Errata: On the backside of the 1997 cover the names of song 8 and 9 are interchanged. 8 should be Lovers and 9 should be Other Worlds|
- Slices of Time [1:04]
- Waiting for Curtain [1:50]
- Eire [4:04]
- Balance [8:17]
- Darkness [9:13]
- The first Time [6:28]
- Travel [9:28]
- Lovers (Cooldown mix) [1:50]
- Other Worlds [7:00]
- Friends [9:45]
- Slices of Time (Reprise) [2:50]
These mistakes are corrected on the remastered version of 2002.
2002. Kees Aerts
Slices of Time is the very first album to appear on Groove label. It’s also a sublime album lost in this immense labyrinth that is EM world. Initially realized in 1997, Slices of Time became ceased and, quietly, forgotten in the constant emergence of novelties. Certainly, it is not the only album suspended and lost in the time. It’s the story of music, and maybe life; magnificent pearls are ignored in a pond too full of sound jewels which furnish warmly our ears. Re edited and remastered in 2002, I was lucky to discover this small jewel of a very versatile EM which is inspiring by Jean Michel Jarre's first works and by a rhythmic structure near Space Art’s one.
Slices of Time and Waiting for Curtain open with an ambient approach where a vocoder exploits a soporific feminine voice and sound samplings that bring us near a soft madness on twisted synths near a dramatic approach. A set-up that settles us feet in the sand and surrounded by gulls, while making the link with the amazing Eire.
Eire, poetic name for Ireland, is a nice track where we can easily affirm that Kees Aerts has the sense of rhythm and melody. A supple cadence which couples to cackling percussions, of which uncountable metallic clicking are twin to loud circulars resonances and to analog sound effects, which accompany a stately fluty synth. A flute in the sound harmonies of the Irish legends and which borrows the breaths of a bagpipe flanked by drum roll that’s shapes a magnificent Ireland solemn march. A very beautiful title, hyper melodious, which is between Jarre and Oldfield approach.
Metallic hoops that get tangled up in an effect of crossed undulation open Balance. A heterogeneous intro where a multitude of analog sound effects feed an uncertain rhythm sustains by magnificent hybrid sequences and a soft synth to syncopated hoops. Per moments, the rhythm gets lighter and strikes a pace supported by good percussions. A pace with random surges where the steams of an oniric cosmos, filled of analog FX, plunge us into Jean Michel Jarre's universe (Magnetic Fields), with a magnificent Mellotron synth that shapes a warm orchestration. A magnificent title as it proliferates throughout this Kees Aerts 1st opus.
A slow intro to colorful tones opens Darkness. Reverberating wave’s sounds auscultate a somber firmament where" tschitt tschitt’’cymbals and heavy drum striking introduce a musical clarification. A sound clearing became harmonious with a soft Mellotron synth, coupled to another synth of which chords pound in a warm musicality, which makes the strength of Slices of Time, to slinky, waltzing and daydreamer’s orchestrations.
Fine percussions to frivolous smacking on a soft wave-like line of bass, The First Time is deploying with a synth to spiraled growth and dramatic strata on a sequential movement sometimes steady, sometimes nuanced, by a celestial passage. The originality of the title rests on its finale where a human voice hums the synthesized tune with a nonchalance that we guess by the sound approach of the mysterious character.
Travel stirs on a nervous sequence, wrapped with a beautiful orchestral arrangement, before laying a wonderful synthesized melody which sticks in ears, as on Eire. A very beautiful music piece which develops a more intense livened up structure with good percussions and a Mellotron with strings as fascinating as mesmerizing, which dances and breathes a melody of the happiness.
After a cosmic intro in the fragrances of Space Art years, The Other World deflects on a slow rhythm of which symphonic synths blow a Vangelis dramatic approach. The line of bass is splendid and hypnotic, reminding the good Space Rock of the 70’s. Another very good track which takes a further fervent tangent in middle-route with a more nervous structure, but always gathered in by the same melodious approach, before returning on its cadence of origin.
Friends encloses this first effort of Groove co-founder of with a very effective melodious approach. A hopping sequence appears from a cosmic intro to introduce a soft tempo flavored of a pleasant Mellotron synth and of a fine line of bass. Slowly, percussions lead a smooth tempo soaked with a Ron Boots’ magnificent synth solo; musical signal which livens up Friends of a more rock structure with good electronic percussions and a guitar to chiseled and striking solos which become entangled harmoniously with a synth to spectral breaths. A great track that precedes a reprise of Slices of Time, which exploits a more dramatic ending.
Slices of Time is simply superb. An album without faults where harmonies, sometimes more accessible and other times more complex, overlap cadences on sequences and rhythmic as much lively as fascinating. A proof that EM can be very approachable, without falling in the ease or the excessive commerciality. We find magnificent tracks in there which hook as much the hearing as the soul with a poetic tenderness to melt lead.
A very beautiful album and it is just too bad that Kees Aerts isn't more prolific, because his talent to mold harmonies is more than undeniable.
2010. Sylvain Lupari / Guts Of Darkness
Kees Aerts is an great musician and i don't know why there are not more cd's of this performer, his music is different from Ron Boots. Slices of Time have many styles and i love this, the sequencer isn't mine favorite instrument but here he sounds good. This cd is an must have and in an collection of electronic music highly recommended.
2010. Marco Smit / The Netherlands
"Slices of Time" is the debut cd (which has some great cover-art) by the of the Dutch musician Kees Aerts, also know as one of the owners of Groove Unlimited.
It presents some highly accessible melodic music: easy flowing electronic poems with some occasional symphonic realms containing elegant soundscapes and sequencer lines. Ron Boots and James J. Clent join him on the very nice track "Friends", featuring a beautiful solo of Ron.
The whole musical approach isn't too complicated and listening to this music makes you feel at ease in no time.
Note: The album was re-released and remastered in 2002.
Bert Strolenberg / Sonic Immersion
As one of the main men behind Dutch synth label Groove Unlimited, Kees Aerts has quite a reputation to keep up, and luckily this new CD doesn't let him down either in terms of production or of musical innovation.
The title track opens with a great, vocoded chant reminiscent of Robert Schroeder's opening to "Paradise", but we're soon off into heavy analog territory with the swirling strings of "Waiting For Curtain". That's a transitional piece though, and "Eire" which it leads into is soft and lyrical, with chittering drums reminiscent of synthy band Peru underpinning flowing whistles and flutes.
"Balance" is stronger meat, opening with twisting synthy sounds and leading into a long, Oxygene-like track full of trilling sequencers. "Darkness" opens in ambient mood, strange digital synth sounds much to the fore, and developing again to a mid-paced analog sequencer workout.
"The First Time" has a stronger melody and chittering chords over strong drum patterns, sometimes reminiscent of Chris Franke's "London Concert", while "Travel" goes back into Peru territory with slow, lyrical synth leads over wandering analog sequences. "Lovers" is a short, string-led transition, while "Other Worlds" is a much more substantil piece, picturing Earth as a dot in the galaxy and plastered with spacey sounds, driving drums and off-beat synth rhythms.
The last major track "Friends" features Ron Boots on synth and Harold van Der Heijden on drums - it's a melodic, slowly-building and lyrical piece, which leads into a reprise of "Slices of Time", building on the harmoniser-multiplied vocal chants, sampling and layering them together into an atmospheric climax.
Overall this is a pretty exemplary synth album - well-produced, plenty of informative sleeve notes, varied musical ideas, and a nice balance between the use of concept tracks and a sense of complete musical freedom. Almost certainly set to be a big success among synth music fans.
Hailing from Holland, Kees Aerts music goes for slower beats and a more ambient, dreamy feel to the music. Most of the tracks on "Slices Of Time" tend to sequence into the next one, so the album is more like a symphonic poem in several sections. "Balance" is one of the best tracks, its beats gently insistent as it propels the hummable melody along. "Friends", the only track where Aerts is joined by other musicians is one of those slow burners that build in intensity as it flows along. This is gentle stuff, an album for winding down after a stressful day, rather than gearing up for clubbing.
Just to tell you that after listening your cd Slices of Time I liked it a lot, is really good. Thanks for this one.
2002. Alvaro Castillo / Mexico
Majestic album of synth layers, melodies and rhythms with loads of great tunes, plenty of development and variety and definitely one for those of you who like it on the melodic side with all those sweeping string synth cords, and flowing layers above dynamic rhythm base that you know and love.
2004. Andy G.
I have no earthly idea why the man has not released any more work. The album is so enjoyable to listen to. To be around electronic music as he is and to play it and to be around another master as far as I concerned, Ron Boots you would think an inspiration would come to mind to release another SOT. I can only hope.
2004. Bobby Wright
This CD is follows in the tradition of Patrick O'Hearn, Jean Michael Jarre, and Tangerine Dream (Hyperboria, Melrose). Although the influences are apparent Kees has it's own style that is sure to intrigue any electronic music fan.
This atmosphere is mostly catchy sequencer rhythms and symphonic deep space. The music ranges from electronic pulse and melodies (in the vein of O'Hearns "Rivers Gonna Rise" and "Eldorado") to rhythmic space and ambience.
Never gets trancey or dancey nor does it go to far into minimalism. It is just right.
"Slices of Time" is notable for being the first ever release of the Groove Unlimited label.
The title track opens the album with atmospheric synth background and female voice. Dramatic string sounds are dominating the picture, all tied by stiff electronic effects and some samples.
"Waiting for Curtain" continues in that direction and ends with the sound of waves.
"Eire" introduces gentle rhythms in mid-pace mode so typical of this work. The fluently leads sound pretty New Agey and overall the track fails to impress me. It's all too comfortable, too sweet for my taste. The track again ends with the sound of waves and next on show is "Balance" - a lengthy number with relaxed rhythms, nice pads and subtle sequences. Not exactly ground breaking, but fine. Note the excellently executed synth fx.
With the title "Darkness" I expect something mysterious and perhaps minor key based. And, yes, the track does start in a haunting mode - all we get for a while is a sonic field sparsely populated by sounds that fly like ghosts over a barren land. After the 2 minute mark rhythms are introduced and unfortunately the track becomes brighter and more cheerful - major harmonies are dominating the picture and the sequences are so optimistic, this should have been called "Brightness". Ok, not a bad track of course, just doesn't exactly live up to its title.
"The First Time" is more upbeat and more successful overall - great melody, this time with a somewhat urgent, dramatic character, in contrast to the positive sounding major-key sensibility that was more or less obvious up to this moment. Along with the title track, this is the best cut on the entire album. What I like most is how the sounds fade away at the end leaving us with a voice, humming the track's main melody and the sounds of feet walking around the room. Nicely done!
"Travel" immediately introduces bass sequences and propel us forward at a neat pace. The pads soon join the flow and it all ends up being a relaxed and comfortable number, with enough variation and key changes to keep interest throughout. Some lead synth work is the highlight. At around the 4:50 mark there's a nice brief atmospheric section before it all returns to sequencing / pad / strings / e-perc formula.
"Lovers" is next which serves as a brief prelude to "Other Worlds". Nice sequencing and effects are an asset of the latter, as well as the track's urgency - must be great for in the car.
"Friends" contains contributions by three fellow artists - Ron Boots on synthesizer, James J. Clent on guitar and Harold van der Heijden on electronic drums. All of them did an admirable job of adding some color to Kees' composition which is one of the highlights of the entire disc. Ron's synth solo is very good, the guitar playing by James is pretty neat too, and the fact that Harold broke his arm shortly before the recording of "Friends" and eventually had to play with one hand only (his playing was recorded in two takes) proves what an expert drummer he is.
The album closes with a reprise of the title track that features nice use of samples.
2005. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music
Kees Aerts has appeared on the three collections that were inspired by the X-Files, the latest being 'Truth or Dare'. On his own for the first time, his 'Slices of Time' employs clever use of sampled voices and percussive effects combined with layered keyboards to produce an impressive release that encompasses many electronic music styles, ranging from Dwane to Code Indigo, Roach to Serrie, Schulze to Jarre, with unique touches throughout. Space drift gives way to sequencer riffs, wavestation sounds and crashing punctuation. Not short on drama, nor lacking in potency, Aerts also uses excellent transitions to bridge the passages & connect the pieces into a flowing whole, much like Robert Fox.
1997. Backroads / USA
Il s'agit ici (à ma connaissance) du premier album de Kees Aerts. La musique de "Slices of Time" se situe dans une veine Berlin school très "ouverte", elle est très facile d'accès et souvent proche de celle de ses compatriotes, Boots ou van der Heijden. C'est paradoxal puisqu'il est Hollandais (donc d'un pays assez froid) mais cet album a un côté presque ensoleillé et léger. On y trouve des séquences, des belles nappes de synthés, des mélodies bien évidentes et une très grande accessibilité. Pas question ici d'espaces interstellaires ou d'introspections profondes car Kees puise plutôt son inspiration dans des questions existentielles comme "qui sommes-nous, d'où venons-nous, où allons-nous ?" ou "pourquoi la guerre en Irlande ?". Le courant hollandais est bien là et vivant et se distingue dorénavant de son grand frère allemand. À vous de juger si cette différence vaut la peine que l'on s'y arrête.
1999. Crystal Lake
Kees Aerts, co-owner of Groove Unlimited, has been in the music business forever. He has contributed his formidable talents to Groove's "Truth" series, a collaborative serial based loosely on "The X-Files" television series. "Slices of Time" is his first solo album. It is a set of musical moods and vignettes. Each vignette has its own mood. Kees is an excellent sound designer. The soundscapes create a wave of ambience worthy of Europe's best. The sequences are lush. The drama is high. The bravado is full. The only question is: "Why did Kees wait so long to record this?"
1999. Jim Brenholts