Paying respects to his prominent predecessors, American keyboards proponent observes bright perspectives.
Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord and Brian Auger: those artists pioneered the use of Moog synthesizer in rock context, and, listening to them, Robert Schindler also became a convert of ivories-woven vistas the cosmic instrument is capable of creating. Yet while the veteran’s previous album, "Halos And Dogs" which was released earlier in 2022, featured it as part of his keyboards’ palette, it’s the focus of “Dream Suite” that takes its spaced-out sound to the fore as a tribute to the past masters of Robeone’s trade. However, looking back, the North Carolinian doesn’t forget about the future, as all proceeds from this platter’s sales go to Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool to help educate children, so there’s much more to the pieces on display than one may presume.
What Schindler’s offering here is an energetic mélange of different genres – progressive rock, jazz and rhythm-and-blues – whose frequently piquant components never pander to familiar templates Robert’s referring to here and there; instead, these ingredients follow their subtle hallmarks to create a new effervescent and unpredictable whole. That’s why “Hollow” will turn its solemn, piano-plated panorama into a cinematic trip beyond the pale where nebulous figures gel into a multilayered fugue until the camp moves of “All That Razz” find the performer’s nimble fingers dance across the last century’s styles and run the sonic gamut from accordion to organ his keys pretend to emulate. Still, if the artificial voices of “Levels” betray the player’s folk influences before blending into the background and let the almost orchestral piece go off on a tuneful tangent to mesmerize the listener, the faux 8-bit trills propel “M Is For Moog” towards retrofuturistic rapture of epic scope.
But even though there’s nothing surprising in proportions like these, the marriage of Central European melodies and fusion which paints a percussive puszta of “Jazzmorphis” should feel as unexpected as many moves of the album’s titular tapestry. “Dream Suite” is a vibrant, albeit slightly incongruous in its numerous flute-flaunting shifts, 20-minute-long adventure with pseudo-techno, dance groove thrown in time and again to spice it up and prepare one’s ear for the beauty of elegiac passages which make room for fresh jive and sharp rave further down the line. A fitting finale for the record that’s striving to stun on many a stratum to deliver on Robeone’s initial promise over and over.