Exposé Online banner

Roger Powell — Cosmic Furnace
(Wounded Bird Wou 7251, 1973/2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01

Cosmic Furnace Cover artThis 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.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 33, 2005 releases, 1973 recordings

Related artist(s): Roger Powell

Latest news

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

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
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

2019-03-25
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


Previously in Exposé...

Paul Simon - Surprise – It should come as no big shock that singer-songwriter Paul Simon would be seeking a new sonic vehicle for his well-established career. Given the international success of Graceland it's clear that...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues