Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Earthstar-Atomkraft?Nein Danke!,LP,1981,Germany

Earthstar is a multi-national space-music ensemble masterminded by American multi-keyboardist Craig Wuest. Wuest's vision propels these two albums, his desire apparently is to create music that doesn't necessarily suggest a particular instrument, rather creates a new texture. Therefore, though there are credits for flute, guitar, bass, violin, viola, french horn, sitar and vocals, it's pretty hard to distinguish any of these from the ubiquitous synthesizers. (I managaed to pick out guitars and sitar, but that's about it) Thus, Wuest is successful in this endeavour. The two long tracks on French Skyline ("Latin Sirens Face The Wall" and "French Skylines Suite") explore slowly shifting, but discrete, passages. "Latin Sirens..." opens with fiery choir-keyboard and guitar sounds which give way to a sequenced rhythm with energetic synth-soloing on top and ending in a swirl of synthesizer sounds. Produced by Klaus Schulze, who's an obvious influence on this album. Atomkraft... is an album of ecologically-themed programme-music. Wuest surrounds himself with nine guest players on piano, electric guitar, strings, piano, electronics and tuned percussion. The ten tracks vary from light and airy, like the piano-and-bells-heavy "Golden Rendezvous," to slightly symphonic like "Sonntagspaziergang" or "Wind Mills," which include violin and cello in the instrumentation, to creepy electronic dreamscapes like "Solar Mirrors" and the pulsing "Cafe Sequence." A very different, but equally enjoyable album. Also issued in 1981 was a final album entitled For Humans Only.
Although Craig Wuest was indeed the founder and driving force behind Earthstar, he is not German as stated in the GEPR entry but instead hails from the small city of Utica, New York. Craig was among the first musicians in the Utica area to own a synthesizer, and he was strongly influenced by the German electronic music scene of the late 1970s, in particular Klaus Schulze, with whom he struck up a correspondence. With Schulze's encouragement, Craig moved to Germany, where he spent the next several years. Earthstar was essentially Craig plus whomever he asked to participate in his projects. The first Earthstar LP, Salterbarty Tales, was released by the Nashville-based Moontower Records prior to Craig's departure for Germany and is nearly impossible to find. The first Earthstar release on the German Sky label, French Skyline was recorded partly in Utica, partly in a number of German studios, and featured a mixed crew of American and European musicians. After its release, a number of Craig's former collaborators in Utica, including myself, joined him in Germany for the recording of Atomkraft? Nein Danke! A fourth Earthstar LP, For Humans Only, was basically the result of a partnership between Craig and Utica guitarist/songwriter Dan Hapanowicz. The group dissolved soon after, and to the best of my knowledge I am the only former member actively making music today (playing in Jeff Greinke's LAND and my own group, Nada, among others). Sky Records has recently released two compilation CDs, Schwingungen and Schwingungen II, which feature cuts by Earthstar; this marks the first appearance on CD by the group. Both French Skyline and Atomkraft are still available on LP from Sky. -- Dennis Rea (a former member of Earthstar) .
From New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock

Very nice Sky records release.
get it here

8 comments:

musicgnome said...

Another complete unknown I am happy to acquaint myself.

tape said...

RE: EARTHSTAR, Cool, I enjoyed "french skyline" and always wondered if they did anything else, and thankfully they did, and I got to hear it thanks to you!... nice sounds.

Cheers!

Adam Eleven said...

Wow! Never even heard of this album. Just got French Skyline from Krautrock Team @ Blogspot which is really good (produced by Klaus Schulze). Can't wait to listen to this one. Thanks again Mr MS

Earthstar fan said...

"Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!" is an outstanding album but... it's still in print and probably not a good candidate for file sharing as a result.

The two out of print Earthstar albums are "Salterbarty Tales" (excellent!) and "Humans Only" (not bad but not great). Those would be interesting additions for your blog in the future. "Humans Only" is pretty reasonable on the used market (vinyl LP only). Good luck finding "Salterbarty Tales".

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Please post more Earthstar! Thanks.

UTICA said...

a man i know was a member of this band, i'm from utica. any way you can post the first 2 albums???

Charlie Martina said...

Also from Utica,and went to college with Dan Hapanowicz and met Craig a few times."Humans Only" was great,as was all of their albums.Would do ANYTHING to get a download of Humans Only,as I have a cassette tape from the demo vinyl that Dan let me borrow to tape and bring RIGHT BACK.My friend bought the album,but I can't locate him.Earthstar.....just good awesome music.Case closed...ah the memories!-Chaz

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot!