releasedate: 2007, April 2nd


1. Journey
2. The Endless Running Messenger
3. A City Awakens
4. Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope
5. Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp
6. Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm





coverdesign: Ed Unitsky

Edited, produced and mastered by Gert Emmens.  

Gear: Alesis Ion, Arp Odyssey, Arp Pro Soloist, Boss DR-660, Clavia Nord Modular, Elektor Formant modular, EMS Synthi A, EMU E6400 Ultra, Emu Vintage Keys Plus, Korg PE-1000, Korg MS-2000, Korg Wavestation EX, Mam MB33, Moog Minimoog (*2), Moog Polymoog Synthesizer, Moog Sonic 6, Philips Philicorda GM751, Roland M-VS1, Roland SH-32, modular, Yamaha A4000 sampler w/Mellotron and Stringensemble sets, Yamaha AN1x (*2), Yamaha S-30 w/PLG150-AN, Yamaha SY85



Sylvain Lupari (Phaedream) from Québec , Canada for

Guts Of Darkness: The French Website of Dark, Ambient & Experimental Music


A beautiful sequence takes shape, on the reverberations of a space intro to arcade noise. As of the first breaths of Journey, we are wrapped in the cosmic aura of Dutch duet who offers his 3rd   opus, quite as harmonious as its predecessors. Synthetic choirs add a cordial depth to a synth that forms this circular and undulating movement, as a cascade with austere intonations. Fluids, synths flow in the shape of beautiful solos to typical sonorities of Emmens & Heij. The Endless Running Messenger presents a more prolonged intro where floating environments cross the cosmic sound effects. Under the metal water drops, the synth waltz with nothingness causing a consistent pad from where a rotary sequence appears, in the shade of the celestial voices to the serious intonations. This sequence becomes animate on rich sound textures thus a synth with flexible harmonies, on a movement which follows an ascending curve. The rhythm, slow and one-dimensional, is sprinkle strident solos which are ventilate in a heavy atmosphere. Hypnotic, the sequential movement of A City Awakens is hopping with a shimmering tonality. Synth is wrapping and dances with hitch on an aggressive sequence which multiplies the loops on a harmonious fluidity. Though linear, the movement takes its charm on the depth of synth and the solos that escape from it, as of the sound effects which glean here and there.

If you like big heavy sequencers, Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope has something to satisfy your expectations. A powerful title, on a moderate rhythm, with superb flowing and enveloping pads that mould a suave and throbbing tempo on an unbridled sequencer. A mix of Redshift and Tangerine Dream, with an excellent synth solo. After such a heavy title, which makes raise the floor tiles, Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp is one atmospheric moment of relaxation. Synths form a space nebula, with multiple melting modulations. A gliding title that brings us to the spacy and multicoloured intro, like a very TD style of the analog years, Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm. A beautiful cosmic and floating pad guides us on a moulding sequencer, whose curves are similar with those we find on The Endless Running Messenger. Exquisite, the modulations are coil on synth to whistle harmonies, creating a structure with complex movements all while maintaining a synth shifting to melodious odes.

 Journey is a splendid album. An opus inspired with aggressive sequences and consistent synths. Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij fill up our ears, and imagination, on evolutionary structures with sometimes unexpected outcomes. There are No weak moments, nor of breakdowns of inspirations. There are some juicy winks of the eyes to the analog prowesses of Tangerine Dream on blows of heavy sequencers, as Redshift. In short, a creative, powerful and extremely pleasant album.


Artemi Pugachov

The title track gets things going with strange effects that are soon replaced by a classic sequence, joined by another one and yet another one after a few seconds. Mellotron choir plays a chord typical of Gert - somewhat melancholic, emotional and a bit "romantic". A piercing analog solo then joins the flow. Great Berlin School track in typical Emmens & Heij style.
The next track has a distinctly Tangerine Dream-ish title: "The Endless Running Messenger". Dark sounds are joined by echoing water drops. After a while some sort of scratching sound appears in the right channel, while a reflective synth pad casts its spell in the middle. This is some seriously moody music. Mellotron string chords are then overlaid with choir and a terrific soft sequence! Another, low-register sequence soon joins as we start to drift along on the waves of classic analog EM sound. In fact it's another relaxed, I'd say even sedate track in typical Emmens & Heij style. The electronic rhythm makes the music more dynamic while the analog solo could only be played by Gert Emmens, it's so characteristic. Also of note is the excellent outro with distant soloing over a synth pad. "A City Awakens" starts with an unusual galloping sequence coupled with windy synth effects. Soon another tinkling sequence joins along with some out-there textures. It's nice to hear some variation in the way the guys use sequences and rhythms. This is really a fresh sounding piece. The way it builds, the mood of it... I mean it's all more or less typical of Gert & Ruud, but somehow it's arranged in a different manner. A unique piece full of surprises. A sudden solo here, a distant Mellotron choir there, an unexpected rhythm or unknown timbre - this is an enjoyable experience, like a journey indeed. I also like Gert's fusion-y solo on this one. Best track so far. "Rolling Thunder In the Mountains of Hope" starts in an extremely deep manner with low synths and echoing sonic colors. A bass sequence makes its way to the center of the sonic space and this time the guys just let it rip! At last, an aggressive piece by Gert & Ruud - something I've been waiting for. Mellotron string sound dominates for a while as the track gets more intense. It's amazing how rhythmic and at the same time how melodic this track is - a perfect balance! There's a certain bite to it that makes it quite powerful EM. Once again, there's a Jazz flair to Gert's soloing. Maybe that's because he has developed a cascading style where he goes quickly from high notes to low ones and back again, while many Jazz / Fusion keyboardists were famous for this style of playing. I must also mention the sequencing on this track which is as good and driving as it gets. "Red Clouds Over A Misty Swamp" is next. An experimental introduction is what we get for a few moments. Sounds fly high above you like unidentifiable creatures attacking you. However, the somewhat harsh intro soon transforms into a section dominated by pads and synth effects. This turns out to be THE ambient track of Emmens & Heij, i.e. no sequences! A welcomed diversion it is, too. The track sounds remotely like some sections from "Seven Letters From Tibet", but infinitely better. Very fresh and satisfying after the stormy previous number.
Ahem... Talking about storms... The final chapter of our journey is called "Regaining Breath In the Eye of the Storm". A quiet beginning gives way for floating synth pads and suddenly - yes, a sequence! The track gradually develops, gaining intensity and adding new sequences, rhythms and sounds. A section of typical flowing Emmens & Heij music follows, with Mellotron sounds and stuff. The sequence then mutates and gets more aggressive with each second, until the tension is released. This track has excellent work from Ruud.
"Journey" is another winner from Emmens & Heij and a must for fans of
sequencer music (aka Berlin School) and EM in general.


Dave Law (Synth Music Direct)

In just two albums Gert and Ruud established themselves as one of the most important Berlin School inspired acts currently around. Ruud really is the king of the sequencer. I have always thought of him as a cross between Chris Franks and Redshift style Mark Shreeve. Gert also knows how to handle sequences but he is more of a melody man who I think of as the Dutch equivalent to early John Dyson.

The title track gets the album off to an excellent start. Wonderful deep bubbling alien sounds provide a short introduction before a brace of very rapid sequences surge from the speakers. A third, more bass laden one provides a further salvo of pulsation, all underpinned by Heavenly mellotron. A searing lead, which would sound excellent live, flashes forth like lasers bouncing off a series of mirrors. 'The Endless Running Messenger' has a dark atmospheric beginning full of swirling shimmering metallic drones. These are punctuated by dripping effects. The whole thing has a rather subterranean feel to it. Soft pastoral pads lighten the mood as if we are nearing the surface and can feel a gentle breeze from above. A four-note sequence strikes up accompanied by more tron. The pulsations become increasingly complex as a melancholy melody hangs in the air.

'A City Awakens', certainly gave me a jolt of energy as first a lovely rumbling bass sequence then a rapid staccato one surge forward feeding off each other exquisitely. Yet more pulsations join the fray as things become even more intense. As with the opener, when the leads come they are of the type that would get the pulse racing in a concert setting - so of course also ideal for air keyboard! 'Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope' (the long winter nights must just fly by coming up with these titles) uses some wonderful sounds to create quite a spooky atmosphere. The sequence of course isn't far away and this time it's a lovely deep chugger that would have been well at home on 'Ether'. It becomes more devastating by the second (with mellotron backing of course- I mean why alter something that works so well!). I found it impossible to keep my head and hands still as I lost myself in the wonderful cascade of notes. After the half way mark things become even more syncopated, a pitch bending lead line mixing with oomph laden virtual guitar. This is awesome, the best track on the album so far.

'Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp' (I blame TD's 3 AM at the border....') gives us a break from the sequences for a short while. Cataclysmic crashes subside to an excellent collage of electronic effects and crystalline shimmers which then mutate into lovely ethereal pads. Nicely calmed we plunge into the final track 'Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm' (I'm saying nothing). Initially it's all rather eerie stuff. The mood changes to euphoria instantly on the arrival of the sequence - and what a fantastic sequence it is, reminding me very much of AirSculpture. In the seventh minute things are really cranked up so I responded in kind by increasing the volume on my amp to truly irresponsible levels - the shaking floor turning to a near earthquake as they increased the intensity of the sequences still further- fan bloomin' tastic! Things did subside a little in the tenth minute but the sequences still do their wonderful thing- just a little subtler than before