All tracks composed by Thomas Fanger, except track 3: composed by Thomas Fanger and Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock
- Vanilla Crush [18:58]
- Twinkling Sun [8:59]
- Jungle Bar (album version) [8:56]
- The Lost Track [3:23]
- Velvet Beach [10:04]
- Pure Dreams [4:28]
- Aquanaut [5:06]
- Calm [1:11]
- The Land Of Milk And Honey [15:41]
Thomas Fanger - synthesizers, samplers, treated guitar, sequencer and drum programming.
Luna B- vocals
Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock - spaceguitar, electric sitar, memotron
Michael Potrafke - guitar
What an amazing CD this is. The opening and closing tracks should be loved by Redshift and Arc fans whilst the other tracks are right out of Ashra / Gottsching territory. There are also similarities with 'Analog Overdose' Volumes 1 and 3. In other words we are deep in Berlin School territory throughout.
'Vanilla Crush' begins with soft celestial pads. It only takes a couple of minutes however before the first superb sequence strikes up. Images of Ian and Mark at Hampshire Jam Three behind their pile of analog gear came unbidden to my mind. I would love to see Thomas live. I bet he would be great! Anyway, back to reality. The backing swirls this way and that, lovely shimmers bursting to the surface like lava erupting from a volcano. The inevitable Mellotron adds that essential contrasting softness. Subtle lead lines that would have been equally at home on 'Phaedra', 'Rubycon' or 'Ricochet' weave their wonderful spell.
'Twinkling Sun' is all about mesmerizing patterns of pulsations with some wonderful virtual guitar stabs. It rather reminded me of 'Blackouts'.
'Jungle Bar' is collaboration with Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock. It starts with twittery rain forest type effects. Through these gentle guitar licks echo, heralding a nice deep bass sequence. Guitar loops start to form creating a rather 'E2-E4' feeling of trance. Additional little guitar touches hang above it all like a heat haze. In the fifth minute there is some sampled French text which I didn't really think fitted with the music but others might disagree.
'The Lost Track' starts with a rather shimmering metallic feel. A bass line is added then some excellent drum programming. It all goes together to whip up an exciting groove. Rather appropriately the sound of waves lapping on the shore get 'Velvet Beach' underway.
The mood soon changes however as guitar flourishes and a stonking bass sequence strike up. Another sequence, then a third fall into formation with the first. Little melodic licks and sighing pads hit the spot perfectly. Yet another rather tuneful sequence comes in mutating wonderfully as we go. What a fantastic blessed out track this is.
'Pure Dreams' is a jaunty little number full of tinkling melodies, lush pads and cool / lazy syncopations. Great fun.
Rapid sequences launch us straight into 'Aquanaut'. The excitement builds still further with the introduction of rhythm and some wonderful cosmic guitar playing courtesy of Michael Potrafke. This time things are more like a cross between 'Blackouts' and 'New Age of Earth'.
'Calm' only lasts just over a minute and is something of a dreamy bridging piece which takes us to 'The Land of Milk and Honey'. A flute can be heard above more rain forest / bird samples. It's all very peaceful. A tinkling sequence starts up. It begins to mutate as the Mellotron makes an entrance, the pulsations gaining added oomph all the time and in no time at all we are back in Arc territory. The power keeps building to heavenly proportions then a laser sharp lead blasts over the top.
Whether your Utopia is Milk and Honey or Belgian Beer and Kebabs you will find it here! If Berlin School and the albums I have quoted here for comparison are your thing then buy without hesitation.
"Parlez-vous Electronique?" is a superb work of electronic music whose style ranges between Space Sequencer and Ambient. Some Techno traits are also perceived, as well as some experimental touches. The melodies usually are warm, lively, in an atmosphere typical of a soundtrack for an adventure movie.
Although several of the pieces have rather fast rhythms, others are more relaxed in nature. The music is very original and varied, without having to make use of experimentation with sounds. The most impressive piece in the album is, in my opinion, "Velvet Beach", of a majestic air and a great strength.
This CD from 2005 offers 77 minutes of energetic electronic music.
Synthesist Fanger is joined on this release by Klaus "Cosmic" Hoffmann-Hoock, Michael Potrafke, and Luna B.
A twinkling starscape erupts with cyclic beats and dense electronics, which swiftly evolve into a pulsating melody embellished by sidereal effects. Chugging diodes and sighing flutish keyboards join the mix, thickening the pastiche until the music literally throbs with complexity. Matching this intricacy, an escalation of drama overwhelms things, carrying the surging tuneage to even loftier altitudes. Each time you think it's reached its pinnacle, the music defies expectations and plunges even higher.
And that's just the first track, which clocks in at 19 minutes.
The rest of the album continues to push the envelope, striving for greater sonic thrills with hyperactive riffs and cosmic peaks that blaze with astounding glory.
Nimble-fingered keyboards are joined by wickedly searing guitar. Chords parade in an engaging spiral as e-perc emerges to generate steadfast rhythms of mesmerizing deportment.
The pace steps down to a softer realm for the third track ("Jungle Bar"), conjuring hypnotic passages of space guitar and dreamy mellotron (specifically, the Mellotron).
A few short tracks ensue, delivering brief excursions of tasty delight, interrupted by a longer piece ("Velvet Beach") which explores grittier terrain with crashing surfs and melancholy guitar and phase-shifted electronics rich with nostalgic quality.
The cd concludes with "The Land of Milk and Honey", a nocturnal 16 minute composition that utilizes piercing flutish keyboards in conjunction with a distinctly Teutonic demeanor. Harmonies ascend to incredible heights where they are peppered by sparse e-perc and astral guitar, resulting in a remarkable dose of ultimately satisfying proportion.
2006. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Thomas Fanger brings his exquisite sensibility to bear on Parlez-vous Electronique? (77'23"), his first solo release. The contrasting tonalities and fascinating interplay of sequencer patterns prove a compelling foundation for his melodically pure lead lines and harmonic motifs. The works are enlivened by mellotron themes, warm pads and shimmering cosmic effects as intertwining patterns of synth tones race with each other across a galactic ocean of emptiness.
The complex and detailed electronic rhythms build and then unravel as a unique space surrounds the listener. This album resembles the classics as Fanger summons the spirit of electronic invention to realize nine tracks drawn from the influential foundation of German spacemusic.
Working to his strengths, on Parlez-vous Electronique? Fanger does not merely re-create, but rather re-imagines the originals, and his compositions gain their power through a fascinating combination of the old with the new.
2006. Chuck van Zyl / Star's End
Sometimes, I receive a cd that touches me immediately and doesn’t let me loose again. This is such a cd. Fanger comes from the "school" of Mario Schönwälder and that leads to high quality electronic music, most of the time. Fanger has also released music together with Schönwälder. This is an album that can be filed under "retro/Berlin School", but it does not follow the known paths. A hint: 1970s Tangerine Dream meets 1970s Ashra.
"Vanilla Crush" opens the cd rather traditionally with a "Phaedra" like sequence over which a diversity of sounds is laid, like Mellotron samples, digital synth sounds and electric guitar. Absolutely not original, but certainly it is great.
In "Twinkling Sun" the atmosphere moves to that of Ashra with calm sequences, simple but fitting drum sounds and guitar.
Also in "Pure Dreams" and "Aquanaut" this is the case.
In "Jungle Bar" the spacey guitar sound of "Cosmic" Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock can be heard. Here, the influence of Ashra clearly is present (as well as Manuel Goettsching solo).
"The Lost Track", with rock rhythms, has traces of the early music of Biosphere.
"Velvet Beach" comes with a brilliant sequence.
After the quiet track with the fitting title "Calm", "The Land Of Milk And Honey" is one of the best retropieces I have ever heard. This sort of sequencer dominated music seems so simple, but you must come with it.
For me, this is one of the top electronic albums of the year.
The brand new Thomas Fanger solo album is a virtual kaleidoscope of electronic rhythms and tone colors. Tracking in at 77:14 the several long, extended tracks segue beautifully with medium length pieces to form a magic carpet ride of brilliant pulsating melodies.
Thomas Fanger is commonly associated with musical duos, e.g. Fanger & Schönwälder, Fanger & Kersten, and Fanger & Siebert. But after hearing his strong solo offering on the Eintrittskarte sampler, I knew he had the chops to go it alone, and Parlez-Vous Electronique confirms that emphatically.
The 19-minute tour de force "vanilla crush" starts things off. A moderately paced vintage loop stutters along just so, gathering around it an assortment of cool space sounds as it progresses. The dream sequence propels things forward swimmingly – think of the best sequencing by arc, spacecraft, and yes of course vintage Tangerine Dream, you get the idea. An ethereal pure space passage takes over at the end with a delicate fluty synth solo. What a perfect beginning, and the rest of the cd delivers as well.
"twinkling sun" has an even more hypnotic sequence, slowing things down a touch, punching up the bass a bit, and repeating a single guitar-like phrase much like Tangerine Dream’s "turning off the wheel", perhaps the best track off their optical race cd.
For something completely different we have "jungle bar (album version)", with crickets, birds and such. A funky little bass line ambles in, along with some cool electric keys. The timbre is bright, the pace relaxed. A sexy little french conversation between a man and woman takes place in the middle.
A steady thumping beat in "the lost track" keeps pace like clockwork, thoroughly modern electronica this one.
"velvet beach" is heavy on the bass line, and offers a very nice melody with synth strings.
On the lighter side is "pure dreams", a fun one with a pop sensibility to it, though it is more about layers of sequencing than melodic composition.
"aquanaut" is crisp and punchy, a beat-laden brisk number with an Ashra quality.
After a brief "calm," Fanger delivers retro fans to "the land of milk and honey" for the 16-minute conclusion.
One of the very best of 2005.
2006. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space