Hans Jörg Schmitz professional drummer and drum teacher is the brains behind “King of Agogik” and “Morning Star” is the last in a line of solo projects which he has created with the assistance of an impressive list of international musicians. The inspiration for this particular project, we are told, are the lyrics of German poet and author Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) but this in itself is a trite confusing inasmuch that the spoken word is mostly in English and some of the speeches of Winston Churchill even feature? I certainly preferred the one single passage of the spoken word in German.
The key factor, to my ears, in respect to this album center around the powerful, energetic and seemingly complicated drum patterns which I suppose is really no surprise considering that this is a project conceived composed and arranged by the celebrated master drummer Hans Jörg Schmitz. In fact the whole album overflows greatly with rhythmical shuffles and percussive patterns to the detriment of melodic charm which is distinctly absent from most but not all of the proceedings, the tenth track entitled “End of Dithyramb” being a total exception with a glorious progressive rock style anthem in full flow from start to finish. There is though, amongst the bedrock of the various tracks, plenty of excitement to be found as the musical sequences drift along and then expand with explosive force to culminate with interesting crescendos. I certainly liked the full on lead guitar throughout the entire works and the array of electrical wizardry interposed within the framework of the music and the subtle introduction of Ullmann pipes, Spanish guitar and castanets to add character and flavour to certain passages. The use too of the oboe to give an Eastern flavouring was interesting and altogether more stunning are the beautiful violin interludes so joyful and dreamy. The styles of music flow along the paths of heavy rock, progressive rock, jazz and contemporary rock and Certainly “Hans” has surrounded himself with an entourage of fine musicians Listening intently though I couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of frustration that certain sections of the proceedings seemed to fit the category of overblown musical exercises where: “who knows what is going on other than some proverbial showboating”, certainly not really, in my opinion, the kind of stuff a non- musician listener would, I think, particularly appreciate too much.
Summary: A fairly mixed album wiith a certain lack of direction being a trite too diverse in style and presentation. If all tracks had followed in similar style of the 20 min long track “The End of Dithyramb” It would have been a total blinder of an album.
Artwork: A really nice digipak presentation with 32 page booklet both interesting and informative.
Hans Jörg Schmitz: Drums, Keys, Guitar, Bass
Dago Wilms: Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass
Gary Farmer: Rickenbacker and Fender Bass Guitar
Steve Unruh: Flute and Violin
Pantelis Petrakakis: Bass Guitar
Andrew Marshall: Spanish Guitar
Chip Gremillion : Keyboard
Peter Simon: Woodwinds
Philipp Schmitz : Keyboard
Scott Taylor : Ulliann Pipe
Kathrin Daniel : Voice
Viktoria Papen : Voice
Erik Vaxjö: Mellotron
1. Veils Open
2. The unavoidable wayfare...
3. ...to the place of origin
4. Mother of Depth
6. The Art of Make-Up
7. Suprema Lex
8. Ignes Fatui
9. A visit to the Mouse Barber
10. The End of Dithyramb
11. Curtain Call