Psychedelic music has many subgenres. There’s the standard rock fare that we usually cover here at the Third Eye, but that’s far from all. The trip-hop genre could be described as a descendant of psychedelia. And there’s plenty of electronic-based music out there that’s also psychedelic in nature.
The album I’m reviewing today is one of those weird, trippy psychedelic electronic ones. Cosmic Ground is the solo project of German electronic musician Dirk Jan Müller, who has also been a member of the bands’ Octopus’s Garden and Electric Orange. He has released music under his own name but also through the moniker Cosmic Ground.
About Cosmic Ground
A quick look at Cosmic Ground’s Spotify profile shows he has released five full-length albums since 2019, including this latest one called entropy. I browsed his Bandcamp profile and it shows even more releases, though I imagine some of them may be singles and EPs. Entropy dropped on Bandcamp on March 31, 2023, and was recorded between March 2022 and February 2023.
Müller plays all the instruments and makes all the (mostly) electronic songs on this record. They include analog modular synthesizers, sequencers, vocoders, mellotron, piano, guitar, bass, and field recordings.
As Müller says on Bandcamp, the record comprises 99% electronic sounds, supplemented by some self-recorded atmospheres. “The eight tracks on entropy offer loads of multi-layered sequences combined with real tape echo, guitar, ambient and free-format atmospheres to polyphonic organ drones.”
Entropy comprises eight tracks, all quite long, with a total run time of one hour and twelve minutes. This is old-school electronic/ambient music in the vein of Brian and Roger Eno but with definite psychedelic flairs.
It would be foolish to suggest a long-ass ambient record like this warrants a close listen from front to back. Ambient music is mainly intended for background listening. And unless you’re incredibly stoned, I don’t imagine you’ll be paying full attention to something like this all the way through.
Nevertheless, I wanted to review entropy because experimental sounds like this are right up my alley. Müller describes Cosmic Ground music as “dark analog synthesized sequenced psychedelic electronic music.”
That’s an apt description. The songs are brooding and could be a good soundtrack for a bad acid trip. The first song, Space Seed, is nearly 10 minutes long and is full of a dark atmosphere. Phasing 76 is the next track, also passing the nine-minute mark, starting with looping sound effects that sound like the laser beams from old-fashioned sci-fi films.
Substance has a grinding electronic quality that reminded me of a Trent Reznor composition. The Cage comes next and brings an otherworldly texture of layered noises with the quality of an intergalactic funeral. The second-to-last song, Equilibrium, is so solemn and silent that you must listen closely and turn up the volume.
Entropy, the title track, is the album’s opus, with a run time of more than 18 minutes. You will get bored if you try to pay rapt attention throughout. But if you play this in the background, the creepy space-themed noises can be rather enjoyable.
We usually don’t cover electronic or ambient releases here at The Third Eye, but entropy from Cosmic Ground caught my attention. This is not the type of album that everyone will enjoy, but I will add it to my rotation.
Müller’s Cosmic Ground project could be categorized as the electronic variety of Krautrock or The Berlin School. As some of you may know, Krautrock translates to German as “cosmic music” and is a broad genre that developed in West Germany in the late Sixties. Psychedelic rock is part of it, but so are avant-garde compositions and electronic music.
Fans of prominent Krautrock acts of the past, like Popl Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel, will likely enjoy what Cosmic Ground has created here. Anyone who has a fondness for the ambient works of Brian Eno should also like this one.
Support Cosmic Ground by heading to his website or finding him on Bandcamp or Facebook.
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