Exposé Online banner

Christopher Franke — Klemania
(SICD 8110, 1993, CD)

by Peter Dubiel, Published 1994-05-01

Klemania Cover artApparently a special recording to celebrate KLEM day, an electronic music festival in the Netherlands, Franke's Klemania album is both a pleasant surprise and a disappointment. I hate to judge Franke's work in comparison to his Tangerine Dream output, but in this case it's almost a necessity as a point of reference. In many ways, Franke's recent solo work has been miles ahead of what his old group has done since he left. On his last live disc, Franke interspersed his early 80s Tangerine Dream compositions with some of his own, newer ones to create an album of vibrant, dynamic electronic music. Looking at this disc's track list, it looks almost like an old Dream release: two 20+ minute (ahem, side-long) cuts and a wee short one tacked on at the end. In fact, skimming the disc, they sound a lot like old Tangerine Dream tracks: the first, "Scattered Thoughts of a Canyon Flight," starts with dark, brooding electronic textures before the composition develops, and "Inside the Morphing Space" begins with a lively sequence that wouldn't be out of place on Tangram. But the tracks never develop. A 20+ minute track needs a unifying theme, else it becomes a series of songs patched together. The two long tracks on Klemania seem to be ideas thrown together rather haphazardly, rather than cohesive wholes. Franke tries to fuse a variety styles together here as well, and doesn't quite pull it off. After the ominous intro of "Scattered Thoughts...", Franke launches into all-out... techno! He then proceeds to try to redeem the track with a great intense passage that starts about 11 minutes into the cut, but overall, this disorganization reflects on the overall direction of this disc. Outside influences like the aforementioned techno and some of his soundtrack work mar an otherwise ambitious work: some of the bits sound like they wouldn't be out of place on Babylon 5. And the stock pan-flute sample we heard on the Legend soundtrack is used ad nauseam in the quiet passages. A minor point, yet it does affect the overall flavor. What could otherwise be a fantastic record is spoiled by a few passages that completely disrupt the flow of the music as well as a general lack of themes to the longer cuts. Not even Franke's mastery of his electronics rescue some of the material from the domain of cheese. And ultimately, even exquisitely rafted cheesy bits remain... cheesy bits. Worth checking out, but not essential.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 3, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Christopher Franke

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jade Warrior - Now – Jade Warrior is one of those musical enigmas that has been nearly impossible to pigeonhole. Founder members Jon Field and vocalist Glyn Havard resurrected the band in 2007 meeting up after a long...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues