|the nearest faraway place - volume 1|
releasedate: 2008, April 13th
coverdesign: Kees Aerts, Gert Emmens
Basics composed and recorded
August - October 2007.
Improvements and solo's added during November 2007.
Mixed and mastered during January 2008.
The music on this album was composed exclusively for the Gasometer concert (Oberhausen, Germany) on 2007, November 10.
Composed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Gert Emmens.
Gert Emmens: Akai AX80, Akai
SGv01, Boss DR-660, Doepfer MAQ 16/3, 2* Elektor Formant modulars, EMU E6400
Ultra, EMU Proteus 2, EMU Vintage Keys Plus, Korg MS-2000, Korg Wavestation EX,
Memorymoog Plus, Minimoog, Moog The Source, Moog Sonic 6, Moog Taurus MK1,
Novation A-Station, Novation Nova, Philips Philicorda GM-751, PPG 1020, Roland
MDC1, Roland MVS1, Roland SG-32, Transidrums U77, Vermona ER9, Yamaha AN1x,
Outside photo of Gasometer:
The newest release by Gert Emmens, like all his recent output, was released by Groove Unlimited and is available directly from them. It consists of basic material prepared by Gert for his live performance at the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany. The tracks are named simply Part 1 through 7 which is a tradition of sorts for EM records. The first part begins with mysterious pads. It's probably the darkest music I've heard from Gert in a while and it's quite excellent too. A mournful Mellotron flute cries on top of the electronic backdrop. An excellent tinkling sequence then starts, joined by yet another simple sequence and more tasty pads. A more punchy bass sequence begins in the melodic mode, as various synth sounds come and go. A rhythm starts, together with a melodic theme - so simple and yet so beautiful. This is flowing melodic EM of highest order. The rhythm subsides and we are confronted with a rich and lush symphonic section that sounds almost Classical in its grandeur. A smooth transition leads us to Part 2 that is greeted by optimistic sequences and Mellotron choirs. A soft rhythm starts, supported by bright symphonic synths. Again, there is a great melodic quality to this material. A tasty guitar solo is a nice extra and it combines perfectly with Gert's textures. A symphonic Minimoog solo follows, sounding very emotional and cosmic at the same time. The third part begins with dark textures and rumbles. However, it's not long before we hear an upbeat sequence coming forth. The track then progresses in typical Emmens fashion, with relaxed rhythm, crisp sequences and flowing pads. A melody cries on top, sounding very epic and even Symphonic Rock-like. A Minimoog solo follows, and then some layered Mellotron strings. From the dark depths of atmospheric effects and drones we get to Part 4, which is welcomed by ultra rich symphonic synths in the 1970's fashion. A slow bass sequence is revealed, punchy as ever. It is combined with absolutely stunning cosmic analogue textures (reminds me on some Craig Padilla tracks I've heard). This is a new style for Gert and a very very welcome change if you ask me. In fact, I was blown away by this track. It's still melodic, but darker than the usual fare and it's got some new interesting sounds, some of them of decidedly cosmic character. And those sequences are as perfect as they get. The track ends with great deep Philicorda chords (I think Gert should use more of this wonderful instrument) and mysterious female choir. The sounds of rain serve as transition to the next part. Didgeridoo-like drones give way for an upbeat and crisp sequence which is then joined by familiar 'tron sounds. Excellent relaxed rhythm starts, combined with warm analogue pads and some subtle fx. Typical Emmens lead line is followed by a tasty guitar solo. Very nice! I also like the closing ambient part, with a mournful Mellotron flute and excellent resonant sounds. Part 6 begins with some wind effects and reflective pads. A bass throb is heard underneath which gradually grows into a sequence, as the Mellotron strings sing their mysterious song. A bright melody is heard than harkens back to the style of Gert's previous album, "A Boy's World". The rhythms are different, though, and very interesting they are, too. A solo cries on top, played with real expertise. I like it when Gert lets rip on an analogue synth, I just wish his solos were longer. I can imagine two or even three minutes, filled with Gert just soloing on his analogue beast in his usual harmonic way. That would be great to hear. Anyway, back to the track. A more experimental section follows, with resonant noisy sequences and various dark sounds. After a while, a typical several-note Emmens melody comes, sounding simple but very effective. Mellotron strings and darkish bass notes bring this long track to a halt. The cosmic analogue-scapes return at the beginning of the last part. Very soon a sequence comes in, along with lush pads. This is more or less a formulaic track, which relies on floating sequences, pads and richly symphonic melodic themes played on synthesizers. However, we also get a little extra with the addition of a reflective guitar solo by Jan Dieterich. In many ways a typical Emmens album, "The Nearest Faraway Place Vol.1" is significantly darker than most other recent works by Gert. There are some new tasty sounds and the addition of a guitar player was a welcome extra as well. The best track: Part 4. Why? I just love the darker side of Gert, I guess. Besides, I also thought it showed a new style, more cosmic and "psychedelic", at least the first half of it. All in all, another winner from one of the most significant Dutch EM musicians.
Schallwende / Sylvia Sommerfeldt:
Endlich ist es da, das heiß ersehnte neue
Album von Gert Emmens!
Dave Law, Synth Music Direct
Right from the gorgeous opening with lush swirling backing and lovely flutey synth then melodic loop and bouncing sequences this album overflows with pure class. Gert has always been able to combine his skills for sequencing and melody (and there are loads of both here) better than almost any other solo artist. Some excel in one department, some in another but he has the full package. This isn't heavy stuff, just exciting, positive, body moving music that will get under your skin and demand to be played time and time again. Subtle guitar work courtesy of Jan Dieterich gives those moments where he appears individual character that separates it from the other Gert Emmens tracks. Jan imparts just the right amount of colouring without ever really letting rip, enhancing Gert's own leads rather than battling against them. There is a great deal of syncopation but as with all the other elements here it is pitched at just the right level so as not to bludgeon everything around it. This is an album to simply enjoy, ideal for a summers day or to take on holiday. In some ways it reminded me a little of Chris Franke's 'Pacific Coast Highway' but with the tracks being longer here there is more time to develop and really get into each piece. No great effort is required on the part of the listener, just lie back and enjoy. File under mellow pulsations and rhythms.
Bert Strolenberg www.sonicimmersion.org
This cd, the first part of a trilogy, contains the music Gert composed for the Gasometer concert-gig on November 10th, 2007 in Germany. The outcome is an uninterrupted 71-minute piece of music, for which Gert invited a guitarist to add a few fine guitars licks here and there.
The sonic content on “Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 1” continues in the fine tradition Mr Emmens offers us for quite some years now: warm, analogue synth-pads, catchy vintage sequencing, some very fine solo-leads, fx’s and additions drums and percussion, which all take the listener away by no chance. In a certain way, there’s this moody, easy-going feel layered over the properly executed music (one can almost feel the joy Gert must have had making it), although there are several dynamic peaks to be found as well .
This album really makes me look forward to the other two parts.
Congrats Gert, you did another fine job!
Paul Rijkens for IO Pages (Dutch
Magazine on Progrock)
translation in English:
Die Basis hat Gert für das Konzert am 10. November 2007 im wohl höchstem Kühlschrank Deutschlands, dem Gasometer in Oberhausen komponiert, gespielt und in seinem Studio dann noch den "Feinschliff" hinzugegeben. Sehr sphärische , ruhige Klänge umgeben mit der einzigartigen Akustik des Gasometers machen diese CD zu einer lohnenden Anschaffung.
Stephan Schelle: (MusikZirkus-Magazin)
Das Gasometer in Oberhausen ist nicht nur von Außen ein beeindruckendes Gebäude, im Innern weist es durch seine Bauweise zusätzlich eine unglaubliche Akustik auf. Dieses Phänomen wird seit einiger Zeit von Musikern genutzt, die sich den räumlichen Klang und den Widerhall für ihre Musik zu Nutze machen. Der Niederländer Gert Emmens trat am 10.11.2007 in dieser ungewöhnlichen Location live auf, bei der die Musik für die vorliegende CD mitgeschnitten wurde. Leider war mir bisher aus Termingründen ein Besuch eines Konzertes im Gasometer verwährt, so dass ich mich auf den Klang der CD beschränken muss.
Die Stücke der CD „The Nearest Farway Place Volume 1“ sind betitelt mit „Part 1“ bis „Part 7“. Neben Gert, der alle elektronischen Gerätschaften bediente (natürlich sind bei solchen Events immer einige Basics vorprogrammiert), agierte Jan Dieterich an der E-Gitarre.
Gert’s Musik ist sehr melodisch und im Stile der Niederländer, wie zum Beispiel Ron Boots, gehalten. In einigen Passagen klingt auch ganz zart die „Berliner Schule“ á la Tangerine Dream durch. Viel Neues ist auf dem Album zu hören, aber es blitzen auch einige Passagen auf, von denen ich glaube, dass Gert sie bereits auf seinen vorhergehenden Alben verwendet hat. Und auch die dezente E-Gitarre, die an einigen Stellen zu hören ist, wertet die Produktion noch einmal auf.
Da zu Hause vor der Stereoanlage natürlich der räumliche Klang des Gasometers nicht nachempfunden werden kann, ersetzt die CD keinen Auftritt in dieser Location. Aber die Bearbeitung der Aufnahme ist Gert gut gelungen, denn die Musik kommt sehr transparent aus den Boxen.
„The Nearest Farway Place Volume 1“ ist ein sehr schönes Elektronikalbum im typischen Emmens-Stil. Die letzten beiden Alben gehörten nicht zu den besten von Gert, aber mit dem neuen Album hat er für meinen Geschmack wieder einen großen Schritt nach vorn gemacht. Wer seinen Stil mag, der kann bedenkenlos zugreifen. Neben sehr stimmungsvollen Akkorden und Flächen bietet Gert auch wieder seine typischen, sofort ins Ohr gehenden Melodiebögen und Sequenzen. Mir hat das Album sehr gut gefallen.
Voices from unknown
lands, the call of endless space and the pulse of our time are interlaced in
the music of Gert Emmens. It is cosmic and at the same time it is
very earthy. And his music is a very powerful. It infects the listener with
its vivid energy.
Matt Howarth / Sonic
This CD from 2008
features 71 minutes of luxurious electronic tuneage.