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Roger Universe — Earth Express
(Spheric Music SMCD 3020, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-10-25

Earth Express Cover art

Roger Universe is the project name of German electronic music artist Ulrich Mühl, who sadly passed away in January 2022, just as his debut album Earth Express, five years in the making, was completed. His long time friend Gerald Arend (Klangwelt) mixed the final recordings and did some additional production to guide it to its eventual release. Having programmed his first compositions on a home computer in the 80s, Mühl began working on the all new material for Earth Express in the mid-2010s using the latest state-of-the-art equipment. The ten tracks offer a bouyant, joyful sound full of bold, colorful melodies and swinging beats mixed with moody textures, pulsing grooves, and spirited cosmic harmonies. Some of the pieces offer a more dreamy angle with an introspective depth, while others are outwardly jubilant and shimmering with warmth, and sprinkled with starlight. The ten tracks are crossfaded with the exception of #5 and 6 (“Mariana Trench” to “Under Ground Over Unity”) where it makes sense for a break in the two sides of an LP, even though as far as I am aware this is currently only available as a CD or download. One might be asking right about now, who else does this sound like, the influences that inform Mühl’s music? One might be Vangelis circa Albedo 0.39 or Spiral, another would be Jean-Michel Jarre circa Oxygène or Equinoxe, sort of a trip in the wayback machine to the mid-to-later-mid 70s where power, melody, and groove went hand-in-hand, and Mühl seems to have tapped into that vibe. Earth Express offers a strong entry into the field of electronic space music, but sadly it will probably be the last we hear from Mühl.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Roger Universe (Ulrich Muhl)

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