Recorded at Analogueland Studio.|
- Byzantine Machine [6:18]
- Outside [6:45]
- Godspeed 2 [5:50]
- Sense of Time [11:13]
- Eternal Sea [12:11]
- 2600 A.D. [3:13]
- Sequential Meditation [11:45]
- Awakening [9:40]
Final mastering and enhancements by Steve Roach at the Timeroom
Composed and performed by Jeffrey Koepper
Steve Roach - xpander textures on track 2,6 and 7
Kelvin Russel - additional synthesizers on track 1
Track 3 is dedicated to the memory of Michael Garrison
If you long for the days of classic TD when rippling sequences literally melted into long, undulating symphonic tone poems, then Momentium is for you. Jeffrey’s debut disc Etherea was an ambient electronic masterpiece. He takes off from there on this album and there’s no looking back.
The dense layers of sound this time are accented by crisp sequences that will have your head pulsing in rhythm to the surging riffs. Then when you are about to fall over dizzy, the sound devolves once again into the most exotic cerebral tone colors you can imagine cooling you down.
The use of older "retro" synthesizers is enjoying a comeback in electronic music right now. Everyone wants to use moogs and minimoogs and to plug into the "warm" sounds of analogue equipment (or digital pseudo-analogue). Jeffrey Koepper was ahead of the curve on this movement, as evidenced by his excellent debut CD, Etherea.
Momentium, his sophomore effort, follows some of the same pathways that Etherea did, but it places more emphasis on rhythmic sequencer-type "Berlin school" music. Of course, like some other artists (e.g. fellow Americans Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla and Europeans such as Gert Emmens), Koepper is not aiming merely to copy the sounds of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, but to expound on the genre of music the two pioneers more or less founded. He does so with style, pizzazz and plenty of technical chops.
If you’re a fan of this type of EM, Momentium will hook you immediately, starting off with the high energy percolating Byzantine Machine which builds from a slow sedate opening to an uptempo rapid-fire sequence fest with multiple lines all racing towards the song's conclusion.
The music reminded me of Tangerine Dream from their soundtrack era of Thief, Risky Business and Miracle Mile.
The next song Outside, is the only real "ambient" selection on the album (unlike Etherea which featured a number of ambient and spacemusic drifters), but it’s a beauty, comprised of shadowy washes, strange background textures and spacy effects, eerie drones and tones, and an overall sensation of undulation.
On the third cut (Godpseed 2, which is dedicated to the late Michael Garrison), we’re right back into bouncy rhythmic EM territory, but this time the sound is bit more contemporary (to a degree) sounding somewhat like Todd Fletcher a.k.a. psychotropic blended with Jarre (but less melodic than the latter) and, of course, Garrison himself. The mood of this song is refreshingly optimistic (a rarity for this kind of music, and another nod to Garrison, whose music was frequently of a positive nature).
Of the remaining five tracks, only one is less than nine minutes long, that being the short 2600 A.D., an odd little number comprised of electronic bursts, weird SF/outer space noises, and little melody or musicality.
The other four selections offer variations of long-form Germanic or retro-future EM.
The first two of these (Sense of Time and Eternal Sea) open with synthesizer washes, textures, and chords before a sequence merges and infuses each song with its rhythmic aspect and tempo as well as some assorted solos scattered throughout each cut.
"Sense of Time" is higher in energy, while "Eternal Sea" is closer to midtempo and doesn't take as long to build up a head of steam.
Sequential Meditation pulses (at a midtempo pace) nicely from beginning to end of its near twelve-minute duration, as Koepper layers assorted synths on top of the bedrock sequence. However, it does get a little monotonous at times, at least I thought so.
The song segues seamlessly into the album closer, Awakening which slowly transforms itself, going from the anchoring rhythmic sequence of the previous cut to a more active and lively collection of sparkling synths, floating chords, buzz-sawing textures, and star-shower sequences twinkling throughout the soundfield.
While I would've preferred more of a balance between ambient/spacemusic tracks and the rhythmic/Berlin-esque ones, Momentium is still a winner, provided you enjoy a steady dose of this type of EM. The disc was mastered and "enhanced" by Steve Roach (who did the same for Etherea), so engineering and production is virtually flawless. Momentium is a worthy addition to the field of retro/contemporary EM and if you count yourself a fan of that genre, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
2006. Bill Binkelman
As strong as Koepper’s 2003 debut Etherea was, he raises the bar considerably on his sophomore release Momentium.
"Byzantine Machine" features wonderful sequencing and deep pulsing bass, a cross between Tangerine Dream during their early 80s heyday and the early sequencer-based works of Steve Roach like Empetus and Now/Traveler. Melody and movement are balanced harmoniously.
"Outside" is filled with far-away dreaminess and warmth. Deep space bleeps and blips are added, along with a softly cascading clicking pattern.
"Godspeed 2" moves along playfully with bubbly percussion and bright synths. Each piece develops just so, with perfect pacing and panache.
"Sense of Time" is another active piece, and sounds not unlike TD’s Thief soundtrack with its chugging rhythms and edgy guitar-like synths. Sequencing is again first rate, looping hypnotically around itself.
"Eternal Sea" is just as good if not a shade better, with a great pulsing bass line to drive things along. This is just fantastic classic Berlin school fare, very much like TD circa 1980-1984, but with a flair all its own, not sounding like any particular TD album or track from that period.
The last two tracks merge seamlessly together as one gorgeous 20-minute epic of mid-tempo mesmerizing loops. As if all this great music weren’t enough, gearheads will drool over the track-by-track listing on the back cover of all the equipment used.
Momentium is exceptional.
2006. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Eight pieces of pure synthesizer music performed on vintage equipment, rooted in the Berlin school aesthetic with an eye on the future. Momentium has a clean sound with emphasis on rippling sequencer patterns and evolving rhythmic arrangements. Variations in intensity, cycle elements, or melodic overlays lead the compositions onward, the interplay of layered sequences introducing a fascinating complexity at times. There are some ambient passages, such as the swirling 'Outside' where smooth pads and harmonious drones dominate, in other places pools of electronic mist and sonic turbulence boil and roll. In general the beats used on most tracks are somewhat underplayed, subtle structures playing second fiddle to rhythmic tone elements, maintaining a spacey elegance that ranges from warm themes into ashen, shadowy mystery.
A lush digipak that folds out into three panels - each bathed in an obscure diffused light. The simple front cover holds only the title and name, the rear a track list with gear used on each piece. Inside we have a portrait of the artist posed before a bank of vintage synths, another track list, credits, thanks and contact information.
Jeffrey Koepper is no newcomer to the business having been releasing material since 1985 in various groups and collaborations. This CD fulfills his aim to create a contemporary development employing vintage equipment. Those appreciating classic equipment will appreciate the use of "instruments by Oberheim, Arp, Sequential Circuits, Moog, PPG, Emu, Roland". Tangerine Dream fans will note familiar elements to this music, yet Steve Roach listeners will also find hints of modern ambient influence. Indeed Steve Roach is credited not only with mastering and 'enhancements', but he also contributed to the content of a number of pieces.
"Momentium" is the second release of Jeffrey Koepper, who’s beautiful release "Etherea" was quite a success a couple of years ago.
Koepper’s musical adagio was and still is "to create the music of tomorrow with the technology of yesterday", thereby referring to the bunch of vintage analogue instruments he applies for his music. As on the debut cd, the sounds on "Momentium" are lush, warm and organic, creating emotional evolving sound worlds which reach out to the listener in every track.
"Byzantine Machine" e.g is a great opener with lush vintage textures and sequencing, nicely continuing where "Etherea" left off.
Absolute highlights are found in the middle of the album by ways of "Sense of Time" (featuring tantalizing sequencing & fx’s) and the next track "Eternal Sea". Both clearly demonstrate Jeffrey is pulling the best out of his gear. The icing on the cake of this recording comes from no other than Steve Roach, who was in charge of the final mastering and enhancements. Listening to these 67 minutes of analogue heaven is nothing but pure delight!
Bert Strolenberg / SonicImmersion.org
This release from 2006 offers 67 minutes of engaging electronic music.
Synthesist Koepper is joined by Kelvin Russell (on additional synthesizers on one track) and Steve Roach (on Xpander textures on three tracks, plus final mastering and enhancements).
Rich textures and demonstrative electronics combine to achieve masterful tuneage. While background tones formulate an engaging ambience, lead electronics provide this music’s real allure. Commanding riffs are created and layered until a lush density is accomplished. That richness communicates an urgency that is gentle but captivating.
Deep notes and crisp timbres conspire to round out the music’s substance. The result is a fusion of airy and gutsy moods, tuneage that is simultaneously grounded and ascendant. This balance is expertly crafted to embody the best of both directions.
Keyboards flourish, littering the flowing music with nimble-fingered riffs that inject luscious attraction to the compositions, whether with gurgling pools or bouncy loops or gripping cosmic sequences.
E-perc is employed in some tracks to lend additional locomotion to the fertile tuneage. These rhythms are fancifully seasoned with auxiliary electronics which serve to cocoon the tempos in surging embellishments, transforming the beats into lush expressions of honeyed resonance.
These compositions are outstanding in their union of expansive power and introspective character. The melodies move from drifting sections to commanding passages, doing so effortlessly, sometimes combining both aspects to achieve a dazzling astral authority.
This sense of power remains undiminished even when Koepper turns his attention to dreamy passages, propagating atmospheric textures that throb with the promise of imminent escalation.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Working with museum-grade synthesizers and sequencers brings the realizations of Jeffrey Koepper all the closer to the electrical current at the source of all electronic music. His cache of late model gear operates at the mechanical level today's virtual modeling synthesizers attempt to recapture. Certainly Koepper's diagnostic familiarity with this equipment informs the music on Momentium.
An interesting balance between sensibility, technology and technique, this album presents eight pieces which range from fluttering thought tones, to echoing synth pulses, to cerebral powered beatbox. Influence is an invisible shadow cast on this work, as Koepper is ever reverential to both the artists and engineers who pioneered the genre he now navigates within. His endless fascination with the sequencer, a device meant to provide a steady run of predetermined notes, dominates this disc. The interlacing latticework of patterns becomes an animated force carrying reverb laden harmonic figures into the foreground. Koepper's subtle real-time adjustments to timbre and counterpoint provides this work with enough variation to keep it out of the realm of minimalism while referencing this genre's pulsing motorlike motion and incrementally expansive growth.
In his music, Koepper is seeking a sense of voyaging. Yet, as in all quality spacemusic endeavors, we do not leave the listening area.
Momentium is a stationary adventure meant for the contemplative audience.
2006. Chuck van Zyl / Star's End