Tracks 1,2,3, and 6 composed, performed and recorded on DAT by Stephen Parsick and Klaus Hoffman-Hoock at Stephen's private studio in September 1996.|
- Close Beneath The Surface
- Cosmic Jellyfish
- Green Depth
- Totem Poles
- The Keeper of Time
- Quicksilver Sea
- Traces Of The Past
Track 4 recorded at Quasar Studio in June 1997.
Tracks 5 and 7 recorded by Stephen Parsick at his studio in 1994.
Stephen Parsick - keyboards, synthesizers, mellotron, strings, sequencers and rhythm computer
Cosmic Hoffman - space and lead guitar and mellotron.
When I released my debut album "Traces of the past" in 1998, I did so reluctantly. even though I was proud of actually releasing an album all (or mostly) of my own, I still felt that some of the tracks were not as elaborate as I wanted them to be. due to the lack of a decent harddisk recording system, I had to live with the occasionally lengthy bits which I would have liked to shorten considerably, but, being unable to do that back then, I had to leave the tracks the way they were. also, I felt that some of the recordings would benefit enormously from some slight (ho-hum) denoising. To make it short: some people billed this album "a classic", something I don´t really agree with. a debut album above average maybe, but a classic...? too many flaws and quirks to really call it "a classic" but, uh well, there you go.
When asked for a possible reissue of the album, I thought "why not iron out all those flaws and release the album the way I always wanted it to be?". Thus I sat down, made many of the tracks leaner and condensed the sometimes aimless noodlings into tolerable length. in order to improve on the sometimes rather poor sound (again ho-hum), I remixed most of the tracks to restore their audio quality, using contemporary effects devices like tape echoes, spring reverbs or stereo chorus units. also, I had some tracks lying around in my archives which didn´t make it onto the first version of "traces" solely for space reasons. I decided to include them in order to make a "director´s cut" version of "Traces of the past". I hope you enjoy listening to these new old tracks as much as I enjoyed compiling and editing them. and I wouldn´t mind you calling it "a classic" now.
2007. Stephen Parsick
When "traces" was originally released in 1998, the album was made up of a collection of tracks recorded between 1994 and 1997, using the original Mellotron owned and used by Peter Baumann, Edgar Froese, and Klaus Schulze. Unfortunately, Stephen felt right from the start that a major part of the music wasn´t as elaborate as he wanted it to be. Not only on a musical level, but also on a technical level there was a lot left to be desired in his opinion. Alas, hard disk editing was waiting somewhere beyond the horizon at that time, unattainable for mere mortals. When "traces" sold out in 2001, Stephen dabbled with the idea of producing a reissue of the album which finally ironed out all the flaws and glitches he had always felt annoyed with.
Produced in 2005, "traces redux" features the original tracks from the original album not only in greatly improved sound quality, but also greatly more focused, more condensed, and rid of noodlings as pointless as they were endless. Editing the music allowed for the inclusion of a couple of bonus tracks from the same era which could not make it onto the first issue of "traces", and these bonus tracks alone should send everybody straight into Berlin school heaven.
Thanks to Edgar Froese, I am now always more than a bit leery when a musician chooses to remix a classic album under the auspices of "improving" it. However, Stephen Parsick’s Traces of the Past Redux is a solid reworking of the 1998 original.
"Close beneath the Surface" remains a strong collaboration between Stephen and frequent musical co-conspirator Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock a.k.a. Cosmic Hoffmann. The 10½-minute version here loses little from its 15-minute progenitor. The slower fadeout of the original is a bit smoother perhaps, but even seasoned listeners should not find this overly troublesome.
Similarly, though "Totem Poles" is a great homage to Schulze’s "Totem," cutting it from 25 minutes to 17 in no way undermines its musical integrity. And the upside is that the shortened tracks make room for three new pieces, all worthy additions.
"Hydra" is a pulsing bit of electronic bubbles and churning drones with classic retro bits such as tinkling Schulze-like sequencing and beautiful Mellotron flute.
"Ashram"’s influence is obvious, an upbeat guitar-laden rhythmic track with Manuel Göttsching’s musical stamp all over it.
"The Keeper of Time" is vintage retro, a dreamy atmospheric number that plays like a perfect hybrid of Cosmic Hoffmann and Redshift.
My favorite track remains "Quicksilver Sea," a beautifully understated Parsick-Hoffmann collaboration.
Great original, great redux.
2007. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
This CD from 2007 features 75 minutes of dreamy electronic music.
Joining synthesist Parsick on half of the tracks is Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock on guitars.
It begins with fanciful ambience punctuated by sedate diodes whose cybernetic mutterings gradually imbue the drifting soundscape with a cosmic presence. Things adopt a livelier disposition as astral guitar seeps into the mix. The electronics surge with puissance and the guitars slide from astral somnambulant into a celestial blaze. The music ascends, in power and weight, lifting the audience to airless altitudes with sweeps of heavenly sounds and pulsating riffs.
While versatile in detail, the electronics are deeply dedicated to the desire to mesmerize through slow-building harmonic waves. Gurgling passages approximate a resolute course through interstellar realms. Airy bridges lend a pastoral flair to the space music. These pensive movements dependably reach points in which the compositions (which are technically mostly improvised) achieve lush density which exhibit velocity and a sense of urgency.
There are even occasions of e-perc that inject pep to the transcendental flow.
Building from gaseous formations of relaxation to understated pinnacles of stratospheric vitality, Hoffmann-Hoock's guitars lend a strong appeal to the retro sound.
Although most of these recordings come from the mid-Nineties, their power and charm are undeniably modern and bewitching.
Matt Howarth / Soniccuriosity