All titles are written, composed, performed and recorded at Mission Control Center by:|
- Space [14:49]
- Speech [12:24]
- Speed [19:09]
- Questions [7:33]
HARALD GROSSKOPF (drums, percussion)
STEVE BALTES (keyboards, computer)
Originally released as limited edition for a live performance of MISCHA KUBALL at "Tower Of Power" art performance, Hannover 1998.
Named after a modern art show in 1998, Tower of Power was previously only available to attendees of the show as part of the events catalogue. Thankfully the general EM-buying public can now hear this very good music by Steve Baltes and Harald Grosskopf.
Four lengthy sonic excursions are allowed room to grow, starting with the rhythmic gyrations of "Space". Modern and edgy, it’s a little hard to describe, straddling the borders of trance, techno, Berlin school, and prog rock, not necessarily in that order. Mainly, it’s about beats, but there are times that the synthesizers are permitted center stage to float about. I can think of nothing to compare it to really, and I love it. Great energy, great sounds, great music.
"Speech" starts with rapid-fire clipped vocal samples, literally going "dop-dop-di-da-dop," or something along those lines. This phrase becomes a mantra, melding with the rest of the percussion. Again the sound is much more forward than retro, and the rhythms are practically the lead instrument. Amusingly, "Speed" moves along at a leisurely pace, at first quite formless but Baltes and Grosskopf can never leave the beats behind for long, and they pound forcefully along, occasionally dropping back to allow the electronics to play and stretch a bit.
sounds very much like "Crazy Snake" from Four Times Three with Baltes, Grosskopf, and Heilhecker, without the screeching lead synth line, thankfully.
Again the rhythm is king, and it carries through to the end.
2005. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
This release from 2004 offers 54 minutes of intriguing modern electronic music.
N-Tribe is: Harold Grosskopf and Steve Baltes.
A passage of remote-sounding percussion ushers the listener into the first track, a realm of blooping electronics and drifting atmospherics that gradually leads to a panorama of wobbling tempos pulsating in an astral field of mounting intensity. As the rhythms grow more defined and begin to display stability, the harmonics adopt a more ghostly demeanor, establishing an ethereal flow that compliments the sturdily languid beats with distinct rave sentiments.
With the next track, the style mutates into more trippy territory. Entitled "Speech", this composition utilizes vocal effects to great effect. The mouthings are subjected to clever treatments, fleshing out the track’s basic percussion into a lavish tapestry of counterpointing rhythms. Soft electronics float like watchful specters amid this nest of undulating beats, monitoring the progression and periodically swelling to provide more substantial melodies.
The third track (the longest of the four at 19 minutes) explores a more abstract structure, delving into almost industrial terrain with distantly grinding machines in solid conjunction with a bubbling pit of molten consistency. A mood of ominous importance is generated by these dark atmospherics as impacts are elongated into metallic growls. Hesitant electronic effects swirl, rise and retreat into the nebulous mists. After a stretch of tension-laden genesis, distinct beats emerge, transforming the roiling thunderheads into a morass of even more dramatic character.
For the CD’s final track, the music takes on a more familiar style, with rapidly ricocheting rhythms and cosmic electronics that coalesce to form peppier melodies. The music chugs along, skirting the dividing line between techno and trance with inventive abandon.
This release exemplifies a merger of the past and present, with Grosskopf’s maven percussion fusing with Baltes’ vivacious electronics to produce a satisfying dose of EM that will appeal to aficionados of the old school as well as fans of the new school.
2005. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
N-Tribe is Harald Grosskopf, the legendary percussionist, and Steve Baltes, a world class electronician. They originally developed Tower of Power in 1998 to accompany an art event by Mischa Kuball. He transformed a brewery tower into a menagerie of light and sound. Harald and Steve based the music on the sounds generated by the fermentation process within the tower. Spectators moved freely within the tower and became part of the exhibition.
This is a great CD! Groove Unlimited remastered it and re-issued it in 2004. It will immediately take its place in the top 10 CD’s of 1998. (I have a policy of placing re-issues in the year of their original recording.) Steve and Harald have blended heavy Berlin school sequences with ambient atmospheres, experimental sounds and sci-fi textures. There are NO weaknesses and several highlights, most of them on "Speed," the third track on the disc. That composition, 19 minutes of ambient bliss, is an outstanding drone surrounded by vast atmospheres.
Herald’s percussion in the second half augments the ambience and sends it over the edge!
Groove is one of the finest e-music labels in the world. This CD is one of its best!
L'evoluzione del kraut rock. Ma siamo sicuri che la techno music proposta oggi da Grosskopf e Baltes sia davvero così lontana dal sound degli Ash Ra Tempel? Certo oggi ci sono i beats elettronici, le pulsazioni avveniristiche, le invasioni di soundscapes, però quell'ispirazione settantiana non è andata perduta, anzi.
"Tower of power" - come ogni lavoro della coppia tedesca - riprende in mano le redini di un percorso avviato tanti anni fa dall'ex batterista degli Ash Ra.
N-Tribe è la sigla dietro la quale Harald Grosskopf (batteria e percussioni) e Steve Baltes (tastiere e computer) si nascosero nel 1998. A quel tempo l'artista Mischa Kuball diede alla luce una delle sue nuove visioni.
Il suo "light-show" quella volta si espresse con luci artificiali che trasformarono un vecchio birrificio industriale in disuso. Se anni prima da quella vecchia torre fluiva birra in quantità, Kuball rese la nuova "tower of power" un edificio luminoso, il cui scheletro era disegnato con migliaia di luci artificiali. Degno corollario - anzi, parte essenziale del progetto - fu l'apporto musicale di N-Tribe: non mera colonna sonora dell'evento ma ritmo portante, tempo musicale in simbiosi con lo show luminoso, come accadeva nella Swingin' London che vedeva i primi Pink Floyd lavorare su rudimentali light-show.
Il cd è stato pubblicato otto anni dopo dall'iper attiva Groove: quattro lunghe, sterminate, dilatate tracce, che esprimono un fluire nervoso, ficcante, incisivo, incalzante. D'altronde il concept sonoro si fondava su una corrispondenza con il suono della fermentazione dell'orzo, del luppolo e del malto: vera sinestesia, in cui le onde luminose pulsavano al battere dei poderosi beats del duo, innervando la torre e creando uno spettacolo di rara e irripetibile suggestione.
Il dischetto recupera solo parte di quell'opera d'arte, consegnando solo l'aspetto musicale. Ma è cambiata la kosmiche muzik? Non molto: i brani del duo risentono ancora delle stratificazioni sonore ma anche degli influssi minimalisti, tuttavia sono le tecniche e l'approccio a essere mutati.
All'orecchio profano questa potrebbe sembrare banale techno/house (ad esempio l'ossessivo loop di "Speech"), eppure nel suo fascino quasi morboso e nelle sue suggestioni pittoriche conserva ancora intatto l'incanto delle opere teutoniche degli anni '70.
Donato Zoppo / MovimentiPROG
Harald Grosskopf and Steve Baltes know each other well enough to guarantee a total understanding that generates such convincing productions as "Tower of Power".
Their music, near to Trance and Psychedelic Rock, has the cosmic air of the Space Ambient Music. Throughout the four pieces we will have a chance to attend all kinds of passages, from those fragments that invite us to dance to those others that are far more experimental and whose sonic architectures transpire an originality that cannot be denied.
2005. Alejandro Hinojosa
In the beginning of 1998, Harald Grosskopf was asked by his friend, the visual artist Mischa Kuball, to produce music for one of his events called "Tower Of Power".
A CD of the project was released, but it was a limited edition and a part of the events catalogue. Now, Groove Unlimited presents a worldwide release of the CD for the first time.
On "Tower Of Power" Grosskopf collaborates with Steve Baltes, his colleague from Ashra, under the name N-Tribe. There are four tracks on the CD.
The album opens with "Space" that, indeed, contains space sounds, after which excellently recorded experimental sounds and modern rhythms take over. This music is not really my cup of tea because, for my part, it is too experimental and rhythmic, but it is also very visual so applicable for the project event.
In "Speech", voices of all kinds have a central place.
"Speed" is a long piece that contains moments of industrialization, ambiences, and soft rhythms.
The most rhythmic track on the album is "Questions".
"Tower of Power" does not contain "ordinary" electronic music (if this exists at all!). You must sit down for it. But then again, the rhythmic content of the music can sometimes invite one to dance.
2004. Paul Rijkens / SonicImmersion.org
This is Harald Grosskopf & Steve Baltes at their most experimental & uncompromising. None of the upbeat, bouncy techno of "Vier Mal Drei" here, here we have four tracks (with a total duration of 50-odd minutes) of abstract ambience & offbeat soundscapes where the rhythmic effects are nothing more than additional ingredients to be added to the dark sound fabric & what few sequential touches there are being little more than trifles.
There are some electronica-like touches to "Speech" while the 7-minute closer "Questions" does have a slight suggestion of some funk but, in both cases, these are easily subsumed by the experimental nature of the album while the 19-minute "Speed" only gains in weirdness as it progresses, never letting up for a second.
So once again Grosskopf springs a surprise on the unsuspecting EM fan with a challenging album that is definitely not recommended to lovers of melodic or Teutonic synth musics.