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Music from the Future — Mind Trips
((Not on label) no#, 1999, MC)

Music from the Future — Random Noise Generation
((Not on label) no#, 2000, MC)

by Jim Chokey, Published 2001-03-01

Mind Trips Cover artRandom Noise Generation Cover art

Music from the Future is the recording name of Marcel Peelen, a Dutch native who now resides in the United States. A certified therapeutic recreation specialist who seeks to use synthesized sounds and music to help stimulate learning and overcome depression in children, he also composes and performs music for its own sake. Although Peelen cites Keith Emerson as his greatest influence, his music — at least on these two cassettes — has little in common with ELP or symphonic rock. Instead, it stands firmly the tradition of German electronic music such as what was pioneered by Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Klaus Schulze, Krafwerk, et al. A 90-minute cassette, Mind Trips has eight songs, including two short pieces at the end of each side that are labeled as filler. The first song, entitled “Frantic,” is aptly named. Its club-like percussive beat (synthesized electronically, of course) drives forward relentlessly, while futuristic bubbles, whistles, and R2D2-esque squeals convey a disturbing sense of urgency. The remaining tracks are slower paced, generally falling halfway between late-70s Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, with layers of repetitive percussive lines and sequenced pulses used to create throbbing eddies of swirling sound which are in turn layered between shifting low-range drones and incidental high-range sound effects. There are also a few moments in “S’99” that evoke the spacey ambience of Ozric Tentacles' Strangeitude, intermingling it with a synthesized simulation of whale-song. Overall, the compositions are engagingly developed, although the 34-minute “Experiment 23” does meander a bit.

Random Noise Generation is a deceptive title. Although there are swoops and bursts of seemingly random sounds interspersed here and there, the eight tracks on this 60-minute cassette are, for the most part, structured compositions. There is more variety here than there was on Mind Trips, which does suffer from a bit too much stylistic sameness among its tracks. Cassette opener “Echoes” comprises multiple layers of electronic percussion, woven together so as to create a pounding, rhythmic tribal dance, while the three tracks that follow are in the spirit of pre-Phaedra Tangerine Dream. The 14-minute “Sonar” shares the high-speed trancedom of the previous album’s “Frantic,” the title track is spacey and minimalist, and album closer “Birthsong” is a short, melodic piece in the spirit that perhaps owes more to Jarre or Vangelis than to the German electronic artists. As electronic music has never really been my favorite cup of tea, these cassettes are probably never going to get heavy rotation in my tape deck — but I still find them to be interesting and competently done. Folks who appreciate the genre more than I do, however, may well find Music from the Future to be a real treat.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 21, 1999 releases, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Marcel Peelen (Music from the Future)

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