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HIRO KAWAHARA – IN MEMORY OF PETER FROHMADER (2024)

I previously reviewed Hiro’s recent album for the Cuneiform label of Hiro’s collaborative music with an innovative electronic musician he never had the opportunity to physically meet, Peter Frohmader. Hiro sent me a link to a You Tube video containing all of the 60 minutes on the compilation.


I will try my best to describe to you what I hear on here. It is a remix of material from various albums, mostly “Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich” (1979), “Homunculus 1” (1985), “Ritual” (1985) and “Homunculus 2” (1987) consisting of 32 tracks. Hiro recommends a headphone listen and I will give you a few impressions of what I hear - definitely worth checking out for any adventurous fan of electronic music!


There is a fascinatingly esoteric range of musical styles, opening with a modern classical touch perhaps, sounding is if it were recorded in a cathedral-like setting with soaring voices. A shock to the system comes next (not an unpleasant one) with heavy electric guitar fading out in under two minutes. The next thing I remember is a sound like treated violins(?!) with repeated piano notes, and then the mood changes once more with an excerpt that would be at home in the world ‘industrial’ music. So far, I could not think of any comparisons, but a mysterious synth/ organ section with off-beat drumming had, to my ears at least, shades of TANGERINE DREAM followed by what I can only describe as an alien landscape in sound.

Rolling drums with doomy chords recall early PINK FLOYD, and I noted that what follows would make good horror film music. There are more drums, strange ‘alien’ noises, a sustained synth note, electric guitar; a two-note beat, not quite motoric but close; a rock tune trying to emerge, a mellotron (?), and a haunting synthesised ‘voice’. A psychedelic hard rock style appears, with organ and bass and a frantic clashing percussion at the end. A repeated doomy keyboard chord segues into shimmering organ, bass and drums return; this piece ends abruptly. A gong sounds, then there is more NICK MASON type drumming, and afterwards a funky bit (did I imagine it?) Then come more ghostly voices’ some muscular guitar riffs and heavy drumming, more ghostly noises, articulate bass, a mellotron or string synth, and lots more besides!


I asked Hiro about the inspirations for this music. He said that he remembered a comment from Peter in an interview in which he expressed a love for Gothic horror movies like Dracula and also mentioned H.R. Giger. Hiro’s remix was selected from parts of Peter’s work that he particularly likes and this compilation follows (a year later) the Cuneiform Records release on the first anniversary of Peter’s passing. The music is free and available only on Psychedelic Babymag.com.

The link via You Tube is:

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