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CD Feature/ Robert Schroeder: "SphereWare"

img  Tobias

When Robert Schroeder released “BrainCHIPS” in 2005, the main message was that he was back. For more than ten years, Schroeder had withdrawn into the privacy of his home, taking a leave from the endless troubles with record companies and the downside of the business. “BrainCHIPS” was quickly followed up by fresh material from his “Food 4 Fantasy” project shortly after, effectively making “SphereWare” his third full-length in a mere two years time. With this new-gained certainty about the positive mindset and creative state of the German synthesizer-poet, the focus is now back where it should be: On the music. Which is a good thing, because “SphereWare” deserves to heard with both ears open.

It may well be the album upon which to really judge Schroeder’s return to the music scene he left in disappointment. “BrainCHIPS” was in no way a let-down, after all, but it was almost too packed with ideas, experiments and different textural layers to be listened to in one go. The new opus continues down the lane of defining a new and unique context for his pieces, while simultaneously recomposing himself and returning to some of his all-time strengths. Schroeder likes to see himself as a musical chameleon, but all the same he is one of the few artists whose handwriting remains unmistakable, despite the drastic twists, turns and changes his style has undergone in terms of arrangements, sounds, studio technology, concepts and production techniques over the years. In a sense, “Sphereware” is a true fusion of his many different previous incarnations and therefore possibly the record which most accurately outlines him as a person and a composer: Here were are treated to freely floating arrangements (which place just as much emphasis on keeping the listener’s attention as on allowing his imagination to soar), to the dreamy licks of the “Food 4 Fantasy” cosmos, to gentle dance beats placed casually but ever-so delicately into subtle chords and deep resonances as well as to the magic melodies Schroeder has become famous for and which characterise him as a deeply romantic musician. Despite the richty detailed scores, the tracks remain minimal in their nature. On “A Quarter of an Hour”, the main motive does nothing but circle round the same axis for minutes, sweeping the piece along and “Data Stream” needs nothing but a beat and a marimba to fuel its engine.

Schroeder has always had a kind of naive perspective on the world and on “SphereWare”, it shines through once more. If a piece is called “Access to Dream” here, then it may well be because this man considers our feelings, hopes, emotions and hidden desires as natural resources we can tap into if we open ourselves up completely, Robert Schroeder has certainly done so on this meticulously coherent and melodically engaging album, which opens up new doors to spread the message that he is back for good this time.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Robert Schroeder
Homepage: Spheric Records

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