is alive, that Franke is in fact the sole carrier of Tangerine Dream tradition. 'Malibu Avenue' is another piano song, with electric flutes providing the rhythm. Franke is fond of dynamic piano songs, where like a butterfly, the sounds vibrate in the sunny air. 'Cinnamon City Cliff', recorded with the help of his orchestra, is a sad composition, which hints at his later soundtrack work (at the time we were unaware of his continuing efforts in this arena). Violins provide the desired suspense, and then the bass metronome measures the remaining time to the finale, just like on "Force Majeure" or "Near Dark". After that brief adventure with orchestration and the past, Franke delivers 'Wheels on Beach Park', another light piano song, this time accompanied by the delicate percussion rhythm. After two minutes of a dreaming variation on a theme, 'Sunset Destination', we are treated to 'Crystal Tree', a classic Franke composition, as it later turned out. This track summarizes what "Pacific Coast Highway" is about, and what Franke mostly wanted to achieve. Hinting at his electronic roots, not forgetting his inspirations of the past, he created something completely new, a concept album with a very bearable lightness of being, so to speak. A fascinating collection for summer listening. The album ends with 'Electric Becomes Eclectic', where a misty flute melody waves us goodbye, much like on Tangerine Dream's 1973 album "Phaedra". Goodbye, and see you soon!"
rkenter | Madras, Tamil Nadu, India | 09/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has quite simply got to be one of the best new age recordings ever made. Chris Franke's experience working with Tangerine Dream until 1987 is very evident in this album. But, that is not to take away the credit for all the extraordinary compositions. Purple Waves is without doubt the best track on this CD. Others are equally impressive. It's high time that Chris forgets his film work & returns to some quality studio work. A sequel to this album would be ideal in the 21st century."