[Review] Edgar Froese: Ypsilon In Malaysian Pale (1975)

A travelogue of electronic music that treads some of the same ground as the TD masterworks around it.

Kronomyth 2.0: An epsilon enlightened.

He flung open the gates. The warm glory of afternoon sunlight made him start and blink his eyes. “Oh, roof!” he repeated in a voice of rapture. He was as though suddenly and joyfully awakened from a dark annihilating stupor. “Roof!” – Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Edgar Froese’s second album continues in the classic vein of Rubycon, Ricochet and Stratosfear. It features two side-long tone poems that employ many of the same musical elements: flute-like synthesizers, sequencer-based journeys, a dynamic use of light and dark sounds and moments of both unnatural beauty and heroic discovery. The earlier Aqua had been a darker, stationary study of sound. In the opening moments of Ypsilon In Malaysian Pale, it seemed that Froese might repeat the exercise. But that fear is quickly dispelled as warm, luminous sounds emerge, like pure sunlight itself, illuminating Froese’s enchanting adventure in nature (inspired, it would seem, by Froese’s recent travels in Malaysia). In fact, Froese appears to place himself in the music, as the flute (reproduced through the synthesizer) explores the world around it, first by foot and then by train. Effectively divided into halves, “Yspilon In Malaysian Pale” feels like the better parts of Phaedra (part one) and Rubycon (part two) fused together. The second musical travelogue, Maroubra Bay (presumably inspired by the Australian bay of the same name), is initially a much darker piece. That darkness soon gives way, however, to a fascinating—almost mesmerizing—journey through an imagined undersea world (my imagination, not yours). Froese selects from a slightly different palette of sounds, at times inviting comparison to Vangelis (e.g., Heaven and Hell). “Maroubra Bay” culminates in a kind of quasi-religious experience at the end (I have the speculative impression of being in a cathedral-cave), then fades slowly as Ypsilon’s dreamworld slips away. Ypsilon In Malaysian Pale is no pale imitation of Tangerine Dream. It is a full-blooded brother to Rubycon and Ricochet that displays a mastery of electronic sound on a grand, almost classical scale. Heartily recommended to anyone who enjoyed the journey from Phaedra through Tangram and is looking for an undiscovered destination of equal beauty.

Original elpee version

A1. Ypsilon In Malaysian Pale (17:00)*
B1. Maroubra Bay (17:15)

All songs composed by Edgar Froese.
* Appears as “Epsilon In Malaysian Pale” on most releases outside of Germany.

The Players

All instruments played by Edgar Froese. Produced by Edgar Froese.

The Pictures

Cover photographs by Monique Froese.

The Picayune

The electronic “group,” Malaysian Pale, appears to have taken their name from this album. Led by Manfred Saul, they’ve released a few new age albums over the years.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in September 1975 in Germany (Brain, 0001 074), the UK (Virgin, V 2040), France (Virgin, 2933 732), Italy (Virgin, VIL 12040) and Spain (Virgin, 89580-1) with gatefold cover. Released as Epsilon In Malaysian Pale outside of Germany.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1976 in Germany (Brain, brain 1074).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in Italy (Virgin, ORL 8546) with cover variation.
  3. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Virgin, YX-7077-VR).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in 1982 in Japan (Brain, 22S-31).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc on March 6, 1991 in Japan (Virgin, VJCP-23046) and on August 5, 1991 in the UK (Virgin, CDV 2040) and the US (Caroline, CAROL-1625-2).
  6. Re-released on remastered compact disc on June 24, 2009 in Japan (Eastgate, IECP-10184) with cover variation.

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