Robert Schroeder was one of the leading lights in the second wave of German synthesists who emerged in the late 1970s/early 80s, taking their lead from such legendary figures as Tangerine Dream & Klaus Schulze (who, indeed, Schroeder already knew, later releasing several albums on the latters' Innovative Communication label) & adding their own influences in order to develop the teutonic sound. This release, on the German Spheric label, is actually the second collection of early demos dating from the period 1980-83 & will no doubt appeal to both gear freaks (there's a good picture of his studio on the inner cover!) & those who prefer the more lo-fi analogue sound of the past, of which there are many, thus rendering worthless any possible criticism of this album as being dated!
The aforementioned Schulze influence is apparent on several tracks here, most notiably the sequences pay homage to the Teutonic master on 'The Nomad Theme 2' (although at 7 minutes running time, it's much more of a condensed affair which should still appeal to old skool EM afficianadoes) & 'Synth Waves' as well as the crystalline backing of 'Starlights'. And those of you who are not averse to something slightly more offbeat should find 'The Nomad Theme 1' (which bears no resemblance whatsoever to its earlier near-namesake) & 'Door To Heaven' to your liking as the rhythmic effects work well with the well thought-out leadlines in a way that modern synths don't seem to be able of replicating. Only the attempt at a relaxing tone poem that is the closing 'ProTones' comes a cropper as, on tracks like this, a greater degree of polish & production is essential. Obviously this is down to the relatively primitive equipment used although 'ModuLations' proves that, even back then, he was looking beyond his influences & progressing towards the unique sound that characterised his early vinyl releases & I'm sure that the mix of straight ahead rhythms & smooth, accessable melodics provided the springboard for his later 'funktronic' tracks (as embarrassing as such a label sounds now, they're worth checking out!!).
Overall, then, for those of a nostalgic frame of mind this album should prove an enjoyable trip back to the past while those looking to the future would do well to check out his most recent release SphereWare on the same label.
Artist Link: http://www.sphericmusic.de