Gerd’s 2014 album really does want to take us on a journey, as he brings us five numbers where the shortest is more than 21 minutes long, with a total album length of more than 135 minutes. He states they were all recorded live, with the exception of “Landscape and Memory”, which was recorded live in Wiesbaden with the guitar later being added at home. The immediate reaction on hearing this that he is a fan of Tangerine Dream, with long repeated sequences which are built upon and layered. More progressive than ambient, there is definitely a foot in both camps with krautrock having an important part to play. I discovered this is music which has a dark side, an experimentation which takes it away from what normally expects and is far more challenging than I thought it might be and was consequently far more interesting.
The atmosphere builds, swells and recedes, and simple steps such as having “cymbals” flick between different speakers is very effective. I found there was no issue with keeping my attention on the music, even though all the tracks are incredible lengthy, and while in many ways the constructs are quite simple it is also complex in its reach and approach. The journey is an interesting one, with some interesting side paths and uphill challenges, and while not for everyone, is one I am glad I went on. Fans of keyboard soundscapes may well find this intriguing. 6/10 Kev Rowland
Gerd’s 2018 album, ‘SubTerraMachIneA’, is quite different indeed to ‘Journey’. Here he took some five years on the three tracks (again two are lengthy while one is “only” 12 minutes), which has allowed him to produce an album with far more in the way of layers. Whereas on the other he played mostly keyboards with just some guitar overdub, here he has been able to provide piano, different guitars and bass, as well as the sequencers. Consequently, it is musically far removed from the other album I have heard, and indeed “The Tree” is more reminiscent of Mike Oldfield than Tangerine Dream. Here he combines multi-layered piano and bass guitar to create something which is minimalistic, simple, and modern classical with disconcerting edges which makes the listener to think. The acoustic guitar plays its part by providing melody and a rhythm far removed from the syncopation and staccato elements taking place in the forefront.
Overall, this is a far more diverse and experimental piece of work, with electric guitar making its presence felt (and even some feedback) when the time is right to change the dynamics. This is the album where I feel newcomers to his work may find it both more interesting and enjoyable and a good way of discovering his music. It is obvious that Gerd is strong both on keyboards and guitars, and this comes through much more on this release which feels more accomplished because of that. All his works are readily accessible on Bandcamp and he is worth seeking out. 7/10 Kev Rowland
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