Apogee — Sisyphos
(Musea FGBG 4253.AR, 1998, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-01-01
Apart from his regular gig as guitarist of Versus X (see our review of Disturbance in #13), multi-instrumentalist Arne Schäfer has created a second disc (1995’s The Border of Awareness was his first) of more intense and personal progressive rock under the moniker of Apogee, where basically he plays all the instruments and sings all the parts. The relationship between Versus X and Apogee is, in some ways akin to the relationship between Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill. Musically the approach is both symphonic and dark, ornamented with piano, keyboard, and acoustic guitar parts, regular changes of mood and dynamics, and plenty of Schäfer’s English lyrics, sometimes evolving into lengthy, multi-part suites — three of the album’s five tracks in fact break the seventeen minute mark. The compositions, from a progressive rock standpoint, are highly original, yet still remain within the classic definition of the genre; a track like the nineteen minute “Cruel Jokes” could be used as a textbook example of the term. By comparison to the first Apogee, we still have the dreaded computer drums (lack of a live drummer is really the album’s only shortcoming), but on the plus side we seem to have a more ferocious quitar attack this time, which compliments the newer, darker persona well. The arrangements are excellent throughout, though one might find themselves wishing for a break from all the lyrics — and more purely instrumental breaks. Overall, this is a solid second effort, definitely worthy of investigation.
Related artist(s): Arne Schäfer (Apogee)
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more