Exposé Online banner

Christopher Franke — Klemania
(SICD 8110, 1993, CD)

by Peter Dubiel, Published 1994-05-01

Klemania Cover artApparently a special recording to celebrate KLEM day, an electronic music festival in the Netherlands, Franke's Klemania album is both a pleasant surprise and a disappointment. I hate to judge Franke's work in comparison to his Tangerine Dream output, but in this case it's almost a necessity as a point of reference. In many ways, Franke's recent solo work has been miles ahead of what his old group has done since he left. On his last live disc, Franke interspersed his early 80s Tangerine Dream compositions with some of his own, newer ones to create an album of vibrant, dynamic electronic music. Looking at this disc's track list, it looks almost like an old Dream release: two 20+ minute (ahem, side-long) cuts and a wee short one tacked on at the end. In fact, skimming the disc, they sound a lot like old Tangerine Dream tracks: the first, "Scattered Thoughts of a Canyon Flight," starts with dark, brooding electronic textures before the composition develops, and "Inside the Morphing Space" begins with a lively sequence that wouldn't be out of place on Tangram. But the tracks never develop. A 20+ minute track needs a unifying theme, else it becomes a series of songs patched together. The two long tracks on Klemania seem to be ideas thrown together rather haphazardly, rather than cohesive wholes. Franke tries to fuse a variety styles together here as well, and doesn't quite pull it off. After the ominous intro of "Scattered Thoughts...", Franke launches into all-out... techno! He then proceeds to try to redeem the track with a great intense passage that starts about 11 minutes into the cut, but overall, this disorganization reflects on the overall direction of this disc. Outside influences like the aforementioned techno and some of his soundtrack work mar an otherwise ambitious work: some of the bits sound like they wouldn't be out of place on Babylon 5. And the stock pan-flute sample we heard on the Legend soundtrack is used ad nauseam in the quiet passages. A minor point, yet it does affect the overall flavor. What could otherwise be a fantastic record is spoiled by a few passages that completely disrupt the flow of the music as well as a general lack of themes to the longer cuts. Not even Franke's mastery of his electronics rescue some of the material from the domain of cheese. And ultimately, even exquisitely rafted cheesy bits remain... cheesy bits. Worth checking out, but not essential.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 3, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Christopher Franke

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Atman Featuring Anna Nacher - Tradition – No newcomers to Exposé, this exotic Polish ensemble check in with another release. Atman’s sound is tough to pigeonhole, their forte being a bent for creating ambient drones and spacey...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues