Spacemusic Reviews

Tag: Studio Fleisch

Cosmic Ground: Cosmic Ground 5

Cosmic Ground 5

Cosmic Ground 5

Cosmic Ground; Cosmic Ground 5
Released: 25 October 2019

Atmosphere is the intention of works by Cosmic Ground. While most music made with electronic instruments provides abstractions in sound (leaving the listener lost amidst unresolved questions of existence) this project by prog-rock keyboardist turned space explorer Dirk Jan Müller continues to engineer expressions useful to those embarking on their own intimate aural adventure. The CD Cosmic Ground 5 (75’23”) presents eight tracks of Müller’s excellent Berlin-School inventions – each building out from spare beginnings into cool textural proportions. With its chilled synth pads pulling our mood into dark realms, the sound assembly soon gives way to echoing sonic effects seething above urgent sequencer throbbing. Inside these pulsing machine poems the motoring patterns circle and crest dramatically – their interlocking rhythms shifting with each new design. Continually throughout Cosmic Ground 5 the abyss widens, and, as a vast planetary choir mysteriously descends, fills with drama. With its mechanical reiterating riffs the cascading notes shift and divide in a twisting double helix of charged electrical tones. Once these propulsive fabrications reach their fullest spark, a coursing synth work stills the journey – flaring and sending us off to probe other coordinates. For riders of the empty plain Cosmic Ground 5 is the perfect soundtrack. Between its palpable sense of alienation and our yearning for meaning in The Universe we may hear the real force that moves things.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END7 November 2019

Cosmic Ground: Cosmic Ground IV

Cosmic Ground IV

Cosmic Ground IV

Cosmic Ground: Cosmic Ground IV
Released: 21 May 2018

It may be argued that we are drawn to whatever in music that is boldly marked with personality. The brawny, brooding, primal realm of electronic sound realized by Dirk Jan Müller, in his highly personal effort as Cosmic Ground, does offer a distinctive synthetic substance – as well as access to the feelings of the lower plane. The album Cosmic Ground IV (78’26”) wanders to bizarre, distant and involved coloristic regions. If a synthesizer is a tool to make sound, then electricity is the raw material – which works its will within us across this CD’s seven tracks. Utilizing the darker portion of the audible spectrum the composer subjects the listener to a range of daring and captivating mental experiences. Phantasmal sonic events seem to confront underworld demons, as we move away from any concluding serenity. Along with all its foreboding, Cosmic Ground IV does give the impression that Müller takes some pleasure in the rhythmical arrangement of sound. Large-scale discharges lead to episodes of stormy grandeur, yet a swollen waltz of dancing arpeggio notes soon lights our shaky steps. However, in spite of a cerebral climax of overpowering sequencer sonority, we may still feel this music becoming darker by degrees. In ominous oscillations between Mellotron black and the comforting chords of a soft electric organ, this music is trying to say something for which words have not yet been invented. Many albums of Spacemusic simply provide pleasurable feelings to the listener. This one goes further… transmuting vague sentiments into the human sense of wonderment. Following the course of thought, Cosmic Ground IV provides a contact between two minds: that of the author and of you – who benefit from being open to the refreshment, the strengthening, and the stimulation of this work.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END24 May 2018

Cosmic Ground: Cosmic Ground 2

Cosmic Ground 2

Cosmic Ground 2

Cosmic Ground: Cosmic Ground 2
Released: 3 August 2015

For some people, when they ponder the “deconstruction” of a Spacemusic album, they go looking for a screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters. When considering the work of Dirk Jan Müller, and his Cosmic Ground project, please put away your tools. It will take only an effort of the imagination, as well as that of the intellect, to comprehend and enjoy this music. A follow-up to his self-titled debut, Cosmic Ground 2 (77’57”) again forgoes the white heat of technology for realizations of mechanical, electrical and analog origin. Utilizing several vintage sacramental synthesizers, in a secret ministry of sound, he performs a most welcome digital detox on his listeners. Across its four tracks Cosmic Ground 2 haunts us with wild pleasures. From its plutonium dense gray desolation and battles with extreme silence, to twinkling modulations and multiple rows of rolling sequencer patterns, we move – west with the night. Arranged under an atmosphere of netherworld sonics, Cosmic Ground 2 throbs powerfully and bounds outward along an electrified musical current. Some sections express themselves without rhythm. In an ever-shifting collage of tones and notes these zones offer classic textures of sustaining rumbling drones – which support a dramatic movement of chords in the upper register. Locked in an impressive cloud of knowing, Dirk Jan Müller’s imagination seems inexhaustible. He is more than merely piloting his gear, and his music is greater than the audio engineering ideas credited to Robert Moog through Donald Buchla. If among its many qualities, this release sounds nostalgic to you, that is a good thing. The present only lasts but 80 milliseconds, so we do live in the past… where most of our lives are.

(Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END20 August 2015)

Cosmic Ground: Cosmic Ground

Cosmic Ground

Cosmic Ground

Cosmic Ground s/t
Released: 8 March 2014

What a great time it is to be a Spacemusician. Warping beyond the denouncements of Phaedra “originalists” (scolders of the opinion that everything produced post Phaedra is mere mimicry) outfits like Redshift, Free System Projekt, Node and Arc do not even think about winning over these critics. By carefully exploiting the intrinsic technological limits of 1970s Electronic Music they enlarge the medium’s expressive range and prove this genre is an organism that continues to grow and change with each new manifestation. Taking its place nicely among the aforementioned Cosmic Ground is the self-titled debut CD by Dirk Jan Müller and has the feel of an album someone needed to get out of his system. Previously part of the prog-rock group “Electric Orange” Müller adopted the dark, as opposed to being born into it. Cosmic Ground presents music from another time and place – and really takes us there. In a transcendent plunge into darkness the listener becomes swallowed up in Mellotron stringed soundtracks and layers of portentous synthesizer drones. The momentum shifts out of this ominous territory with propulsive bristling fervor as tumbling sequencer patterns motor on in echoing perfection. The notes brighten, darken, modulate, add and subtract in a futuristic syncopated minimalism Space fans have been fascinated with for decades. With Cosmic Ground we are listening to someone with a real passion for sound and atmosphere. However far lost in The Universe he is Cosmic Ground offers a committed performance from Müller – one of uncanny vibrancy. Today’s artists hope to elevate the Spacemusic experience to one of mystical proportions – as they continue to push this sound as far as it can go.

(Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END12 June 2014)