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Brendan Pollard


Pink  (US)

Pink, 'Missundaztood'

Missundaztood  (2001,  55.11)  ***/0

Missundaztood
Don't Let Me Get Me
Just Like a Pill
Get the Party Started
Respect
18 Wheeler
Family Portrait
Misery
Dear Diary
Eventually
Lonely Girl
Numb
Gone to California
My Vietnam
Pink, 'Try This'

Try This  (2003,  55.53)  **½/½

Trouble
God is a DJ
Last to Know
Tonight's the Night
Oh My God
Catch Me While I'm Sleeping
Waiting for Love
Save My Life
Try Too Hard
Humble Neighborhoods
Walk Away
Unwind
Feel Good Time
Love Song

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Missundaztood (or M!ssundaztood) was Alecia "Pink" Moore's second album, after the completely mainstream pop of the previous year's Can't Take Me Home, but it isn't exactly Henry Cow (who he?), if you know what I'm saying. It's actually a mixture of hip-hop influenced mainstream pop (Get The Party Started) and more reflective personal material (Family Portrait, Dear Diary), but isn't anywhere near as offensive as that sounds. It is, unfortunately, rather dull, but that's probably because I'm not a 16 year-old girl. Incidentally, Pink got her idol, 4 Non Blondes' Linda Perry in to rock things up a little, and in fairness, she seems to have done precisely that. Marti Frederiksen plays Mellotron on Misery, but I'll be fucked if I can hear it; there's the odd bit of strings or cello that could just possibly be tape-replay, but I wouldn't want to stake anything of any great value on it. Anyway, if you like Pink, you probably a) already own this and b) aren't reading this anyway, and with bugger-all Mellotron, it's all a bit irrelevant.

Two years on, she followed up with Try This, getting Perry in to produce a few tracks again. Musically, it's the same mish-mash of mainstream pop, dance and rock with vaguely amusing efforts like God Is A DJ ("If God is a DJ, life is a dancefloor". Whatever) or the slightly harmonically interesting Feel Good Time rubbing shoulders with the considerably blander likes of Catch Me While I'm Sleeping and Save My Life. Perry produces three tracks and without specific credits, it seems likely she doesn't play Mellotron anywhere else, so all I can hear is possible background strings on the drippy Catch Me While I'm Sleeping, along with Perry's sitar.

P!nk. You try searching for a 'name' spelled like that. Anyway, mainstream pop with an occasional rock edge: why would you? Next to no Mellotron, either.

Official site

Pink Floyd  (UK)  see:

Pink Floyd

Pinkerton's Assorted Colours/The Flying Machine  (UK)

Pinkerton's Assorted Colours/The Flying Machine, 'Flight Recorder'

Flight Recorder: From Pinkerton's Assorted Colours to The Flying Machine
(1997, recorded 1965-71,  139.49)  **½/½

Mirror Mirror
She Don't Care
Don't Stop Loving Me Baby
Will Ya?
Magic Rocking Horse
It Ain't Right
Mum and Dad
On a Street Car
There's Nobody I'd Sooner Love
Duke's Jetty
Kentucky Woman
Behind the Mirror
Smile a Little Smile for Me
Maybe We've Been Loving
  Too Long
Send My Baby Home Again
Look at Me, Look at Me
Baby Make it Soon
There She Goes
Hanging on the Edge of
  Sadness
The Flying Machine
The Devil Has Possession of
  Your Mind
Hey Little Girl
Yes I Understand
Pages of Your Life
Smile a Little Smile for Me
My Baby's Coming Home
A Thing Called Love
Marie Take a Chance
Waiting on the Shores of
  Nowhere
That Same Old Feeling
Broken-Hearted Me, Evil-
  Hearted You
Memories of Melinda
Mirror Mirror
Don't Stop Loving Me Baby
Magic Rocking Horse
Shine a Little Light on Me
St. Louis Child
Strawberry Fool
Angel (She Was Born Out
  of Love)
People Say
One Man Band
The Lies in Your Eyes
Me Without You
Can't Break the Habit
Shadows on a Foggy Day
If You Were True
4 o'Clock in New York
Hard, Hard Year
Fools Rush in
The Flying Machine

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Pinkerton's Assorted Colours were a pretty typical mid-'60s pop group, although, for all the money poured into them, they managed just the one hit, Mirror Mirror, although their sound was as post-Beatles as you could ask for. Maybe that was the problem - lack of originality, although it didn't seem to do, say, Herman's Hermits any harm. Like so many other acts of the day (The Tremeloes spring to mind), they mutated into a psych-lite outfit come 1967, changing their name to The Flying Machine and releasing a million-seller in the States, the infuriatingly catchy Smile A Little Smile For Me. Those nice people at Sanctuary have compiled what must be every note ever recorded by both incarnations of the band onto Flight Recorder: From Pinkerton's Assorted Colours to The Flying Machine, disc one dealing with their singles A and B-sides, while disc two mops up album tracks, demos and the like. As you'd expect, it's a bit of a rag-bag, the occasional more inventive track like Flying Machine sitting next to '60s pop by-numbers like Mirror Mirror and There's Nobody I'd Sooner Love with, regretably (if unsurprisingly), vastly more of the latter than the former.

Mellotron (MkII, of course) on a mere one obvious track, player (as so often with '60s groups) unknown, with a cool flute part on Look At Me, Look At Me, that couldn't sound more like Manfred Mann if it tried. It's posible there's some more hidden away here and there (see: the backing flutey sound on Angel (She Was Born Out of Love)), but chances are they're regular orchestral instruments. I've read that Smile A Little Smile... has some, too, but neither version here obliges.

Generally speaking, it seems that both eras of the band relentlessly pursued commercial success at the expense of any real attempt at inventiveness. Pop music, I think it's called. This gets the rating it does more for its professionalism than its quality, although it's perfectly good as far as its oeuvre goes. Whether you'll like it or not's another matter entirely; the vast bulk of this lengthy set is far too cheesily mainstream to really appeal to anyone interested in anything outside the accepted boundaries of '60s pop, and with only one 'Tron track in over two hours of music, I really can't recommend it on that front, either.

Plackband  (Netherlands)

Plackband, 'The Lost Tapes'

The Lost Tapes  (2000, recorded 1981,  59.01)  ***/T

Bloodmaster
End of the Line
The Good Earth
The Hunchback
Sign of the Knife
Seventy Warriors

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Plackband were named for Plakband, the Dutch equivalent of gaffer tape, as it was apparently all that held their equipment together back in the mid-'70s. Of course, joke names aren't meant to stick (ho ho), but so often do... It took the band a while to work up to a professional level, releasing a lone single in 1978, Seventy Warriors b/w Some Party, although they either didn't own their Mellotron then, or simply didn't use it. They split in the early '80s, having never recorded a studio album, despite having a healthy following in their home area.

Almost twenty years later, a long-forgotten live tape was found in their old rehearsal space, and released as The Lost Tapes, proving to be of excellent sound quality, and giving a good idea of what a proper Plackband album may have sounded like. And they sounded like...? A rather simplistic version of the classic symphonic prog sound, to be honest, predating '80s neo-prog by a year or two while also sounding a little like Camel, though without the great atmosphere the latter could conjure up on a good day. Most of the material is somewhat overlong for its fairly limited content, particularly The Hunchback, which seems to last for a couple of geological epochs. Don't get me wrong; this is pleasant enough, but all a bit unengaging, and nowhere near the quality of their countrymen Focus or Finch, although several miles ahead of '80s bands such as Coda or the awful For Absent Friends.

Mellotron (from vocalist Kees Bik, surprisingly) on every track, although at no point does it get anything resembling a starring role. It was largely used for a background wash of choirs, although I think I spotted a string part at one point, as against the ubiquitous string synth lathered over every track. All in all, despite the number of highlighted tracks above, this deserves its low 'T' rating, as the 'Tron is so quiet as to be hardly there at all.

Plackband reformed around the time of this release, recording a new album, 2002's After the Battle, following the Remember Forever single, including their original 1978 single tracks. Despite the Mellotron sounds, it seems highly likely that it's samples, as their old M400 had been sold many years earlier. As far as The Lost Tapes goes, if you're into that Dutch/German laid-back prog style, you'll probably like it, but anyone with a yearning for something more complex should probably look elsewhere. Remarkably little Mellotron, too, so I wouldn't bother on those grounds either.

Official site

See: Samples

Plain White T's  (US)

Plain White T's, 'Big Bad World'

Big Bad World  (2008,  33.57)  ***/T½

Big Bad World
Natural Disaster
Serious Mistake
Rainy Day
1, 2, 3, 4

That Girl
Sunlight
I Really Want You
Meet Me in California
Someday

Current availability:

Mellotron/Chamberlin used:

The Plain White T's (poor grammar, but, in fairness, an awkward one) are an indie/powerpop crossover band, who keep spoiling potentially good songs with irritating indie vocal mannerisms, at least on 2008's Big Bad World; it's by no means a bad record, but I keep getting the feeling it could've been so much better. Best tracks? Serious Mistake, the '60s-ish hit 1, 2, 3, 4 and the very powerpoppy That Girl, with its amusingly risqué lyric, although finishing on its worst track (Someday) nearly got the album docked half a star.

Johnny K plays Mellotron, while Jon Brion does his usual Chamberlin thing, with Chamby strings on Rainy Day, a few Mellotron string chords on 1, 2, 3, 4 and flutes from one or the other on Sunlight. Overall, a reasonable enough effort, but less whining in the vocal department would improve matters dramatically.

Official site

Planetarium  (Italy)

Planetarium, 'Infinity'

Infinity  (1971,  36.47)  ****/TTTT

The Beginning
Life

Man (part one)
Man (part two)
Love
War
The Moon
Infinity

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Planetarium were a little-known Italian outfit whose real names appear to be unknown; in fact, I've no idea if there are any credits on their sole album, Infinity, at all. Musically, they were full-on instrumental symphonic prog (pre-PFM, note), with the odd wordless vocal, meaning that those of you who can't handle 'foreign' vocals should have no problem. Their sound is a little 'proto-prog', particularly on the title track, but that's hardly surprising, given the recording date. Man (Part Two) and War are probably the album's highlights, but there isn't a bad track on board, to be honest.

The anonymous keyboard player's Mellotron work is pretty full-on, too, with swathes of (presumably) Mark II strings on almost every track, the exception being the acoustic guitar/organ duet of Man (Part One). The finest 'Tron moment is probably the superbly cranky pitchbend at the end of The Beginning (as against the beginning of the end), repeated at the end of the album. Twist that dial! So; good music, loads of 'Tron - can't go wrong really, can you?

Plasticland  (US)  see:

Plasticland

Plasticsoul  (US)

Plasticsoul, 'Pictures From the Long Ago'

Pictures From the Long Ago  (2005,  44.37)  ***½/TTT½

Broken Bones
Heartbeats and Baby's Breath
Saintly
You Choose Me

Over and Over
Ten Stories Up
Roof Above Your Wheels
Borrowed and Gone
Paper and Paraffin
Sleep Baby Sleep

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

The LA-based Plasticsoul are, going by their 2005 debut, Pictures From the Long Ago, an Americana/powerpop crossover act with a heavy Neil Young influence for good measure. It's a fine album, highlights including opener Broken Bones, the countryish Saintly and You Choose Me and mournful closer Sleep Baby Sleep, although nothing here disappoints, probably due to said Neil influence. I would say, "Can you go wrong being influenced by Neil Young?", but then I remembered Pearl Jam.

Loads of Chamberlin (the MusicMaster 600 the band found at Josie Cotton's studio), played by Jake Gideon and David McConnell, although band leader Steven Wilson (not that one, silly) assures me it was himself, McConnell and Marc Bernal. Whatever. Anyway, we get strings and flutes on Broken Bones and Saintly, strings on Heartbeats And Baby's Breath, beautifully upfront strings on You Choose Me, skronky strings on Roof Above Your Wheels and Paper And Paraffin and an uncredited, raucous solo string part right at the end of the album, just for good measure. All in all, recommended for both music and tape-replay, which is a rarity. Unfortunately, despite crediting it, the 'Chamberlin' on the band's follow-up, 2009's Peacock Swagger, reviewed here, is sampled.

Official site

See: Samples

Platinum Weird  (UK)  see: Samples

Player  (US)

Player, 'Player'

Player  (1977,  39.32)  **½/TT

Come on Out
Baby Come Back
Goodbye (That's All I Ever Heard)

Melanie
Every Which Way
This Time I'm in it for Love
Love is Where You Find it
Movin' Up
Cancellation
Tryin' to Write a Hit Song

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Player were, in many ways, an early example of prime AOR, although the 'soft rock' tag would probably describe them just as well, their eponymous 1977 debut straddling the two, admittedly closely-linked genres. Upbeat, pomp-ultra-lite opener Come On Out is fairly typical of the album overall, a very West Coast kind of approach, custom-made for the era's airwaves, Every Which Way and Love Is Where You Find It coming from the same mould, while Cancellation is about the rockiest thing here, although its entirely reprehensible 'underage girlie' lyrics do it no favours whatsoever. Several cheesy ballads finish things off gloopily, making for a rather unencouraging listen all round, frankly.

Steppenwolf's Wayne Cook (who also played Mellotron on Michael Cassidy's Nature's Secret the same year) was the band's 'fifth member', i.e. the one not pictured on the sleeve (count yourself lucky, Wayne). He played Chamberlin, by all accounts, with lush strings on Baby Come Back and This Time I'm In It For Love, a string line and flutes on Goodbye (That's All I Ever Heard) and orchestral-ish strings on balladic closer Tryin' To Write A Hit Song. Is this worth hearing for that reason? No, not really. One for AOR obsessives who find Boston and early Foreigner too heavy.

Please  (UK)

Please, 'Seeing Stars'

Seeing Stars  (2001, recorded 1969,  40.09)  ***/T

Seeing Stars
Words to Say
Before
Time Goes By
The Road
Rise and Shine
Still Dreaming
Secrets
Who You Know
But
Steal Your Dreams

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Please were a late-period UK psych outfit, better-known for the bands their members went on to join, notably Peter Dunton, who was playing in T2 within a year of this material's recording. The difference between the two bands is startling; Please have a sound that really predates their era, being more early than late psych, with much Farfisa, whereas T2 were definitely proto-prog, although both bands actually sound rather dated these days. I don't believe Please actually released anything much (at all?) at the time, so I presume Seeing Stars is your typical demos and outtakes collection. It seems to be quite highly rated by some psych fans, but to my ears, it falls between too many stools to really cut it all these years later.

I presume it's Dunton playing the Mellotron flutes on Time Goes By; a decent enough part, but nothing outstanding. Otherwise it's pretty much all Farfisa or Hammond, with a drop of Wurly, and that Farfisa really pushes their sound back to the mid-'60s... So; OK, nothing special, lots better from the era.

See: T2

Plumb  (US)  see: Samples

Mike Plume Band  (Canada)  see: Samples

Plush  (US)

Plush, 'Three-Quarters Blind Eyes' 7"/CDS  (1994/99)  ***/TT

Three-Quarters Blind Eyes
Found a Little Baby
['99 CD version adds:
Found a Little Baby (instrumental)]

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Plush are a relatively rare US entrant in the 'louche, faux-'60s singer-songwriter' stakes. Led by Liam Hayes (it's pretty much his solo project), their releases are few and far between, partly due to Hayes' perfectionism; 2002's Fed took several years and vast sums of money to record, almost certainly not recouping it in sales. 1994's Three-Quarters Blind Eyes was his/their first release, setting out their pre-psych stall with equanimity, which effectively means that you may well not like it unless you go for (p)lush balladry in a '60s stylee.

Although there's nothing obvious on the a-side, the flip, Found A Little Baby, is smothered in Chamberlin strings and flutes, making at least this track worth hearing for its tape-replay content. Hayes is reputed to've used his Chamby on later recordings, not least 2004's Underfed, a early, pre-multiple overdubs mix of Fed; more news when I get to hear it. He's also lent it to Matthew Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces, who swamped their 2007 effort, Widow City in it, and quite possibly Friedberger's 2006 solo double, Winter Women/Holy Ghost Language Music.

Official site

See: Liam Hayes

Pluto  (Norway)

Pluto, 'Voyage Into a Dreamer's Mind'

Voyage Into a Dreamer's Mind  (1980,  34.57)  ***½/TT

Into a Totally Different Race
The Struggle
Encounter
Petal on a Wet Bough
Love's Labyrinth
The Voyage
The Dreamer

Hole in a Pocket
Yanti
Au Revoir

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Norway's Pluto (apparently a person, not a band) released two albums in the early '80s, round about the same time as a band by whom he was surely influenced: Kerrs Pink; it's hard to say which outfit is better, although Kerrs Pink have a higher public profile, due to their patronage by Musea, going by the evidence here. Voyage Into a Dreamer's Mind is a perfectly good and undeservedly obscure late-period progressive album, for which the word 'mellifluous' could have been invented, such is its laid-back melodic approach to the genre; comparisons with Camel (particularly their Snow Goose period) would also be appropriate, with only a few of its ten tracks featuring any vocal involvement.

Difficult to pick out any standout tracks, but nothing here is likely to offend, with the short guitar pieces Hole In A Pocket and Au Revoir being notable. On the Mellotron front (from Pluto himself), after a couple of 'Tronless tracks, the choirs kick in on Encounter, with more of the same on Love's Labyrinth, while The Voyage opens with the album's first obvious 'Tron string part, although a string synth is in evidence, too. While we're not talking 'Mellotron Classic', what you can hear is sympathetically played, adding nicely to the overall effect; shame he couldn't have used it a little more, methinks.

Anyway, this one isn't going to be easy to find, and while it's a perfectly nice album, it really shouldn't be considered 'essential', either for the music or the Mellotron. Usual stuff; pick it up should you see it at a sensible price.

Poco  (US)

Poco, 'Cantamos'

Cantamos  (1974,  36.46)  ***½/½

Sagebrush Serenade
Susannah
High and Dry
Western Waterloo
One Horse Blue
Bitter Blue
Another Time Around
Whatever Happened to Your Smile
All the Ways

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Poco were formed by Richie Furay out of the ashes of Buffalo Springfield, as Neil Young and Steven Stills headed for solo careers and, concurrently, CSN/CSN&Y. While they can't lay claim to actually inventing country rock, they're one of its chief exponents, having member crossover with The Eagles, in both directions, although sticking closer to their original template. Still going strong today, they've had a more convoluted history than most, pedal steel man Rusty Young being the one consistent member, others leaving and returning more often than Rick Wakeman with Yes, which is saying something.

Cantamos was their eighth album, and second without Furay, who had been persuaded to co-found the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. It's actually a fine album, vastly better than I'd expected, with material of the quality of Sagebrush Serenade and High And Dry, and no awful country schmaltz, thankfully, although the quality does dip slightly towards the end of the record. Although no-one's credited with keys, there are a few seconds of Mellotron strings at the beginning of 'possible best track', Western Waterloo; not the briefest use of the instrument on this site, but bleedin' close...

So; a good country rock album with next to no Mellotron. If you like The Eagles and their ilk, but have never delved into Poco's nightmarish discography (more compilations than original albums), there would be worse places to start than here.

Official site

Poe  (US)

Poe, 'Haunted'

Haunted  (2000,  70.43)  **/T½

Exploration B
Haunted
Control
Terrible Thought
Walk the Walk
Terrified Heart
Wild
5 & ½ Minute Hallway
Not a Virgin
Hey Pretty
Dear Johnny
Could've Gone Mad
Lemon Meringue
Spanish Doll
House of Leaves
Amazed

If You Were Here

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Annie "Poe" Decatur Danielewski is a dance-oriented American singer-songwriter, notable for her vociferous fanbase, who helped with her 'Re-POE-Session' campaign (nice multiple pun there) to persuade Atlantic to relinquish their hold over her masters. Her second album, 2000's Haunted, is probably a decent enough affair within its genre, although since Planet Mellotron isn't terribly keen on commercial dance-pop, it's difficult to say for sure. It certainly has an unexpected breadth of stylistic variation, while Poe has an excellent voice of its type, but to attempt to pick out 'highlights' would probably be futile.

Patrick Warren does his usual Chamberlin thing, nicely audible for once, compared to many albums bearing his name. We get strings and stabby flutes on Terrible Thought, a brief string part towards the end of 5 & ½ Minute Hallway, strings on Hey Pretty, what sounds like literally a single string chord on brief interlude House Of Leaves and what I take to be Chamby strings on Amazed. Given the Chamberlin's chameleon-like quality, it may well be on several other tracks, too, although some of the strings sound real. So; nice to hear the Chamby high enough in the mix to hear, but not an album I can envisage myself playing again in a hurry. OK, ever.

Incidentally, given that Hey Pretty was used as the title music to MTV's short-lived Spyder Games soap, it's possible that the soundtrack's entry on this site (Chamberlin credited to... Patrick Warren) is superfluous. More news should I ever get to hear the thing.

Official site

David Poe  (US)

David Poe, 'David Poe'

David Poe  (1997,  45.19)  ***/T

Telephone Song
Blue Glass Fall
California
Moon
Reunion
Apartment
Silver Eyelashes
Star
Bloody
Cop
Settlement
[Untitled]

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

David Poe seems to be one of those renaissance man kind of guys, not only a singer-songwriter, but a producer and a composer for TV and dance, amongst other talents. His eponymous 1997 debut is a largely acoustic effort, with folk and r'n'b influences, amongst other disparate genres, the (relatively) rocking Settlement being a highlight. The album's strongest suit, however, is probably Poe's lyrics, painting an unsentimental picture of modern American life typified by Cop: "Stick comes down on the back of his head/and the video ends".

Poe plays Chamberlin (producer T-Bone Burnett's?), with skronky strings and brass on Bloody and flute chords on the final, untitled track, although I'm less sure about the orchestralish string part on Silver Eyelashes. David Poe is a good album of its type, which isn't to say it's for everyone, its mainstream appeal outweighing its artistic sentiments.

MySpace

Poisonous Museum  (UK)

Poisonous Museum, 'Let it Go'

Let it Go  (1999,  50.32)  ***/TTT

Sea
The Waiting Room
Wizard Magic Stars
From Here on in
Good Times

Even Me
Fine Line
Head Heart & Hammer
Hymn
No Surprise
Run
A Dream
Saved
Sun

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Poisonous Museum's sole album to date is, in many ways, a typical 'modern' progressive album, taking much of its influence from the more metallic end of the spectrum. That isn't to say that it's 'progressive metal', à la Dream Theater, but the guitars have a good deal more 'crunch' than any '70s-influenced band. While mostly British, vocalist Marc "Max" Vanhaeren is French, although his English-language vocals are barely accented. The album falls into the 'not great, but not bad' category, with a couple of the songs standing out, but most not really hitting the 'memorable' button.

The Mellotron use by Andrew Smart is sparse but effective, with Good Times and Saved being especially worthy of mention, so don't buy this hoping for a Mellotron Classic, but it's not a bad album of its type.

Polifemo  (Argentina)  see: Mistaken ID

Brendan Pollard  (UK)

Brendan Pollard, 'Expansion'

Expansion  (2005,  60.57)  ****/TTTT

Tegula
Toxic Blue
Nebulous
Valve
Aquarius
Brendan Pollard, 'Flux Echoes'

Flux Echoes  (2007,  73.28)  ****/TTTT

Flux Echoes
Radiant Transmission
Phosphor Skyline
Torque

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Brendan Pollard is one half of current UK EM duo Rogue Element, Expansion being his first solo project, surprisingly after only one Rogue Element album, Premonition. It has a lot in common with said album, although it lacks its Froeseish guitar work, but otherwise sticks fairly closely to the standard 'Berlin School' template of drones, sequencer lines and shitloads of Mellotron. Yes, it's real, with 'various tape frames' being credited in the CD booklet, although I could only actually spot five specific sounds myself. You may ask yourself (or you may not, given that you're already reading the contents of this site), "What the fuck does it matter whether or not the Mellotron's real?". I'll tell you why it matters: it's to do with the way a musician plays a sound. Piano samples, especially when played on a lightweight synth keyboard, never sound right, and nor do infinite-sustain Mellotron samples with velocity sensitivity (thanks, Roland). That's like pitchbending a piano, or playing eight-note chords on a guitar; good trick if you can do it, but nothing to do with the way the instrument was intended to be played. OK, I'm sure Harry Chamberlin and Les Bradley would've liked to've made an infinitely sustaining Chamberlin or Mellotron, but they didn't, and hearing one that does is just... wrong. So there.

Er, anyway... The album's Mellotron work begins with a full-on choir part a few minutes into Tegula, with flutes, phased strings and even brass thrown into the mix later on. Toxic Blue pretty much opens with an extremely upfront flute part, throwing cellos into the equation further down the line (listen to that raucous double bass note!), while the rest of the album sticks more to the tried'n'tested strings and flutes, although there may well be sound effects (Rogue Element own at least one ex-Tangs frame) here and there as well. So; a good, solid EM release, sounding all the better for its considerable analogue input. As ever with this genre, I'm not the best-qualified person to review it, but as with the Rogue Element album, this will be put on when I need to kick back and drift off. Organic, well thought-out EM. Buy.

Two years on, and Brendan's second album drops onto my doormat, completely unheralded. So what's happened to Rogue Element? They're beginning to look like the Tangs' longevity is not for them, though I may yet be proven wrong, hopefully. Flux Echoes is, unsurprisingly, another Berlin School album, with all the usual reference points; y'know, you either like this stuff or you don't - half measures don't count. It does all the right things in all the right places, although some of you may find what is effectively a double albums'-worth to be a little too much of a good thing. Blame the CD revolution. Anyway, shedloads of 'Tron, with the sounds listed this time. (Deep breath):

The obvious ones are the standard 3 violins (generic 'strings'), the cellos, brass, flutes and both choirs, though the other three string sounds must be in there somewhere. Thinking about it, the mixed violin/cello is probably on the title track. Not sure about the oboes and sound effects, but given that they'll be their ex-Tangs frame, they could be almost anything; certainly not restricted to the 'standard' set I've spotted on a few things. Sensibly, Brendan and Adrian Dolente don't over-use them (they have two M400s), as overkill is easy, particularly with the strings (otherwise known as 'how to spot samples'). None of that here, which is always to be applauded, but when you have at least four tape frames, that really shouldn't be too difficult. So; once again, a 'Tron-heavy EM album for everyone who mourns the day Tangerine Dream got rid of theirs, me included. This beats the crap out of most digital Euro-EM, featuring people who not only can play their instruments, but have to, as most of it is pre-MIDI, and even the sequencing is pseudo-analogue (spot the Doepfer). As with its predecessor, this is a pretty essential album. Buy.

Official Rogue Element site

See: Rogue Element | Pollard/Daniel/Booth | Free System Projekt/Brendan Pollard/Hashtronaut


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