1. Exploration [15:40] MP3 soundclip of Exploration [3:00]
  2. Offshore Islands [8:17]
  3. Miss You [2:19]
  4. See You at Christmas [6:20] MP3 soundclip of See you at Christmas [3:00]
  5. And Time Stood Still [7:24]
  6. Oceans of Emotions [13:50] MP3 soundclip of Oceans of Emotions [3:00]
  7. Lightsong [3:30]
  8. For Those in Peril on the Sea Part I [8:32]
  9. For Those in Peril on the Sea Part II [5:01]
This CD contains the song "Oceans of Emotions". For a long time THE number ONE (electronic) song in Europe. "Offshore Islands," by Ron Boots and John Kerr, was originally released in 1990. The good folks at Groove Unlimited (Kees Aerts and Ron Boots) re-released it in 1998.
The unlikely pairing of John, known for his classical approach, and Ron, known for more cosmic soundscapes, was a stroke of genius.

The resulting sound is a dramatic crescendo of energy and waves of unabashed sonic panache. The islands referenced in the title are offshore oil rigs, presumably in the North Atlantic. The album pays homage to the crews working the rigs and the hardships that they endure.
The music is crisp and clean. The diametric styles clash and conjoin, emphasizing the mutual respect that these artists have for each other and for their theme.

Having collaborated on material for "Dreamscapes," also a 1990 release, they had enough familiarity with each other to know where to go wit h the music and how to go there together.

Jim Brenholts Fans of these two artists may well already be familiar with this CD, which was originally released in 1990 and then, like far too many releases in the genre, went out of print a few years ago. Fortunately, this very good music has been reissued this year, with slight changes to the cover art and, more importantly, no discernible changes to the music. So if you already are familiar with the original, and liked it, but never bought it, you need read no further, and may go buy it immediately.

The opening track, "Exploration," runs over 15 minutes, and is far and away my favorite on the disc. This is an epic piece, which builds from soft, ethereal synths that give way to majestic organ music with a beautiful choir in the background. The intensity increases throughout, then drops off somewhat dramatically to return to its gentle beginnings. Throughout the disc, each piece seems rich with imagery of the high seas.
"Miss You" has some beautiful piano, nicely augmented by synthesizers. "See You at Christmas" struck me as a touch on the mushy side, both in sound and title, but is not too much of a distraction, and does feature a nice sequencer piece that is reminiscent of Tangerine Dream's "Monolight" from their 1977 "Encore" CD.
For the most part, this disc succeeds nicely as a melodic electronic piece, with occasional lapses which seem too melodramatic or overly sentimental, at least to my ears. Others may simply think the music is filled with emotion, and there's nothing wrong with that.
One word of warning, the final piece will catch many listeners offguard. It is a hymn, complete with church organ and a female vocalist. I'm sure the artists could explain better than I why this was included on the disc, as it simply does not fit at all. It is beautifully done, but sounds like it comes from another album entirely. That aside, the majority of the music, particularly the longer pieces, are well-crafted and a very enjoyable listen.

The floating, gentle synthesizer washes of Ron Boots permeate this release, paving the way for his solo efforts to follow. John Kerr clearly influences this disc in terms of more melodic structure, and more than occasional new age leanings. However, Kerr and Boots seem to strike a balance, such that electronic purists who shy away from new age should not be too put off by it. Likewise, new age enthusiasts should find a lot to their liking here, even if it is clearly not a David Lanz or Alex DeGrassi album.
If you like electronic music with a good sense of melody, something along the lines of Wavestar, for example, you should really enjoy this release.

1998. Phil Derby / Wind and Wire