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Robert Schroeder — C'est Magique
(Spheric Music SMCD-2041, 2020, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-07-13

C'est Magique Cover art

Schroeder (or Schröder as it is sometimes written) is a prolific German electronic artist who has been plying his trade since the late 70s, with around three dozen releases to his credit, first on Klaus Schulze’s Innovative Communication label, then moved to the Racket label in the mid 80s, then News-Music (pretty much his own label) since the 90s, but with 2005’s Brainchips, he has also been releasing product on Spheric Music, of which C’est Magique is the latest. Opening the album is the twelve minute title track, a distinctly New-Agey piece that would have been right at home in the mid-80s with some half-whispered female voice repeating the title over and over (as well as other indecipherable whispers) as Schroeder works an array of floating synth sounds underneath, then around five minutes in, some programed drum sounds come in and change the mood a bit, with sequences taking the lead a couple minutes later. Without the annoying whispers this would be far more enjoyable, but as it is seems just kind of silly, even though the synth work accompanying is stunningly beautiful. But that’s just the first track, and the next two cuts, “Magnetic Streams” and “Spiritual Space,” totaling seventeen minutes, completely dispense with the voices and offer some seriously compelling Berlin-style sequenced work, full of swirling atmospheres and beautifully layered textural coloration, with wandering melodies rising to the occasion, at first propelled forward by the electronic percussion, but by the third track most of that is dispensed with and the listener is for the most part floating in free space with a slowed-down rhythic figure and deep bass pulses guiding the ship as it floats through an ocean of stars. The program continues with five additional tracks, each more succinct than the first three, but every bit as interesting, with Schroeder’s masterful synth powering the way forward. Closer “Secret Elements” employs some unusual rhythm patterns along with some curious electronic sounds as an undercurrent to the proceedings. Listeners who appreciate the Berlin style will certainly be right at home with this one.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Schroeder

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