Bernd Kistenmacher

(LP - Bureau B #BB 214LP)

Review by Andrew Wedlake

In 1986, Bernd Kistenmacher released his first album Head-Visions on LP. Now, after several subsequent releases, we are finally seeing this first album on compact disc. Head-Visions is quite a collection of refined, well-crafted tracks, reminiscent of Klaus Schulze during the later seventies. Bernd Kistenmacher's unique instrumentation, however, gives him his own distinctive style. There are four tracks totaling about 65 minutes. Bernd's music flows with a lively energy ranging from a predominantly percussive style to some with a more melodic "spiritual" feel. Especially clever is track two entitled "Quitting Time" (14:24 minutes long). It is structured with an atmospheric background, enveloping around a geometric, Escher-like foreground. The music creates it's own momentum by the way Bernd manipulates his complex sequencers to produce a machine-like timing. The he combines that with a background wash that weaves back and forth through this sonic canvas. There's a certain optimistic, festive quality that's reminiscent of Ashra. That is no coincidence, for he has collaborated with Harald Grosskopf in the past. I have only a few reservations about this album. Although it was done half a decade ago, it sounds almost too much like his more recent albums Kaleidoscope and Outlines; Outlines in my opinion, is his best work to date. However, the more Kistenmacher albums I hear, the more similar they begin to sound. Personally speaking, if "Head-Visions" was all I had ever heard, then I would believe that Bernd was composing some fantastically inventive and original work. However in the years since "Head-Visions" was created, Bernd's style has not made many leaps into further planes of exploration. There's a difference between working towards a style over time and locking oneself into it. Although "Head-Visions" is a clever, energetic and worthy album which I highly recommend, I have heard it all before in the albums he has since released. If you enjoyed any of Bernd's other releases, especially "Characters" with Harald Grosskopf, then you definitely will find Head-Visions very appealing. Contact Musique Intemporelle, Musicproduktion, Wittekindstrasse 42, 1000 Berlin 42, GERMANY

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