Level Pi - "Entrance"
(Garden of Delights 2006, CD126)
From Aural Innovations #35 (January 2007)
Though known primarily for their superlative reissues of classic kraut rock from the 70s, Garden of Delights occasionally releases the work of contemporary artists who share something of the spirit of the past masters. Uwe Cremer's Level Pi project certainly has close affinities with the Berlin School yet remains rooted in the present as well, challenging comparison with such neo-space rockers as Porcupine Tree and Ozric Tentacles. Cremer's fiery psychedelic guitar blazes through the virtual landscape of soaring synthesizers, fluid bass and precision drumming in much the same fashion as the early Ozrics, though with a decidedly Teutonic aura hovering over the mix as if Klaus Schulze himself were in the control room. The sprawling "No Cello" opens the disc with the sound of crashing surf punctuated by a mournful synth phrase and a gurgling modulated sequencer pattern. All very reminiscent of Schulze's "Death of an Analogue" until Cremer's screaming lead guitar pierces the funerary soundscape like a wailing banshee falling out of the night sky. Cremer's flair for the dramatic here is comparable to David Gilmour's cathartic presence on "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" and "Echoes." The two-part "Hubble's Dream" begins with disembodied, heavily-effected voices swathed in a surreal ambience of flanged synth drones and icy string ensemble before picking up cruise speed and rocketing out beyond the stellar reefs on waves of driving guitar fueled by a motorized rhythm section. The influence of the Floyd is perhaps most pronounced here where again Cremer's guitar phrasing and sense of melodicism serves him well. The three-part "Level Pi," on the other hand, evokes vestigial memories of early Tangerine Dream (particularly Phaedra and Ricochet), its monolithic sequencer patterns serving as the tonal center, while dense filtered synth drones fill the spaces like massive nebular clouds in an alien sky. The piece segues nicely into a cosmic jam worthy of the best Ozric material, with spiraling guitars and flashes of white noise spinning around the rhythm section like comets captured by the gravity field of a planet. Cremer's ultra-psychedelic guitar work is especially impressive here, at times resembling Manuel Gottsching's heady explorations with the early Ash Ra Tempel, though with a marked predilection for stinging lead patterns that burn with the clarity of laser light. Entrance is truly a remarkable debut and is a must listen for fans of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream and even newer icons of psychedelia like Porcupine Tree and the Ozric Tentacles. Cremer and Level Pi may well turn out to be a prodigious force in the future of space rock.
For more information you can visit the Level Pi web site at: http://www.level-pi.de.
Email at: email@example.com.
Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree