Finally there it is: Alphaville’s 8-CD-Box, which you have been waiting for since September 1998. 9 ½ hours of wonderful music, that consists of demo-versions, B-Sides, remixes of already released and live-taped songs – definitely a must for every fan! It wouldn’t be right to call "Dreamscapes" commercial, but that probably wasn’t the idea, which hides behind. "Dreamscapes" is a limited edition of 2000 boxes, which aren’t available in any music stores. Alphaville themselves call "Dreamscapes" their own anthology, a mirror of their musical creation during the last 20 years – a present for their fans.
Alphaville's 2010 comeback album sets the time at defiance, playing as if the last two decades never existed, but the band's return to its prime form is so flawless the record sounds almost timeless. Thirteen years since their last commercial studio album, they pick up where synth pop left off: midtempo beats impossible not to tap to, romantic and nervous keyboard textures that take that space ambience of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream and put it to work, and dramatic vocals with a weepy edge, like Erasure is still the hottest new thing in town.
The Breathtaking Blue was a somewhat disappointing follow-up to Alphaville's early-1980s records Forever Young and Afternoons in Utopia. It lacked the shimmering standout quality of songs like "Big in Japan," "Forever Young" and "Afternoons in Utopia." The production, by Klaus Schulze and Alphaville, experiments with a somewhat richer instrumentation, adding strings, saxaphone, trumpet, double bass, electric and even acoustic guitars to Bernhard Lloyd's synthesizers. This strategy is met with mixed success. The lush production only serves to muddy "The Mysteries of Love," which might have been one of the album's better tracks had the songwriting been valued above the somewhat ostentatious arrangement. But the slinky bass and restrained sax ornamentation make the mildly jazzy "Heaven or Hell" one of the album's more interesting efforts. And "For a Million" is about as genuine as the band gets, thanks to the attractive minor-key melody and the surprising piano and acoustic guitar solos.
The great thing about William Parker is that he doesn't stop looking for new approaches to music, as long as they're acoustic and based on genuine interplay between real musicians. On this CD he brings a double quartet, his usual band consisting of himself on bass, Rob Brown on alto sax, Lewis Barnes on trumpet and Hamid Drake on drums, augmented with Mazz Sqift on violin, Jessica Pavone on viola, Julia Kent on cello and Shiau-Shu Yu on cello. Leena Conquest guests on vocals on "Natasha's Theme" and "Natasha's Theme 2". Or, if you want, a male quartet and a female quartet.
Alphaville is a German synthpop group which gained popularity in the 1980s. The founding members were Marian Gold (real name Hartwig Schierbaum, born 26 May 1954 in Herford, North Rhine-Westphalia), Bernhard Lloyd (real name Bernhard Gößling, born 6 June 1960 in Enger, North Rhine-Westphalia), and Frank Mertens (real name Frank Sorgatz, born 26 October 1961 in Enger, North Rhine-Westphalia). The band was at first named Forever Young before changing to Alphaville. They are best known for their two biggest hits, "Big in Japan" and "Forever Young".