Peter Baumann — Romance 76
(Bureau B BB250, 1976/2017, CD)
Peter Baumann — Trans Harmonic Nights
(Bureau B BB251, 1979/2016, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-05-07
Peter Baumann was an integral part of Tangerine Dream from 1971 to 1977, which in my opinion was the group’s best period. So I was excited in 1976 when Peter Baumann released his first solo album Romance 76. I was amazed at the cleanness of the sound, which was partially influenced by David Bowie. The first two tracks, “Bicentennial Presentation” and “Romance,” contain typical Tangerine Dream pentatonic sequences, percussive electronics, and Peter’s catchy melodies. “Phase by Phase” then takes the listener into darker realms with analog synths, sequencers, and sepulchral chimes. The last three tracks, “Meadow of Infinity (Part 1),” “The Glass Bridge,” and “Meadow of Infinity (Part 2),” took up the second side of the LP and are basically three movements of one long abstract and dark orchestral composition.
Three years later Peter released his second solo album, Trans Harmonic Nights. Unlike the diversity of the music on Romance 76, the eight tracks on “Trans Harmonic Nights” contain catchy melodies, sequencers, Mellotron, and the occasional vocoder. The album opens with the razor-edged electronics of “This Day” followed by the heavy bass and drums of “White Bench and Black Beach.” “Chasing the Dream” contains a typical Tangerine Dream pentatonic sequence. “Biking up the Strand” is a happy, upbeat melody that would be great for cycling. Things then turn a bit minimal with “Phaseday” and its pulsating sequence, Mellotron, and vocoder. “Meridian Woodland” takes us into the dark forest with its eerie melody. “The Third Site” is a continuation of “Meridian Woodland.” The album closes with “Dance at Dawn” and its rapid percussive rhythm, synth trumpets, and pentatonic sequences.
Shortly after releasing Trans Harmonic Nights, Peter relocated to the US where he recorded two more albums that were below par: Repeat Repeat and Strangers in the Night (yes the Frank Sinatra song). What a disappointment to his fans! Romance 76 and Trans Harmonic Nights were the best of Peter’s solo career until 2016’s Machines of Desire. Thanks to Bureau B for bringing these two excellent albums of Berlin School electronics to wider audience!
Related artist(s): Peter Baumann
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
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
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
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
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more