Title: Lucid Dream Cities
Artist: Michael Peters
Release Date: 2014 Dec 07
Genre: Experimental / Loops
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Self-Release / BandCamp
Michael Peters is from Koln, Germany, he has been playing guitar since the early 1970’s. He has studied with Robert Fripp of King Crimson, and is a member of the CT-Collective (Chain Tape Collective). Lucid Dream Cities was recorded before, during and after a small tour of England at the end of 2014.
Michael Peters: Lucid Dream Cities
Michael Peter’s has been highly influence by his teacher: Robert Fripp, and the concept of Frippertronics. Frippertronics is a method of creating guitar loops by running the guitar sound between two chained together reel to reel tape recorders, such that the sounds are repeated over and over.
While loops of this type are one of the inspirations for Michael, his work encompasses many other elements of guitar style including rock and jazz. He also uses field recordings, and digitally manipulated sounds in creating his works. And this brings us to his latest release: Lucid Dream Cities.
The work is really a showcase of how Michael’s style has evolved over that last year, which has an internal cohesion despite the wide range in styles. For example, Prophecy is a rhythmically driven tune with minimal guitar chords fading in and out which sounds like a sideways nod to Steve Reich’s minimalist style mixed with the rhythmic drive of King Crimson.
One the experimental digital manipulation side there are pieces like Band on a String. The piece opens with a blurred background of field recordings, and sped up guitar (which sounds like an homage to Mike Oldfield) with a guitar improvising over the top of it. But then the background fades away, and the piece progresses into a jazzy duet of guitar and saxophone which is eventually joined by drums and bass (which has a bit of a feeling along the lines of Bill Bruford’s Earthworks).
The album is constantly shifting like this. From one track to the next, a new vista of sound experience unfolds before the listener’s ears. Some are exquisite little miniatures like Adorned With Dew, which some are completely experimental atonal pieces like Rain-Metal-Stone. All of the pieces are fascinating, and hold up well to multiple listens.
If there is anything to criticize about this work it would be the shift in recording quality and levels between tracks can be somewhat jarring at times. Also the shift into the more experimental or more ambient styles might be a bit less accessible for some listeners.
Don’t let all the talk about experimental, ambient, and minimalism in this review scare you away. Michael Peters: Lucid Dream Cities is a work of a master. While not every piece on this release might appeal to all listeners, it’s worth taking the time to listen all the way through, and get an idea of how it all fits together. This is a case where the sum of all the parts is greater than any of the individual parts.