Free System Project IMPULSE
This was originally sent out on the Tangerine Dream Mailing List, December 29, 1996.
You may recall some postings by Marcel Engels on this mailing list in which he mentioned that his e-mail name ("fsp") stands for Free System Projekt, an electronic band he's involved with in the Netherlands. I recently ordered the Free System Project CD from Marcel (the first copy sent to the US!), and I thought I'd send along a review, as I was very impressed by what I found.
"Impulse" is a collection of mid-length tracks created by Free System Project...Well, in truth, FSP is pretty much just Marcel, who wrote, performed, recorded, mixed, and "whatevered" just about all of this home made CD-R.
The CD opens with the cornerstone 10 minute track complete with a few odd noises and an organ sound at the beginning, reminding me very much of early 70's TD. Not too far into that the sequences begin and liven things up. Toward the end is a nice piano solo, similar to the final moments of Dweller at the Threshold's "No Boundary Condition."
Other tracks on the CD remind me at times of Wavestar and older Synco---they are all very much in that vein: not too "dark" but no "fluff". Track 2 offers a very interesting part where the percussion is doubled up and the sequence it's supporting stays the same---a neat effect. "The Chase" lives up to its name, with a lively middle part and a cool arpeggio. The fourth track begins with solo piano and then moves into two intertwining sequences, again another neat effect. Track 5 is a bit spooky in parts, and fans of the aforementioned bands will be right at home with the final track, Part 2 of "The Closening."
FSP's tracks typically move from sequence to sequence, with layered chords and solos running along the top. Marcel seems to concentrate a great deal on the percussive setups when they are used, creating varied drum lines.
My preference is generally for longer tracks which "take you somewhere" (Ricochet 2, Me-Rad 2, or Synco's "Reincarnation", for instance), yet the more I listen to "Impulse" the more I like it. Maybe I just hear the future of FSP in these tracks, and I want it *now*. Perhaps on the next CD?
There are some wonderful sequence patterns, melodies, spooky stuff, noises, and "hooks" in each of the tracks on "Impulse," making them very listenable and interesting. The synth sounds chosen are what would be expected for the sequenced rhythms, and the solos and chords layered on top use a collection of "modern" sounds along with what would appear to be older synth sounds. The mix of sounds is kept simple: Marcel knows when enough is enough, and he doesn't overburden the listener with an overdose of overdubbing.
Sound quality is quite good overall, considering this stereo CD is "home made." No analog tape was used, however; the music was recorded as wave (.WAV) files on a PC right from the mixer, so the noise level is low.
I'm looking forward to the next CD, which Marcel tells me should be ready in '98. He expects it to be similar, with perhaps a few more odd noises and, with luck, one of those longer tracks. I'm on the list! Until then, I think this first Free System Projekt CD will make it into my CD changer on more than a regular basis.
(As a footnote...I'd like to thank Marcel for sending me my care package from the NL and for the hints on setting up my own sequences!)