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Cosmic Ground - Cosmic Ground CD (album) cover


Cosmic Ground


Progressive Electronic

3.38 | 24 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars 2014 sees the release of the self-titled 'Cosmic Ground' debut album, and it is comprised of four long, droning instrumental electronic pieces. `Cosmic Ground' is actually the title given to this solo project by German musician Dirk Jan Muller, a name that may sound familiar to progressive audiences due to his involvement with psych/prog/krautrockers Electric Orange. Although that band had plenty of electronic elements, they were rarely a main focus, so the artist has taken this opportunity to delve straight into the black hole of dark space music, and it is the sort of album you can spend a lifetime travelling through.

`Cosmic Ground' was fully recorded on vintage equipment (seriously, just look at the equipment list on the CD details above!), with the CD booklet proudly proclaiming `no MIDI used', and it is constantly fuelled by endless haunting Mellotron. It means the album is an absolutely perfect vintage flavoured electronic album in the early Seventies style of Klaus Schulze, Adelbert von Deyen and Tangerine Dream's less melodic earlier works. A great source of inspiration was actually Tangerine Dream's `Zeit', with initial promotional material for this album pointing this fact out, and anyone who appreciated that darkly fascinating defining double LP from the 70's may find this equally as wondrous.

The appropriately titled `Legacy' opens the disk, setting the template for the whole album that proudly acknowledges the past masters, while always travelling it's own path. Haunting gothic Mellotron choirs groan over endless windswept deserts, lonely Rhodes piano teardrops drip through peaks and lulls of washing electronic waves, and frantic bass loops stalk through the blackest waters quickening your pulse. Heavy white noise, rising spectral church organ and enveloping electronic pools that comfort as much as suffocate welcome the eventually beat heavy `Deadlock'. A ticking Schulze-like percussion gently enters then quickly turns more strident and purposeful, almost dance-like in a few spots by the end, truly bridging the old styles with the new. The 33 minute `Ground' incorporates wavering hypnotizing psychedelia, occasional clipping low- key beats, placid synth breezes that rise and fall and chanting Mellotron. Regal, imposing yet almost triumphant themes, lulling and soothing affectionate passages and dark near-malevolence also briefly appear, the final ten minutes especially entering very deep drone territory with a beautifully executed build. The eerie and ominous `The Plague' joins crystalline Mellotron veils, delicate heart-breaking electric piano footsteps and reverberating electronic hums to almost reveal an evocative cinematic quality.

Buyers take note - when you purchase the physical CD from Bandcamp, you also receive a bonus download track that didn't fit onto the disc due to time constraints. The 18 minute `Decay' blends somber early 70's Pink Floyd-styled organ with Tangerine Dream-like sequencer pattern thrums, and it's just as good as anything on the main disc, and probably one of the more easily accessible pieces on offer here as well.

This album was originally recommended to me by Michael Bruckner, another German electronic composer and genuinely nice guy (his recent albums `In Letzter Konsequenz', `Naura' and `Thirteen Rites of Passage' are well worth looking into as well). The last month I've been in and out of hospital quite a lot, and this album, along with various shows from the Stillstream net-radio station such as Rebekkah Hilgrave's `At Waters Edge' program, has been a great source of comfort during my time there. It's easy to get swept along and drift away on the uneasy waves of ambient electronic bliss here, lulled into a trance-like state, and I hope we see more albums from Mr Dirk Jan Muller under this project name in the future.

`Cosmic Ground' is simply one of the best Berlin School-styled albums since the Seventies classics, recorded in the same manner, and anyone looking for more works in that style now have the perfect album to discover. Those who can make the time to properly listen to this album repeatedly and has the patience for the subtle electronic/ambient genre will relish this tantalizing work. So far it's one of the best progressive related releases of 2014, and I have no hesitation in awarding it the highest score.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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