Style = contemporary electronic with a bit Berliner Schule
- Sequential Tourism [16:11]
- Sequential Solitude [16:14]
- Bataille dans les Nuages [13:06]
- Arcadia [17:56]
- The Sequential Tourists [6:28]
Recorded at the Miniminus studio Netherlands.
All music composed and produced by René van der Wouden during Spring/Summer 2008.
René van der Wouden - analogue and digital synthesizers + electronic percussion
A track of this album was played on a recent Dreamscape Radio show.
The music is uptempo with elements of electronic music from the past. All the elements of German electronic music are woven into this project. The sequencers, the spacious sounds and the hunting percussions of beginning eighties synth music in the likes of Schmoelling's period at Tangerine Dream and the digital soundscapes of Klaus Schulze's IC period on the GDS.
It is not necessary to do an other recommendation of EM 'must have', because the album will claim to do, but it is just like that. The music during Tangram, Exit and Logos or KS' Audentity is just right at your hand's fingertips.
2011. Jeroen / The Netherlands
I would rather judge this release as Berlin School in a contemporary flavor. The 70 mins of this CD are made up by 4 Track of about an quarter hour each and one 6:30 track.
1. Sequential Tourism (16:14) After some Klaus Schulze's mid seventies like soundscapes (but thankfully not in the typical KS chords of then and today), we notice some nice strong bass in the background at about 3 mins into the track. This is a good counterpoint for the bassless sound effects and vocal like and S&H like sounds. The slow melody is getting more attention now. At 5:18 a lower sequence starts. Yes, this is the Berlin School style I like ! You can feel the urge for more sequences inside. You need to hear them. But René is doing it nice and slow. So we have more from this. The sequence is filter modulated and some chords do a nice Johannes Schmoelling (ex TD member) like pad sound progression. In nearly exactly the middle of 16:14 the track the sound transforms suddenly (but in a nice short way) into a more ambient like textual eighties thing. The sounds are now not seventies at all. A higher percussive played sequence is joined by second one. And the drums shift into the second gear now. We getting nineties here. A classic monophonic analog (like?) lead line is played now. This is music to dream away during the day. But don't get me wrong: it is not boring at all. Just the mood is like this. At least to me.
2. Sequential Solitude (16:16) Starting with some beautiful sounding strong chords this is the most emotional track to me. And this lasts till about 6 minutes into the track. Some of the well known ring-modulated Yamaha CS sounds are introduced. And only the real thing is able to create in this nice timbre. So there is a need for real analog synths. Not only for show-offs or to collect them like stamps. And then two minutes later we suddenly get some sequences that remind me on Tangerine Dream's "Canyon Dreams" soundtrack. No René is not copying them. And when the airy noise sound comes in as a real slow melody line, this TD similarity is only the sequence. another two and a half minute later (yes, we are about 10:30 into the track) a drum box starts with a strong bass and a em phased snare. Maybe I am getting to old, but I think the drums are a bit to much featured here volume wise. But I know some younger (at least feeling so) prefer it this way.
3. Bataille dans les Nuages (13:08) This track names translates to "battle in the clouds". And the sound-cloud in the beginning is matching to this. This could have been recorded in the Gasometer in Oberhausen/Germany with its 100 meter high ceiling in a huge cylinder of black metal. The sequence at 2:30 is one of the trademark of Renés music style. When we think there will be no change anymore, a strong up beat drum pattern is started. And some noise whooshes might be part of the battle noise. A very digital sounding riff is played. Mmmh, are we talking Robert Schroeder here? Maybe. But the somewhat thin whistle like line with some glide is changing this anyway after some minutes.
4. Arcadia (17:58) Some noises and a koto like sequence introduce the fourth and longest track of Ren´s new release. The vocal sounds and this short samples (?) remind me of Johannes Schmoelling's first solo release. Not only sound wise. This lasts till the tenth minute. The rhythm and the sequence dies away. And some real traditional Berlin school sequence with filter cutoff and resonance modulation. If you don't know these terms, you will recognize this changing sound from other Berlin School tracks for sure. The music is getting more and more relaxing. Although the sequence is not slow at all. But from 13:38 on this is changed with some up beat drums to a fast thing. The tempo of the sequence is not changed by the way! Some long string ensemble like chords are the background where the sequence and the drums are running on. I though till I heard this track the first two tracks are the best to me. No I have three favorite tracks on one CD to chose from.
5. The Sequential Tourists (6:30) Starts with a dark sound reminding me of Blade Runner. Maybe due to the Yamaha CS50 use here? When the bass sequence starts we notice Renés typical style again. Relaxing, melodic (catchy melody here), and with a nice major chord scheme.
This is not what we would call Berlin School. But there is no name for this style yet. Maybe we should add a subgroup inside the Berlin School genre for the rare major chord versions. Lets name this "Major Berlin School" or Berlin Major School".
2008. Till Kopper / Germany
Enjoyed Sequential Tourism Rene and so i'm looking forward to the new one my friend! :-)
Steve Humphries / UK
The best part of René van der Wouden’s album Sequential Tourism is that there are no synths trying to sound like guitars or violins or cellos – just synths sounds liking synths, as it should be.
Deep space twitters start the 16-minute title track, and the energetic sequencing picks up the pace a few minutes later. Percussion builds the energy further, crashing in on a wall of sound, with warm pads always there in the background for a richer sound. A full-on beat ensues later on, and the synth lead lines fill in the gaps. "Sequential Solitude" has a more majestic feel to start, very free flowing for the first several minutes, quite nice. A twittering synth skitters in for a while, then just before the 8:00 mark the first bubbly sequencing emerges. Drums start a couple of minutes later, but this one remains a bit more restrained than the first, and it works well.
"Bataille Dans Les Nuages" has a more playful, bouncy sequencer pattern, albeit at a slower tempo, but the slack is taken up once the steady beat comes in. A synth lead in the higher register carries things in the closing minutes.
"Arcadia" starts with a cool sound that reminds me of a firework called a ground bloom flower, as it spins out just before it exhausts. A pinging synth with an Asian flavor comes next, and becomes quite hypnotic as it continues. The latter half of the track is different but still emphasizes brisk sequencing and lots of synthesizers.
"The Sequential Tourists" is a perfect 80s Tangerine Dream throwback, reminiscent of their soundtrack work from that period, a fun, lighthearted way to finish.
2010. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Within time, René Van Der Wouden succeeds to create his own sound universe. A world of EM where Berlin School goes alongside the charming elements of a French EM groundworked by pioneers such as Space Art, Jean Michel Jarre, Frédéric Mercier and Thierry Fervant. Synths to romantic, nostalgic and solitary tints which sing towards a nostalgic mist so faithful French repertory cinema. Sequential Tourism is the ideal analogy of this symbiosis so perfectly molded by the Dutch musician.
A rain of stars, to fine crystallized debit, dances on waltzing stratas which hem such as cosmic waves. The title track opens with a nothingnessed romantic where slow layers, which darken discreet choirs, marry surfs, sometimes soft, sometimes violent, of a music punctuated with heavy synthesized veils which waltz with tenderness. Waves sprinkled with analog sound effects, freeing a soft reflection of the 70s, before mixing to a loud neurotic sequence at around the 5th minute point. A sequence which pounds nervously on a fine line of bass, submerged by a very wrapping synth. The sequence gets free of it, taking a vitamined rhythmic on a circular movement, surrounded by fine synthesized accompaniments and by more contemporary sound effects. The movement becomes more animated with strange sound spins whose whirl among fine crystalline and melodious chords which flutter on metallic percussions. Percussions which switch around and beat an infernal pace, bordering a rock approach, on a magnificent synth to sidewinder breaths, chords and melodious solos ŕ la Frédéric Mercier style. This opening track opens the way to a hybrid album where rhythm edge magnificently perfumed intros of sweet sound iridescences and which coil up in celestial atmospheres. The rhythms are progressive and move slowly in crescendo towards rhythmic which border unbridled rhythms by a music more progressive than electronic.
Arcadia is different with its hopping sequences which collide, as in an arcade game, after a syncretic intro where a fanciful train is entering his station. A colorful intro which distances itself from the first 3 titles with a less Cartesian approach. The percussions beat a chaotic pace, a little as if everything was restrained in a spherical arch. Analog sound effects punctuate this structure which modifies its cadence at around the 10th minute mark with a big circular sequence, which oval hypnotically wrapped she is of big skin-tight synthesized layers. A rhythmic break which increases on small pit viper spirals and a weighty synth to twists that spin in every directions, in a sea of analog sound effects. A good title with caustic and heavy rhythm.
The Sequential Tourists closes with a magnificent melodious approach. A thunderous heavy circular sequence and percussions to hoofs horses encircle a synthesized harmony which sticks from the first listening.
Sequential Tourism is a magnificent album of EM. A Berlin School genre, but very near the bases of French EM style. A rather unique mixture needs to be said, which frees a musical freshness among each track, even if they remain complex and muddled with very audacious rhythmic progress. To date, this has to be the most complete and successful album of René Van Der Wouden.
2009. Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness