Recorded in January 2001 at the Hemisphere Studio, Cuxhaven, Germany.|
- Red [7:52]
- Orange [7:40]
- Blue [8:42]
- White [29:51]
- Red (Reprise) [5:51]
- Black [7:44]
- Grey [5:21]
All titles composed, played and produced by Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel and Thorsten Reinhardt.
Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel - keyboards and programming
Thorsten Reinhardt - keyboards, programming, guitar
Petia Huschle - vocals
Looking back at my previous reviews of Hemisphere I was surprised by how many releases they have in their back catalogue. The main theme of the reviews seemed to be "brooding magnificence with an accessible edge". Again this description fits their latest album Now very well, with not a bad track to be found and all played with impressive expertise and richly adorned with the most classic of voice palettes. I would have been happy had this album merely lived up to their previous standards, but if anything Now possible improves on this even further.
The prime reason is probably track 4 White, by far the longest cut weighing in at a hefty 30 mins or so. The opening 20 minutes of this piece are magnificent, from their launchpad origins to the most wonderful and atmospheric drifting sections. I should pay them more homage but the final 10 minutes cannot be left without a mention any longer. REDSHIFT fans have got to check this out. It's the finest sequencer fest this side of Ether, the sort of section which has the replay button working overtime. The sequencing is ever shifting, melodic, and hits that groove like a moog modular unleashed. You have just got to hear it! All the tracks are themed on colours, and repeated listens certainly reaps huge rewards. Track 4 apart the rhythms largely lay down a careful, mid paced structure rather than rampant pyrotechnics. Influences are many, with trad style synth voicings aplenty rubbing shoulders with more ethnic offerings, and there's even some monkish shenanigans but again done expertly and it doesn't sound at all passť.
Any of these tracks could be someone's favourite, but right at this moment I'm listening to those magical 10 minutes again at the end of track 4 - it's fantastic, the icing on the cake of a powerful, thought provoking, album. They will surely adorn many personal "best of" compilations in years to come.
2001. GG / UK
Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel and Thoisten Reinhardt are the two members of Hemisphere.
On their album Now, the duo continues the pursuit of perfect balance between the emotional evocation bared by musical tonality and the abstract expressionism afforded by adventurous synth programming. The album does contain its share of sequence patterns, symphonic pads, electronic percussion, synth melodies, voice samples and guitar leads; but presented in cunning contexture with unsettling electronic timbres designed to relate or induce dark dreams. The album's sonic scenery dissolves rather than evolves between themes.
The scope of Hemisphere's sound design is vast and mysteriously gratifying as it continues on in the subconscious. Now crosses an ever shifting line that separates conventional spacemusic from the dark ambient.
2001. Chuck van Zyl / STAR'S END
Hemisphere are a duo of electronic musicians Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel and Thorsten Reinhardt.
Their latest CD is a seven-track album, each track named after a color (with "Red" having a reprise as well).
The duo plays a unique electronic music that spans the genre from sultry synth-groove (such as the opening track "Red") to the deeply ambient and experimental.
Hemisphere seem to excel at both ends.
"Blue" features an almost Floydian rock with sequencers and Froese-like guitar, reminiscent of 70s Tangerine Dream.
The almost 30 minute "White" takes up half the album at the center point of the CD and features the duo at their most spacious and ambient. Itís a wonderful drift with all kinds of strange background noises, developing a sequencer line similar to that of Thief or Exit-period Tangerine Dream.
About the only mark Iíd have against the album, personally, would be some of the drum machine tones as on "Red" or "Black", although their inclusion is only less than a fifth of the CD. In the morass of all the Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze clones out there, Hemisphere remain particularly distinctive and fresh.
They cover a number of styles with a sense of taste and vision and add to the genre of sequencer-oriented electronic music, rather than imitate.