Thomas Fanger: synthesizers, samplers, treated guitar, sequencer and drum programming
track 1: Luna B.: voice
track 3: Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock (MIND OVER MATTER, www.mindala.de): spaceguitar, electric sitar, memotron (the ultimate digital mellotron, www.manikin-electronic.com)
, asian atmospheres
track 7: Michael Potrafke: guitar
all tracks composed by Thomas Fanger,
except track 3: composed by Thomas Fanger and Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock
Ich habe wirklich keine Ahnung, warum ich mir diese super CD nicht schon vorher zugelegt habe . Eine herrliche Mischung von Chill Out und Berliner Schule. Astreiner Klang, tolle, lockere Atmosphäre ..... diese Musik lässt sich sehr angenehm hören. Mein Lieblingsstück : -Jungle Bar- , bei dem auch Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock mitgewirkt hat :-)
Absolute Kaufempfehlung !
Uwe Saße, www.sequenzerwelten.de
Sometimes, I receive a cd that touches me immediately and doesn't let me loose again. This is such a cd. Fanger comes from the "school" of Mario Schönwälder and that leads to high quality electronic music, most of the time. Fanger has also released music together with Schönwälder. This is an album that can be filed under "retro/Berlin School", but it does not follow the known paths. A hint: 1970s Tangerine Dream meets 1970s Ashra. "Vanilla Crush" opens the cd rather traditionally with a "Phaedra" like sequence over which a diversity of sounds is laid, like Mellotron samples, digital synth sounds and electric guitar. Absolutely not original, but certainly it is great.
In "Twinkling Sun" the atmosphere moves to that of Ashra with calm sequences, simple but fitting drum sounds and guitar. Also in "Pure Dreams" and "Aquanaut" this is the case. In "Jungle Bar" the spacey guitar sound of "Cosmic" Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock can be heard. Here, the influence of Ashra clearly is present (as well as Manuel Goettsching solo). "The Lost Track", with rock rhythms, has traces of the early music of Biosphere. "Velvet Beach" comes with a brilliant sequence.
After the quiet track with the fitting title "Calm", "The Land Of Milk And Honey" is one of the best retro pieces I have ever heard. This sort of sequencer dominated music seems so simple, but you must come with it. For me, this is one of the top electronic albums of the year.
The brand new Thomas Fanger solo album is a virtual kaleidoscope of electronic rhythms and tone colors. Tracking in at 77:14 the several long, extended tracks segue beautifully with medium length pieces to form a magic carpet ride of brilliant pulsating melodies.
Thomas Fanger brings his exquisite sensibility to bear on Parlez-vous Electronique? (77'23"), his first solo release. The contrasting tonalities and fascinating interplay of sequencer patterns prove a compelling foundation for his melodically pure lead lines and harmonic motifs. The works are enlivened by mellotron themes, warm pads and shimmering cosmic effects as intertwining patterns of synth tones race with each other across a galactic ocean of emptiness. The complex and detailed electronic rhythms build and then unravel as a unique space surrounds the listener. This album resembles the classics as Fanger summons the spirit of electronic invention to realize nine tracks drawn from the influential foundation of German spacemusic. Working to his strengths, on Parlez-vous Electronique? Fanger does not merely re-create, but rather re-imagines the originals, and his compositions gain their power through a fascinating combination of the old with the new.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END
What an amazing CD this is. The opening and closing tracks should be loved by Redshift and Arc fans whilst the other tracks are right out of Ashra / Gottsching territory. There are also similarities with 'Analog Overdose' Volumes 1 and 3. In other words we are deep in Berlin School territory throughout. 'Vanilla Crush' begins with soft celestial pads. It only takes a couple of minutes however before the first superb sequence strikes up. Images of Ian and Mark at Hampshire Jam Three behind their pile of analogue gear came unbidden to my mind. I would love to see Thomas live. I bet he would be great! Anyway, back to reality. The backing swirls this way and that, lovely shimmers bursting to the surface like lava erupting from a volcano. The inevitable mellotron adds that essential contrasting softness. Subtle leadlines that would have been equally at home on 'Phaedra', 'Rubycon' or 'Ricochet' weave their wonderful spell. 'Twinkling Sun' is all about mesmerizing patterns of pulsations with some wonderful virtual guitar stabs. It rather reminded me of 'Blackouts'.
'Jungle Bar' is collaboration with Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann-Hoock. It starts with twittery rainforest type effects. Through these gentle guitar licks echo, heralding a nice deep bass sequence. Guitar loops start to form creating a rather 'E2-E4' feeling of trance. Additional little guitar touches hang above it all like a heat haze. In the fifth minute there is some sampled French text which I didn't really think fitted with the music but others might disagree. 'The Lost Track' starts with a rather shimmering metallic feel. A bass line is added then some excellent drum programming. It all goes together to whip up an exciting groove. Rather appropriately the sound of waves lapping on the shore get 'Velvet Beach' underway. The mood soon changes however as guitar flourishes and a stonking bass sequence strike up. Another sequence, then a third fall into formation with the first. Little melodic licks and sighing pads hit the spot perfectly. Yet another rather tuneful sequence comes in mutating wonderfully as we go. What a fantastic blissed out track this is. 'Pure Dreams' is a jaunty little number full of tinkling melodies, lush pads and cool / lazy syncopations. Great fun. Rapid sequences launch us straight into 'Aquanaut'. The excitement builds still further with the introduction of rhythm and some wonderful cosmic guitar playing courtesy of Michael Potrafke. This time things are more like a cross between 'Blackouts' and 'New Age of Earth'.
'Calm' only lasts just over a minute and is something of a dreamy bridging piece which takes us to 'The Land of Milk and Honey'. A flute can be heard above more rainforest / bird samples. It's all very peaceful. A tinkling sequence starts up. It begins to mutate as the mellotron makes an entrance, the pulsations gaining added oomph all the time and in no time at all we are back in Arc territory. The power keeps building to heavenly proportions then a laser sharp lead blasts over the top. Whether your Utopia is Milk and Honey or Belgian Beer and Kebabs you will find it here! If Berlin School and the albums I have quoted here for comparison are your thing then buy without hesitation.
(Dave Law/ Synth Music Direct)
Thomas Fanger is Mario Schönwälder's body for the Analog Overdose projects, therefore the last Analogue Overdose 0.9, is reviewed on GOD. Musician who likes rhythms, he has also worked with Siebert and Mind Flux. Parlez-Vous Électronique? is his first solo album. An album reflecting his image, more rhythmic than ambient in a dense and rich musical fauna. Him which never leaves anything randomly.
A sinuous and vaporous synth starts the Vanilla Crush first measure. Superb a fluty mellotron floats in an ambient universe, reminding me of the classic album Electronic Universe from the German duet Mergener-Weisser a.k.a. Software.
Celestial synthetic pads charm this quiet universe until a sequence melts in this sound decor. The sequence ravels on 2 subtle movements and form an undulating minimalist line that crosses other sequences which furrow the shade of the leading one. A multi color sound faun where synths multiply stationary flights and harmonious on spinning layers, piercing striations to sonorities of guitars and superb a mellotron with the fluty breaths. Pure Berlin School hypnotic and bewitching which builds his tempo from sequencers moves. Keys hop on a hypnotic sequential movement and Twinkling Sun agitates its long repetitive tempo on riffs of virtual guitars. A hypnotic title which progresses on layers of guitar and/or of synth to fine loops reverberations and a flute mellotron to discrete appearances. The noises of the forest indicate that we enter the Jungle Bar. The guitar of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock ravels on an undulating bass line and one floating synth which pushes its layers on guitars chords looped of fine echoes. The rhythm is fixed on tablas percussions which impregnate a paradisiac texture with this suave and tribal tempo, with the local islands colors. Islands with tourists, cause through the electric sitar, we hear a German couple speaks, graciousness of samplings. Resounding metal keys whirl in a sequential way, on the intro of The Lost Track. A bass line and a drum support this beat, until programmed heavier percussions, continue this slow minimalism movement, chopped by blows of percussions which are always flown over by this metallic sequence. Waves which come to cover the beach, a metal breath and a scattered riff are the starting point of Velvet Beach. After the second riff, a bass line undulates in a placid universe, stuffed of sound effects. Layers of synth float lasciviously, blowing of torrid chorus, on synthesizers movements in harmony with a light sequence as much harmonious. Pure Dreams is a superb piece of music which begins with great keyboard chords. Small keys form a harmonious movement then others ones tinkle giving an intense harmonious structure for a so short title, which stirs up the same movements on subtly different harmonies. Sonority and the atmospheres point out the first solos works of Peter Baumann. The looping chords of Michael Potrafke's guitar profile another sequence which encircles the corky sequence made of permuting chords that opened Pure Dreams.
A superb title which recalls the sequences and looping rhythms of Ashra. Calm is a serene prelude to the fluty opening of The Land Of Milk And Honey. A beautiful flute which enchants the birds with its fluid sounds. Under the spell, we hardly hear the sequence getting install. She circulates in ring on incisive keys, drawing the austerity of the movement which undulates on a bass line and a fluid synth with the harmonious breaths, on the reverberations of a metal rattling which adjusts his tempo on a sequence which gains speed. The Land Of Milk And Honey is another hypnotic sequential movement. Irradiated by sumptuous solos of synthesizers and mellotron flute, the sequence whirls as a pit of a perfect roundness that breathes in all sonorities and expire them on various colours. A very Berlin School title with its whirling and bewitching sequence, as we find some on the Analog Overdoses series.
Parlez-Vous Électronique? is a superb Berlin School opus. A work with hypnotic structures which are far from deadening us. Each title contains small treasures of ingenuity which astonishes, so much by its impact, as its beauty. An opus to get, without any faults.
Sylvain Lupari for Guts Of Darkness the Home of Dark & Experimental Music
Thomas Fanger est l’acolyte de Mario Schonwalder pour les projets Analog Overdose, donc le dernier Analogue Overdose 0.9, est chroniqué sur GOD. Musicien qui aime bien les rythmes, il a aussi travailler avec Siebert ainsi que Mind Flux. Parlez-Vous Électronique? est donc son premier album solo. Un album à son image, plus rythmé qu’ambiant dans une faune musicale dense et riche. Lui qui ne laisse jamais rien au hasard. Un synthé sinueux, vaporeux entame les premières mesures de Vanilla Crush. Un superbe mellotron flûté, flotte dans un univers ambiant, me rappelant le classique Electronic Universe du duo Mergener-Weisser, mieux connu sur le nom de Software. Des coussins synthétiques célestes charment cet univers silencieux jusqu’à ce qu’une séquence se fonde dans ce décor sonore. La séquence défile sur 2 mouvements subtils et forme une ligne ondulante minimaliste qui croise d’autres séquences qui sillonnent l’ombre de la principale. Une faune sonore multi couleur où les synthés multiplient les envolées stationnaires et harmonieuses sur des strates vrillantes, des striures perçantes aux sonorités de guitares et un superbe mellotron aux souffles flûtés. Un pur Berlin School hypnotique et envoûtant qui puise son tempo sur ses séquenceurs. Des notes sautillent sur un mouvement séquentiel hypnotique et Twinkling Sun agite son long tempo répétitif sur des riffs de guitares virtuelles. Un titre hypnotique qui progresse sur des couches de guitare et/ou de synthé aux fines boucles réverbératrices et un mellotron flûtée aux apparitions forts discrètes. Les bruits de la forêt indiquent que nous entrons dans le Jungle Bar. La guitare de Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock défile sur une ligne de basse ondulante et un synthé planant qui pousse ses strates sur des accords de guitares bouclés de fins échos. Le rythme s’installe sur des percussions tablas qui imprègnent une texture paradisiaque à ce tempo suave et tribal, aux couleurs des îles. Des îles avec touristes, puisqu’aux travers le sitar électrique, nous entendons un couple Allemand parler, gracieuseté des échantillonnages. Des notes métalliques résonnantes tournoient de façon séquentielle, sur l’intro de The Lost Track. Une ligne de basse et une batterie soutiennent ce tempo, jusqu’à ce que des percussions, plus lourds, programmées poursuivent ce mouvement minimalisme lent, haché par les coups de percussions qui sont toujours survolés par cette séquence métallique. Les vagues qui viennent recouvrir la plage, un souffle métallique et un riff épars sont le point de départ de Velvet Beach. Après le 2ième riff, une ligne de basse ondule dans un univers placide, truffé d’effets sonores. Des strates de synthé flotte lascivement, soufflant de chœurs torrides, sur des mouvements de synthétiseurs en harmonie avec une séquence légère, tout autant harmonieuse. Pure Dreams est une superbe mélodie qui débute avec de gros accords de clavier. De petites notes forment un mouvement harmonieux alors d’autres notes tintent donnant une structure harmonieuse intense pour un titre si court, qui remue les mêmes mouvements sur des harmonies subtilement différentes. La sonorité et les atmosphères me rappellent les premières œuvres solos de Peter Baumann. Les accords bouclés de la guitare Michael Potrafke profilent une autre séquence qui encercle la séquence liégeuse fabriquée d’accord permutants qui ouvraient Pure Dreams. Un superbe titre qui rappelle les séquences et rythmes bouclés d’Ashra. Calm est un prélude serein à l’ouverture flûtée de The Land Of Milk And Honey. Une belle flûte qui enchante les oiseux avec ses sons fluides. Sous le charme, nous entendons à peine la séquence s’installée. Elle circule en cercle sur des notes incisives, soutirant l’austérité du mouvement qui ondule sur une ligne de basse et des synthé fluides aux souffles harmonieux, sur les réverbérations d’un cliquetis métallique qui ajuste son tempo sur une séquence qui gagne en vitesse. The Land Of Milk And Honey est un autre mouvement séquentiel hypnotique. Irradié par de somptueux solos de synthétiseurs et de flûte mellotronné, la séquence tournoie comme un gouffre d’une rondeur parfaite qui aspire toutes les sonorités et les expirent sur de différentes teintes. Un titre très Berlin School avec sa séquence tournoyante et envoûtante, comme on en trouve sur la série des Analagues Overdoses. Parlez-Vous Électronique? est un superbe album de Berlin School. Une œuvre aux structures hypnotiques qui sont loin de nous endormir. Chaque titre renferme un petit trésor d’ingéniosité qui étonne, tant par son impact, que sa beauté. À se procurer sans fautes.
Sylvain Lupari for Guts Of Darkness the Home of Dark & Experimental Music
This CD from 2005 offers 77 minutes of energetic electronic music.
Synthesist Fanger is joined on this release by Klaus "Cosmic" Hoffmann-Hoock, Michael Potrafke, and Luna B.
A twinkling starscape erupts with cyclic beats and dense electronics, which swiftly evolve into a pulsating melody embellished by sidereal effects. Chugging diodes and sighing flutish keyboards join the mix, thickening the pastiche until the music literally throbs with complexity. Matching this intricacy, an escalation of drama overwhelms things, carrying the surging tuneage to even loftier altitudes. Each time you think it's reached its pinnacle, the music defies expectations and plunges even higher. And that's just the first track, which clocks in at 19 minutes.
The rest of the album continues to push the envelope, striving for greater sonic thrills with hyperactive riffs and cosmic peaks that blaze with astounding glory. Nimble-fingered keyboards are joined by wickedly searing guitar. Chords parade in an engaging spiral as e-perc emerges to generate steadfast rhythms of mesmerizing deportment. The pace steps down to a softer realm for the third track ("Jungle Bar"), conjuring hypnotic passages of space guitar and dreamy mellotron (specifically, the Memotron). A few short tracks ensue, delivering brief excursions of tasty delight, interrupted by a longer piece ("Velvet Beach") which explores grittier terrain with crashing surfs and melancholy guitar and phase-shifted electronics rich with nostalgic quality. The CD concludes with "The Land of Milk and Honey", a nocturnal 16 minute composition that utilizes piercing flutish keyboards in conjunction with a distinctly teutonic demeanor. Harmonies ascend to incredible heights where they are peppered by sparse e-perc and astral guitar, resulting in a remarkable dose of ultimately satisfying proportion.
(Matt Howarth/ Sonic Curiosity)
Thomas Fanger is commonly associated with musical duos, e.g. Fanger & Schönwälder, Fanger & Kersten, and Fanger & Siebert. But after hearing his strong solo offering on the /Eintrittskarte/ sampler, I knew he had the chops to go it alone, and /Parlez-vous électronique/ confirms that emphatically. The 19-minute tour de force “Vanilla Crush” starts things off. A moderately paced vintage loop stutters along just so, gathering around it an assortment of cool space sounds as it progresses. The dream sequence propels things forward swimmingly – think of the best sequencing by ARC, Spacecraft, and yes of course vintage Tangerine Dream, you get the idea. An ethereal pure space passage takes over at the end with a delicate fluty synth solo. What a perfect beginning, and the rest of the CD delivers as well. “Twinkling Sun” has an even more hypnotic sequence, slowing things down a touch, punching up the bass a bit, and repeating a single guitar-like phrase much like Tangerine Dream’s “Turning Off The Wheel,” perhaps the best track off their /Optical Race/ CD. For something completely different we have “Jungle Bar (album version),” with crickets, birds and such. A funky little bass line ambles in, along with some cool electric keys. The timbre is bright, the pace relaxed. A sexy little French conversation between a man and woman takes place in the middle. A steady thumping beat in “The Lost Track” keeps pace like clockwork, thoroughly modern electronica this one. “Velvet Beach” is heavy on the bass line, and offers a very nice melody with synth strings. On the lighter side is “Pure Dreams,” a fun one with a pop sensibility to it, though it is more about layers of sequencing than melodic composition. “Aquanaut” is crisp and punchy, a beat-laden brisk number with an Ashra quality. After a brief “Calm,” Fanger delivers retro fans to “The Land Of Milk And Honey” for the 16-minute conclusion. One of the very best of 2005.
(© 2006 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space)
"Parlez-vous Electronique?" is a superb work of electronic music whose style ranges between Space Sequencer and Ambient. Some Techno traits are also perceived, as well as some experimental touches. The melodies usually are warm, lively, in an atmosphere typical of a soundtrack for an adventure movie. Although several of the pieces have rather fast rhythms, others are more relaxed in nature. The music is very original and varied, without having to make use of experimentation with sounds. The most impressive piece in the album is, in my opinion, "Velvet Beach", of a majestic air and a great strength.
EDGAR KOGLER / Amazing Sounds
Although I've heard so much of this style of music of late, there is something about the nineteen-minute 'Vanilla Crush' track that opens this seventy-seven minute album that kept me listening from start to finish. In essence, it's "Berlin School", not particularly trying to be Tangerine Dream or anyone else of that ilk, but it has a wondrous line in mid-paced solid, beefy sequencer rhythms, and that is the thing which keeps you hooked. Above this entrancing use of seventies styled sequencers are assorted synth swirls, space synth surrounds, distant melodies, echoed flute-like sounds and cosmic backdrops, all combining to make sure that your attention never once wanders. This track goes on to become one of the truly great tracks to grace this style of music - there's something about it - whether it's the feel, the atmosphere, the structure or what - that makes it sound so seventies, while at the same time showcasing an incredibly well produced, "modern" crystal clear shine to it all. Yet it's not copyist, it doesn't try too hard, it doesn't do more than it should - in essence, it's the perfect "Berlin School" composition for the new millennium, and worth the price of the CD on its own. But what follows, not only makes you smile, but impresses you even more, as the musician only goes and recreates seventies Kraftwerk on the instrumental splendours of the nine minute: 'Twinkling Sun'. You hear strains of 'Ralf & Florian' soaring through the airwaves on one of the best tracks of its kind, and the closest thing to that period of Kraftwerk I've ever heard. But, again, this is no mere copy - it's performed, arranged and produced to perfection, even with an almost glissando guitar-sounding drift in the background for added effect, but as a track in its own right, it's enjoyable from now 'till the sun goes down. If all this hasn't already taken your breath away, for the near nine minute: 'Jungle Bar', together with guest Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (Cosmic Hoffmann), he comes up with a track that, as an undercurrent of rhythm and drift, is pure Klaus Schulze. KHH adds the layers on top to give it a more individual identity, as soft guitars, Mellotrons and twinkling synths put the icing on the cake. Following this are 5 tracks, 4 of which are shorter pieces that carry no less a riveting selection of atmospheres, rhythms, space synths and melodies, while the ten minute: 'Velvet Beach' is a slowly moving piece with a 'Mirage'-era Schulze infrastructure, above and around which assorted synth choirs, drifts and melodies all sparkle above the solid sequencer foundations. The album ends on the fifteen minute: 'The Land Of Milk And Honey', which simply carries forward the ideas and styles that began in the opening track, creating yet another "Berlin School" gem that is every bit as good, only this time with more Mellotron textures to give it that real "seventies" feel, once again, the musician doing what comes naturally without trying too hard, and the results show this to spectacular effect. Without a doubt, this is one of the best synth albums around right now, and there is not a wasted second on the entire set.