The small hours are prime time for creativity. Late at night, when all is still and quiet, and it seems as if there is no one else in the world, electronic musicians are busy at their work. Once the gear is warmed-up, tuned-up, tweaked and adjusted, they slump over their synthesizers for hours on end, lost in what appears to be a kind of meditation - part spiritual, part technological - but what is actually the deep contemplation of sound, space, scale and the emotional connection to these concepts. Free System Projekt (Marcel Engels, Ruud Heij and Frank van der Wel) exists in a world we will never know. Whether creating music in the comfort of their own studio or on stage before hundreds of fans, this trio appears nearly motionless, zombie-like, in an effort to conserve energy better channeled towards the realization of their expansive endeavors into spacemusic realms. Protoavis (75'26") is an album featuring both studio and concert recordings of Free System Projekt. The three tracks presented on this album are wonderful examples of classic Berlin-School improvisations. Their work moves from indistinct and shadowy atonal washes of pure sound, on to the clarity of gleaming harmony, congealing nicely as stepped sequencer rhythms advance... that ever-evolving pulse of arpeggiated scales... above which rides a range of melodic synthesizer expressions; stout and warm to thin and brittle - these expressive analogue lead voices bringing focus and life to what is otherwise an exercise in repetitive mechanistic virtuosity. Partly behind this creative force lies a command of the technology as well as a profound personal insight into the meaning and potential of the genre. What remains is an immeasurable factor. With no eye contact, hand signals or speech, Free System Projekt displays a near telepathic ability to communicate musical cues and ideas to one another during a performance. Their success is due to a unique musical intuition - a perception and sensitivity, in real time, to the dynamics of sound, energy and their fellow musicians.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 3 June 2004