|wanderer of time|
releasedate: 2003, March
guests: Frank Emmens, voice on track 5; Jan Dieterich: guitar on track 5
Travis Briggs for Wind and Wire:
Gert Emmens represents a unique creative force in today's sometimes frustratingly derivative and stagnant EM scene. His soundscapes, while clearly inspired by the Berlin School, also showcase Emmens' soaring melodic sensibility and outstanding sound palette, which manages to sound polished and pristine while still retaining all of the character and richness of the analog aesthetic. Although Emmens flirts with the now tragically overdone Rubycon style, the prevailing tone of his music always serves to distinguish him from that rather pedestrian infatuation with rehashing the past.
Ominous drones and metallic reverberations introduce the tour de force title track, but Emmens quickly disrupts the atmospherics with a brooding mid-'70's Tangerine Dream sequence. As the nearly 20-minute piece evolves, Emmens incorporates many traditional Berlin School elements such as apocalyptic choirs and wistful mellotron flutes. However, the song's most memorable moments are provided by his signature innovations on the basic retro architecture, which take the form of lush, expansive pads and transcendent, evocative melodies of a caliber not often found in the Berlin School genre.
The next piece, "Gaspra", besides featuring euphoric sequencing and subdued yet uplifting orchestral melodies, brilliantly embodies the essence of Emmens' style by evoking a sense of free-spirited grandeur. Certainly this distinctive "cosmic groove" formula is complemented by the inclusion of mellow synthetic percussion, which accentuates the listeners' sense of being enveloped and propelled by empowering astral energy currents. "Alien Matter" follows, and refreshingly juxtaposes the previous track with its decidedly enigmatic persona. This impression is conveyed by the piece's myriad of discordant sequences, all overlaid by various otherworldly synth washes and unnerving, atonal melodies.
"Elektra World" initially features alluring yet subtly insidious melodies underpinned by spectral choirs and quasi-rhythmic sequencer glurps. This section then segues into more traditional Berlin School territory, although the distinctive Emmens' touch maintains an underlying presence throughout the piece's duration. Overall, although it's certainly not a distasteful track by any means, I found "Elektra World" to be the least successful on the album simply due to generic sequence construction. Fortunately, the closing track "The Voyage of Voyager 1" more than compensates with its delicately riveting sequences and majestic, rapturous lead lines. Emmens' heightens the exhilaration still further by employing a very CS-80-like sound during some of his inspired solos, which Vangelis fans may recognize from such seminal albums as Spiral and China. Overall, it's the highlight of the album.
Wanderer of Time was my first aural excursion into the thrilling and accomplished realm of Gert Emmens' soundscapes, and I have since been inspired to purchase 2 more of his albums, such was my enthusiasm for his music. Anyone interested in Berlin School inspired material that captures the spirit of the glory days without resorting to mere mimicry should check out Gert Emmens, and particularly Wanderer of Time, immediately.
This Dutch synthesist not only pays homage to the spirit of the Berlin School, but does it on vintage analog instruments from that time as well. His third release, WANDERER OF TIME, contains 5 long tracks ranging for 10 to 20 minutes in length. It contains all the classic elements haunting sequences, strong rhythms, symphonic sounds and great effects. Tangerine Dream has not done this classic sound for years sadly. The opening track, a 20 minute opus, sets the scene for an album of timeless sounds. The album closer "The Voyage of Voyager", with its slight echoes of Vangelis and fat solos on Yamaha CS-80 is the perfect closer to this excellent work.
Stefania Carezzoli (of
21stcenturymusic Italy) www.21stcenturymusic.it
Inspired to electronic of the
past, this album can satisfy everyone for its music so great and full of
haunting sequences, very nice melodies, and special effects and sounds. Gert
gifts to listener a strong impact already from the first track, showing all his
professional art until the end of cd. Another musician who knows to be great
today, keeping open the road of the old "Golden Age" of EM, giving
sentiments and emotions never dead, and doing the happiness of many fans.
Gert Emmens is not unknown anymore in the world of electronic music.
In 2001 his second album ''Asteroids'', released on the Quantum label, caused
quite a fuss because it contained a melodic variation on the Berlin School. The
nice thing about his music is that he not only draws his inspiration from the
''Golden Age''of electronic music, but he also largely performs it on electronic
instruments from that time.
David Law (SMD):
Dark brooding sonic touches give the opening to the title track a rather cosmic feel. We are soon shaken to our senses though as the first rapid rumbling bass sequence spews forward. The introduction of some tron places us very firmly in Berlin School territory. A second sequence, this time a high register one, makes an entrance and fairly bounces along between the pulsations of the first- wonderful stuff! Vast pads swell lifting us up as if we are soaring high above awesome mountain ranges. The main sequence suddenly darts off in another direction in the fifth minute and instantly the backing also changes. Yet another sequence comes in, melodic pads creating something of a euphoric feel. This ecstasy is heightened still further as a laser sharp lead flashes over it all. Things never stay still as every element morphs this way and that until in the ninth minute we transcend once more to the darkest areas of Space. Out of this emerges some moody flutey synth.
Gert can't keep his hands off that sequencer for too long though as gradually a new pattern of notes starts to float through the air, caressing the soul rather than whipping up a frenzy. Dark drones and computer type twitters get 'Gaspra' underway. A very deep sequence rumbles forth gaining added oomph all the time; contrasting soft pads impart a little gentleness. The calm mood is brought even more to the surface in the fourth minute as a laid back rhythm is stirred into the mixture. It's back to the cosmos again for 'Alien Matter'. At first we gently float along then the engines are engaged and we hurtle forward on a waves of pulsations. A dreamy melody shimmers over the top, only to disappear, along with the sequence, for a short interlude of gentle drift before the sequence comes back with even greater vigour. Mellotron is again deployed and rather awesome it is too! Rhythm is added along with twittering effects and a new stabbing lead line. We have shifted up yet another gear. Whoosh, wiz, twitter twitter and 'Elektra World' gets underway. Some lovely ethereal / symphonic type pads take things forward and an inevitable sequence (I'm not complaining- honest!) tinkles along low in the mix.
A little more oomph is imparted as a slow drum line comes in then the best melody on the album so far takes the mind on a journey all of its own. It's then all change in the sixth minute as a faster sequence scatters all that has gone before it. All the backing elements fit the mood perfectly, having the same sort of 'feel' as TD's 'Stratosfear'. We finish the album with a track demonstrating the 'lighter' side to Berlin School. 'The Voyage of Voyager 1' begins with a wonderful collage of 'well out there' sounds and effects. A lonesome lead line sort of hangs in the air above it all creating a feeling of peace and well-being. The sequence, which arrives in the third minute, is also quite melodic, even joyful, combining with the rhythm perfectly. The feel good factor gets even more so with the introduction of another positive melody. This mood continues right until the end as different elements come and go.
Ron Boots in E-news # 329 (February 22th, 2003):
week saw the birth of Gert Emmens' "Wanderer of time" on our own Groove
label. A CD which is for me the music to be beaten this year on the
melodic Berlin school style. What a gem it is, lush chords of strings