1. Rocky Lumps [10:33]
  2. Needle Tower [11:45]
  3. Pallisade [8:04]
  4. Jardin d'email [14:15]
  5. Concetto Spaziale [10:53]
  6. Phyllotaxis [15:19]
On June 21st 2008, we visited the Kroller Moller museum in the National Park Hoge Veluwen Netherlands. Somewhat hidden in the forests, one of the parts of this museum is a large sculpture garden. We were so impressed by the different sculptures and other artforms that we decided to do an entire album inspired on this subject.

2011. Press Information Fellow Dutchmen Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij are two electronic music experts. Both are specialists in their own field: Gert is great in creating fine melodies and is a very good soloist and Ruud (also known as a member of Free System Projekt) is a genius of the sequencer. Not surprisingly, he is sometimes called “The Dutch Chris Franke”. Combined their two styles result in albums that easily can be called highlights in the retro/Berlin School style of electronic music. “The Sculpture Garden”, their fifth album as a duo, is yet another highlight.

Being a small country, The Netherlands may not have too much extended nature but it does have a wonderful national park, called “National Park Hoge Veluwe”. In the middle of the park, the beautiful “Kröller Möller Museum” is situated. Somewhat hidden in the forests is a large sculpture garden. When Gert and Ruud visited the museum in 2008, they were so impressed by the different sculptures and other artforms they saw there that they decided to make an album inspired by the garden. Often, music and other ways of art go together very good. Also, on “The Sculpture Garden” this is the case.

In “Rocky Lumps”, the album opens with stunning sequences by Heij and Vangelis-like solos by Emmens, accompanied by one of Gert’s antique drumboxes. “Needle Tower” is a quite relaxing piece of music with traces of the music that Patrick O’Hearn makes, being the master of atmospheres. Sequences again have a central place on this album, for example in the thrusting tracks “Pallisade” and “Jardin d’email” (nice title!). In the last piece Gert hs soloing very well again with his fat solosounds. Perhaps the best composition on the album is “Concetto Spaziale Natura” . It is full of melancholic atmosphere and packed with excellent Mellotronchoirs. In “Phyllotaxis” the sequences have references of the ones Chris Franke created for the legendary Tangerine Dream in the second half of the seventies.

Gert and Ruud have the opinion that “The Sculpture Garden” is their best album to date. And they have so much music to share with the listeners that there is (much) more to come. Listening to the quality of “The Sculpture Garden” we can only hope that it will come quick.

2011. Paul Rijkens / The Netherlands Inspired by a visit at the museum of Kröller Möller in the National park of Hoge Veluwe in the Netherlands, The Sculpture Garden presents 6 tracks which depict the beauty and mysticism of amazing artistic sculptures. An album where the heavy and nervous rhythms cross dark and experimental atmospheres, adding a challenge to our sounds perceptions and also bringing us near at the doors of a crossbreeding between the Netherlands School and Berlin School on rhythmic structures which smell those of Jean Michel Jarre. In fact it’s a simply delicious album where the percussions and sequences are use as ramparts to musical structures as stunning as the sculptures which they represent.

"Rocky Lumps" doesn’t waste time to make taking off this 5th work of Emmens and Heij. After an intro where sound spirals are escaping with acute tones, heavy nervous sequences pierce a metallic mist to wriggle feverishly. Soft synth pads of recover these sequences which alternate with velocity, while a range of percussions is deploying to reinforce the rhythmic approach with a superb fusion of cymbals, percussions and rattlers. A bass line adds more heat and depth to this rhythm which is cover by a nice metallic mist and beautiful twisted solos. Powerful solos which come and go on a furious structure, where permutations and modulations bring us in an enchanting fusion of Netherlands and Berlin School. It’s a little as if Tangerine Dream, with Chris Franke ahead, was secret co-workers of the Dutch duet. This perception takes more and more scale as we listen to The Sculpture Garden, in particular "Pallisade" with its nervous and slow rhythm which is submerged by a synth of which t ones remind the years of the Dream. These 2 tracks are by far the most furious on The Sculpture Garden. "Needle Tower" is more nuanced in its rhythmic approach. It’s a good lugubrious track which begins with hoarse cosmic breaths, sinuous and heavy oscillations, a suave sequenced line and delicate pulsations. A dark intro, wrapped of intriguing streaks and of a mist imprinted by mystery, which progresses in a heavy atmosphere where spheres of the metallic hoops collide among delicious languishing solos. Solos that have foggy flavours and which surround the rising portion of this track which will know a delicious explosion at about the 8th minute with percussions rattlers and keys of a melancholic keyboard.

After a short atmospheric intro, "Jardin d’email" wakes up with a sequential movement which skips on the ashes of its intro. These sequences to curt oscillations throb convulsively through the breaths and synth solos to get thick to nice percussions of which the acoustic jingles charm constantly. On this sober rhythm, "Jardin d’email" continues its bewitching evolution where suave solos fade to let in a cosmic mist which frees wandering choirs and strange outer space voices. It’s a nice atmospheric passage which crashes on more nourished percussions, modifying a rhythmic axis became heavier by the presence of solos from a synth to diverse musical personalities and of a heavier sequence which paces a rhythm of which fine variations converge towards a dazzling final. Multiple eclectic tones introduce the stunning "Concetto Spaziale Natura". Slowly, these elements of an abyssal blackness are pushed by slow oscillations, drawing of elongated sound arcs, to plunge us into a chthonian universe where reminiscences of Tangerine Dream, vintage Klaus Schulze and contemporary Redshift ooze full our ears. The opening of "Phyllotaxis" continues to grow on the ambient and atmospheric roots, even skimming at passage Tangerine Dream’s atmospheres that we found on Force Majeure. A beautiful introduction where cogitates a spasmodic sequence which sneaks through an iridescent mist, icy choirs and resonant pulsations to emerge from its increasing cadence towards a rhythm sustained by brilliant percussions and daydreamers synth pads. The movement permutes in subtlety with more nervous sequences and rattler percussions which redefine another infernal rhythmic, lulled of synth solos as much oniric than lyric.

The Sculpture Garden is a major work, and doubtless the most accomplished work, coming from Emmens/Heij duet. It’s a powerful album which is in the continuity of Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes, with fiery rhythms which cross intriguing ambiances and atmospheres that are finely fine-tuned. The percussions bring us to the borders of Jean Michel Jarre's rhythms while sequences return us inevitably to Chris Franke era from Tangerine Dream. But the strength of The Sculpture Garden lies in the more concrete exploration from the duet in these ambiances and atmospheres which are as much dominant as Gert Emmens' skilful solos. In brief, it’s a wonderful musical journey from which the canvas is inspired by amazing sculptures and the result inspires an audacious blend of the genres which suits well to the interbreeding of the creative and evolutionary rhythms of the Dutch duet.

Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com