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Robert Schroeder — Cream
(Spheric Music SMCD-2021, 2010, CD)

Robert Schroeder — Esthéthique
(Spheric Music SMCD-2025, 2011, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-01-23

Cream Cover artEsthéthique Cover artGerman electronic musician Robert Schroeder has always been on the commercial side of the EM spectrum, with some even calling his music from the 80s new age. Certainly one thing that’s been a constant in his 30+ year career has been a deep appreciation and use of rhythms and incorporation of non-synth instruments in his music, starting with chamber instruments in the late 70s and continuing with electric guitar in the 80s. This all puts Schroeder in the perfect position to exploit current trends in electronic music like techno and dub while staying true to his Berlin school roots. At the heart of each piece on these two albums is a groove that provides the skeleton upon which Schroeder hangs sequencers, synths (mostly analog), ornamental percussion, guitar and samples. The title Cream is a play on “cream de la crème”, and is perhaps also a wink at his recurring series of pieces titled “Food for Fantasy”. Esthétique extends the formula with some potent trance bass and drum grooves. Electric guitar is featured on tracks like “Evaluations of Time,” though whether it’s real or a clever synth patch is hard to tell. Regardless, Schroeder leverages his years of partnerships with guitarists Charly Buechel and Phil Molto to lay down some tasty and intoxicating tracks. Some might be annoyed by the urban-hip affectations and use of slick production gimmicks like looped cool-dude/sexy-girl spoken word gimmicks. There’s a bit of “heard it all before” to Schroeder’s music, especially the more 80s-ish synth voicings and rhythms that reminds me of Enigma or Peter Bardens circa “Seen One Earth,” But to be fair, Schroeder has his finger on what’s ultra-hip in the lounge world these days so if you want to earn some points for metrosexual cool you couldn’t find a better place to start.

Filed under: New releases, 2010 releases, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Schroeder

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