Starfish64 - The Future In Reverse - 2018


“... melodic Art Rock with a mellow atmosphere ...”


The Starfish64 project is founded by German singer-songwriter Dieter Hoffmann in the year 2006. It was originally intended to be a vehicle for his solo work. Starting as singer-songwriter his work slowly shifted towards a more Progressive- and Art Rock musical style. Besides composer Dieter Hoffmann the Starfish64 project includes Henrik Krupp, Martin Pownall and Dominik Suhl. On the new “The Future In Reverse” album this basis has been expanded with guest players  Kas Moody, Julie Pownall, Jan Thiede and Simon Triebel.


Voices -  Dieter, Julie, Martin, Jan
Guitars - Dominik, Dieter, Martin, Jan, Simon
Basses - Martin, Kass 
Mandolin - Nick
Keyboards - Dieter, Simon
Drums - Henrik


“The Future In Reverse” was recorded with minimal equipment. Basically some instruments and microphones attached to a recording software on a laptop. Nevertheless it was all done with consideration and a true love for detail. If you listen to the album, and did not read this review beforehand, you won’t be aware of this fact.

You can find the following five tracks on this album; “Yesterday’s Favorite Smile”, “Tomorrow In Dark Water”, “Determination”, “Molehills” and “Charting An Abyss”. There are three shorter songs with a duration between four and seven minutes (track 1,2,4) and two long tracks (12:35 / 18:17).

The album opens with the song “Yesterday’s Favorite Smile”. You can find lovely vocal melodies on this track. The music is (like the whole album) a kind of slow and mellow Art Rock. To give you an idea .... a reference of this mood could be the debut album of Airbag. Personally I think that you will love or hate this kind of music. It is delicious and relaxed ... but could be a little bit boring for the more adventurous Prog fan. “Tomorrow In Dark Water” has also those singer-songwriter vocal melodies but is musically speaking more fascinating with nice guitar and keyboard parts. The first long track is called ”Determination” and is almost 13 minutes long. It is divided into the parts “Mankind”, “At Lightspeed” and “Infinite Space”. The pace of the music stays slow but you can enjoy the nice and relaxed synth and guitar solo’s. Personally I like all those little synth tunes and the the fact that the last part “Infinite Space” is more influenced by electronic music. Between the two long tracks you can find the song “Molehills”. This little track is more up-tempo and has a more uplifting atmosphere. It has beautiful keyboard layers and a fine guitar solo in the end. Maybe this is the most beautiful tune of the album. An album that ends with the longest track of the whole album. “Charting An Abyss” is divided into the parts “Recurring Dreams”, “Framework”, “Dominoes” and “At Peace” The song has a slow start (maybe too slow?). After seven minutes (the butterfly part) the music becomes more interesting. All the parts seamlessly flows into each other. The “Dominoes” part is for me the most interesting part. You can find some nice melodic guitar parts here. It all ends “At Peace”. To be honest, during this long track I had some problems to keep my full attention to the music. Personally the music is not adventurous enough for me. But this could be a very personal issue ... I remember a gig in Holland with the Dutch flagship of Symphonic Rock (the first period of Knight Area) who were opening (it was a duo gig) for the band Airbag ... a lot of people just loved it ... but halfway the Airbag gig I was sitting at the bar. At the end it is all about personal taste and the degree of emotional connection a person has with the music. Another example; I think that Airbag fans would leave the building when the Swedish Änglagård is going full throttle ... and me at front row? .... I was in tears and had the goosebumps. Just saying ...


The Starfish64 project of Dieter Hoffmann made with “The Future In Reverse” a good sounding album full of melodic Art Rock with a mellow atmosphere. Personally I think that fans of the band Airbag would love this album. It is a nice album to listen to after a hectic workday. To the more adventurous Prog lover I would say ... first check the BandCamp website to discover if this is an album for you.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - September 2018 -   - Independent Release