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Soniq Theater

Overnight Sensation

Review by Gary Hill

I dig the music that Soniq Theater, which is the name that Alfred Mueller works under for his music, creates. It’s always instrumental, and always fits under the general heading of progressive rock. But, there’s a lot of variant from album to album and even song to song. This disc is one of the better ones from Mueller, but then again, they are all good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Overnight Sensation

The lush waves of synthesizers that open this are great. They hold it alone for a time, weaving layers of melody before the rhythm section joins. Then after a time this launches out into a jam that has a lot of fusion in this. In many ways it also feels a lot like something Rick Wakeman would do. It works through several changes and is quite lush and powerful, while maintaining a driving energy.

The Muse

Gentle keyboards enter and then a delicate melody begins. The rhythm section joins tentatively and seems to threaten to take the track into a new level of intensity and power. However, from there it shifts instead to an energetic sound that (minus the violin) reminds me of something that Jean-Luc Ponty might do. There is some particularly effective keyboard work on this piece later and we get more of the delicate sounds in a short interlude.

In the Dead of Night

There’s definitely more of an Emerson Lake and Palmer vibe to the opening sections of this. It starts out pounding away, but drops to mellower territory later before working back out from there. While the opening section might make one think of ELP, there are hints of Genesis later along with plenty of fusion. There’s also a section later that sounds a lot like theremin. I think it’s keyboards emulating a theremin, but it’s quite cool, either way.


As keyboards resembling tuned percussion open this, that Ponty vibe is definite. When the rhythm section joins and the track is altered in scope, it actually feels a lot like Al DiMeola to me, but with the emphasis on keyboards rather than guitar. This is another cool track on a disc that’s full of them. It’s also another example of how flawlessly fusion and prog are combined here. I really dig the screaming keyboard solo section later.

Shake your Legs

Lush waves of keyboards open this in a rhythmically driven sound. Then it works out to something a bit like a cross between Hawkwind and Kraftwerk. This is cool stuff. It’s also a great change from the rest of the album. It’s majestic, but somehow feels a bit more lighthearted. There’s a section later that feels a bit like a dance music take on classical music. And, a lot of this feels like it would be at home in a dance club. I guess that fits the title.

Fun in the Sun

An involved Island rhythm starts this (appropriate given the title). From there it builds out with a sense of mystery and there’s a bit in this that seems like a tribal shout, but I’m pretty sure it’s either a loop or keyboards. There are some vocals, though, very soulful and Carribean in nature. That could also be a loop, though. This is like a combination of jazz with Island music and it’s quite cool. There’s some keyboard soloing later that sounds rather like a violin, bringing back the Ponty reference.


Although this starts with a pretty classic prog sound, it shifts to something closer to café music. It’s pretty odd and not the strongest track on show by a long shot.


We’re back in the Islands for this one. It’s really playful fusion music that works quite well. Ponty and DiMeola are both valid reference points. There is definitely a tango vibe to this thing.

Balm for the Soul

Majesty and mystery open this, but then it works out to more proggy sounds that are pretty close to the earlier music here. Yes, the fusion is still on display, too. Some of the chordings are quite jazz-like, but many of the keyboard tones are closer to classic progressive rock. There are a number of interesting twists and turns on this.

Trance Rapid

Tribal drumming is combined with mysterious and dramatic waves of keyboards as this thing powers out. Somehow this is one of the least effective pieces here. There’s a lot of energy, but it just doesn’t feel all that interesting in terms of melody or other factors. I suppose that’s in keeping with the title, but this is one of the weakest pieces on the disc.

There’s a good helping of world music here, along with fusion and electronic sounds. It’s a good tune, but not one of the best. It might not be the best choice to end the disc, either.
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