Soniq Theater - Vision Quest,
Alfred Mueller has been in different bands from the age of 18, but since 1999 he has devoted his musical attentions solely to Soniq Theater, which he describes as “one-man project, presenting a blend of progressive styles, mainly symphonic progressive rock with elements of metal, ambient, electronic music, classical music and fusion. His 2009 album ‘Vision Quest’ is the 9th album that he has released under this name, and is available solely through his website (www.soniqtheater.de) - as with his other albums this is very much a low-key operation with the ‘cover’ being just paper, no proper booklet as such. But, this really does bring back that days of tape trading that was so rife in the early Eighties – a one man operation producing music and then doing his best to get it heard by the world.
So, what about the music itself? Everything here appears to be played on synths and keyboards of various types, with Alfred layering the sounds so that it does appear much of a band with ‘drums’ and ‘bass’ making appearances as well. In many ways I find his style to be much more in common with Jean Michel Jarre than Keith Emerson, as there is less focus on the bombastic and more on the ambient. Often themes are repeated, but when he gives himself the opportunity to expand and push his boundaries a little more then that is when he really shines. The obvious standout track here is “Jonathan Seagull” (which I presume is a reference to the Richard Bach book as opposed to the Neil Diamond film soundtrack) where Alfred plays with far more dominance and presence, and the song benefits from that. Overall the album contains many ambient as well as some prog elements and is an enjoyable album that is a good introduction to Alfred’s work.