Earthstar (band)


Earthstar (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Earthstar



Img_capt = Craig Wuest of Earthstar in 1977
Img_size =
Background = group_or_band
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born =
Died =
Origin = Utica, New York, United States
Instrument =
Genre = Electronic music Kosmische Musik
Ambient music
Occupation =
Years_active = 1977-1983
Label = Sky Records, Moontower Records
Associated_acts = Klaus Schulze Land Dennis Rea Daniel Zongrone
URL =
Current_members =
Past_members = Craig Wuest Dennis Rea Tim Finnegan Daniel Zongrone Norm Peach Daryl Trivieri Louis Deponté Phil Novak Marla Thomson Dan Hapanowicz Melanie Coiro Rainer Böhm Christoph Lagemann
John Bunkfeldt

"Earthstar" was an electronic music group originally from Utica, New York, in the United States. Earthstar was encouraged by Krautrock/Kosmische Musik/electronic music artist, composer, and producer Klaus Schulze to relocate to Germany where they were signed by Sky Records. Schulze produced their second and most successful album, "French Skyline". Earthstar is notable as the only American band who participated in Germany's Kosmische Musik/electronic music scene while still at its height.cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = Melton, Jeff
title = Exposé Magazine interview
publisher = Exposé Magazine
date = 2001-12
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/expose.html
accessdate = 2007-10-24
]

Overview

Core Members

* Craig Wuest (1977-1983)
* Dennis Rea (1977-1981)
* Daniel Zongrone (1977-1978, 1979-1982)
* Daryl Trivieri (1977-1981)
* Tim Finnegan (1977-1979)
* Norm Peach (1977-1979)
* Louis Deponté (1978-1981)
* Phil Novak (1978-1979)
* Marla Thomson (1978-1979)
* Melanie Coiro (1979-1981)
* Rainer Böhm (1979-1981)
* Christoph Lagemann (1979-1981)
* John Bunkfeldt (1979-1981)
* Dan Hapanowicz (1981-1983)

Collaborators

* Klaus Schulze (1979) - Producer, engineer, synthesizer programming, technical advice
* Dirk Schmalenbach (1979) - Sitar
* Eberhard Renne (1979) - Mixing, echo advice
* Martin Burdette Martinez (1979-1980) - Electric guitar
* Gert Anders (1979-1980) - Engineer

Musical style

The Earthstar entry in the New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock describes the wall of sound on the second and third albums: " [Group leader Craig] Wuest's vision propels these two albums, his desire apparently is to create music that doesn't necessarily suggest a particular instrument, rather creates a new texture. Therefore, though there are credits for flute, guitar, bass, violin, viola, French horn, sitar and vocals, it's pretty hard to distinguish any of these..."cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = other uncredited contributors
title = New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, EA-EL
date = 2005-01-20
url = http://www.gepr.net/ea.html
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] Earthstar's style on "French Skyline" has been compared to Wolfgang Bock, Sangiuliano,cite web
last = Rijkens
first = Paul
title = Earthstar - French Skyline
work = review
publisher = Groove Unlimited
date = 1999
url = http://www.groove.nl/cd/2/28864.html
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] and Klaus Schulze's own recordingscite web
last = Jenkins
first = Mark
title = Earthstar - French Skyline
work = review
publisher = E-Mix Magazine
date = 1999
url = http://www.groove.nl/cd/2/28864.html
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] . Other albums have a softer style with more distinct instrumentation.

Earthstar is also notable for Craig Wuest's heavy use of the mellotron and the rare Birotron, a variation on the mellotron that can sustain notes beyond eight seconds.cite web
title = Planet Mellotron Reviews: E1
url = http://www.planetmellotron.com/reve1.htm#earthstar
accessdate = 2007-10-24
]

History

1977 - 1979 (Utica and Moontower)

Earthstar was the brainchild of keyboardist/synthesist Craig Wuest. In the early 1970s Wuest was among the first musicians in Utica who owned a synthesizer.cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = Melton, Jeff
title = Exposé Magazine interview
publisher = Exposé Magazine
date = 2001-12
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/expose.html
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] Wuest was heavily influenced by the German electronic music scene of the 1970s, including Klaus Schulze, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and Harmonia. Around the same time, Utica guitarist Dennis Rea had founded what he describes as an "eccentric progressive rock band," Zuir. According to Rea, "...being the only two adventurous music acts in town, collaboration between Craig and the members of Zuir was inevitable."cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = Melton, Jeff
title = Exposé Magazine interview
work =
publisher = Exposé Magazine
date = 2001-12
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/expose.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] Earthstar was born out of the partnership of Wuest, Rea, and two other members of Zuir: bassist Norm Peach and drummer Daniel Zongrone, plus other Utica-area musicians. In 1977 Earthstar was signed by Nashville-based Moontower Records, who released the group's first album, "Salterbarty Tales," the following year. Earthstar also began recording its second album, "French Skyline," in Utica in 1978.

Rea also recalls concerts during the Utica period: "The group performed live only a handful of times, mostly at inappropriate venues like roadhouse bars and college beer halls, with predictable results."cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = Melton, Jeff
title = Exposé Magazine interview
work =
publisher = Exposé Magazine
date = 2001-12
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/expose.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
]

1979 - 1983 (Germany and Sky)

Craig Wuest was an admirer of electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze, with whom he struck up a correspondence. Schulze encouraged Wuest and Earthstar to come to Germany, intending to sign them to his Innovative Communications record label. Wuest sold his grand piano, which had played a prominent part on "Salterbarty Tales," to finance the move.cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = Melton, Jeff
title = Exposé Magazine interview
work =
publisher = Exposé Magazine
date = 2001-12
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/expose.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] Other Earthstar musicians joined Wuest in Germany to continue work on "French Skyline," which they originally intended to complete in March, 1979. Issues with gathering the musicians together delayed recording sessions until late spring.

Guitarist Dennis Rea describes his own decision to travel to Germany in his 2006 book "Live At The Forbidden City":

"I was one of several old Utica mates invited to participate in the project. Since the prospect of making a record with international music luminaries was an offer I couldn't refuse, I dropped my plans to attend music school and instead spent half a year in the countryside near Hanover working on Earthstar sessions..."cite book
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors =
title = Live at the Forbidden City
publisher = iUniverse
date = 2006
location = New York
pages = 18-19
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/forbidden.html
doi =
id =
isbn = ISBN 0-595-39048-X
]
While much of "French Skyline" was recorded at Klaus Schulze studios in Hambühren, West Germany, with additional recording taking place at IC Studios in Ovelgönne, Schulze's label never signed Earthstar. The group's next three albums were released by Hamburg-based Sky Records instead, beginning with "French Skyline" in 1979,cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =SKY
work =
publisher = Thunder Collectors pages
date = 2006-02-20
url =http://www.tom-thunder.de/Music-Archive/Sky.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-10-29
] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Sky Records
work =
publisher = Discogs
date =
url =http://www.discogs.com/label/Sky+Records
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-29
] which was co-produced by Schulze and Wuest. Schulze's influence on Earthstar and Wuest is clearly heard on "French Skyline", with reviewer Victor "Philip" Parau describing Earthstar at the time as "granted a classic place" within "the Berlin School electronic sessions"cite web
last = Parau
first = Victor
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Earthstar biography
work =
publisher = Prog Archives
date =
url = http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=3129
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
]

Earthstar's second album for Sky, "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!" (literally "Nuclear power? No, thank you!"), was an environmental tone poem. The album was recorded in 1979 and 1980 and was released on February 1, 1981. The Planet Mellotron Web site describes it as "more laid back" than "French Skyline" and "...an ideal opportunity to hear the rarest tape-replay instrument," the Birotron.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Planet Mellotron Reviews: E1
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.planetmellotron.com/reve1.htm#earthstar
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!" was the last album to feature many of the core musicians that had been part of Earthstar's earlier efforts in Utica, including Dennis Rea, who moved to New York City in 1983 and is now active in Seattle.

In 1980 the same lineup that had just created much of "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!" also recorded an entire album's worth of material that was never released. The album, to have been titled "Sleeper, the Nightlifer", featured a string section (and even vocals) and represented a marked stylistic shift for the band, with influences ranging from Mike Oldfield to contemporary minimalist composers to ECM jazz. A third album for Sky, "Humans Only," was recorded in 1981 and released the following year. The album was the result of a partnership between Wuest and Utica-based guitarist and songwriter Dan Hapanowiczcite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = other uncredited contributors
title = New Gibralter Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, EA-EL
work =
publisher =
date = 2005-01-20
url = http://www.gepr.net/ea.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] and presented a far more conventional, softer, more guitar-oriented sound than previous releases. One track from the "Sleeper, the Nightlifer" sessions, "Indian Dances", was rerecorded for "Humans Only" in a shorter, somewhat pared down version.

Later works?

According to Dennis Rea, Earthstar dissolved not long after the release of "Humans Only."cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = other uncredited contributors
title = New Gibralter Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, EA-EL
work =
publisher =
date = 2005-01-20
url = http://www.gepr.net/ea.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
] A now defunct earthstarmusic.com Web site listed later releases; one in particular, "Axiom," which was listed as following "Humans Only," had clearly been recorded and MP3 samples of the music were included on the Web site. They revealed a conventional, melodic, controlled electronic music sound. It is likely that by this point Earthstar had become Wuest's solo project. However, no record of the release of "Axiom" or any other later works can be found.

After the Earthstar sessions guitarist Dennis Rea moved to Seattle where he met electronic composer Kerry Leimer, who had released a number of albums.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =K. Leimer
work =
publisher = Discogs
date =
url =http://www.discogs.com/artist/K.+Leimer
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-29
] Leimer, looking to create danceble electronic music, had formed Savant.cite book
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors =
title = Live at the Forbidden City
publisher = iUniverse
date = 2006
location = New York
pages = 17-19
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/forbidden.html
doi =
id =
isbn = ISBN 0-595-39048-X
] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Savant (2)
work =
publisher = Discogs
date =
url =http://www.discogs.com/artist/Savant+(2)
format =
doi =
accessdate =
] Rea joined Savant in 1982, contributing to the album "The Neo-Realist (at Risk)", described by "Downbeat" magazine as "pan-ethnic techno-dub music".cite book
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors =
title = Live at the Forbidden City
publisher = iUniverse
date = 2006
location = New York
pages = 18-19
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/forbidden.html
doi =
id =
isbn = ISBN 0-595-39048-X
]

In 1983 Rea moved to New York City where he once again worked with former Earthstar member Daniel Zongrone. The pair composed music for an exhibition of painter (and former Earthstar violinist) Daryl Trivieri's work at the Semaphore East Gallery in the East Village in 1985.cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors =
title = Biography
work =
publisher = Dennis Rea (website)
date =
url = http://www.dennisrea.com/bio.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-29
] Rea returned to Seattle in 1986 where he is the sole former Earthstar member still actively recording music. Zongrone recorded a solo album, "Absolute Zero", in 1987 and composed the music for the 1998 film "The Glasshead". He is currently a member of the South Carolina-based blues and jazz trio Tipping Point.cite web
title = Discogs: Dan Zongrone
url = http://www.discogs.com/artist/Dan+Zongrone
accessdate =2008-06-301
] cite web
title = MySpace: Tipping Point
url = http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=282660157
accessdate =2008-06-30
]

Sky Records did include Earthstar tracks on both volumes of their "Schwingungen - New Age Music" compilations in 1985 and 1986.cite web
last = Rea
first = Dennis
authorlink = Dennis Rea
coauthors = other uncredited contributors
title = New Gibralter Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, EA-EL
work =
publisher =
date = 2005-01-20
url = http://www.gepr.net/ea.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-10-24
]

Discography

tudio albums

*1978 "Salterbarty Tales"
*1979 "French Skyline"
*1981 "Atomkraft? Nein, Danke!" ("Nuclear power? No, thanks!", a common slogan in Germany against nuclear power)
*1982 "Humans Only"

Compilations

*1980 "Picture Music Instrumental - Vol. III" (Sky Records LP sampler featuring Earthstar, Brian Eno, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, a.o.)
** Track: "French Skyline Suite; Movement 1: Morning Song"
*1985 "Schwingungen - New Age Music Vol. I" (Sky Records CD sampler featuring Earthstar, Brian Eno, Cluster, Harald Grosskopf, Adelbert Von Deyen, a.o.)
** Track: "White Cloud"
*1986 "Schwingungen - New Age Music Vol. II" (Sky Records CD sampler featuring Earthstar, Brian Eno, Cluster, Serge Blenner, Nik Tyndall, a.o.)
** Track: "Latin Sirens Face The Wall"

Notes

References

* Rea, Dennis. [http://www.dennisrea.com/discography.html Dennis Rea Discography, including Earthstar] . Retrieved August 20, 2007.
* Mutant Sounds. [http://mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/2007/02/earthstar-atomkraftnein.html] . Retrieved August 20, 2007.


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