"ADELBERT VON DEYEN is a mostly forgotten German experimental Berlin school electronic artist whose work is constantly compared to Klaus Schulze. He is even often dismissed outright as a blatant rip-off of the man. No doubt, there are numerous similarities, and he does consider Schulze as his primary influence, but I find Von Deyen often goes in interesting directions Schulze never did. I'm certainly not an expert on the electronic/Berlin school genre, so I only hope I might be in a good position to offer a unique approach to this album without resorting to comparisons.
1979's `Nordborg' is entirely instrumental, split into two side-long pieces, and the album is made up of repetitive, hypnotic synth waves, that draw you into a calm, trance like state. Perhaps it's a little primitive and simplistic from a composition point of view, yet I find it equally monotonous and fascinating, able to become lost in the album's own deep space.
Side A `Moonrise' has no percussive elements at all, just ambient drifting synths, washing back and forth over the listener. It doesn't change much through it's 21 minutes, just ebbs and flows with cool trance-like rhythms, creating a very dark, meditative and icy atmosphere. The synths hold a very glacial and cold presence, making you feel isolated and lost.
Side B `Iceland' (how appropriate) is perhaps a little less suffocating, due to the addition of some slightly upbeat gentle percussive pulses, with an occasional repeating electric piano melody. It's not quite as floating and tranquil as the first side, but it's still very subtle and minimal. There's a cold pulsing machine-like tone to the arrangement. I especially like the rather disturbing keyboard drone that begins at the 12 minute mark, with faint distant winds adding to the drama. The final few minutes almost sound uplifting in comparison, reminding a little of the final choral section of Floyd's `A Saucerful Of Secrets'. The Pink Floyd influence would surface even more over his next few albums.
Just like on the beautiful front cover, the music perhaps conjures up images of strange alien worlds, barren deserts and overwhelming oceans. I love the feeling of solitude the album wraps you up in, if you take the time and patience to discover it.
Archives member Tom Ozric gave me his copy of this LP that he no longer wanted many years back, saying that it did nothing for him. Other than being pretty blown away by the front cover, I found the album quite characterless and tedious at first, but over the years I kept coming back to it to try and see if it worked on extended listens. I now find it hugely immersive and captivating, appreciating it more and more with each listen. It's really become quite an important album to me.
I suppose I'd like most in this review to encourage other listeners, especially Schulze fans to perhaps give it a try, or likely even a second listen. It's not exactly the most cutting edge or ground- breaking electronic album, but I find it's more than successful on its own merits. It's certainly not for every prog-rock fan, but I'd like to hope some other listeners might appreciate the album like I do. I'm really quite surprised to see that I'm the first person to review this album, so I look forward to some others hopefully adding their own thoughts!
Four stars for a special album to me." - ProgArchives