|a boy's world|
releasedate: 2007, April 28th
coverdesign: George Grie,
Kees Aerts, Gert Emmens
title: A Boy's World, might need some explanation. The music on this album was entirely inspirated
by my son Frank. His presence is always of great importance for me and my wife.
I hardly can imagine how life would be without him. Those of you who have
children yourselves will understand :-) Besides that, our internet/gaming PC is
in the same room as where my studio is. This means that Frank is often there,
when I compose and record my music. Without any doubt his presence has an effect
on my music. This effect is not something I’m always aware of, but in the case
of this album it is.
Genauso wie die eben
vorgestellte CD von Robert Fox hift mir auch die neue von Gert Emmens - A Boy´s
World - über meine derzeitige Lage sehr hinweg. Inspiriert von Gert´s Sohn
Frank kommt diese Musik mit sehr viel Gefühl, Melodie und einem voluminösem
Sound rüber, dass man die CD ruhig öfter hintereinander hören kann ... und
sie hilft. Für mich eine der schönsten EM-CD´s überhaupt. Die Musik von Gert
Emmens ist immer was besonderes und hat für mich einen sehr hohen Stellenwert
in der Szene!
This is a very intimate work for
Gert Emmens as it was entirely inspired by his young son Frank. "School's
Out" hangs in the air like distant haze, with various tone clusters and
gentle synth shimmers. After a few seconds a cheerful sequence appears along
with a rhythm and a reflective melody. This is some of the mildest and brightest
music Gert ever composed. Some great analogue soloing is used by Gert to great
effect. Musically, this track takes over where previous album left, but with a
much more sedate and I would say even mundane atmosphere. If you like Berlin
School with a clear focus on the melody, you will find lots to enjoy here. The
track ends in a reflective mode, with echoing rhythms, deep pads and melancholic
synth textures. "Gaming Part 1" surprises with dark sounds and strange
noisy sequence. Gradually, another pattern crawls to the surface - a one-note
bass sequence. After a while Gert tweaks the sequence, changing the pitch of
some notes, while the dark soundscapes do not leave even for a second. One can
hear echoes of 1977 - 1979 period Tangerine Dream here, although as a whole the
music sounds pretty fresh and unique. Typical Gert Emmens synth pads are then
added, as well as reflective melodies. A high-register sequence is playing on
top, along with some classic tron sounds. I also like the analogue drum pattern
on this track - very 1970's (is that the Hammond Auto Vari?). After a brief
atmospheric section, a new sequence develops, this time of a more aggressive
character. Excellent distant sounds akin to some distorted guitar can be heard
but after a while an "Oxygene"-like marching rhythm appears, as the
track becomes more dramatic, with Mellotron choir and an analogue solo. This is
pure, 100% melodic Berlin School with many classic sounds and great atmosphere.
One of the best tracks I've heard from Gert and one of the best Neo-Prog EM
tracks in general. The fact that it lasts for 20+ minutes is a positive thing
too, because this way you can really immerse yourself into the great atmosphere
this track conjures. I wish there were more tracks like that. "Life Around
the Sand Castle" starts similar to the first track until the sequence is
heard - a lovely analogue pattern supported by various melodic motifs. Gert uses
all typical elements of his style in this track, including Mellotron sounds,
analogue solos, slightly phased pads and soft electronic drum patterns. Of note
is the final part dominated by Mellotron flute. "Gaming Part 2" is
next. Synth pads give way for an analogue bass sequence. A solemn keyboard theme
plays on top, as the track obviously becomes one of the most emotionally-charged
pieces of this album. After a long section dominated by a relaxed rhythm, we get
an atmospheric interlude before the sequences return - this time a two-note
pattern is deployed to great effect. The sequence transforms into a more complex
type of pulsation as Gert concentrates on pads and various other additional
sounds. Not the best track in my book (i.e. no surprises and almost no new ideas
or sounds) but still very nice. Let's see what "Adolescant Behaviour"
brings. Heavy intro transforms into a somewhat wacky sequence / Mellotron flute
combination. Excellent jarring rhythms like the ones used on the first track
from "Waves of Dreams" introduce themselves. After a while the main
theme is deployed - an excellent two-note motif. Terrific track! IMO, Gert is
best when he has a main theme in his track, around which he builds his
improvisations (another example that comes to my mind immediately is "The
Voyage of Voyager" from "Wanderer of Time"). And you know what?
This track here has even two main themes. The second one appears only for a few
seconds and is similar to the afore-mentioned "Voyage of the Voyager".
The somewhat busy solo is a nice asset as well. "Nothing Lasts Forever"
is a nostalgic and very moving closer with a slow rhythm, gentle sequences and
the ubiquitous pads / melodies of Gert. Some rocky touches are added as well.
Overall, I tend to think of "A Boy's World" as a strong EM album with
some outstanding tracks. Especially worthy of mention are "Gaming Part
1", "Adolescant Behaviour" and "Nothing Lasts Forever".
Get this album if you love EM!
Gert Emmens is a true value in
the world of the EM. Since Wanderer of Time, the Dutch synthesist aligns opus of
exceptional quality, combining the complexity of its long exploratory parts to
melodious themes that hang.
Dave Law (Synth Music Direct)
'School's Out' is all rather shimmering and dreamy, even when a playful sequence bubbles to the surface. Things become more syncopated but there is still an airy carefree feel to it all emphasised by wistful little melodies.
'Gaming Part 1' has a radically different feel, much more like something from an Emmens / Heij album. An aggressive rhythm packs quite a punch then a rapid very 70s sounding sequence thunders above it all morphing wonderfully, creating a high level of excitement. Lovely thick, menacing, analogue sounding melodic motifs are tempered by softer synth washes. The sequence takes on a more positive feel without losing any of its blistering power. As the track progresses a softer feel is developed but with that wonderful sequence remaining as its backbone until about the thirteen-minute mark where we descend to a faintly aquatic sounding tranquil montage of sounds. Another excellent sequence emerges as excitement builds once more, with just a hint of menace shimmering from the backing pads. Rhythms strike up and are soon joined by a jaunty lead which takes us to the end.
'Life around the Sand Castle' is a lovely relaxed piece where two sequences bubble along nicely whilst soft, soothing, faintly melodic pads float through the ether. After the half way mark a strident, almost funky, lead line creates a rather sunny Sunday afternoon feel which contrasts markedly with the melancholy tron based finish. .
A rapid sequence emerges out of gorgeous soft pads as 'Gaming Part 2' gets underway. Things become more syncopated, contrasted by dreamy melodies creating a rather laidback feel. As with 'Part One' we get an interlude of floating pads from which a fresh sequence emerges followed by a second. Even though the interweaving pulsations are quite complex, playful even, the pace remains sedate right until the end.
'Adolescant Behaviour' starts quite darkly with low rumbling bass pads. Flutey synth mixes with a brooding sequence. Things become gradually more rhythmic with washes of mellotron being heard in the background. Faintly melodic washes of synth add a feeling of wonder as the drums become more forceful. This energetic feeling juxtapositions questing melodies full of intrigue and wonder which become more strident and confident as we get closer to the end.
'Nothing Lasts Forever' uses a really lovely sequence as its backbone. It has a much more positive feeling than the title might suggest, rhythms and surging melodies mixing together to give a bright, breezy atmosphere. There might be a touch of melancholy there but to me it seemed that we were looking forward rather than regretting the past.
Even though this album does have its powerful moments it is overall one of Gert's more relaxed, even whimsical outings.