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Under the Dome – The Demon Haunted World. 1998 England

Under the Dome – The Demon Haunted World. 1998 Neu Harmony

We continue our journey through my Berlin School collection with Under the Dome. Not only do they represent well the purpose of this blog, but we share a similar name!

No country took more to the classic 1970s Tangerine Dream trio than did England. Especially during the Berlin School renaissance of the 1990s, when a flood of bands came onto the horizon. Under the Dome weren't one of the headliners, though they most certainly held their own against some of the bigger names of the era like Radio Massacre International, Redshift and AirSculpture. Neu Harmony was the CD arm for premier electronic music mail-order house Synth Music Direct and were one of the leading lights of the day. It's a real pity the label has now ditched the CD medium to go download only. They have lost my business of course, until the (inevitable) switch in policy. In the meantime, there are probably way too many albums in this field to discover from the last 20 years to worry about new product.

Under the Dome on their debut "The Demon Haunted World" combine haunting and desolate atmospheric tones with crunchy and wedgy sequences. Each of the 4 tracks navigate through a variety of moods and textures, and in that way, are almost progressive rock like. I found the shorter tracks (short being a relative term here) to work best, like the thumping Moog Modulater (simulated) opener 'Flüssiger Vier-Takter' (8:34). The third piece 'The Bridge' (13:35) starts off in tranquility mode, but eventually the sequencers arrive to ensure this isn't going to be a waltz in the park. The appropriately named closer, 'Hell' (24:00), has some of the darkest textures since Klaus Schulze's "Cyborg". I was hoping for a sequencer blitzkrieg to burst out of the depths, but they stayed mostly subdued and mid-tempo throughout. Worth noting there is quite a bit of guitar here (no real soloing though), adding much needed color to the usual barrage of electronic keyboard equipment.

All in, "The Demon Haunted World" is a finely crafted Berlin School album. The CD is tough to score nowadays, but downloads are readily available for those that don't care about physical assets.

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