- Timeshift [8:34]
- The Gate Of Bihare [6:03]
- Sehr Mystisch [5:48]
- Indian Bliss [11:40]
- Space Pioneers [6:41]
- Floating In Time [5:31]
- Nebelwald [7:48]
- Further Beyond The Galaxy [9:27]
- Carina Cygnus [7:24]
Vintage synths, mellotron, space guitar
Chuck van Zyl / STAR’S END –
Cosmic Hoffmann thinks with his hands. We can hear this on Electric Trick (69’19), an album of nine spacey works that each journey out of a distinctly unique region of the artist’s mind. Using his guitar and effects Hoffmann cranks out prog-rock inspired melodies as equally well as he plays in the more dulcet and tranquil range of his instrument.
On several tracks Hoffmann invites fellow German spacemusic-wizard Stephen Parsick to contribute electronics and sequencer tone patterns. Generating a different fascinating pulse for each piece, Parsick‘s infinitely repeating runs of electronic blips and beats provide a pumping machine-like foundation in one place, loping beatbox rhythms in another and synchronized multi-layered arpeggios elsewhere. Co-existing with all this is Hoffmann‘s guitar. Leads snaking over and under the pattern or playing within it, his guitar’s output wails in free psychedelia as perfectly as it does in measured precision playing. Hoffmann also brings to Electric Trick his ample talents as a Mellotronist, coaxing an amazing range of sounds and moods from this classic instrument. Somehow his performance always sounds like it is coming from the heavens. Above the clouds an ethereal choir sings on high, a beautiful flute tone plays somberly through deep reverberation and dreamy strings conjure up a most heartfelt elegiac atmosphere.
Although Cosmic Hoffmann may have the cosmos flowing through his mind, his heart is always expressing itself in his music.
2009. Chuck van Zyl / STAR’S END
Dee Al / GB –
This is the latest album by Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. He also records as Mind Over Matter but under that name, certainly recently, he has been delving into more ambient realms.
Recordings under the Cosmic Hoffmann name tend to bridge the gap between exciting up tempo numbers and more, er well, Cosmic music!
As is often the case he is joined here on five tracks by Stephen Parsick from Ramp.
Gentle guitar licks float above tranquil electronic tones forming a very peaceful start to ‘Timeshift’. It doesn’t stay like that for long though as ball breaking sequences and wonderful guitar riffs take over. These subside and are replaced by more conventional, rather Berlin School, sequences accompanied by splashing percussive effects and an Eastern Influenced lead line. The guitar can still be heard low in the mix from time to time but it is the leads and superb sequence along with excellent Mellotron that are now doing the business. With a couple of minutes to go we return to a similar feel to how we opened. This track was first aired at Jodrell Bank.
‘The Gate of Bihar’ begins in rather dark ominous fashion as vast thick pads rise and fall. All rather dramatic stuff. The Mellotron is an instrument that Klaus loves and is quite famous for and it is used wonderfully here turning the mood from foreboding to one of melancholy longing with something of an ethereal edge. Simply beautiful.
Sequences return once again for ‘Sehr Mystisch’, falling into place alongside a shuffling rhythm, lovely solar winds and other cosmic effects. It reminded me a little of early Tim Blake. It’s another absolutely superb track.
The Blake like sequencer comparison is also evident on the next track ‘Indian’ Bliss’ as it wouldn’t have been out of place on ‘Crystal Machine’. Lovely deep analogue pulsations rumble forward over samples of a busy Indian street. The sequence rises and falls morphing as it goes and the backing changes gradually from the city to the country. By the sixth minute all has descended to a swirling atmospheric section with little guitar licks and it is from this point that we enter a more sedate middle section of the album.
‘Space Pioneers’ begins with some pre launch commentary of a real or imagined first manned launch. We then get the blast off itself accompanied by engine sounds and whooshing effects before a space flight section represented by a whole host of swirling psychedelic rhythms and effects including more mellotron.
‘Floating in Time’ is so peaceful. Ideal for soaking up a few rays whilst floating on some gentle lake.
‘Nebelwald’ is also in atmospheric realms but this time the mood is very different as little touches of sound create quite an eerie feel.
Delicately played electric sitar over soft drones give ‘Further Beyond The Galaxy’ an appropriately cosmic feel. The sitar (to these ears) sounds as if it is replaced by restrained electric guitar. It is all rather moody. Then in the second minute the album explodes again as excellent seventies style sequences surge forward, the guitar bouncing superbly over the top. The pulsations become even more intense, building up to wonderful manic peak before the layers of sequences are stripped back to just one around which weaves an Eastern influenced lead. What an absolutely fantastic track this is!
We finish in completely spaced out fashion with ‘Carina Cygnus’. It’s a track that consists of lovely tranquil cosmic pads which will take your mind to the furthest reaches of our galaxy.
Yet another excellent album from Cosmic Hoffmann.
2005. Dee Al / GB
Perry Moree / The Netherlands –
Klaus Hoffmann-Hoocks own Heart and Mind label has released five albums in the period 1999-2004: two under Klaus own name (Heartbeat and Psychedelic Breakfast), one as Mind over Matter (the gorgeous On the Wings of the Wind) and two as his incarnation of Cosmic Hoffmann.
The last two, Beyond the Galaxy (1999) and Shiva Connection (2000) were amazing samples of true electronic music, which has its roots in the Berliner Schule of the 1970s. In an age where electronic music has become marginalised, the Cosmic Hoffmann albums were very welcome. This third cd, another collaboration with the invaluable Stephen Parsick on vintage synthesizers, again hits the roof.
The masterpiece of the album is definitely The Gate of Bihar, with its threatening intro and its full Mellotrons. It was recorded in Holland at the E-Live Festival in September 2000, just as Further Beyond the Galaxy, which sounds as good as any of the classical Berliner Schule tracks. Just as on the previous Cosmic Hoffmann albums, Klaus has searched his music archives and has released two tracks he recorded in 1978: the quiet and short Sehr Mystisch and Floating in Time.
The impressive Carina Cygnus is a valuable addition for Cosmic Hoffmann collectors, as it was recorded in March 1998 during the same spectacular concert in Lnen, Germany, where three of the tracks on the Beyond the Galaxy album were performed.
The 1999 live encore Space Pioneers includes Dutchman Ron Boots on Roland synthesizer.
The quiet track Nebelwald has reminiscences of Klaus Mind over Matter work. 2001 was an important year for Cosmic Hoffmann, as in July they made their debut performance on English soil.
The track Timeshift was recorded during this gig at the Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory in Knutford. Finally, in 2003 Klaus, whilst riding on a bike along the nightly streets of Varanasi at the Indian River Ganges, composed his Indian Bliss.
All in all this new cd is yet another great album by Cosmic Hoffmann. It completes his first trilogy of classic electronic music albums and one can only yearn for more.
2006. Perry Moree / The Netherlands
Sylvain Lupari / Canada –
Electric Trick is the fourth opus of Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock, the man behind Mind Over Matter, an opus that combines heavy rhythms on furious sequencers with hypnotic loops, with quieter and more floating titles.
Timeshift begins with a spacey intro supplied with floating guitar chords. The six-cords of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock is plaintive and intermingles with the modest breaths of a discrete synthesizer. A heavy and powerful sequencer seizes the furiously whirling rhythm on a spiral guitar that crumbles the atmosphere with looping chords, crossing lines of furious and fragile synths. A beautiful guitar/synth duet, animated by a sequencer which resounds heavily on a rhythmic bass and one synth with enveloping Mellotron layers that end in the atmospheric meanders which recall the muddy guitar of Pink Floyd during its psychedelic area, a furious and intense opening.
The Gate of Bihar shows the abilities of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock on Mellotron. A moulding and gliding title in a dark and gloomy atmosphere, recalling sublimates time of Tangerine Dream with Phaedra.
Suave percussions and a loopy sequencer gimlet first keys of Sehr mystisch. A heavy Mellotron blows on this hypnotic tempo which taps on dark multi sounds scratches with a mix of heavy and slow rhythm.
On a faster tempo Indian Bliss continues on a same sequenced model in the form of loop. The rhythm is dark and punctuated intermittent chords of an ethereal and hesitant guitar, which fuses light complaints throughout the first half. In the second half Indian Bliss takes a more atmospheric turn where Klaus guitar furrows the atmosphere with an intense Mellotron.
Space Pioneers begins with vocal samples, recalling the countdown of a space shuttle. And as its launching, the sound effects mix with the heavy and circular rhythm on loudness and powerful synths which throw strident layers. Static, the movement is suspended in gravity and surrounded by a deep sound swirl into which a Moog, the mighty Mellotron and guitars infuse strident striations that intermingle in a cacophony that takes a harmonious form, more and more – a heavy psychedelic-cosmic title.
Our ears need the calm and relaxing Floating in Time to recover. Heavenly powerful, the Mellotron wraps a felted tempo in a lunar atmosphere where superb synthetic scratches decorate an astral blackness.
After the very atmospheric Nebelwald, Further Beyond The Galaxy enchants with an electric sitar, which rocks a subtle drone that is metamorphosed in cosmic breath. The layers of guitar float in a solidified firmament, which becomes animated with a serpentine sequencer. Consequently, the rhythm becomes animated and embraces a psychedelic-cosmic phase with a nervous guitar, which fuses of superb solos, accompanied by an enveloping synth on a more and more agitated beat – a beautiful title on Electric Trick, which finishes in the arms of Morphine with the subliminal Carina Cygnus, again a soft title, lead by an enchanting Mellotron which recalls us that beauty can also be heard.
Whatever with Mind Over Matter or Cosmic Hoffmann, Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock unceasingly amazes with his unique sound made from deep and powerful Mellotrons, sprinkled by a guitar with sharp and strident chords – a distinct mixture, from the opposite of sonorities, which plunges the listener in a multi sounding psychedelic-cosmic world.
Though difficult to tame in one listening Electric Trick is an imposing work which, from listening to listening, will charm you. Like me, you will succumb immediately for titles like Timeshift, The Gate of Bihar, Space Pioneers and Further Beyond The Galaxy, which is already not bad for a first listening. Thereafter, you will fall for Sehr mystisch, Indian Bliss and so on until you finally understand that being bewitched by Klaus Hoffmann-Hoocks music is simply inevitable.
2006. Sylvain Lupari / Canada
Phil Derby / Electroambient Space USA –
Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock stays quite busy under his various recording names but it has been, unbelievably, five years since his last Cosmic Hoffmann release, Shiva Connection. Thankfully, the void has been ably filled by Electric Trick, another great blend of future and past, of cosmic spacescapes and psychedelic rhythmic pieces.
From trippy Indian Bliss” to rocking “Timeshift” to dreamy “Sehr Mystisch”