Total time: 72:48
OK, so this is supposed to be a live album but your really wouldn’t know as it sounds much more like a studio concept album to me.
Lovely little melodic note flutters and twitters get ‘Focus of Mind’ off to a nice relaxed start. Big whooshes and an excellent Berlin School bass sequence pick up the pace. Another high register tuneful sequence joins it as well as more little melodic flourishes / leads, providing the perfect final touches to an already exciting track which just oozes class. ‘Moving (into the Solar Wind)’ is appropriately cosmic with bleeps, metallic effects and the aforesaid solar wind. Then female recited text, a rapid sequence / loop as well as great crashing sounds. The spoken female voice returns. Apparently she can ‘grant my wish’ – hm really! It’s a bit of a strange one but all part of the concept I suppose. Another good sequence returns for ‘Brain Machine’. We get the occasional Gregorian chant and some stunning cello playing. This is superb stuff that if it had have been on a Klaus Schulze album people would be raving about. The sequence mutates constantly both in form and sound, the cello reacting to it masterfully. A synth lead then comes in duetting with the cello- what wonderful musicianship by all concerned! The pace quickens at the half way mark and the pulse starts to race. What a fantastic track. ‘Angel Dream’ however is a completely different matter. Initially shimmering drones mix with plucked strings- all rather beautiful. Then in comes some angelic female singing. It really is lovely stuff but to me feels rather out of place in the context of the rest of the album. Others on the other hand might think it gives the whole proceedings welcome balance. It’s all part of the ‘concept’ whatever the opinion. If you don’t like it just programme it out, it still leaves over an hour of music. ‘Morpheus’, given the title, has the expected dreamy start then as the Schulzian pads and rhythm strike up its obvious that normal service has been resumed. An explosion heralds growling electronics and we are back on track big style. A rapid sequence careers from the speakers and, as with ‘Brain Machine’, if this had been on one of Klaus’ albums people would be talking about it for many a moon. Things come to a sudden stop with a minute to go and we are left with electronic twitters which take us smoothly on to ‘Benedictus’. Crystalline tones set the initial scene then melodic ethereal pads take over making things even more serene. Slow delicate sequences take things forward but these are then replaced by understated little melodies ending the album on quite a beautiful but also reflective mood.
INDRA seems to be able to turn his hand to many styles of music and certainly as far as the Schulze influenced material is concerned I haven’t heard anyone else do it better.
Another of INDRA’s re-released albums is Millennium Live 2000, a recording of a live performance at the Romanian Opera of Iasi in 2000. Anyone familiar with this prolific artist’s output will recognize the classic EM motifs put together in a personal style that is noticeably European. In some ways this harks back in its general feel to the style of pre-1990s Tangerine when they had longer tracks and used sequencing alongside good melodies and a generous helping of electronic effects.
‘Focus on Mind’ is a wonderful beginning to Millenium Live 2000, a 17-minute epic sequencer excursion. The mesmerizing tone is set early and is allowed to run unabated for the duration – but it is such a pleasant sonic space that it is completely relaxing, not boring. ‘Moving (into the Solar Wind)’ is quite a bit different. Assorted sci-fi synth sounds are followed by a brief female monologue from the imaginary tale, something about warding off the effects of the plague for as long as she can. There is a bit of kitsch to it, but I like it. ‘Brain Machine’ combines equal parts Berlin school and Eastern influences into something distinctive and special. ‘Angel Dream’ is new age with singing, a must-skip in my book I’m afraid. Thankfully, this is followed by the most powerful track, ‘Morpheus’, with fantastic drums and unique synth percussion, rich pads, and various other electronics. The serene ‘Benedictus’ closes out a mostly first-rate offering.
2005 Phil Derby / Electroambientspace
Subtitled ‘Music For The Supermind’ here we have an album from Romania, of all places. INDRA is a talent worth discovering, too, as this is an enjoyable album that refuses to be easily labelled, dipping its fingers in enough pies to keep you on your toes.
The sequencer-heavy 17 minute opener ‘Focus On Mind’ might suggest you’ve got yet another retro album on your hands, but not only is there a more characteristic sound evident here, thanks to a penchant for unusual sounds & efects & a constantly changing set of melodic but the remaining tracks see INDRA casting his net far wider with Mirel Grajdeanu’s cello, which evokes traditional Romanian folk song during ‘Brain Machine’, seeing INDRA turning to his homeland for inspiration, combing well with more sequential patterns.
Given his nationality this is likely to be something most will never have heard before while the monks’ choir samples are another enjoyable (if not as original) touch. The closing ‘Benedictus’, where the serene chords are lifted out of their reverie by some strong tympanic flourishes & the uplifting ‘Angel Dream’ (to which Michaela Dasicomis’ overly sweet vocals are a fitting accompaniment) resemble the likes of Constance Demby & the rest of the Heart Of Space crew while a greater rhythmic presence characterises ‘Morpheus’, the latter stages even resembling Klaus Schulze himself although some of the effects do feel rather jarring.
Still, it’s nice to know that the EM scene can still spring surprises like this on you & it’s to be hoped that where INDRA has led more Eastern European musicians will follow.