Alwanzatar — Heliotropiske Reiser
(Apollon Records ARP007, 2017, CD / LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-09-04
Tangerine’s classic albums of the 70s have an enduring appeal that causes them to be influential even 40 years on. Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet, and Stratosphear stand as a solid body of work that has been much emulated, if never really bettered, even by Tangerine Dream itself (to be fair, they moved along into other areas — for better or worse — rather than simply repeating themselves). The burbling sequencers are the most-copied feature of those albums, but there was always more to them than just programmed arpeggios. Alwanzatar is a one-man project of Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Krizla (Kristoffer Momrak), and he takes many cues from the old Tangerine playbook, and takes them in new and interesting directions. There are sequences, though they are often not the most prominent parts of the arrangements. Melodies are covered by a variety of different instruments, including flute, Mellotron, and synthesizers. This may sound like an odd comparison, but in some ways Heliotropiske Reiser makes me think of what might have happened if Tangerine Dream had recorded an album of Bo Hansson covers — something about the melodies and the way they fit together with the chords and rhythms. I don’t know what kind of drum machines or samplers were used for the rhythm parts, but they sound rather like vintage devices from the 70s used with parts that are sometimes more modern in style. The five tracks present 44 minutes of sounds that bridge the retro and the modern, with the longest being “Rikosjett” — Norwegian for “Ricochet,” to make the inspiration clear — though the piece features more chromaticism than the progenitors generally indulged in. The range of moods and tempos is good, so the album never drags, and there’s a constant influx of new sounds to keep things interesting. Fans of analog synthesis and classic sounds should eat this up; it’s one of the best one-man projects I’ve heard in some time.
Related artist(s): Alwanzatar (Kristoffer Momrak)
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more