- Transmission [0:59]
- Airwaves [3:59]
- Loenstrup [13:16]
- In the Desert [4:37]
- The Blue Café [8:16]
- Biodiver [8:28]
- Ronnenberg Dive [6:46]
- Mist of Ganymede [7:34]
- Blizz [18:13]
- Transmission End [1:36]
Recorded at the Gelber Raum (D), Nanovision Studio (DK) & Klangshřj Studio (DK).
All music composed and performed by Navigator between August 2002 – July 2003.
Kent Eskildsen - Keyboards, Percussion, Guitars, Voice & Flute
Tony Andersen - Keyboards & Percussion
Jens Peschke - Keyboards, Percussion & "Plants"
The music of Navigator is an international affair. The trio consists of the Danes Kent Eskildsen (keys, percussion, guitars, flute and voice) and Tony Andersen (keys and percussion) as well as the German Jens Pesche (keys and percussion). "Airwaves" is their third album and the second for the Groove Unlimited label. In comparison to "Northern Consequence" and "Oceanic Empire", Navigator has updated their sound a little bit and on "Airwaves" it all sounds some more melodically, symphonic and modern.
Navigator has the ability to produce nice and melodically tunes as well as thrilling sequencer pieces. A comparison with the more recent Tangerine Dream can be made. "Loenstrup" is the best example of sequencer style with some of the best sequences around. This is sequencer-heaven! "The Blue Café", with an ambience intro by their colleagues of RAMP, shows Kent on flute. "Biodiver" and "Ronnenberg Dive" are fine combinations between the two styles.
"Bliss", with its 18:13 minutes the longest track on the CD, is another great sequencer piece and quite varying.
Trios and electronic music: this almost always brings something special to life.
2003. Press Information
I just wanted to comment that I've been listening to Navigator's 'Airwaves' CD and wanted to say that I've enjoyed it quite nicely.
2003. Frank Arellano
This trio from Denmark and Germany provides a solid and enjoyable album of Berlin School sequences and other classic space electronica with a touch of prog-rock. An album dominated by rolling analogue sequencer patterns, Mellotrons and improvised-ish electric guitar.
With tracks like Blizz, Loenstrup, Biodiver, and Mist of Ganymede Navigator shows that they are among the best around in keeping the 70s Berlin School style alive. Sharp and crisp sequencers support semi-melodic themes and ambient soundscapes. A couple of tracks, Airwaves and In the Desert, are shorter and more pop-ish, and sound a bit undeveloped and are frantically running fast to reach the end before the track finishes. They have the right ingredients, but not the right structure for this kind of broadly designed music. The best tracks are the longer ones, which are allowed enough space and time to mutate organically in both structure and pace.
Two tracks are less in the strict Berlin School category; The Blue Café and Ronnenberg Dive. Here Navigator shows their true talent with music I have never heard from anyone else. Sequencers, melody hooks and sweeping pads are perfectly integrated and forms a symbiosis of form and content. Navigator here manages to built exceptional atmosphere and listener anticipation without resorting to cheap sequencer masturbation, which seems to satisfy many Tangerine Dream copycat listeners.
The biggest fault in this album is the lack of great melodic themes that you will remember when the CD finishes. Leads and solos are nice and sweet when you hear them, but the tunes aren't the kind that etches into your mind and leaves a lasting impression. You could argue that that is not the point with this CD, but great melodies have been attempted here, and they are an essential ingredient in the genre this album belongs to. This proves that making catchy sequencer patterns alone is not enough to make great electronic albums.
In terms of sound, Airwaves is completely retro and state-of-the-art; very clean and fresh sounding, with mostly an analogue sound palette being used, in line with the traditional Berlin School rules. Airwaves is quite possibly the best sounding retro album of 2003. Pablo Magne's glossy computer artwork is a bit out of place, since it breaks with the retro feel of the album, but the purple colors are nice.
All in all an essential CD for fans of heavily sequenced 70s space electronica. Personally I think two tracks could have been left out which would allow more time for other tracks to space out, and then spent time finding some great themes, at least one.
2003. Glenn Folkvord
A timeless musical voyage? Does this interest you? Follow the guides of Navigator and travel through time. Here is a solid album which revives to us, so much the glorious time of the heavy sequencers of Chris Franke, and which brings us back to the contemporary area of EM.
I like Navigator, their preceding cd, Oceanic Empire agreeably surprised me. Airwaves is also good, if not better.
That starts with Kent Eskildsen’s guitar on Airwaves. A track with beat, a little bit like Ashra’s last works. Loenstrup is my preferred title. It begins with a light keyboard play which becomes very intense, even furious, with a great sequencer feast. Heavy it’s very stirring.. An awesome title. It’s purely in TD’s style of Statosfear’s area. Brilliant.
In the Desert is another short track with TD’s sound of the eighties. We just can't not love it …It’s full of life and it breaks the hut!
The Blue Café has a rather sensual groovy rhythm. Releasing and very intense, the percussions give a very deep atmosphere.
Biodiver follows on Underwater Sunlight’s resemblance, from TD, including an excellent guitar work.
Ronnenberg Dive is a title with a strange particular structure. The notes hammer the space. A little as if we were launch in an intergalactic whole. A title which has depth and which requires listening.
Mist of Ganymede is also very good. An excellent play of synths, supported by sequencers, which again are very heavy. A title without precise rhythm, like Ronnenberg Dive.
Blizz is a long track which starts quietly with a little languorous beat that brings us in a very intense swirl of sequencers. An excellent composition, which finishes, as it begins, in quietude with pretty agreements of keyboards, guitars, and very discrete percussions.
Airwaves is excellent cd of EM. It shows us the majestic side of this art. The compositions are very well structured. Alive and daring, it’s extremely captivating. A very beautiful work.
2003. Sylvain Lupari
The band Navigator have achieved, with "Airwaves", an album that will surely become a necessary reference point within their artistic trajectory, and also perhaps within the general panorama of electronic musical avantgarde related to Space Music.
Starting from an approach structured around Space Sequencer Music,
many innovative ideas follow one another in numerous passages, with some breaks in areas nearer to conventional Synth-Pop.
Melodies of a great emotional strength and rhythmic architectures of a remarkable power are the main ingredients in most of the themes.
The track called "Blizz" contains, in my opinion, some of the most impressive passages in the album.
2004. Jorge Munnshe
This multi-national band are quietly making a name for themselves as an increasingly important band in the modern EM scene.
The secret of their success is pretty simple in that rather than stick to the tried & tested 'set up a bass sequence & lay some chords over it' formula they are aiming for a sound that, while pushing the Teutonic influences very much to the fore, does sound more structured with the closing "Blizz" being the most obvious example of this. It doesn't need to be anything fancy to make all the difference, either as the simple but effective piano line sits atop the sequences which are cut in half by a powerful mid-section that is more than enough to tempt you back for further listens.
This is also true on the up-tempo "Airwaves" which shows off the band's melodic skills a treat & also serves as a reminder that Kent Eskildsen is a most talented guitarist, even if he does fall into the trap of imitating Edgar Froese a little too closely during the more Teutonic "Biodiver" although, even here, the imposing bass motifs are sign that they are putting something of themselves into their music & the main sequential section is excellent, showing the band at their very best.
Throughout this album the band's TD influences are widespread & obvious with "In The Desert" being reminiscent of some of the Tangs' output during the 80s (could the title be a reference to "Flashpoint", I wonder?) while the melodics & chords that mark the sequencer-based "Loenstrup" have got TD written all over them but it is a most enjoyable surging piece that you won't soon forget so this is hardly a problem here. Likewise, the slower "The Blue Cafe'' draws you in with it's atmospheric chords & varied rhythmic base.
Not many Teutonic bands are able to produce such instantly memorable music & the fact that Navigator are doing so is a testament to their developing skills & their growing confidence. Good work, lads!
2004. Carl Jenkinson
Navigator is an unapologetic "Berlin School" band (the Berlin school was so called because artists associated with the electronic instrumental style that developed out of the use of sequencers beginning in the mid -1970s generally operated out of Berlin) that appears to be particularly fond of Tangerine Dream, circa 1975-82.
Anyone who enjoys that era would like this recording. The band makes the intent clear with a quote on the liner notes from Virginia Woolf, to the effect that it would be nice to "plug in" and listen directly to the unvarnished past rather than rely on fragile memory.
The CD opens with a short sample called "Transmission", intended to signify a tuning in to this elusive past.
The first cut, "Airwaves" is the slightest on the cd with a very simple structure, some Froese-sounding guitar sustain and a feel like 70s disco, twice removed.
However the band quickly reveal where their strengths lie with the next cut, "Loenstrup", a sequencer "tour-de-force". Here is everything a Berlin School fan would enjoy, including throbbing bass sequences, driving and propulsive interlocking sequenced melodies and sequences that intertwine and shift rhythmically. The melodic and harmonic content of these sequences come a little too close to Tangerine Dream’s archetypal "Richocet" for comfort, but overall this is an enjoyable and skillfully performed piece. The piece concludes with a nice atmospheric ambient moment that I wish had continued longer.
"In the Desert", the next cut, opens with a driving sequence sounding more like the Tangerine Dream of the early 80s. The band combines this sound with a nice modern groove underneath and the changes in key and tone color come often enough to sustain interest.
"Blue Café" shows the group exploring more modern rhythms as the syncopated bass sequence interlocks with a nice downtempo groove.
"Biodiver" sonically explores submersion with a brief whale song as the signal that the group is exploring the depths. The sequences that emerge are interesting and not readily identifiable with any "period" of any Berlin School band. I found the piece quite enjoyable because it gave a real sonic portrait of diving under the ocean.
"Ronnenberg Dive" continues the theme with some nice "Mellotron choir" sounds that harken back to Klaus Schulze and more interesting synth sounds that produce melodies with bite.
"Mist of Ganyemede" introduces a (rather weak or ethereal) vocoded sound and contains another "classic Berlin" sequence. I found all of these pieces to be mostly enjoyable with a few reservations having to do with what appeared to be direct quotes from this or that Tangerine Dream piece.
However the longest cut on the CD, "Blizz" is a tour de force in every way, with interesting and varied synth sounds, tending to the bright side, and well constructed and modulated sequences that appear to morph and stutter rapidly into new and more interesting ideas as the piece progresses. The piece builds to a wonderful climax where the sequences tinkle with rare, delicate and soft expression, while retaining a punctuated rhythmic edge.
Here, I felt I was listening to Navigator build something new on the legacy of the Berlin style.
The CD closes with a short sample telling us the "Transmission" has ended.
Despite the slight reservations mentioned, I recommend this CD to all Berlin School enthusiasts or to anyone who is looking for enjoyable and listenable electronic music.
2004. Mark Morton / Wind & Wire
Airwaves is a set of heavy Berlin school electronica from Navigator, a trio of synth wizards. Kent Eskildsen, Tony Andersen and Jens Peschke comprise the ensemble. (Kent also contributes on vocals, flutes and guitars.) This is hot sequencing – almost to the point of being retro. Kent, Tony and Jens layer and loop their synths to get a rich vibrant sound. The riffs are melodic and atmospheric.
This is a great CD!
2004. Jim Brenholts
This CD from 2003 offers 73 minutes of sequencer-driven electronic music of the highest order.
Navigator is: Kent Eskildsen, Tony Anderson, and Jens Peschke. The German band Ramp contribute an ambient intro to one track.
Besides a bevy of enticing sequencers, expect hordes of dynamic keyboards and ethereal synthesizers, along with energized E-perc and space guitar. Atmospheric textures become crowded with gregarious keyboards establishing uplifting chords and sweeping sonic panoramas. Electronic effects abound, oozing through the mix like glistening audible honey.
At times, languid atmospherics fill the airwaves, gradually swelling with more demonstrable elements until the sky is brimming with hyperactive liveliness. Tasty sequencers twist sounds into unconventional-but-glorious sonic miracles, which often function as non-impact rhythms, coaxing the melodies to even greater velocity. A chugging dedication overwhelms this music, urging everything forward with significant purpose toward a shimmering horizon of bliss.
The guitar is superb, crisp and astral with its impassioned outcries. The riffs scrape the ceiling of heaven, raining sparkling rapture on the eager audience. These outbursts of stellar brilliance leave no cellular molecule untouched, vibrating fluids and bones alike with their assertive magnificance.
"Blizz", an 18 minute epic, embodies every one of these spectacular aspects, delivering a blazing euphony that will delight even the most jaded audiophile.
2004. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity