Peter Baumann’s Machines of Desire from krautrock legend, late of Tangerine Dream

27th April 2016

Title: Machines of Desire

Label: Bureau B

Right, pay attention people. I’m not quite sure what’s going on with 2016 and why it has cursed music and, it has to be said, entertainment in general by killing off so much talent in such a short time. Its spookily odd that so many greats have thus departed so we must appreciate those ageing greats who are still with us. Baumann is one of those. Appreciate the old bugger before they get him too. Well, he’s in his mid-60s so he’s not that old but you really can’t take anything for granted, at the moment.

Baumann, lest you need me to remind you, was a member of the legendary krautrock outfit, Tangerine Dream from 1971 to 1977 and, in addition to that, was in the producer’s chair when further notables sashayed through his studio (i.e Cluster, Conrad Schnitzler, Hans-Joachim Rodelius et al).

Baumann is back with a new solo work. In fact, apart from a 90s compilation, I think that this is his first piece of original work since 1983’s Strangers in the Night (Arista).

And do you know what? It’s like coming home if you are a TD fan because there are the recognisable, slow beat rhythms from the synth, the steady bass beats and then those glorious high tempo runs that skip over the surface of the music that provide the absolutely seminal Tangerine Dream layering that so defined their work back in the 1970s. But there is more than that. This is not a TD retread. Baumann has taken time to explore the ‘now’ and to develop his sense of the epic to create a piece of music that not only draws upon his history but also utilises his experience to produce a work of fresh, immediacy which resolves itself with a heap of immense maturity.

Peter Baumann, or ‘Batman’ as my spell-checker insists that I call him (and why not? the man is a super hero to many music fans out there) is back with a quiet vengeance. His work is both familiar but also innovative, comforting but also slightly unsettling, melodic and reliable but also dark and slightly confrontational. I hope this is the beginning of a series of considered works from a consummately creative artist.