All tracks composed (but based on improvisation) and performed by Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij. |
- Silent Witnesses Of Industrial Landscapes - Overture [10:04]
- Elements In Decay [12:59]
- Liquid Ore Finding Its Way [13:02]
- When Night Falls [8:28]
- Point Of No Return [7:55]
- Setting The Wheels In Motion [18:12]
- Silent Witnesses Of Industrial Landscapes - Finale [8:04]
Edited, produced, mastered and coverdesign by Gert Emmens
Boss DR-660, Clavia Nord Modular, Clavia Nord Micro Modular, Elka Solist 505, EMS Synthi A, EMU E6400 Ultra, Emu Vintage Keys Plus, Korg MS-2000r, Korg Wavestation EX, Roland M-VS1, Roland SH-32, Yamaha A4000 sampler w/Mellotron and Stringensemble sets, Yamaha AN1x (*2), Yamaha S-30 w/PLG150-AN, Yamaha SY85
Emmens & Heij team up for a fourth time on Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes, and they just keep the Berlin train rolling right along. Letís just cut to the chase and say that if you have and like their prior albums, donít hesitate to add this one to your collection. Fans of retro EM should once again be in analog heaven. As usual, this is improv-based synthesizer music with an equipment list a mile long, sure to make the gearheads green with envy. But enough on that, what about the music?
"Overture", the first of the two-part title track, starts with bright shimmering synths that breathe in and out, and a bubbly sequence low in the mix at first, gradually coming to the foreground. A classic Emmensí melody takes over as this one moves along neither too fast nor too slow, in a very comfortable groove.
Ruudís excellent sequencing starts from the get-go in "Elements in Decay", joined by warm synth pads. This too moves at a moderate pace and is equally enjoyable.
"Liquid Ore Finding Its Way" moves at a slightly faster clip, chugging along quite nicely. Although the straight ahead sequencer fests are plentiful and very good, my personal favorite may be the moody atmospheric number "When Night Falls", full of soft sparkles of electronic sound, rich textures, and a light touch on the melody. This is a wonderful piece, delicate and put together just so, surprisingly with nary a sequence to be found.
Not to worry, Teutonic lovers, the pulse comes back in "Point of No Return", perhaps the best of the Berlin school bunch, with solid rhythm to back up the hypnotic loops.
The best Emmens & Heij collaboration to date.
Phil Derby / Electroambientspace
After the last cd Journey which was a little different from the first ones, are Emmens and Heij back to that point. An excellent cd with the typical sequences of Ruud, and the solo's of Gert as layer on top of it.
One of the better cds this year and already a favorite of mine. A great job guys looking forward to next one and a live performance somewhere would be nice.
2008. Andrť Stooker / Holland
Looking at the massive list of equipment, we see that quite a few instruments went into making this newest work by Emmens & Heij. Let's see if the musical results are worth all the kilowatts spent.
We start with an overture of some 10 minutes. Mysterious and rather dark pads set the stage for melodic sequences that come from underneath the flow in classic Berlin School manner. This already sounds like a clear winner. A bass sequence joins and we are propelled forward on top of classic pulsations and an effective two-note melodic motif by Gert. Mellotron choirs appear, singing their song on pair with the mournful synth pads. An analogue drum machine rhythm starts, giving a bit of a punch to an otherwise very soft and mellow EM track. There's also a wonderful spacey analogue solo by Gert. The melodic content of this track is very strong.
"Elements In Decay" is straight into sequencing. And what sequencing it is! It sounds like it was crafted by gods. After a while a mournful Mellotron string sound appears, supporting the gorgeous pulsations. It seems to me that Ruud has actually mastered the art of sequencing to a point where he can hardly be reached, not to mention, topped. Is this the most perfect sequencing ever created on this Earth? It could be. At least I haven't heard anything quite like it for a looong time. Every note of the sequence is perfect. At the same time, Gert spices things up with no less exciting analogue lead sounds. If there's beauty in music, it's in this track which is the best I have heard from the duo so far. A chugging analogue drum machine rhythm starts, going in perfect sync with the pulsations. A bit jazzy solo follows, blending in nicely. More melodies come, some sharp and piercing, some soft and mellow. The rhythm subsides, leaving us in a wind-swept landscape, where the cosmic pulsations gradually fade into the distance, eaten by melancholic and even a bit epic pads. Pure genius!
"Liquid Ore Finding Its Way" is notable for its very dark and very effective intro. Whereas Ruud is a great master of sequencing, Gert demonstrates the ability to craft exciting sonic worlds, in addition to his knack for good melodic improvisation. Very evocative stuff here. Try to imagine being at night in an abandoned factory, seeing the red light from hot iron fill the building. A fast-paced sequence emerges and then comes one of the most effective melodic themes on this album. Mysterious and yet somewhat... yes, industrial. I don't know why but it does remind on some industrial imagery. You know, barren, wind-swept expanses of land, brick fences, gray buildings, lonely figures in the rain, hard work dawn till dusk, hands black from working with iron and coal... The sequences become more prominent, joined by sweeping effects and great unclassifiable electronic sounds. At the same time, Gert adds layers of synth pads, bringing this darkish but energetic EM piece to a close.
"When Night Falls" is more ethereal and bright, although dark shades are always present. An excellent moody motif is repeated over a bed of synth effects and a few pads. This one's an excellent, ambient EM piece, not very typical of Gert & Ruud but all the more interesting because of that. It's reflective, tranquil and yet melodic and purposeful.
"Point of No Return" is back to sequences and Mellotron string chords. A few twittering injections add a nice touch, before the rhythm starts and the sequencing becomes more aggressive and asserting. Speaking about sequencing, it seems to be the true "star" of this piece, while other elements take on a secondary role. That doesn't mean that there are no good melodies here, as Gert does deliver an outstanding melody after 5 minutes, played with a brassy / fluety synth patch.
"Setting the Wheels In Motion" is the longest track, clocking at 18+ minutes. It starts with dark soundscapes until the glimpses of sequences appear. The bass sequence is joined by an upper register one, as Mellotron strings play simple chords. The sequencing gradually becomes more propulsive and complex and the melodies more refined and emotional. The sequencing then becomes even more complex, as Gert solos on a synthesizer in his typical jazzy manner. A steady rhythm starts, but this track remains an easy-going, even airy, if somewhat propulsive, piece of music. Towards the end, the mood becomes a bit mournful and bitter, with almost Neo-Classical pads and windy landscapes.
And finally, the finale is here - an 8-minute closing track filled to the brim with absolutely gorgeous cosmic effects and sounds, tense sequences and wonderful melodic themes.
This album is the best one I've heard from Gert & Ruud, with "Elements In Decay" easily being my personal top track of 2008. Buy this gem without reservation.
Uhh... the kilowatts? Forget 'em!
2008. Artemi Pugachov / Russia
This release is extremely well done. I like how Gert & Ruud takes their music to a higher level on each of their releases. This CD is absolutely stunning, full of emotions and creativity, all the way through.
It sounds close to Gert's latest release "Nearest Faraway Place", but expands on that same release with more power, synths, and sequencers, which are built up very infectious on all songs. My favorites on this CD are "When Night Falls", "Finale" & "Overture". These songs are very strong and exciting, and builds up slowly with long sequencer sounds in a very emotional way.
I Highly Recommend this album, and especially to the fans of Gert's latest effort "Nearest Faraway Place Vol.1".
Incredible Work, Gert & Ruud Heij. This is art!
2008. Kristian Persson / Sweden