Filter-Kaffee 102 (77'30") recalls the creation in Berlin of a unique kind of avant-garde. Riding the winds of free expression, this genre paid fresh attention to the human spirit. In the ageless in-the-moment immediacy of this school of experimentation, Mario Schönwälder has again teamed with Frank Rothe to realize an album inspired by the electronic music movement of pre-ambient/techno Europe. Filter-Kaffee 102 grew out of a fascination with the ability of electronic music to facilitate a cinematic yet personal experience in sound. To Schönwälder + Rothe, the synthesizer is the ultimate creative tool to be used toward these ends. With this technology offering a versatile palette of contrasting textures animated by hands-on manipulation, Filter-Kaffee 102 emerges as a free-flight into the wordless. Present in this music are all the syncopated electronic rhythms, haunting melodic lead lines and unearthly morphing atmospheres usually found in good spacemusic. Yet the interplay of light and dark, of colors and textures, speaks of a frontier that is not merely of the vast regions between stars, but in the relationship between inner and outer space - the bridge between the mental and the physical. Fundamentals have a way of asserting themselves. Their Mellotron strings have a fragile glowing consistency, often providing an ominous texture against which the cycling sequencer patterns stand out in bold relief. Prettiness with a tough core, the six tracks acknowledge the physical power of sound without forgoing the chance to stimulate more intellectual responses. In places, a most delicate study of interesting sonic hues, while elsewhere this album turns starkly dramatic. Slowly finding their grip, electronic tone patterns echo and pulse beneath hovering ambient shadows, as commanding melodies flee past shimmering sonic shapes. Schönwälder + Rothe take you away from daylight thinking - to experience things one just does not encounter by day. In this music from the edge of darkness, the night mind surrenders itself to sound - until concluding with a sense of being delivered, at last, to your-self.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 10 June 2015