Roger Powell ‎– Cosmic Furnace

Atlantic ‎– SD 7251
Vinyl, LP, Album


A1 Ictus: Primordial Pulse 4:57
A2 Lumia: Dance Of The Nebulae 5:14
A3 Fourneau Cosmique: The Alchemical Furnace Of Cleopatra 7:42
B1 Hermetic Enigma: The Fixed Volatile 5:47
B2 Queene Enfineska: Serenity Of The Lion In Summer 3:24
B3 Tensegrity: A Dymaxion Triptych 8:37




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December 7, 2015
edited about 1 year ago
This is probably the ultimate ARP demonstration record out there. Before a member of Rundgren's Utopia, Roger Powell was working for ARP Instruments. He was their company musician, who'd test the gear before it's ready to ship out (much like Mike Pinder working for Streetly Electronics prior to the Moody Blues, testing the Mellotron before it was ready to ship out). The only non-ARP gear you hear on this album are the Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hohner clavinet, and standard piano. The great news was it was released on Atlantic Records, so any record buyer was able to get a hold of one in 1973. Every bit of ARP available to the public in 1973 is heard here: the 2600, 2500, Odyssey, and Pro-Soloist. Many electronic artists, like Edgar Froese/Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre tended from classical backgrounds, while Roger Powell has a more jazz-oriented bent, as the music demonstrates. Plenty of sequenced sounds can be heard, likely coming from the ARP 2500, and all sorts of other ARP sounds. The more reedy sounds are likely to come from the Pro-Soloist (like you hear on those Genesis albums). There are times you swear there's a guitar, but instead it was distorted ARP synths (probably Odyssey). You can tell right away this is quite a bit different from all those Moog albums that overflooded the marked the previous few years. No cheesy renditions of pop and classical songs done by middle aged men, this is all original, with plenty of experimental moments, as well as more melodic moments. I really have a hard time to describe this. So much electronic music you can compare to the likes of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Jean Michel Jarre, and the likes, but Cosmic Furnace came out a bit early for any of that (OK so Tangerine Dream and Schulze were releasing albums in '73 but are very different from the albums they did in the mid to late '70s that made them famous, and even Jarre released some obscure library music album with Deserted Palace, and a soundtrack album with Les Granges Brûlées, but even they bear little resemblance to his famous material). You really can't compare Cosmic Furnace to any of those. It has a much more down-to-earth vibe, likely due to the jazz-influence. He hasn't released much solo material. He got busy with Todd Rundgren and Utopia (where he favored the Moog System 55 modular), and playing with other artists, like David Bowie and even Steve Hillage (whose 1976 album L might as well been a Utopia album fronted by Hillage, as it featured all the late '70s Utopia members, without Todd, but with Todd producing).

So if you want some electronic music that features all sorts of ARP synthesizers, this is well worth getting!