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Jack Hertz - Planet Red CD (album) cover

PLANET RED

Jack Hertz

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Space is a frequently covered theme for plenty of prog-electronic albums, and this time it's sound experimentalist Jack Hertz who draws intrigue from the cosmos by focusing on the third planet from the sun with the double CD set `Planet Red'. Jack's music can cover a whole range of styles, from ambient to experimental and well beyond, but `Planet Red' is firmly in the progressive-electronic/Berlin School style, further split into two volumes subtitled `Missions' (offering more melodic, often beat-driven rhythmic music) and `Atmospheres' (four lengthy and more challenging drifting pieces), with Syndromeda, the Alpha Wave Movement and Klaus Schulze being easy reference points here.

Although the first `Missions' disc often holds shorter and more compact pieces, there's still several that branch out beyond the ten-minute mark, but frequent gentle programming and restrained beats anchor these compositions from wandering too far. Of the highlights, the whirring and warm `Space-Time Crystal' serenely floats along with trickling beats and twitching synth ripples, `Burning Star' is a cooler drone with a ticking electronic pulse, `Interstellar Voyager' holds symphonic synth washes over plodding beats, `Planet Red' is mystifying shimmering ambience with an eerie liveliness breaking through, and `Dark Matter' is frequently chill-out ambient with bleeding synth pools melting around alien tribal pattering.

The second `Atmospheres' disc is often darker and more challenging, being completely devoid of beats or rhythmic patterns and taking the set into deeper ambient territory, holding a greater depth than the first disc. Thankfully it avoids becoming vacuous and overly pretty New Age fluff, and its lengthy droning passages never move so far into the uneventful near-stillness of the extreme examples of the sub-genre. Humming synth caresses slowly and softly descend around the listener in `Return to Alpha Syntauri', `Andromeda' (the darkest and most challenging piece on offer here) is a deeply immersive and unhurried ringing and reverberating thrumming drone with the most low-key of rise-and-falls, the cooing and almost playful synth glistenings of the lightly psychedelic and mysterious `Cosmosis' are teeming with life, and the moody `Aquarius' is wide- screen and expansive in approach, with the haunting and enveloping sweeping finale almost calling to mind the early Klaus Schulze worlds, a style that lightly permeates this entire disc.

This somewhat more accessible release presents Jack Hertz at a good half-way-point - intelligent and atmospheric but reigning back on many of the experimental indulgences found on plenty of his other discs for something more frequently melodic and approachable. It's an ideal place to start for newcomers, as well as being a wonderfully crafted space music/Berlin School-flavoured work in its own right (and one that's far more interesting than the billion Tangerine Dream clones out there!). Alone they make for two excellent standalone works, but together you have a contrasting set of varied prog- electronic styles that makes for a very attractive and atmospheric collection of space music.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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