Space Gems

Space Gems Cover
1. Rooftop High
2. Mystic Winds
3. Sequencer
4. Far away
5. Wüstenschiff
6. Opera mellotronique
7. Spaceneighbours
8. Passing Jupiter by
9. Fly West
10. Die kosmische Abfahrt
11. Windvogel
Total time: 62:02

P+© 2007 by HEART and MIND - HaM 7

Those were the days in the 70s when homerecording synthesizers and the marvellous Mellotron still meant a cassette or tape recorder. It still was the 'analogue' pre-MIDI time before thousands and thousands of factory presets, computer plug-ins and digital tools appeared. The recorder's sound-on-sound function or primitive tape loops offered the sought-after echo. Multi-tracking had to be done by bouncing two recorded tracks onto another recorder while playing the overdubs live! Every take was an adventure full of emotions and discoveries.

In the last years several reviewers and fans of COSMIC HOFFMANN's music asked him to publish more of his 70's music archive. With the new "SPACE GEMS" Klaus compiled a rather spacey blend of his original handmade (non-MIDI) electronic music from the period 1975-1979 with sequencers, Mellotron and vintage synths in the vein of Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream or Schulze. Traces of unreleased song material of his huge archive could be found scattered over his previous CDs but now for the first time COSMIC HOFFMANN fully opened his 'magic box' of handmade spacey gems for this compilation of original electronic music.Expect an interesting production of various electronic styles with a lot of spontaneous ideas and a long breath for moods and spaceyness.

Instruments used: Mellotron M 400 S + various tape frames, Mini Moog, ARP Odyssey, Roland M 100 Modular System, Roland drum machines, Italian organ, Korg PS 3100, Fender Rhodes Piano
This release from 2007 offers 62 minutes of astral electronic music.

Hoffmann plays Mellotron, various tape frames, mini Moog, ARP Odyssey, drum machines, organ and Fender Rhodes piano. Joining him (on electronics on two tracks) is Horst Theis.Diverse electronics produce celestial journeys of entrancing glory. This music falls into two classes: astral ambience and tracks of more lively substance.

The former embody textural flows to create interstellar territories of expansive temperament. Languid keyboards introduce dreamy sweeps that lend pleasant layers to the mix, elevating these pieces beyond the realm of conventional harmonic auralscapes. Melodic progressions are keynote here.

The more sprightly tracks employ bouncy keyboards to achieve their escape velocity, since percussion is sparsely used. The sounds themselves are very cosmic, engagingly unearthly. Nimble fingers produce shimmering riffs that cascade with streaming ebullience. Cycles are established and embellished, resulting in a simplicity that evolves into delightful structures of astral complexity.

Percussion is used sparingly, usually manifesting as simple rhythms that offer a mild propulsion to the tunes. In some pieces, the beats achieve a more strident presence and even heightened tempos.

Whether dreamy or spry, these compositions possess a glorious beauty dedicated to the wonders of realms beyond our own atmosphere. Mankind's outward urge is captured and conveyed with emotional resolve. The moods are ones of exploration and thrilling awe at undiscovered mysteries.

Soniccuriosity© 2009 Matt Howarth
Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock often mixes new material with archival recordings, but on Space Gems he has gone truly retro, with all the recordings originating from 1975-1979. As such, there is an authenticity to the vintage sounds that is apparent. The slight rough edges, both in composition and sound quality, add to the listening experience in a way. "Rooftop High" makes the most of a propulsive, panning synth, adorning it simply but effectively with mellotron flutes and strings. "Mystic Winds" whooshes in low wind being the predominant sound, joined by just a light smattering of atmospheric synths, a wonderful example of the less-is-more approach. Titles don't get much more self-explanatory than "Sequencer," and what you see/hear is what you get. The loops are simple but hypnotic. Again we hear just a bit of other electronics to give it more substance, but not too much. I really like the ending, with a long slow fade on the sequencer as a more atmospheric passage wraps things up. Bubbly electronic percussion gives a lighter feel to "Far Away," a very pleasant arrangement with just a bit more complexity. "Wüstenschiff" has a steady beat and builds into a wall of sound. The name "Opera Mellotronique" aptly describes this beautiful piece. "Spaceneighbours" chugs in quite coolly with some great space rock. "Passing Jupiter By" is a great floater, surprisingly soft and minimal. The disc continues alternating space music with psychedelic rock, all of it worth listening to. Can /Space Gems 2/ be far behind?

© 2008 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock is a character who is as important as Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese in the sphere of EM. Being a precursor of the Mellotron, a polyphonic keyboard which reads sounds from magnetic tapes, the founder of 'Mind Over Matter' created an impressive music vault which is the fruit of his experiments and research in sound. Answering an increased request of his fans, Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock removed dust from these old archives of the 70s, to present his first volume of a Mellotron fiesta, 'Space Gems'.

And this first collection starts with a heavy one. 'Rooftop High' is a fusion of static loops whose reverberations cut across each other, forming a sequence with hatch tempo. The rhythm is linear, even atonic, finding its form on the echo of the symmetrical blows of chimerical violins, wrapped of silky vaporous Mellotrons, a title curiously bewitching, which dips back its atmosphere to rotary loops on 'Sequencer'. The Mellotron can also be synonymous of softness and influence floating moments as 'Mystic Winds' which floats around a slow and enveloping synth, just like the very calm 'Passing Jupiter By' and morphing spacey 'Die Kosmische Abfahrt'. 'Far Away' revolves on a beautiful wandering sequence, like a space western. The movement is linear and finds its form on beautiful synths which insufflate slow melodies, accompanying the arid walk of a lonely soul. 'Wüstenschiff' breaks the vaporous tempo with an electric beat where the metallic blows of a sledgehammer are hammering a throbbing Mellotron journey to Arab savour. A title which was surely inspired by Kraftwerk, New Order or Depeche Mode with its incisive tempo and ramming beat. I hear some effluence sounds of Bowie's 'Heroes' on this one, too.

'Opera mellotronique' is a slow movement where Mellotrons form a moving chord section, supported by a beautiful wind section instrument. The fans of King Crimson will find this so limpid sonority which worked the musical structure of the group from its whole beginning. The illusion of a small orchestra is so perfect.

Under furious synths, 'Spaceneighbours' takes again the road of rhythms with a sequence that hems under striations of analog rain which tear up an impulse with waterfall curves. 'Fly West' is another jewel of the analog era on sharp-edged synths. Its cadence is heavy and gimlets in echotic loops which harpoon the sound with power, a superb title which balances with wonder the bivalent atmospheres of 'Space Gems', which encloses on the dreamy 'Windvogel', a track that could dissolve an iceberg with its flute to so intense and touching radiations.

Lovers of the Mellotron, run and get this essential CD! For the neophytes, tell yourself that 'Space Gems' is a superb collection which presents the two principal sides of EM from the analog: on one hand, there are these heavy movements with successive loops that create atmospheres to unimaginable rhythms and, on the other hand, there are those sumptuous movements with space wanders that blow as atonic caresses.

At all events, the result is astonishing and shows all the possible depth between two fields with unmatched magnetisms. Concerning Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, it extends the size of his talent on music and a sonority which belongs clearly to him and which, for unexplainable reasons, remains still too much ignored.

Sylvain Lupari /Guts Of Darkness / Canada 2007
As vintage electronic music is very popular in the last couple of years, several musicians and bands have released stuff from their archives. Well, the same goes for Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, aka Cosmic Hoffmann, who started composing electronic music around the middle of the 70s. 'Space Gems', subtitled 'vintage rarities of the 70s', is the first full release containing eleven tracks from Klaus' vaults. There certainly are some rather raw, straightforward sounds found on the album as heard on 'Rooftop High' or 'Sequencer', but there's also a lot of room for the beautiful soundings of the famous Mellotron, an instrument which shows up in almost every piece. Things get more dynamic in the fifth track 'Wüstenschiff', a symphonic Mellotron composition with a pumping rhythm. Personally, I prefer the quieter, refined soundings of vintage gear, as heard on 'Mystic Winds' or 'Far Away'. This is also beautifully highlighted on 'Opera Mellotronique', where the grand retro sounds glow in all its stillness. 'Fly West' is also a very nice atmospheric sequencer effort with a great solo lead. 'Passing Jupiter By' is a meandering, slow morphing space track, which also goes for 'Die Kosmische Abfahrt' and the quiet soundscapes of the closing track 'Windvogel'. I presume this will the first volume from a series of excavated tracks from the old days, so let's see what more stuff will come from Cosmic Hoffmann archive.

Bert Strolenberg,
Der Musiker Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock ist vor allem durch sein Projekt Mind Over Matter bekannt geworden, doch auch als Cosmic Hoffmann hat er schon einige CDs veröffentlicht. Im Herbst 2007 erscheint nun die CD "Space Gems" auf seinem eigenen Label. Schon in frühen Jahren hat sich Klaus für Musik interessiert. Waren es zunächst der Beat, so kam in den 60enr die Psychedelic und in den 70ern der elektronische Krautrock hinzu. Und bereits in den 70ern experimentierte er mit elektronischen Instrumenten, wie z. B. Mini-Moog und Mellotron.

Klaus hat seine Archive durchforstet und präsentiert auf der neuen CD Stücke, die in der Zeit zwischen 1975 und 1979 entstanden. Seine Stücke liegen dabei aber nicht, wie z. B. bei Klaus Schulze bei einer LP-Länge, sondern sind zwischen 4:06 und 7:50 Minuten lang. Die Liste der Instrumente, die bei den Stücken zum Einsatz kommen, liest sich wie das "Who is who" der elektronischen Klangerzeuger und geht vom Mellotron über ARP Odyssey bis hin zum Fender Rhodes Piano.

Gleich beim Opener "Rooftop High" geht dem Freund der alten analogen Klänge ein Herz auf. Das klingt sehr stark nach "Berliner Schule". Mellotron-Sounds werden mit pulsierenden Sequenzen gepaart. Einziges Manko, nach nur knapp sechs Minuten, gerade wo man als Elektronikfan so richtig in den Track einsteigen will, ist bereits Schluss. Aber nicht nur rein melodische Track bietet Klaus, bei "Mystic Winds" rauscht es herrlich von links nach rechts aus den Boxen und wieder zurück. Hier erzeugt Klaus elektronische Stimmungen, in die man sich fallen lassen kann.

Beim folgenden Track "Sequencer" spielt er mit denselben, denn es werden verschiedene Sequenzen übereinander gelegt. Dem Ganzen spendiert er dann noch einige Flächen und Effekte. Ein klasse Track.

"Wüstenschiff" sticht deutlich aus dem Album hervor. Es stellt für mich eine Kombination aus Elektronik und Poprhythmen dar. Das klingt etwas laut und schrill. Ich weiß nicht warum, aber mir kommt bei diesem Rhythmus die Neue Deutsche Welle in den Sinn. Wenn ich dem Titel einen Stempel aufdrücken müsste, würde ich sagen: "Berliner Schule" trifft "NDW". Im krassen Gegensatz steht dazu "Opera mellotronique", das eine sehr ruhige und sanfte Stimmung verbreitet, da es ohne Rhythmus auskommt. Das hat wirklich was von klassischer Musik.

Klaus agiert bis auf den Titel "Spaceneighbours" allein. Beim letztgenannten begleitet ihn Horst Theis. Ein toller Track, bei dem es nur so zischt und zirpt. Das klingt wie ein Weltraumgefecht, nur nicht so hektisch. Klaus arbeitet bei diesem Stück zusätzlich auch mit der Lautstärke, die er variiert und die vor allem im letzten Drittel abnimmt. Der Titel "Passing Jupiter By" ist gut gewählt, denn diese weiten Flächen könnten gut für einen Science Fiction Film dienen, in dem man ein Raumschiff langsam um einen Planeten fliegen sieht.

Bei dem Anfangsrhythmus von "Fly West" hab ich erst gedacht jetzt kommt "I Feel Love" von Donna Summer, so ähnlich klingt diese Sequenz, doch der Track hat so gar nichts mit der Disco-Nummer aus meiner Teenagerzeit zu tun. Die Melodie könnte auch einem John Dyson-Album entnommen sein. Super gemacht. Leider ist dieser Track mit 4:26 Minuten auch wieder recht kurz. Sehr atmosphärisch, spacig und verträumt verabschiedet den Hörer dann der Abschlusstrack "Windvogel".

Klanglich ist die CD 1A und wirkt gar nicht antiquiert. Das hört sich an, als sei es erst gestern eingespielt worden. Musikalisch hat Klaus da ein kleines Schatzkästchen mit vielen Überraschungen aufgemacht. Bei dieser Auswahl an Stücken bin ich neugierig, was er da noch so alles in petto hat. Freunde analoger Sounds werden das abwechslungsreiche Album mögen. Da ist für jeden was drin, daher kann ich diese CD nur vorbehaltlos empfehlen.

Stephan Schelle, MusikZirkus-Magazin, Oktober 2007

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