Recycle Or Die - Reviews

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Last review added: March, 24 2004

It's been some time since Johannes has done an album of all new "Teutonic space music" and it was well worth the wait. RECYCLE OR DIE is an incredible musical display of his talent for creating electronic sounds and real compositions. The tone colors andf arrangements infuse the central elements of the Berlin School sound with classicism, melody and strikingly imaginative sonic manipulations and sequences. TD hasn't made anything nearly this good in ages.
(Archie Patterson, eurock)

The new solo CD from the ex-Tangerine Dream member on his own Viktoria Park label has plenty to offer TD fans as well as those of his more experimental and rather intellectual musical styles heard on albums such as "Wuivend Riet" and "Songs No Words".

Schmoelling was always the experimentalist of the band during his TD days, and so the time signatures, sound textures and compositional styles here are far from the conventions of Berlin school music, techno pop or any other familiar style. The opening "L'Atelier" for instance, at just 2.20, is like a crazed, synthesized chamber piece, while "Explosive Game" has a similarly unpredictable time signature under sampled shouts, explosions and fuzzy synths. The title track weaves electric piano and pizzicato strings under a filmic melody, and the origins of most tracks in "music composed for theatre and film during the last ten years" are most obvious here.

Less obvious inclusions are three TD tracks, "Dominion" and "Midnight in Tula" which Schmoelling co-composed, and "Stratosfear" (here spelled "Stratosphere") which he didn't. The second and third of these are pretty much true to the original apart from loping drumbeats, while the first is stripped right down to an arrangement mostly for synthesized piano, strings and flute.

The three "Italian Scratches" taken from a film project vary from piano solo to impressionistic sampled material and include a guest electric guitar, all very evocative of some modern detective film or other. The closing "Electrified JS" is an uptempo version of Bach's "Concerto No. 4 in A Major" and is pleasant enough, though typical of many other electronic classics albums.

There's some excellent original material here, particularly the evocative "Buda-Pest", but most purchasers new to Schmoelling will be buying the album for his takes on the TD pieces, which some will like and some won't. Nice presentation though with some interesting pictures of Berlin including the back of a TD-graffiti-covered van, so a CD which is well worth getting hold of.
(Mark Jenkins, Ampmusic, Jan. 17th, 2004)

Nicht wenige Tangerine Dream-Fans weinen immer noch Johannes Schmoelling eine Träne hinterher, der vor vielen, vielen Jahren die Band verließ. Doch statt zu trauern, sollte man lieber in dessen neues Album „Recycle Or Die“ hineinhören. Dann wird klar, welch immensen Einfluss er damals auf die Melodieführung und Harmonien bei Tangerine Dream hatte. Doch auch Johannes Schmoelling hat sich verändert.

Seine Musik ist weniger komplex geworden, dafür eleganter, mehr auf den Punkt gebracht, was sicherlich zeitgemäß ist. An manchen Stellen klingt es vielleicht zu locker, leicht und luftig (im Titeltrack). Doch „Recycle Or Die“ ist zweierlei Dinge gleichzeitig: Eine Hommage an die eigene musikalische Vergangenheit und ein Blick auf das aktuelle Werk.

Es sind drei Neueinspielungen alter TD-Klassiker vertreten (darunter sogar „Stratosphere“ aus der Baumann-Phase von TD), wovon besonders „Dominion“ mit seinen klar heraus gearbeiteten Melodielinien und Spannungsbögen überzeugt. Die neuen Tracks pendeln wie gewohnt zwischen atmosphärisch-ruhig, klassisch-elegant, typisch Berliner Schule und sogar rockig (in „Italien Scratches“ (3.Teil) ist eine untypische aber hervorragend gespielte E-Gitarre zu hören) hin und her. Und natürlich wird auch J.S.Bach gewürdigt. Johannes Schmoelling verbindet nach einer kurzen klassischen Einleitung den großen Komponisten mit Drumloops. Hörenswert, wie das ganz Album.
(Bernd Sievers, Eclipsed, Jan. 20th, 2004)

© 1998 - 2004 by Johannes Schmoelling