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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Campo di Marte - Campo di Marte – Heaped amidst a surprising number of great 70s Italian prog bands comes this very recent CD reissue, and it is quite remarkable. Perhaps more subtle than some of their contemporaries, this five-piece...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues