Artist/ Band: Soniq Theater
Title: Unknown Realities
Label: Self release
Year of Release: 2010
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

Multi-keyboardist Alfred Mueller, formerly of the German progressive rock band Rachel's Birthday, released virtually an album per year as Soniq Theater throughout the 2000s, with Unknown Realities rounding out the period beginning with the year 2000. Stylistically, the music has a lot in common with Rick Wakeman's mid-period works like 2000 A.D. and what other German prog alumni like Kristian Schultze (R.I.P.), Frank Fischer and Win Kowa were doing, without the latter's penchant for biting guitar leads. Unknown Realities wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1989, either, with its proverbial cup brimming with digital samples and square-wave timbres jumping forth from the Korg lexicon. The BPM count on the first two tracks is a little higher than what one would normally expect for this type of fare, recalling some of Jan Hammer's excellent synthstrumentals on his OOP Escape From Television album. Lots of triad chords, flittering sequences, scalar arpeggios, monophonic right-hand leads they're all here. While there's nothing wrong with bypassing the penchant for retro-flavored analog sounds, "Revolution Hymn," "The Nitty Gritty," and "Black Mustang," unfortunately, fall into the "digital trap" with the inclusion of some off-putting sampled bits the horse sample in the latter at least shows the composer has a sense of humor. On the heels of the opening trio, the quasi-funk of "Cosmic Angel" has a touch more integrity, and its breathy lead sound isn't off-putting. On the flipside, track like "Pavillon" is boring and sounds like trite New Age fare better left to another decade. The sequencer attack of "Roll The Dice" is practically a salve after tracks like those.

Overall, Unknown Realities is a valiant effort but some of the samples take away from compositions that otherwise are merely passable. Perhaps in the future, Mueller might revisit some of the better pieces on this outing and recreate them with other brands of "sonic paint," so to speak.

Reviewed by Elias Granillo Jr. on January 15th, 2012

Tracks:

01. Longing for Freedom 5:56
02. Revealing a Dream 8:06
03. Revolution Hymn 3:22
04. Cosmic Angel 4:18
05. Black Mustang 4:07
06. Pavillon 3:35
07. The Nitty Gritty 4:33
08. Call of the Unknown 5:12
09. Roll the Dice 4:29
10. Organic Food 5:43
11. Slipping into the Future 3:09

Reviewed Discography

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