Roger Powell — Cosmic Furnace
(Wounded Bird Wou 7251, 1973/2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01This legendary album from the early days of electronic music is a welcome reissue. The overall sound is a bit unusual because of Powell’s use of ARP synthesizers rather than Moogs. The tracks feature a combination of pulsating sequences and live playing on piano, Mellotron, Clavinet, and maybe other instruments (the credits are vague). Sometimes the sequences form little more than a rhythmic pattern, sort of a drum substitute, though it’s not like the drum machines that would come later. The overall result is quite far from Tangerine Dream style sequencer orgies, more like programmed parts as accompaniment to a keyboard fest. I’m reminded a little of Jan Hammer’s First Seven Days (1975), only with the jazzy inflection replaced with something more like rock. It’s easy to see this as a precursor to solo albums by other keyboard players, from Patrick Moraz to Hammer to Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock. The amazing thing is that Powell managed to do it in 1973. Aside from its historical value, the music is quite enjoyable, if not revelatory. There are some catchy melodies here and there, and some nearly funky rhythms. You can also hear similarities with his later Utopia work. The compositions do not simply jam on programmed grooves, but progress from section to section, with changing moods, tempos and tonalities.
Related artist(s): Roger Powell
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more