1. Close to the Edge [22:04]
  2. Shadowland [16:04] MP3 soundclip of Shadowland [2:59]
  3. The Ancient Saga [32:55] MP3 soundclip of The ancient saga [2:18]
Recorded during March and April 1999 at Arc-Studio in Cologne, Germany.
Composed, arranged and played by Bernd Franz Moritz Braun. Bernd Franz Moritz Braun, who records under the shorter moniker Arcanum, brings us another very good sample of German electronics. He blends relaxing, drawn out synthesizers with pleasant arrangements and melody, creating the sort of mood that new age enthusiasts seek, but without sounding "new age."
The disc consists of three very long tracks, beginning with "Close to the Edge." Bearing no resemblance to the classic Yes track/album of the same name, this is a slowly evolving piece which evokes feelings of warmth and peace. Though the music changes slowly, the music does cover a lot of ground, becoming quite energetic as it goes along. The last six minutes or so strike me as a bit over the top, with one repeating passage in particular seeming a bit melodramatic. Fortunately, the music crests in this fashion only a few times, then levels off, leaving the end result still largely enjoyable. "Shadowland" is a very nice track that reminds me of a lesser-known emusic artist, Apeiron. There is a little more restraint here, and I love the crisp, unusual percussion toward the end as the energy once again intensifies.
Synth oboe strains open the 33-minute title track, begging immediate comparisons to latter-day Tangerine Dream, but it is much better than that. There are beautiful melodies sprinkled throughout the song, which is subdivided into six parts, though they flow quite seamlessly together. The melodies are made with harp, acoustic guitar, and harpsichord-like tones. Halfway through, drums come pounding in, lending a much more majestic tone. This carries through nearly to the end, then the oboes return to close out a very beautiful musical journey. Arcanum manages to create synthetic music with a depth of emotion that isn't always found in the genre.

2000. Phil Derby