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Peter Michael Hamel - Bardo CD (album) cover

BARDO

Peter Michael Hamel

 

Progressive Electronic

3.00 | 2 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The second of two closely related solo albums from German professor Peter Michael Hamel is close enough in style and presentation to his "Colours of Time" (1980) that it might have come from the same recording session. Both albums were performed in collaboration with producer/synthesist Ulrich Kraus, and follow similar formats: in vinyl terms tracing side-long synth-and-organ journeys reminiscent of a minimalist KLAUS SCHULZE, circa "Picture Music".

Astute fans of Hamel's Indo-Krautrock ensemble BETWEEN might spot a brief quotation from the 1973 album "And the Waters Opened", just before the 16-minute mark of Side One's "Dorian Dervishes". The moment provides a nice touch of continuity in the middle of an otherwise loosely-organized improvisation drawn from Indian musical traditions: meditative drones under light-fingered synth arabesques.

The effect is dreamy and drifting, but there's a rigorous intellect behind the music that keeps it at arm's length from anything resembling New Age narcissism. Hamel is no DEUTER, in other words, despite the obvious parallels: two German composers finding inspiration in the Far East, both represented on the Kuckkuck record label.

The 26-minute title track breaks that mold, with its massive chords from what sounds like the largest cathedral pipe organ in Europe. It can't begin to approach the empyrean rapture of Florian Fricke's likeminded "Vuh", but when played loud enough this is transcendental stuff: lighter than air but totally grounded, anticipating the even richer tapestry of Hamel's upcoming "Organum" album in 1986.

It may not leave an indelible impression, but the album is evidence that challenging electronic music didn't become extinct in the 1980s.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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