Quasar, Frank - Atmos

Year of Release: 1996
Label: Qua Records
Catalog Number: 100
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:53:00

Ask anyone about electronic music and chances are you get names like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Kraftwerk and Jean-Michel Jarre thrown at you. Obviously there's plenty more where they came from but to the untrained listener these are the major names linked with synthesizers, samplers, rhythm composers and above all atmosphere!

It's that particular atmosphere which forms the backbone for the third CD by Belgian electronic musician Frank Quasar. Aptly titled Atmos, the seven tracks take us on an hour long journey through various themes and indeed ... atmospheres. So far Frank has released an album every two years (not counting his vinyl output Dusk from 1988 and his presence on the Ambient Nation sampler) and each time he goes further and further, getting better and better. The sleeve design is a delight whilst the music is yet again professional in every aspect.

Don't you say "new age" to his skilled output or Frank will dissect you single handedly. However I can fully understand that particular comparison once you've listened to the healing sounds of the title track drifting through your over-stressed brains. Interspersed with some pilot briefing (Frank also flies) it changes from the ordinary by use of some splendid percussive sounds.

Whilst other bands/artists can include some wit in their lyrics, the instrumental artist is limited to the titles. That's why I liked "The Q-Files" so much whilst musically it's uplifting, making me think of the danceable elements within Kraftwerk and Jarre's music. Why not release a single edit for airplay or better still a remix 12 inch for the dance floor so Frank can count his royalties, leave his daytime job and concentrate fulltime on what he does best!

As opposed to the classic cosmic recordings from say the seventies (which went on and on, yawn, yawn), Quasar's music is composed in the same vein as Vangelis. He uses the classic electronic components, juggles with analogue and digital equipment and doesn't fear to throw in some rhythmic patterns to create something new and exciting. On top of this he settles some nice melodies - alas not as impressive as Vangelis but then again you have to bear in mind that this CD has been recorded, produced and mixed in one small room in the guy's private house! It cannot therefore be compared with colossal recordings such as Chariots Of Fire. However, all lovers of good music should at least listen to the lengthy "Independence".

With the sounds of crickets in the distance and loud bangs in the foreground Quasar evokes the beginning of life in ... "The Beginning." Frank being a boy from the sea, it doesn't take long before we hear the sound of bubbling water nicely assisted by the sounds of exotic birds: a musical paradise! A must-have for the chillout room!

"Climaxic" builds and builds, has some wonderful piano but still doesn't get that melody which will stick into your mind for the rest of your earthly days. It should also get more and more bombastic but although samplers can be an ideal solution I still think you can only obtain the necessary sound by using a real choir here. However it should be said that Atmos is a very fine album indeed, an album which should see some of its themes being used in the world of film so it can finally reach those music lovers that are still not aware of the name Frank Quasar.

I sincerely hope this review will be read by the great Vangelis himself so he might give our Frank Quasar the chance to record in the Vangelis studio. The end result my friends would be mindboggling!

So welcome the sound of Atmos with open ears: a trip into transparency!

Atmos (9:18) / The Q-Files (5:44) / Chiron (4:56) / Independence (11:13) / The Beginning (10:57) / Between Clouds (9:27) / Climaxic (8:15)

Frank Quasar - analog and digital synths (Roland, E-MU systems, Korg, Crumar), sampler (Yamaha), digital effects processors (Yamaha, Roland)

Dusk (1988, Excess Records ER 1005 (vinyl only))
Force Of Nature (1992, Qua Records 001)
Infinity (1994 Qua Records 010)
Atmos (1996, Qua Records 100)
Ambient Nation (1994, AFE-CD 9401)*
Ambient Nation Vol. 2 (1995 AFE-CD 9502)*
Ambient Explorer (1998 AFE-CD 9803)*
The Ambient Eclipse (1997, Mirage-Oasis, Canada)*

*compilation of artists

Genre: Ambient

Origin BE

Added: April 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Hits: 1342
Language: english


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