|blind watchers of a vanishing night|
coverdesign: Pablo Magne
tracks were recorded live: tracks 2 & 4 during the concert on March
13th, 2004 in Huizen, Netherlands and tracks 1, 3 & 5 during the concert
on October 9th, 2004 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
overdubbing by Gert Emmens.
tracks composed (but based on improvisation) and performed by Gert Emmens
and Ruud Heij.
2 and 4 recorded by Sip de Jong; tracks 1, 3 and 5 recorded by Ron Boots.
produced and mastered by Gert Emmens.
Finishing touch by Ron Boots.
Finishing touch by Ron Boots.
***** (out of 5)
The collaboration between the Dutchmen Gert Emmens (the melody expert) and Ruud Heij (the sequencerexpert) with "Return To The Origin" in my opinion resulted in the best electronic music-cd of 2004. So, I was very anxious about the possible follow-up. The music on "Blind Watchers Of A Vanishing Night" was recorded live on two occasions: the Alfa Centauri mini-festival at March 13 2004 in Huizen, The Netherlands (tracks 2 and 4, this was also the cd-presentation of "Return To The Origin") and the E-Live festival at October 9 2004 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands (tracks 1, 3 and 5). Just as was the case with "Return To The Origin", the sequences of Ruud Heij play an important part in the music on this cd. This directly shows as the cd starts with the titletrack. This, accompanied with Emmens’ melodies and solos, results in a brilliant whole. "A Journey Through Time", an epic piece of more than 44 minutes, honours its title because here is the link with the Golden Age of electronic music (that is the second half of the seventies), the strongest present. The sequences could have come from recordings of Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze from this period of time. For the rest, a part of the music resembles with that on "Return To The Origin". The special thing about this music certainly is the adding of Emmens’ solos. The fat sounds, though played relaxed, have a relation with those of Vangelis. Of course the samples of the classic Mellotronsounds are not forgotten and, besides this, there are also some ambientpassages. This is about the best The Netherlands have ever produced on the field of electronic music. The other three pieces are somewhat shorter. "Conspiracy Of The Two Forces" (fitting title!) has in case of the sequencerpattern a hint to the second part of Tangerine Dream’s "Ricochet". In the last track "Driving Home On A Rainy Night" is added some percussion carefully. This has become another masterpiece. Asolutely recommended!
2005 Dave Law, SMD
If you like sequences, more sequences and still more sequences placed in a Berlin School setting read on! No messing about here, we get straight into the ball breaking title track. Windy, ventilation shaft type effects remain in isolation for less than thirty seconds before the first sequence surges forward- and a lovely rapid one it is too full of power and excitement. The backing now consists of ethereal pads and twittering effects. Another sequence starts up. A really nice atmospheric lead weaves this way and that over the top.
Next up is the massive forty-four minute 'A Journey Through Time'. It is split up into six parts however so to make it easier to review I will take each section at a time. 'Part 1 (Solaris)' sees a sequence deployed immediately. It is another rapid one which initially does its own thing before soft pads are brought in providing a welcome contrast. As with the opener it isn't long before more sequences come to join the first. The lead line this time is somewhat more strident than in the first track but even so my attention was attracted more to the ever shifting wall of pulsations as each element of them morphs first one way then the other. The first lead departs and is replaced in the fifth minute by a softer flutey one but it doesn't hang around long as we start a slow fade to dark gloopy atmospherics. These continue straight through to 'Part 2 (Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp)'. With a sub title such as that the mind can't help but be drawn to certain images. The ones that came to my mind were of a humid insect infested atmosphere. It was a nice break giving the mind chance to recover from all the intense pulsations - for a good five minutes anyway, until another quick paced sequence arrives for 'Part 3 (The Rise and Fall of Atlantis)'.
On this album sequences tend to hunt in packs so there is no surprise when the first is joined by another. They bounce off each other nicely until we get another short transition period through to 'Part 4 (Waiting For The Day to Come)'. Things now almost sound like a battlefield after the fighting has moved on. Explosions can still be made out in the distance but all that can be heard closer to hand is windswept desolation with the sound of spectres flying over the top. It's all quite moving but also a little spooky. The sequences return for 'Part 5 (Crystal Tears)'. This time the pulsations are a little more restrained than before fitting in appropriately with a track thus named. Even when the inevitable second sequence makes an entrance and the excitement level increases there is still a feeling of tenderness, helped in no small way by more lovely flutey synth backing.
'Part 6 (The Day the Moon will leave us)' takes us back to a mood of melancholy reflection. I expected the next track 'Moments of Unexpected Sadness' to be a bit of a floater but that didn't prove to be the case as a sequence bounces forward within the first minute and a very nice one it is too. I suppose the title comes more from the backing which is suitably wistful, especially the mellotron at the end. The sequences get even better on 'Conspiracy of Two Forces' chugging along wonderfully and morphing this way and that, keeping the attention locked on. A moody lead line, pitch bending as it goes, provides that bit of 'attitude' which fits perfectly with the sequence as it gains even greater power and menace.
'Driving Home on a Rainy Night' is yet another sequencer fest backed by tron right from the off but at just four minutes it is the shortest track and acts more like a coda to finish the album off. If you liked their first album 'Return to the Origin' you should also like this though it is even more in your face - which tends to be no bad thing for most sequecer fans I know!
2005 Artemi Pugachov
"Blind Watchers of A Vanishing Night" is an album consisting of live tracks recorded during various gigs in 2004. The title track wastes no time with the lovely sequences appearing almost instantly - and what sequences they are - lovely pulsations straight out of the "Ricochet" school. Great Mellotron choir sounds add to the picture, as well as subtle synth soloing. Pure cosmic bliss! Stylistically this continues what started on "Return To the Origin", which means Berlin School music of the highest order. If upbeat sequencers with a melancholic flair (courtesy of Gert, I think) are your thing - this is the album for you.
"A Journey Through Time" is a long suite (44:01) with multiple parts. The first part, "Solaris" is known from Gert & Ruud's previous effort as well as Gert's solo performances. Floating pads, melodic sequences, Mellotron flutes and a no-nonsense CS-80-like "harmonica" solo are the key elements here. The second part, "Red Clouds Over A Misty Swamp" is all-atmospheric, with subtle synth soundscapes and distant Mellotron choirs. This is some real moody stuff! "The Rise And Fall of Atlantis" takes things back to sequencer territory, with insistent string slabs and supporting pads. "Waiting For the Day To Come" calms things down once again, but this time the atmosphere of suspense and fear prevails. "Crystal Tears" has sequences that are slower but have more oomph to them - bass pulsations that remind on Klaus Schulze circa 1976 - 1977. Some lovely use of Mellotron flute sound on this one as well. "The Day the Moon Will Leave Us" closes the suite on an atmospheric and a tad dramatic note.
"Moments of Unexpected Sadness" starts with excellent soundscapes but after a few seconds in comes an excellent melodic sequence which is then joined by yet another one and we are propelled forward on top of floating waves of sound. Excellent sounds, melodies, atmospheres and of course, sequencing. The whistling synth lead line is pretty tasty as well. Any fan of sequencer EM will swallow this track in no time! A lot of Mellotron strings are heard towards the end as well as some EMS chirping.
"Conspiracy of Two Forces"... Wow! This is simply the strongest bass sequencing I've heard from these guys so far. The pulsations are so punchy, they'll have your head spinning and your heart racing at full speed. On top of that we can hear Gert churning out a reflective solo. This is the best track on the entire album. The ultimate Berlin School number? The essence of Berlin-styled electronics? Perhaps.
"Driving Home On A Rainy Night" sounds like a continuation of the previous number with added electronic drums and Mellotron strings. Excellent and somewhat cheerful / reflective finish to this great album laden with sequences, solos and atmospheres.
Stephan Schelle, December 2005
Nachdem im Jahr 2004 erstmals Gert Emmens und Ruud Heij eine gemeinschaftliche CD unter dem Titel „Return To The Origin“ veröffentlichten, erscheint im Herbst 2005 das Ergebnis ihrer zweiten Kollaboration unter dem Titel „Blind Watchers Of A Vanishing Night“. Waren auf dem Erstling nur Studioaufnahmen zu hören, so präsentieren uns die beiden auf dem neuen Werk fünf Livetracks, die im März 2004 im holländischen Huizen und im Oktober 2004 in Eindhoven, ebenfalls Holland, mitgeschnitten wurden.
Sequenzerrhythmen á la Tangerine Dream vom feinsten, auf denen sich warme, Gänsehauttreibende Synthiesounds ausbreiten und einschmeichelnde Melodien / Flächen dahin ziehen, das ist der Stoff, aus dem Gert und Ruud Träume zaubern, in die man gerne einsteigen will. Und genau mit solchen tollen Sounds startet der erste Track (Titelstück) der CD. Und das Gute ist, dass die beiden dann auch so weitermachen.
Nach diesem gut zehnminütigen Warmmacher folgt „A Journey Through Time“, das mit 44 Minuten Spielzeit den Großteil der CD darstellt. Über den kompletten Track halten die beiden den Spannungsbogen hoch. Auch die restlichen drei Stücke halten diesen hohen Standard aufrecht. Hier hat sich ein Duo gefunden, dass perfekt aufeinander abgestimmt ist. Wer tolle Harmonien, gebettet auf Sequenzerrhythmen und eingestreuten analogen Synthiesounds liebt, der ist mit dieser CD mehr als bestens bedient.