All tracks recorded at Dreamscape Studio, except track 6, recorded in Das Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany, February 25, 1994.|
- Gravity Pull [11:31]
- Tainted Bare Skin [13:21]
- Achouchemojha [7:26]
- Freezin' Heat [11:25]
- Dewdrop Plunge [9:46]
- Déjà Vu [12:19]
- Dejection's Curve [5:04]
Track 7 is a special request from the visitors of Versmold '96
All tracks composed, produced and played by Ron Boots
Harold v.d. Heijden - drums on track 4 and 5
Ron says in the sleeve notes that he "feels like he’s back in control" with this album. In control or not, as far as the music is concerned it doesn’t seem to matter - the consistency remains amazingly high.
The album opens with ‘Gravity Pull’ and what a piece this is! Trademark sequencing carries the track on a wave of pulsations while subtle pads and melodies flesh out the soundstage. 5 minutes in drums make an entrance to add further lustre.
‘Tainted Bare Skin’ opens with sweeping vistas and restrained power. The 4 minute mark heralds the rhythmics and again they are measured and masterful, with the drumming providing more of an edge to the sequencing.
‘Achouchemojha’ presents weirdness and whispered vocal touches against a slowly unfolding rhythmic foundation. Tribal-like shouts then give this piece a very "earthy" feel.
‘Freezin’ Heat’ returns to more accustomed territory with hypnotic sequencing. This is the classic Boots style which he has made his own - and again the addition of drums brings a new dimension.
‘Dew Drop’ plunge is a very effective piece of drift juxtaposed with rasping chunky rhythmic, while ‘Déjà Vu’ builds slowly for 6 minutes before a methodical sequence is used as the basis for the remainder of the track.
Finally we have ‘Dejection’s Cure’ which is "a special request from the visitors of versmold ‘96". Get down and boogie!
Another masterful album. What more can you say? Buy.
Dutch ambient instrumentalist Ron Boots was prolific in the mid/late 1990s with a series of electronic albums, some of which actually got some nice recognition and even airply in this country, primarily via the Public Radio International late-night show "Echoes"
"Tainted Bare Skin" (originally issued in 1998; 7 tracks; 71 min.) starts off with the best track of the album, the 12 min. "Gravity Pull", with throbbing sequencers all over, just great. The title track follows, and is another 13 min. epic song, albeit far more pensive and introvert. "Achouchemojha" is even further experimental still, just space-soundscapes, no melody to speak of (reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream). "Freezin' Heat" brings a stronger pulse back to the album, and builds into a nice crescendo. "Dewdrop Plunge" and "Deja Vu" are equally strong pieces. However the album's closing track, the short "Dejection's Cure" feels totally out of line with the other tracks (it's more of a dance-oriented track), and should have been left off in my opinion.
In all, this is a fantastic album, and my favorite of Ron Boots (another good one is his live album "Joie de Vivre"). If you are a fan of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Michael Hoenig, Spacecraft, and the like, this is a no-brainer. Buy It! You can thank me later...
Paul Allaer / USA
As one of the mainstays of the Dutch (and so increasingly the whole European) synthesizer scene, Ron Boots has something of a reputation to maintain, and the opening track of his new CD does that in no uncertain terms by diving straight into a fast-paced, echoing sequencer workout over a growling bass synth and swirling string chords.
"Gravity Pull" shows that Ron knows how to program drum patterns as well - although Harald and Eric Van Der Heijden help out in this respect as well as on synths on several other tracks - and the title track confirms this with a strong pattern which opens up under chiming, harpsichord-like sequences about six minutes in.
The strikingly titled "Achouchemojha" (indistinct voices chanting the word in the sonic distance) is an all-out Steve Roach impression, featuring dark chords, percussion, clangorous metallic sounds and ethnic voices - a little out of context with the rest of the album. "Freezin' Heat" is much more typical, Mellotron-like chords giving way to a very straightforward two-note ping-pong echoed sequence, while "Dewdrop Plungle" (another great title) utilises a much more original, wobbling bass sequence, drums and thick string chords.
"Deja Vu" thankfully doesn't sound like something you've heard before - more like one of Bernd Kistenmacher's slower post-Klaus Schulze tracks, while the closing "Dejection's Cure" briefly visits techno territory with a plonking organ bass under 4/4 hi-hats and bass drum, voice samples and house piano.
It's an odd choice of closing track, but as Ron notes on the sleeve, "life is full of surprises". On "Tainted Bare Skin" he touches on many styles with superb compositional and production quality, and if the listener can be found who enjoys everything from dark ambient through synth/sequencer music to techno, they'll enjoy this one no end.
With "Tainted Bare Skin," Ron Boots has really outdone himself this time. The sequences are just a little crisper, the melodies a little better, the sounds and effects just a little cooler. If he raises the bar much higher, no one, including himself, will be able to reach it.
Beginning with "Gravity Pull," swirling pools of sound are quickly enveloped in the first 30 seconds by a great sequencer rhythm, and a deep bass sound like a really fat bass string being plucked. The effect is definitely akin to the pull of gravity. Layer upon layer of electronics and percussion build, spilling over the top about halfway through its 11-minute run, giving way to a great, sharp lead synth line that carries the main melody into the mix. The tune then transposes to a higher key just at the right time to build the intensity a bit further before starting a slow descent back to earth.
Great cds nearly always have great opening numbers, and "Tainted Bare Skin" is no exception.
What I like best about Boots' style of sequencer-based electronic music is that he isn't afraid to pull back the reins a bit, mixing up energetic tracks like "Gravity Pull" with mellower ones like the title track, or "Déjà Vu," both very relaxed counterpoints to a lot of high sequencer energy. Even more of a departure, "Achouchemojha" sounds like Ron Boots collaborated with Steve Roach. His trademark sweeping synth sounds are infused with very Roach-like tribal beats, and the occasional calling out of the mysterious sounding title.
The disc is rounded out with other excellent tracks, like the high-energy "Freezin' Heat," and the majestic "Dewdrop Plungle," which reminds me of some of Boots' best work on "Ghost of a Mist," a release from almost ten years ago.
This is my favorite CD so far for 1999, having not heard it when it came out in 1998.
If you like a good mix of high energy and laid back electronic synthesizer music, you can't go wrong with "Tainted Bare Skin."
1999. Phil Derby / Wind and Wire
"Tainted Bare Skin" is a landmark release from master soundscapist, Ron Boots.
Ron is at his best creating strong sound designs and high tech minimalism. This set features those strengths and then some. He juxtaposes his minimalism with some strong electronic rhythms and eerie samplers. This scherzo is quite effective. This is ambience for deep listening.
It must be heard deeply to be appreciated. Like all Ron's music, this is not subtle.
The '98-release "Tainted Bare Skin" of Netherlands's most famous and successful electronic musician Ron Boots is again one that hits the spot in many ways. It offers an astonishing 70 minutes of very well composed complex compositions burning out of your speakers. Varied sounding sequences come together with nicely layered cosmic sound scapes and powerful rhythms, not to forget about the great bass lines underneath some of the compositions. Ron's most recent music sparkles of joy and fun in making music, almost invites the listener to come in and become part of this overwhelming one-man-show.
The superbly produced CD concludes with the almost rave-dance track "Dejection Cure", which nicely shows of Ron's exceptional side-step into this music-style.
All in all "Tainted Bare Skin" is a must-buy in many ways !
1998. Bert Strolenberg