|1. Shiva Connection|
2. Interstellar Rollercoaster
3. Lightstar Rising
4. Space Arbour
5. A few miles beyond Infinity
6. Hi-Flyin' Shiva
P+© 2000 by HEART and MIND - HaM 2
This is a great follow up to the equally excellent Beyond The Galaxy. Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock is again joined by Stephen Parsick on several tracks, firmly in the realm of things Teutonic. Gentle bubbling sequencers pulse in the undercurrents of the title track, as flowing silky synthesizers melt into the soundscape. The pulse quickens and increases in intensity, then cascades back into soft floating space music. I don't know how people like Hoffman keep making Berlin school fresh and invigorating,but I'm glad for it. Next comes the 20-minute Interstellar Rollercoaster, with sublime atmospherics for several minutes. Bright shimmering tones languish in relaxed fashion. Several minutes into it, the roller coaster effect begins with quickly shuffling percussion-like sequencing and a fast-paced synth lead. This lasts only a few minutes, then delicate ambient textures take over again. Shiva Connection is more floating and surreal than its predecessor.Nary a sequencer or beat to be found on Lightstar Rising a wonderful piece of drift from Hoffman's archives, circa 1977. Space Arbour is equally atmospheric, but with more bite to it, as it sounds more dramatic and ominous than spacey. A few miles beyond Infinity sounds just like that, again suitable for outer space exploration. Hi-Flyin' Shiva is a reinterpretation of sorts of the title track, bringing this terrific space journey full circle to its conclusion.
2001 © Phil Derby / Exposé Magazine
I've listening to Cosmic Hoffmann's "Shiva Connection". I love the intro track "Shiva Connection". It reminds me a little bit of Frank Mertens (former Alphaville) project "Maelstrom". A very smooth relaxing Mellotron and Mini Moog sounds in a spacy atmosphere. It's very far from his 7" Weltraum Boogie... ;) ...the only thing I've heard about him before. The whole record have a strange, deep and dark feeling... a wet and dark cave or something. The Asian feeling penetrate all the tracks like a red string. An excellent finish with "Hi-Flyin' Shiva" makes this record to the top division of the genre. Also a very beautiful cover... a purple fading Shiva full of mystic. His passion for India and Asia in general shows clearly.
2003 © Mathias Härdin / Sweden
In 1999, Mind over Matter frontman Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock surprised the electronic music lovers with the sensational CD "Beyond the Galaxy". This instrumental album which he produced together with the sympathetic keyboard wizard Stephen Parsick contained a sort of electronic music which hasn't been heard for many years: long compositions filled with fat sequencers and bubbling Mellotrons. Music, which has been thought about, I might say. This remarkable CD longed for more. What more kept hidden in the archives of Klaus? Will he continue in this way? The answer to these two questions lies in front of me. "Shiva Connection", which has a great cover, is released in 2000 and, in my opinion, is even much better than "Beyond the Galaxy". What a fabulous composition and what a great production it is. Captain Klaus and flight coordinator Stephen (by the way, when will his second solo-CD will be released?) are ready to take you on a journey to infinity, to quote Arthur C. Clarke. During their impressive concert at E-Live 2000, this modest duo already played two tracks from the album, the title track and "Interstellar Rollercoaster", which lasts more than 20 minutes. Especially during this piece, fans of the early work of Richard Wright (no introduction needed) will be delighted, because now and then early Floydian organs swell. The list of used equipment by the two gentlemen (digital and analog Mellotrons, Mini Moogs, Kurzweils etc.) will smack the lips of many.
Just as with "Beyond the Galaxy", this new album is a mix of old and new live- and studio work. The studio tracks "Lightstar Rising" (7:59) and "A Few Miles Beyond Infinity" (8:52) date from 1977 (!) respectively 1994. "Interstellar Rollercoaster" (20:15), "Space Arbour" (12:47) and "Hi-Flyin' Shiva" (13:09) originate from live-concerts with Stephen from May and December 1999. And "Shiva Connection" (10:48) is a spectacular new studio-track with a very menacing opening. Once again it is clear that Klaus - this time as his alter ego Cosmic Hoffmann - is one of the most important electronic musicians. A survivor who deserves our support. This CD is absolutely recommended to all.
2001 Perry Moree / KLEM NL
In het jaar 1999 verraste Mind over Matter frontman Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock de elektronische muziekliefhebbers met de sensationele cd "Beyond the Galaxy" (HaM 1). Dit samen met de sympathieke toetsentovenaar Stephen Parsick geproduceerde instrumentale album (zie bespreking in KLEM 93) bevatte het soort elektronische muziek die al jaren niet meer te beluisteren was geweest: lange composities vol met vette sequencers en borrelende Mellotrons. Muziek waarover is nagedacht, zal ik maar zeggen. Deze opmerkelijke cd deed al direct verlangen naar meer. Wat zou er nog meer in de archieven van Klaus verborgen liggen? Zou hij op deze weg voortgaan? Het antwoord op deze twee vragen ligt voor me. De van een prachtige hoes voorziene cd "Shiva Connection" is in het jaar 2000 uitgebracht en is naar mijn mening nog vele malen beter dan "Beyond the Galaxy". Wat een fabelachtige composities en wat een schitterende productie. Gezagvoerder Klaus en vluchtcoordinator Stephen (waar blijft zijn tweede solo-cd trouwens?) staan klaar om je mee te nemen op een reis naar de oneindigheid, om Arthur C. Clarke maar eens te citeren. Tijdens de E-Live Dag 2000 in Velthoven liet het bescheiden tweetal tijdens hun indrukwekkende concert al twee tracks horen, te weten de titeltrack en het twintig minuten durende "Interstellar Rollercoaster". Met name tijdens laatstgenoemd nummer zullen de fans van het vroege werk van Richard Wright (geen introductie nodig) verrukt zijn, want zo nu en dan zwellen er vroeg-Floydiaanse orgeltjes aan. De lijst met de door beide heren gebruikte instrumenten (digitale en analoge Mellotrons, Mini Moogs, Kurzweils etc.) zal trouwens menigeen doen likkebaarden.
Net als "Beyond the Galaxy" is dit nieuwe album een mix van oud en nieuw live- en studio-werk. De studio-tracks "Lightstar Rising" (7:59) en "A Few Miles Beyond Infinity" (8:52) dateren uit 1977 (!) respectievelijk 1994. "Interstellar Rollercoaster" (20:15), "Space Arbour" (12:47) en "Hi-Flyin' Shiva" (13:09) zijn afkomstig van live-concerten met Stephen uit mei en december 1999. En "Shiva Connection" (10:48) is een spectaculaire nieuwe studio-track met een zeer dreigend begin. Eens te meer is het duidelijk dat Klaus - ditmaal als zijn alter ego Cosmic Hoffmann - een van de belangrijkste elektronische musici is. Een overlever, die onze steun verdient. Deze cd is een absolute aanrader voor alle Klemmers.
The master sorcerer Cosmic Hoffmann returns, ably assisted by his apprentice Stephen Parsick with a sequencer-filled treat for all you spaceheads out there.
In comparison to its predecessor 'Beyond The Galaxy' this is a rather more bombastic affair with several tracks really shaking the foundations with big, booming sequences, there's never been a better way to overload your mind! 'Interstellar Rollercoaster' is a prime example of this as, after an opening consisting of spooky guitar howls and abstract synth sounds a more melodic feel is created until WHAM! the sequencers arrive and pin you back in your seat, appearing from nowhere (which makes their arrival all the more effective!) and backed up by analogue percussion.
The synth lines reveal a middle Eastern feel before the track returns more towards the abstract realms from whence it came. Thereafter these motifs alternate with sequenced sections and gothic chords with Klaus' famous Mellotron making its presence felt as the piece reaches its final stages. This piece was actually recorded in concert in Eaton (not THAT Eaton, one assumes!) and it must have been one intense concert as the other piece featured here from that performance 'Space Arbour' is another attention grabber by dint of the darik and moody gothic chords that mark the early section of the piece, almost frightening in their intensity it comes as something of a release when the track later settles down somewhat although the gothic feel permeates throughout the track as if 'The Phantom Of The Opera' were composing something in one of his more light-hearted moments!
It's not all sequencers, though, as 'Lightstar Rising' and 'A Few Miles Beyond Infinity' (dating from 1977 & 1994 respectively) are both in the cosmic realms and are far more serene than anything else found on this album. The fact that the only truly cosmic pieces to be found here might suggest that Klaus has been rocking out big time over the past year and the two remaining pieces, 'Shiva Connection' and 'Hi-Flyin' Shiva', which open and close the album respectively seem to bear this out. Both relying on the same sequencer line, the former track especially bears a strong resemblance to 'Phaedra' as the bass sequence emerges out of the ether of cosmic chords to take on a relentless, chugging feel as it gains greater clarity. Here,again, the feel becomes quite boneshaking, albeit to a lesser extent than the live tracks. 'Hi-Flyin' Shiva' sees a greater degree of variety in the melodies employed although the spacey feel is paramount throughout with an unmistakable analogue flavour until the sequencers eventually fade out leaving a writhing mass of chords which eventually depart, too, eaving silence in their wake.
Whilst this will appeal to the retro-heads, Klaus' individual way of composing will ensure that this is not seen as some attempt to emulate the 70s sound, it's too distinctive for that to happen.
2001 SEQUENCES 25 / GB
The first Cosmic Hoffmann CD was something of a smash for us and was also a big favorite of mine so I was eagerly awaiting his second effort 'Shiva Connection'. Again Stephen Parsick (of Ramp) helps out. We open with the title track and it takes less than a minute for the first bass sequence to start to rumble forwards, getting louder and louder over a lovely thick cosmic backdrop. Three minutes in and the sequence is reaching something of earthquake proportions. A big smile is on my face as I realise that if anything this album is going to be even better than the first. The twenty minute 'Interstellar Roller-coaster sounds as if it is going to be something of a blast but initially we get metallic drones then a sort of electronic wailing.
Its all rather dark and sinister but then at two minutes a new sound is brought in and it is as if the sun has suddenly shone through a window and everything is transformed to a gentle tranquility. We float on the metallic pads for a further four minutes then a very fast sequence bursts forth becoming beefier with sonic splashes over the top. It then mutates into a slow drum pattern and another sequence builds underneath. Its all rather complex but mesmerizing. Things build and twist as a tidal wave of pulsating notes spew from the speakers. A rather Eastern lead line flashes over the top but even this becomes rather manic at times. Lovely Tron sounds swell in the background and become more dominant as the sequence fades to lower in the mix. The track hasn't stayed still for a minute as we career from one exciting twist to the next thrilling turn. Half way in things become rather tranquil but only for a little over a minute as a rhythm strikes up and again the foot goes full down on the accelerator. Oh boy I just know I haven't got enough of this CD in stock. This is amazing stuff!
Things change again as we go through a section that sounds rather Turkish to me but by know I wouldn't be surprised by anything. There are so many ideas here and they are all of genius proportions. Things now become rather distorted and cereal until we enter the final stage which is a beautiful section that could almost have come off TD's 'Alpha Centauri'. A lovely relaxed way to finish after the mayhem of before. After the opening blast provided by the first half hour of the album the next three numbers are much more atmospheric. 'Lightstar Rising' is a nice gentle track. It has a flutey introduction then we drift deep into the cosmos. Its one to just close your eyes and chill to. 'Space Arbour' initially continues in a similar fashion but then gets somewhat darker and powerful. At one point a celestial organ sound comes in and mixes with the cosmic backing to conjure up images of a celestial church. This is extremely vivid picture music.
'A few miles beyond infinity' is next. At three minutes in we get some TD 'Encore' type sounds but quickly move on into more cosmic regions again. With 'Hi-Flyin Shiva' the sequencer is re-introduced. Fantastic electronic shimmers abound out of which the sequence slowly emerges building all the time The feeling is one of restrained power, of calmness on the edge of chaos. So to sum up, this is all class stuff. The sequences on the first two and last tracks are all top notch and the sounds used throughout the entire album are retro heaven but with a bit of a hard edge to them at the same time. (DL)