»Recorded in Berlin between 2005 & 2006, this is the ex-Tangerine Dream (1980-1985) musician's brand new studio album, and it's certain to follow his 'Recycle Or Die' and 'White-Out' releases into the annals of best selling EM titles here at CD Services. After listening to this album all the way through, you get the distinct feeling that this guy is either an unashamed romantic or maybe was a great classical composer in a previous life - or both.
> Sweeping string synths, soaring expansive keyboard symphonic backdrops, and huge helpings of piano melodies dominate
'Instant City'. It's all exceedingly heartfelt, and decidedly the sort of thing that would accompany many a "touching"
movie. The album opener: 'Passing By'
, is a beautifully electronically orchestrated piece with a sombre lead
melody line that is a very much in that mould of typical Schmoelling openers. Starting with the strings with piano
melodies rippling alongside, the lead melody is taken by what sounds distinctly like a violin - but isn't - it's a
synthesizer - and this adds to the whole atmospheric nature of the piece. Schmoelling injects a lot of warmth into this
track and gets the intro just spot on, so that just short of three minutes, a broad smile comes across your face when the
sequencers fire up, and shaker percussion joins the mix. A deep resonant drumbeat is heard below and synth melodies
proceed to wind and wander overhead as the track really starts to fly. The piano and strings return to put the icing on
the cake as the whole melodic, symphonic, sequencer/drum-driven composition firmly captures your imagination and takes
you with it to the end of a gloriously panoramic nine minute piece of music.
> The seven minute: 'Giants Of The Fog'
is next up and this time begins with gentle, but effective sequencers,
as swirling space synths enter from the distance and dance all around the string backdrop - and another sound painting
gradually starts to develop quite beautifully. Cascading synth melodies fly on top, albeit slowly and spacey, while the
gentle but solid sequencers bounce along to provide the drive. Around three and a half minutes in, the string army comes
marching in and this giant slab of classical symphonic, almost Vangelis like theme takes over with electronic drums also
coming into play, while all the previous elements remain intact as well - Another stunning track!
> The five-minute title track is a busy sounding slice of solid symphonic electronic drive - a bit like something you
might have heard on TD's 'Le Parc' album, only with lashings of string synths and piano melodies added to the synth
rhythms and sequencers. 'Contemplative Clouds'
does what it says on the tin, and leaves you wide-eyed as
gorgeously melodic electronic sound paintings conjure visions of sunny skies and summer days, sipping tea on the lawn
with granny as the children play in some distant meadow - you know the sort of thing - It's pure musical romanticism,
and brilliantly done.
> For the near nine-minute: 'Joyful Solitude'
, dreamy string synths conjure a genuinely atmospheric intro,
with soft resonant bass synths hanging in the air as sweeping, haunting keyboard melodies form the shape of the track
and grab your attention right from the word go. A lightly galloping sequencer rhythm begins to unfold and the track
slowly starts moving as more synth layers are added and the piece expands into one of those soundtracks that accompany
footage of the open desert, the Grand Canyon, or something like that. In fact, it's a very "American" sounding track that
the likes of the 80's USA synth merchants would have killed to produce, and a great one for all that. However, it does
run off the beaten track a bit at this point and ends up in a curious passage of pure melody that sounds like a cross
between an electronic samba and the boss nova, pouring out enough sugar to rot an entire set of teeth in three minutes
flat :--) Hey ho, on we go...
> A couple of four minute tracks follow that are more solid affairs, with plenty of bite, particularly the excellent
is powerfully melodic and even paced, with plenty in the way of counter melodies and
extra textural layers. It has one of those wailing Moog-like solos and sounds like the best bits out of the 'Miami Vice'
soundtrack, and is just superb.
> 'Rikscha Square'
is quite faster paced too, with a futuristic rhythmic force and a vibrant melodic flow.
> Now, the eight and a half minute: 'A Long Time Ago'
, and what a track this is... It starts with a three-minute
cosmic opening passage, then the string synths come in and it transforms into a symphonic spacey gem that sweeps and
swells in grandiose fashion. This track has all the right sounds and has them bang in the right pace, with just the right
level of density and an arrangement that makes it tug at your heartstrings rather than strangle them. Truly, a gorgeous
piece of music, and when, just short of five minutes, it suddenly goes into a much more aggressive TD style melody and
rhythm, not only does it sound natural, but it still retains the magic that has made it a winner so far. Then a soaring,
scorching and hugely powerful upfront synthesizer solo bursts out of nowhere and flies high and loud all over the
panoramic backdrop to great effect for just a short while, then disappears to leave the track to drift back to a slowly
symphonic cosmic finale - The best track on the album so far.
> Three further six-minute tracks complete the album, and these again really manage to get the balance right and produce
the necessary mix of sweetness and solid, so that while it's all firmly melodic, there's a real sense of feeling that
isn't taken to extremes. 'Big Cityscapes'
slowly pulsates with sequencers and Kitaro-ish bell-like melodies that
take the theme on an ascending flight to the heavens - another gloriously melodic piece that will give many hours of
listening pleasure. 'It's Your Birthday'
is initially atmospheric, until the rhythms come in and a lead synth
sound like something off perhaps 'Logos' or 'Le Parc' era TD, taking the track on through a gently melodic phase with
a laid back easy feeling. 'The Time Seller'
closes the album at quite an evenly balanced pace, with a sound full
of inventive rhythms, simple but effective synth chording and carefully constructed melodies running over ethereal
backdrops, and again the familiar soaring synth makes a final appearance.
> So, overall, apart from one slightly dodgy lapse in the middle, this is a very good album indeed, if you want lashings
of melodies, light sequencers, big symphonic sounds and brilliantly written compositions. It's beautifully produced,
with tastefully used, big (and I mean BIG) synth melodies that stretch wider and louder over some wonderfully panoramic
backdrops. The influences are clear for all to hear, and often centres round his 5-year stint with Tangerine Dream over
two decades ago, especially focused by the big and powerful synth melodies that inhabit the album in frequent bursts.
Schmoelling's music is quite unique in that it can often be simplistic and uncomplicated, but he does it all so
brilliantly, making every part of what he plays counts big style - The arrangements are strong, yet uncluttered, and
there's nothing wasted or added in just for effect - you get the full picture delivered in the tonal colours best suited
to each individual piece of music, with just the right amount of rhythmic structure and melody, and that's the sign of
a master electronic music composer at work.«