Monday, August 17, 2015

Earthstar - 1981 - Atomkraft Nein Danke!

Atomkraft Nein Danke!


01. Golden Rendevous (7:20)
02. Sonntagsspaziergang (5:04)
03. Garden's End (2:57)
04. Wind Mills (5:35)
05. Cafe Sequence (2:03)
06. Cafe Exit (incl.March of theFlanged Angles) (5:44)
07. White Cloud (4:18)
08. Solar Mirrors (3:43)
09. Jet Sets (6:51)
10. Forest Floor (6:51)
  a.Part I: Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!
  b. Part II: Aras

Bells, Percussion – Melanie Coiro
Cello – Christoph Lagemann
Electric Guitar – Dennis Rea
Electronics [Harmonizer] – John Bunkfeldt
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Electronics [Night Machine], Piano, Percussion – Craig Wuest
Loops [Tape Loops], Electronics [Night Machine] – Louis Deponté
Piano, Vibraphone, Bells – Dan Zongrone
Violin – Rainer Bohm
Violin [Electric] – Daryl Trivieri

Recorded during 1979 and 1980 at Deponté la Rue Studio in Paris, France, and IC Studios and Emch Studio in West Germany. Additional tracks were recorded at Aura Sound Studio in New York State. Mastered at Blackweg Studio.

The moment the music starts on the first track, "Golden Rendezvous", you know this is a very different Earthstar album. The opening of the song is melodic, gentle, pastoral, and today would likely be described as ambient. The duet between pianist Dan Zongrone and guitarist Dennis Rea is crisp and clean. There is no "wall of sound" on this track and you can identify every instrument. As the track progresses Craig Wuest's synthesizers and his Birotron chorus add to the building sound. So begins Earthstar's environmental tone poem, "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!", which is German for "Nuclear power? No, thanks!"

In reality the heavily overdubbed, multitracked "wall of sound" from "French Skyline" isn't gone. It's just been limited to a few tracks. What is striking about "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke" is that Wuest & company have traded a coherent electronic sound for a wide variety of styles to paint sound portraits of the different scenes and moods in their environmental message. The second track "Sonntagsspaziergang" (German for "Sunday Stroll") and "Wind Mills" are upbeat, melodic, mainly electronic pieces. "Gardens End" and "White Cloud" are gentle and melodic but have the denser sound and feeling that is more like Earthstar's previous work. "Cafe Sequence", "Solar Panels", "Jet Sets", and "Forest Floor" are dense, multitracked, electronic pieces. "Cafe Exit" is probably the most distinct recording of a Birotron choir ever made.

Despite this variety "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke" comes together as a cohesive piece. Overall the style is more laid back than any other Earthstar album. It's Earthstar's most complex work and it's the one that stands the test of time best. To me it's almost criminal that this album hasn't been reissued on CD.

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