Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Seminal Jazz-Rock Electronic Masterpiece
Mark D Burgh | Fort Smith, AR United States | 08/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Roger Powell was the ARP instrument's demo musician in the early 1970's, and this album was considered a showpiece for ARP synths when it came out in 1973. The music is jazzy, rythmic and fast, all of which was uncommon in the more stately electronic music of that time. Compare this with Switched-On Bach (I and II) or with Tangerine Dream, and you'll see that Powell's music has a driven American sound to it.
The ARP syths are not used to create electronic soundscapes like Tangerine Dream, or to transcribe classical music, which makes the portentiously-named pieces like "Ictus: The Primordial Pulse" age well. These are mediatation pieces, but living, pulsing music.
Powell's album stands alone for these reasons. I paid $75.00 for the vinyl on EBay about a month before this CD release came out, and the mix and mastering are excellent, capturing and enhancing Powell's music without sounding too digitally harsh."
Great album using ARP synthesizers
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 03/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Roger Powell is well known as the replacement for French-born Jean Yves "M. Frog" Labat from the original version of Todd Rundgren's Utopia. Labat had a difficult time between living the monastic life and that of the rock and roll lifestyle (he was raised Roman Catholic and wanted to be a monk, but also wanted to pursue a career in electronic and rock), so he left Utopia, and in came Roger Powell for the albums Another Live and those to follow. Prior to Utopia, Powell was working for ARP Instruments, and he also was their house musician, so to speak, testing the gear that ARP made before it made it to the public to be sold. In 1973, before Utopia even existed, but around the same time M. Frog made his own album on the Bearsville label, comes Cosmic Furnace on Atlantic.
This album is basically a demonstration of every bit of ARP equipment you could buy in 1973: 2600, the lesser-known and less user-friendly 2500, Odyssey, and the Pro-Soloist. No other kinds of synths but ARP, although other keyboards are used including Fender Rhodes electric piano, standard piano, and Hohner clavinet.
This album proves that Roger Powell had a background in jazz, and it especially shows up in his piano playing. The music also has a strong electronic bent, and can often be experimental, without being too avant garde. A lot of times he's put on some great jams with pleasant melodies but with never any commercial inclinations. I also like some of the tricks he came up with on this album. For the ARP 2500, he used it for various synth patterns and synth percussion (the 2500, from my understanding, included a built-in sequencer), while all the other ARPs he used for more conventional musical purposes, including those reedy Odyssey sounds, plus the Pro-Soloist for additional leads (the Pro-Soloist basically only had pre-programmed sounds, but many musicians had plenty of use of it, like Tony Banks in Genesis, or Tangerine Dream circa Ricochet and Stratosfear). Powell had completely no backing musicians, so he used the 2500 for percussion, the 2600 for bass, and the rest for various musical purposes, including the pianos, electric pianos, and clavinets. There are not too many electronic albums out there that show a jazz influence. Tangerine Dream, Jarre, Schulze, and the likes showed no jazz influence whatsover, and instead were more influenced by classical (both traditional of the 18th and 19th century variety, and of the 20th century avant garde variety such as Stockhausen) and prog rock. So it's nice to come across an electronic album with that jazz feel.
Of course, Powell will move beyond the ARP when he joined Utopia to include a modular Moog System 55 and other gear too, to prove that he wasn't completely tied with ARP, especially when pursuing a musical career. He also put himself to great use playing with Steve Hillage on his 1976 album entitled "L", which was essentially a Utopia album with Steve in place of Todd (but Todd produced the album), but with a stronger space rock feel (Gong-like). Roger also put out some other solo albums, including Air Pocket in 1980 on Bearsville, but I hadn't heard that one. Not to mention the work he's done with other artists too, like David Bowie, and he also appeared on Rundgren's own solo albums showing that Rundgren would also use Utopia members on his own albums even if they weren't Utopia albums.
Remember that Cosmic Furnace won't remind you much of Rundgren's Utopia, but it's a great album in its own right and all fans of electronic music, and especially the ARP synthesizers should get this album!"
One of the best electronic music albums ever
Alexander Dewolf | San Diego, CA USA | 06/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I understand that Roger Powell transcribed a jazz composition college project for performance on ARP sythesizers on this. It is easily my favorite electronic music album. There is also electric piano, clavinet and acoustic piano. Sort of fusion on keyboards only. Try it you'll like it."