PERU the story so far:|
- A New Start - [4:25]
- The loop - [4:36]
- Day 2 - [4:24]
- The Return - [8:57]
- Mirror - [4:59]
- The Art Gallery - [4:57]
- The Swarm - [4:45]
- Orage - [5:18]
- Desert Rain - [4:42]
- Meteor - [5:18]
PERU may seem an odd name for a synthesizer music band, however, it is not named after the South American country as you may believe. In fact, the band name was formed by taking the two first letters of the founder members PEter Kommers and RUud van Es in 1979.
In 1981, they released their debut album ‘Macchu Picchu’ on which Rob Papen appeared as a guest musician. The first album was recorded live on a 2-track recorder.
Macchu Picchu caught the attention of Dutch radio stations and a then a bit later on, Peter, Ruud, and Rob went on to form a 2nd group called Nova which then led to the number 1 hit ‘Aurora’ in the Netherlands and Belgium charts of April 1982.
In the same year, they also produced the PERU ‘Constellations’ album which was recorded semi-live on 4-track in their own HNS Studio, situated in a little basement studio found in the heart of Dordrecht.
By the year 1983, the album ‘Continents’ was written and recorded on an 8-track tape recorder in HNS studio.
The album ‘Points of the Compass’ followed in 1986 and was also recorded, and mixed in the HNS studio, but this time on a 24-track. Then the albums ‘Forlian’ in 1988 and ‘Moon 1991’ were recorded and included a new guest musician and composer ‘Jos van den Dungen’.
In 1988 PERU remixed their song ‘Africa’ from the 1983 album ‘Continents’ and released a 12-inch remix version of it. The remix of Africa went on to become a number 1 hit in Austria in the same year.
‘The Prophecies’ in 1993 was the last PERU album which was very different from all the other albums. But the story of PERU doesn’t end there….
Now 25 years later PERU’s new album ‘The Return’ is released!.
In 2015 the recording sessions started in earnest with Ruud and Rob at the helm and in contrast with the first PERU album which was played live using hardware on a 2-track tape recorder, this album has been fully produced using music software.
Enjoy the new PERU album!
Rob & Ruud
It was with a lot of amazement and especially enchantment that I discovered the musical arsenal of PERU. Because we speak well of arsenal with this panoply of rhythms which get transforming inside each structure which barely approaches an average length of 5 minutes, if we exclude the title-track, and of genres which abound in a sound universe of an incisive sharpness. Peru! Can you believe I have never heard the music of this legendary band from the Netherlands? Although its name has been circulating quite often in the various discussion groups about contemporary EM. According to some critics, this duet composed of musicians (Pe)ter Kommers and (Ru)ud van Es, hence the acronym PERU, offered an EM more focused on synth-pop and electronic rock of Tangerine Dream from the post-Jive years than Berlin School as such. The duo became trio and foursome over the years, welcoming the famous Rob Papen in its ranks. It's also this latter and Ruud van E s who bring life back to the Peru adventure some 25 after the release of The Prophecies in 1993. And how was this first contact with the music of Peru? Difficult to explain because the music is difficult to define. Melodious with good arrangements and keyboards in mode harmonies, the music still offers great rhythmic versatility within each title, for this purpose we lose a little bit of our compass in the title track, and those countless synth solos which whistle and sing with delicious thine lines of acuity. I would situate the approach to those of Tangerine Dream's melodic side, the edgy e-rocks of Jerome Froese and to Johannes Schmoelling's composing style but with a more daring vision and still with his arrangements stolen from the strings of emotivity. “THE RETURN” has several seductive arrows. Each title is very melodious and rather catchy with its rock, synth-pop and even dance clothes. The only thing that annoys me are these Gregorian and Celtic choruses à la ERA or Enigma. And it's not much when even our ears dance to the sound of “THE RETURN”.
After a brief ethereal introduction, haloed with a soft voice, "A New Start" plunges into a fusion of synth-pop and classic electronic rock with a keyboard which freezes a minimalist approach on a bed of shimmering sequences and a humming bass line. PERU's musical universe is changing fast here with a more flamboyant essence of arpeggios and their sequenced ritornellos which sail through lush layers of voices of electronic mermaids. A fluid bass, percussions and clatters of wood sculpting some stationary kicking on a flow of sober sequences; the melodic rhythm brings its nuances into a structure which dances between its ethereal moments and its phases of catchy rhythms. "The Loop" follows with a disarticulated movement of the sequencer which gives life to a spasmodic rhythm and where other percussive elements get into the meticulous work of rhythmic structures. Beautiful orchestrations all in tenderness and emotion overfly this approach which becomes more fluid and more intense with the arrival of compact percussions. Synth effects adorn this good rhythmic panorama with sonic lassos which come and go in a vision of perpetual whistles. Gregorian voices add a scent of ERA to the finale. The phases of rhythms are sharp and lively, touching even a bit of techno or dance music with layers of floating violins. Ditto for "Day 2", again the percussive elements are disarming here, and "The Swarm" which sounds like a good Moonbooter with a synth in mode harmony. Even "Storm" flirts with this genre with its technoïd pulsations.
The title-track opens with Celtic songs which is treading a delicate melody lying on a piano more romantic than melancholic. A line of bass pulsations vibrates between the ears, propelling "The Return" to a jerky electronic rhythm. Effects are cooing over this energetic structure and a synth throws a melody which fades into a Jerome Froese's ambient move. Jerky orches trations are in standby mode. The rhythm comes out in the form of a gallop which charges under good solos whose sharp feathers are found all around the 53 minutes of “THE RETURN”. An ambiospherical phase stops this dynamic rhythm which returns in a slower form with solos which agonize on an evolution proposed by bass sequences which move nervously under other delicious percussive effects. The sound aesthetic is very rich, here as everywhere, with choruses borrowed from the vision of Vangelis and tender ambient orchestrations. The 3rd skin evolves more in a psybient mode with very convoluted solos which charm and surprise in a more melancholic approach. "Mirror" follows with a sequencer which unleashes its jumping keys in a phase of static rhythm which serves as a bulwark for other good sharpened solos. The limpid sequences which dance blithely recall some of Peter Baumann's structures in Trans Harmonic Nights. Strange harmonic on another stationary rhythm, nervous and exciting for o ur fingers, "The Art Gallery" offers sound effects and other percussive effects which make a lot of noise beneath a mass of sound effects and some sweet Arabic songs. "Desert Rain" begins with a nice progressive lullaby whose light sequencer chords turn in minimalist loops in a rather ethereal cosmic phase. It's like dreaming awake! Heavy and nervous sequences, as well as percussions, shake these ambiences which always keep a dreamy seal with layers of voices and jazz effects, bringing the music towards an unknown zone. The ritornello returns this time by dancing with these heavy and nervous sequences, while the synth weaves all it takes to dream again with open eyes. "Meteor" ends this comeback album of PERU with an approach of electronic rock structured on agitated sequences which come and go on a sea of evasive melodies.
Thanks to Ron Boots and to Groove, I spent very good minutes absorbing all the essences of this PERU album which has literally charmed me with its Berlin Sch ool, with its nervous and stormy sequences, well merged in phases of synth-pop, allegorical rock and dance music. The arrangements and the many clannish effects which decorate some rather celestial ambiances and the numerous synths with a unique tonal signature make of “THE RETURN” one of the very good melodious and intelligent EM albums to have pierced the wall of my doubts since moons. One of the best opuses and a must in 2018!
2019. Sylvain Lupari