The self-titled debut by Neuland may be based on the 1970s Berlin-School, but it narrates from the future. Neuland unites two of Germany's most prominent and established synthesists: Peter Baumann and Paul Haslinger. The pairing brings out the best each has to offer. Baumann & Haslinger have a great deal in common. They both independently rose to icon status - catalyzing the contemporary synth community - through their work with Tangerine Dream and in significant solo projects. On Neuland two monuments to our scene offer fresh insight into the energetic realm located somewhere above Spacemusic but just below Prog-Rock. Fortunately for intelligent listeners their pursuits are beyond that of the commercial audience. Freely exhibiting a musical vision and technological talent this duo lights up the neural pathways - and leads us on a substantial listening experience. In a swirl of synthesizers a tumbling latticework of echoing notes dance along scales of minor key textures. Sequencers fire like mental mechanisms - to better align thought and mood toward a more positive current. These neatly built pattern exercises provide a hurtling onrushing quality. As electronic harmonies rise and fall in light and dark tones an unexpected beauty emerges. In their building, slow-burning spacey anthems lush harmonies sigh and whisper a celestial concord. Chords change keys and the sound fills out. While being completely instrumental, the music somehow manages to speak in a human vocabulary. With each ribbon of melody unfurling, the drama of the song unfolds. By playing this album you are agreeing to hear a story. Rigorously composed and realized, these 15 tracks across two CDs attest to Neuland's tendency to interact with the world in the image of their dreams and nightmares. Animated by the power of melody to convey emotions this work stands strong against the cynicism that tears at the fabric of modern life - and reminds us that we all still have our own feelings, questions and fears. This debut is a vivid mind trip on headphones - and knows that the deeper we go within ourselves, the better we may connect with the rest of humanity.
Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END - 2 January 2020