releasedate: 1999, January
Carl Jenkinson (writer for Sequences):
CD,released in 1999 marked the serious EM debut of Gert Emmens &,despite the
rather basic presentation of the album manages to be an enjoyable listen.After
the short spoken robot voice of `Welcome To Elektra`,`Part 1` gets things off
for real with a muscular sequence backing inventive & enjoyable soloing,this
should appeal to anybody who enjoys the early to mid 90s European synth school
before `Part 2` which weighs in at an almighty 32.55 ,takes the reins.Alternating
with some ambient sections,the rhythmic excursions do exhibit a very up-tempo
nuance,not quite the dance stylings that Gert has described but not far off
& very lively,all the same.The closing 5 or 6 minutes are a melodic,cosmic
affair with good melodics,nice & chilled,with some sequenced backing right
at the death.`Part 3` keeps the momentum going,slightly laying off tempo-wise
but with a superb rhythmic backbone,not unlike some of Asana`s rhythms.This
track also features the most instantly memorable tune which is a bonus and a
half.The `New Mix` of `The Sign Of The Sentinel` closes the album & fits in
well with the tracks that have gone before it.
Gert`s evolution is clear when one listens to his later material this is still
an enjoyable album for anyone who enjoys the slightly more freeform sequential
styles,which is allowed to develop by the long tracks found here.
EMMENS "Elektra" (5 tracks, 60.57)
Emmens had a track on the Alfa Centauri sampler "Movements" which
appears here as "Sign of The Sentinel - New Mix" - it has a Jarre-like
off-beat sequence under brass stabs and lightweight drums, going through a
metal-bashing phase into something reminiscent of Peru or Nova.
the main tracks though, one is just a 24-second vocoded intro, so we're faced
with three main parts of "Elektra". The first starts with slow analog
sequences - much of the album being performed on an Elektor Formant analog
modular system - there are some nice variations on the theme, but the whole 10
minutes is at more or less the same pace.
2 at almost 33 minutes obviously dominates the album, and exhibits much more
variation - a slow chordal intro with sampled Gregorian chanting, then a fast
sequency passage with plenty of rolling semiquavers a la Chris Franke, then a
techno-pop variation on the same dominated by Kraftwerk drums.
falls apart into a much more introspective section of buzzing oscillators and
vocoders, then some more clever sequencer work before a climaz reminiscent of
recent dance-oriented Klaus Schulze.
3 at a mere 10 minutes continues the dance feel at a slightly less frantic pace,
overlaying TD-like oboe lead lines and tinkling sequences before a gentle ending.
A pretty enjoyable experience overall. It would be interesting to see a live performance by Gert and his big modular...one's due in Huizen (Holland) in October '99...
What a superb find this is, a new star, a new name for you to remember, and we honestly think you will get very excited about this album when you hear it. Fresh ideas are plentiful and the whole album fairly cracks along at a most addictive pace - lots of pure keyboard dynamics pour out with ease, multi layered synths and loads of those types of melody that Pickford used to conjure up in his early career are here, even bettered in places. After a small intro track lasting just 24 seconds, Gert Emmens launches into "Elektra Part1" (10.43) and it's terrific! The melody is very strong and memorable - an archetypal foot tapper - pure exciting E.M.,anthemic and classy and it recalls the better compositions of Paul Ward, Michael Shipway or the long forgotten Megabyte. After 7 minutes plus the whole thing changes into analogue sequencer-led, pacey, in yer face electronics with a very deep top line superimposed prior to the fadeout. The next track, Elektra Part 2 (32.55) starts with superb gregorian chant/Enigma style voices over an awe inspiring Tangerine Dream soaked explosion of sound - what isn't happening in this epic track isn't real - you would be forgiven if you thought Chris Franke himself was hiding in the mix manipulating the key and pace changes and the subtle sound programming! Track 4. Elektra Part 3 (10 .36) is a medium paced thumper with mind blowing sequences and a "top of the shop" melody line - synth-dripping, finger-playing keyboard sounds! The bonus and final track "The Sign of the Sentinel"(6.18) is an atmospheric floater - washes of sound over a sequenced backdrop with loads of clever effects and "squiggly" sounds. An impressive debut - a great effort, a triumph that should not be missed.
opens with a cheesy vocoder voice, sounding like those evil robots from the
eighties American sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica. However, it doesn't take
long at all for the excellent music that follows to make you forget all about
that. Gert Emmens provides exceptionally strong compositions with crisp
melodies and pace. Though there is a heavy dose of cool retro analog sounds,
they are used much differently than most recent electronic music. No long
sequencer passages, no layers of hypnotic effects, even though the cover art
showing rows of analog knobs and switches imply it.
(former writer for
Wind and Wire,
the magazine, as well as Dreams Word and currently a reviewer for a
variety of websites and magazines)
Graham Getty of SMD (Synth Music Direct):
album is somewhat of a surprise. Festooned with analogue modular wallpaper, the
sleeve suggests we’re in for another "Berlin School" offering. The fact
that the 3 part title track takes up over 50 minutes of the album reinforces the
expectation. ‘Part 3’ is over 30 minutes long - other than space drift and
sequencer epics, what else can occupy such a duration? Late 80’s / early
90’s uptempo pieces usually stick around the 5 minute mark - but string enough
of them together and you can really come up with something very entertaining
indeed. And that’s exactly what ‘Elektra’ is all about.
of quality, modern, sequencing will be bowled over by this. It presents section
after section of superbly constructed electro- rhythmics, bound together with
some fine themes and textures. Few avenues are left unexplored. Chris Franke in
‘London Concert’ form often comes to mind, so does Robert Schroeder (eg from
20 mins into track 3), and inevitably TDream especially during the numerous
bridging sections. Only the occasional dance beat, and the odd Enigma monkish
chant, suggest that this was mainly recorded during 1998.
With so many differing styles that could be classified as EM in existence, it’s good to hear that there are still albums appearing which offer EM in its purest form. Make no mistake, this is one of ‘em.