All tracks composed, arranged and performed by Detlef Keller 2004 and 2005.
Dating back to 'Ways of the Rainbow', Detlef Keller has always had a more romantic side that occasionally surfaces in his electronic music. On ‘Harmonic Steps’, Keller allows himself to fully explore that side of his creativity, as disc one is called Electronic Steps and disc two is called Piano Steps.|
CD 1 - Electronic Steps:
- Electronic Step 1 [7:34]
- Electronic Step 2 [11:17]
- Electronic Step 3 [11:47]
- Electronic Step 4 [9:38]
- Electronic Step 5 [23:08]
- Electronic Step 6 [10:17]
CD 2 - Piano Steps:
- Piano Step 1 [4:14]
- Piano Step 2 [4:50]
- Piano Step 3 [5:21]
- Piano Step 4 [6:27]
- Piano Step 5 [7:10]
- Piano Step 6 [9:20]
- Piano Step 7 [6:31]
- Piano Step 8 [9:56]
- Piano Step 9 [5:12]
- Last Step [3:56]
Let’s look at disc two first. After a brief solo piano introduction, ‘Piano Step 2’ includes horns and soft percussion. It sounds like soundtrack music, but keep in mind that Tangerine Dream made some very good soundtrack albums. Detlef has always shown a knack with melody and that is on full display here.
The third movement is much more active, and for a moment I think of Elton John, not a bad thing really. Once it takes off it is much more traditional EM, with steady beats and some synth backing to go along with the piano, a very catchy tune indeed. After that, Keller abandons the piano for a few tracks and its mostly mellow synth-based stuff, culminating in the dreamy tones of ‘Piano Step 8’ before returning to piano as the centerpiece for the ending.
If you prefer your EM pure, then pop in disc one and immediately groove to the sequencing and rhythms of ‘Electronic Step 1’ with cool choirs and other elements of the retro style. The lead synth reminds me a lot of the opening track on Klaus Schulze’s classic ’X’ disc. Disc one is upbeat and peppy throughout, although it turns more calm and reflective on the 23-minute ‘Step 5’
It’s a tale of two discs, both with plenty of worthy moments to savor.
2006. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
"Harmonic Steps", a double cd, is an excellent electronic symphony of a cosmic orientation, that also has elements of New Instrumental Music. These latter can be appreciated above all in the general structure of the compositions, with a great protagonism of the melodies. The artist offers us his mastery at creating a work full of beauty and mystery, with themes that in some occasions tend to be of a melodic romanticism, while in other instances they have an enigmatic, or even a gloomy air. Some compositions are slow, yet they have a certain rhythm.
Others have quite fast rhythms, performed mostly with sequencers and percussion.
2006. Edgar Kogler
This release from 2005 features 137 minutes of gripping electronic music.
CD 1 features 74 minutes of "Electronic Steps" which exhibit dazzling scope and sonic emotion. Electronics and e-perc conspire under Keller's direction to generate a lavish series of engrossing tunes, each unique and sparkling like a foot-shaped jewel on a panoramic beach. Generally, the pieces abandon Keller's normal slow-build approach and dive into gripping melodies with gusto and creative verve. Snappy tempos share the stage with driving sequencers and urgent keyboards. Each track explores a different contemporary EM fashion--one piece employs marching band style percussion to achieve a quasi-techno anthem, while another piece allows clear piano to lend a classical edge to the composition, while another's airy synthetic windwoods evokes a pastoral flair. This results in a tour de force of varied sounds, from retro Berlin School to New Age. Regardless of the style, though, a common dynamic unifies the songs.
CD 2 features 63 minutes of "Piano Steps" which continues the electronic pilgrimage. While the first track restricts itself to solo piano, later pieces embellish that approach with additional electronic instruments. For a while, the piano remains the nucleus, forefront and in command. Eventually, however, the piano retires, to be replaced by electrified keyboards. A high degree of vitality comes through, as Keller belts out tunes that convey a jovial enthusiasm. As things progress, symphonic instruments enter the mix, reinforcing a concert hall undercurrent in the music.
2006. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity