Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
An album that slowly grows on you!
Steve Benner | Lancaster, UK | 05/26/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Pinnacles" was Edgar Froese's 5th solo album released by Virgin, dating from 1983, some four years after his previous effort, "Stuntman". It is purported to have been inspired by a region of outback in Western Australia. Fans of Tangerine Dream's 80's music may get something of a feeling of déjà vu from this album, as much of the material on it is highly suggestive of other works by the band from around that time. Not surprisingly, perhaps, none of the material here sounds as fully worked out as anything released in the group's name, and by comparison, this album sounds somewhat thin and, well, incomplete, I suppose. The album also demonstrates another failing to which Froese's solo works can be prone: having established a good opening idea or two, the music then wanders around rather aimlessly, or else sits in one spot, constantly repeating itself, as though lost. It is almost as if Froese habitually needs help from the other band members to lead the music home. Or maybe I'm missing the point and he really enjoys staying out and playing on his own...?Whether I'm missing the point or not, the music from the first three tracks (i.e. the first half of the disc) falls very firmly into this category. The opening track, `Specific gravity of smile' (a silly title, if ever there was one!) starts out well enough with a deep, brooding bass line (very didjeridu-like) beneath a lilting flute-voiced melody, quickly joined by a tinkling sequencer pulse, which sustains the track to its close. Its only trouble is that nine minutes later, the music still hasn't been anywhere! `Walkabout', similarly, starts out with lots of promise: another nice moody bass synthesiser line underpins a soft, reedy lead, guaranteed to drive TD trainspotters mad, as they try to work out where else they've heard it! (Hint: Try the central section of `Sphinx Lightning' on the album, "Hyperborea".) Unfortunately, the material is hardly developed (or even changed) at all as the track progresses, so that almost all interest has expired long before the track's seven minutes have passed and most listeners may have decided to go walkabout themselves before it ends! The disc is salvaged somewhat by the major work on it-the 22-minute title track. This does at least score over the other tracks by being sufficiently varied never to become really boring, although it takes a little while to get going! And once again, TD fans will keep expecting it to turn into something else rather better, as their ears pick up on the many snippets from Tangerine Dream's output that are stirred in, warmed over and served up anew in this much lighter cocktail, which remains so reminiscent of other, meatier dishes. (If a vegetarian is permitted such analogies of another vegetarian's music!) The result is pleasant enough fare, I suppose, but really lacks sufficient substance to be at all satisfying to anyone with a hunger to feed!Out of context, this album probably sounds much better than it will to anyone at all familiar with Tangerine Dream's 80's output, with which it fails to compare favourably overall-and which it is so readily calls to mind, through its sharing of synthesiser voices, sonic treatments and, occasionally, even tunes! Its generally gentler contents may appeal to lovers of early New Age ambient music (of which it is a supreme forerunner) and I have to admit that the more I've played it, the more I've come to like it!"
A specific gravity of smile?
Steve Benner | 02/07/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In 1983, Edgar Froese recorded his last solo album, "Pinnacles". Since then, for years we did not hear from him, until in 1991 Tangerine Dream shrunk to Edgar Froese and his son, when in fact all output (I dare not call it Music) of this band from that point on might be attributed to Froese senior or junior. In 1995, we were treated to a controversial compilation, "Beyond the Storm", but other than that, Edgar has been silent. For this reason, "Pinnacles" should be analyzed with caution, not as another addition to the discography, but perhaps as the last word of Edgar Froese. As such, "Pinnacles" mostly disappoints. True, it's a logical continuation of his previous efforts, and is also strongly connected to Tangerine Dream's releases of the time, "Hyperborea" in particular. Even more digital than its predecessors, with the sound mostly cleaner and more polished, the album nevertheless constitutes the next step in the detorioration of Froese's compositional abilities. This man has always had original ideas, but in time, his music got progressively more repetitive, and year by year more self-repetitive. If you listen to all his solo albums chronologically, this trend is indeed striking. With one exception of "Stuntman", which constitutes a high point of his solo career, irrespective of the length of the album in question, we get less and less music per minute. All four tracks on "Pinnacles" suffer from this condition. The composition starts off immediately taking us into the surreal plush world of Froese's music, and we can't help but sigh out of sheer pleasure. Unfortunately, minutes later, when nothing at all changes in the composition, our smiles sag, hopes deflate, and come the last and longest track, 'Pinnacles', we achieve a state of high irritation, or utter boredom, depending on the blood pressure of the day. If you happen to own and like Tangerine Dream's "Hyperborea" recorded the very same year, in 1983, you will notice that "Pinnacles" is a highly derivative album, which stretches a very small set of ideas into the infinite, or so it seems, with the flow of time painfully slow. Granted, I do like meditative music, and so do many others, but really, Froese doesn't seem to excel in that particular genre, and what might be meditative and introspective becomes simply boring. In summary, this is rather a forgettable item in the solo career of Edgar Froese, but considering what was done to Tangerine Dream in the last 15 years, I have no other choice but recommend "Pinnacles", simply because it's still music good enough to listen to from time to time."
andrei turcu | cluj-napoca, romania | 03/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Most reviewers say this is junk, I agree, but with one exception: Specific gravity of smile, which I consider a masterpiece and which is the reason I bought the CD"