[Review] Christopher Franke: Klemania (1993)

The guy from Tangerine Dream playing music that sounds like Tangerine Dream, which happens less than you’d think.

Kronomyth 5.0: Optical trace.

Being either unable or unwilling to view the solo music of Christopher Franke outside of the context of Tangerine Dream, I usually find it wanting. Klemania at least invites the comparison with times and titles that, on the surface, look like a Tangerine Dream album. And, about half the time (the second half, in case you’re wondering), it even sounds like a Tangerine Dream album (cf. Oasis). Which is to say that Klemania is one of Franke’s better works, from my stubborn vantage point anyway.

The opening track, Scattered Thoughts of a Canyon Flight, suggests his former band in title only. Musically, it’s a more of a loosely constructed overture of ideas from an imaginary soundtrack. The music is dramatic in nature and makes good use of electronic sound effects, but an electronic tone poem it isn’t. I’m inclined to think you’d find as many interesting ideas on the soundtrack to Universal Soldier.

Inside the Morphing Space, however, is a direct link to Tangerine Dream that highlights what his contributions were to that group: coursing and shifting rhythms, intricate patterns and a propulsive quality that moves the music along swiftly, then steps back for humid reflection. Parts of this were even distilled down as a single, although whether anyone ever played it on the radio is another matter. The album closes with Silent Waves, a continuation of the soundscape explored on “Inside the Morphing Space.” I’m not sure why they didn’t release this as the single (maybe it would have been too ironic).

If you’re curious about Franke’s post-TD output, Klemania is a good place to start. So is The London Concert, which contained actual Tangerine Dream songs. And if you’re curious about the album’s title, it apparently refers to the Electronic Music Lover’s Club (KLEM) founded in the Netherlands.

The Songs

1. Scattered Thoughts of a Canyon Flight (22:27)
2. Inside the Morphing Space (21:01)
3. Silent Waves (4:10)

Composed by Christopher Franke.

The Players

Christopher Franke (performer). Produced and engineered by Richard E. Roth.

The Pictures

Cover by Peter Holleson and Doerte Lau. Photography by John Felton.

The Plastic

Released on compact disc on November 20, 1993 in Germany (Sonic Images, SICD 8110).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in May 1995 in the US (Sonic Images, SI 8504).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc on February 24, 1998 in the US (Sonic Images, SID-6504).

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