Jeffrey Koepper, Konnektions

koepp_konnKonnektions represents more of what I’ve come to expect from analog synthesist Jeffrey Koepper. This puts me in odd position as a long-time Koepper appreciator. I have said that I would like to hear him do something more with his impressive cache of vintage gear than another set of nostalgia-fueled Berlin-style music, but once Konnektions gets going, and particularly by the latter half of the release, I’ve set that concern aside and just accepted the bouncy, wave-driven ride. Make no mistake: you’ve got to love sequencers here. Koepper’s skill at crossing their angular streams in ever-growing layers is as impressive as ever, but we’re still talking about a lot of variations on onetwothreefour onetwothreefour onetwothreefour. (You just read that in your best “sequencer voice,” didn’t you? Perfect!) The more I have listened to Konnektions, the more I have stopped dismissing it as a more-of-the-same situation because, although it is more of the same, it’s just really good and immersive. And there is a bit of differentiation. “Oracle” is the kind of thing I’d like to hear more of, a beat-free, spacey drift full of big chords and a touch of drama. He melds it nicely into “Pantheon,” which has a light Eastern feel in its carefully stepped cadence. “Trance Electric” is where the album really takes off for me. It starts with more of the spacemusic overtones, and lets us hang in there for several minutes. Once the vibe is locked in and hypnosis has taken over, he laces in the sequencers, nice low-end notes, and leaves the lazily oscillating waves lifting and dropping in the background. As he does throughout the album — and this is a saving grace — Koepper very smoothly segues into the faster, early-Roach-reminiscent “Astral Mechanika.” It comes of like a lost track from Traveler, and its building energy is a very cool wakeup call coming out of the preceding piece. “Mercury Circuit” completes my favorite stretch of the album by taking us back into the void, then matches the velocity of “Astral…” but with brighter tones. Those three tracks cover over half an hour of deep, very, very good Berlin-style work. Which, again, I am not complaining about. But the other day, while this review was in progress, I had my library on shuffle. A song came on. To my ears, it was clearly Koepper — turned out to be a track from Sequentaria. So perhaps you can see my dilemma: I want some differentiation, but then I find myself in the kind of space that Konnektions brings me to, and all my arguments go out the window, onetwothreefour onetwothreefour.

Indulge your old-school desires and grab a listen to Konnektions. Koepper has carved out this niche for himself, and every album is a celebration of what brought us here in the first place.

Available from Jeffrey Koepper’s web site.

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