Wednesday, April 03, 2013


Review: Soniq Theater - Stardust Memories (2013)

Artist: Soniq Theater
Album: Stardust Memories
Year: 2013
Label: Self released
Review: Diego Camargo


Thoughts: Soniq Theater is, in fact, a one man band - the German musician Alfred Mueller. Soniq Theater is supposed to be a blend of Progressive styles, but is mainly focused on Symphonic Prog.
It’s very common of one-man bands, especially the ones driven by keyboards, to go towards the Ambient, New Age and Progressive Electronic paths. In Soniq Theater you’ll have those too, but not in abundance.
Up till now Alfred has released 13 albums since 2000. It means one album by year, which is a remarkable achievement. Even if he records and releases the music himself in an independent and semi-pro way, it is of a very good overall quality.
All of his albums can be downloaded on the ‘Name your price’ scheme, you can pay whatever you want for the albums (even nothing), on his Bandcamp page HERE. Or you can also buy the CD-Rs HERE.

Stardust Memories (2013) is his latest album, released in January 2013 and it has 13 compositions. The album follows a calm pace where the slow and romantic melodies are the main focus. Don’t expect any miraculous riff or any extreme weird tempo signature. That’s not the goal here.

All of the songs on Stardust Memories (2013) were composed and recorded in the last year with 3 exceptions: ‘Globular Cluster’ was recorded back in 1986 and it’s a Space Rock/Progressive Electronic mini journey. ‘Infinity’ was recorded back in 1987 and closes the album, again in a space mood. And ‘Break The Frame’ was recorded in 1997 with the guitars from Jens Klenk.

Listening to Stardust Memories (2013) is certain that Alfred is a very good composer and he certainly knows how to choose his keyboards sounds, all of them very nicely inserted in the songs, in the right moments. Alfred uses a bunch of ‘toys’ to make his music, for example Ensoniq TS10, Ensoniq EPS sampler, Yamaha SY85 Synthesizer, Roland JV1080 soundmodule, E-MU Vintage Keys, E-MU B-3 Hammond Organ module, E-MU Orbit soundmodule, Alesis DM5 drummodule and many others (you can take a look at his list of equipment HERE.
But it is also certain that Alfred would do better in Soniq Theater with a real band to collaborate with.
I can clearly see his music in the hands of a good band with him on keyboards of course. That would make his album a really strong one. Not that his music is weak because he’s doing it by himself, not at all. But I certainly can see it even stronger with a real band.
For example, in the track ‘Break The Frame’ where we have the guitar player Jens Klenk and some real drum sounds. It’s not the best track on the album, but it’s more ‘real’.

But I guess after thirteen years doing music by himself Alfred is pretty much settled down with his work, and that’s what he likes to compose, play and record. And that, my friends, is being true to yourself.

Musically speaking, Stardust Memories (2013) comes like a glove for the lovers of Jean Michel Jarre or the later period of Rick Wakeman. Lots of layered keyboards working on the melodies, sampled drums and basses and lot of interesting ideas. Among all the tracks there are three songs that go towards Progressive Electronic: ‘Hyperion’, ‘Alien Civilisation’and ‘Metropolis On Mars’, which are the weaker ones. It’s a nice effort in the keyboard field that deserves to be listened at least once by every keyboard Prog fan.

You can also check the Soniq Theater music in our Podcast #9 HERE.


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