Track 1, 2 and 3 are recorded live at CEOS 1999|
- Sonic Scenery part 1 [13:39]
- Sonic Scenery part 2 [14:24]
- Stranger [16:47]
- Light pollution [6:56]
- Freewave [8:13]
- Aftermath [13:33]
Synths: Ron Boots, Eric van der Heijden, Kees Aerts
Drums & percussion: Harold van der Heijden
Vocoder voice on track 3: Kees Aerts
Track 4 recorded at the Planetarium of Ville Neuf D'asq on March 14 1999
Synths & drums: Ron Boots, Harold van der Heijden
Track 5 recorded during rehearsals for E-Live 1998
Synths: Ron Boots, Eric van der Heijden
Drums & percussion: Harold van der Heijden
Track 6 recorded at the Summer Jam Session on Sept. 11 1993
Synths: Ron Boots, Eric van der Heijden, Harold Theunissen
Guitar: Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock
Drums & percussion: Harold van der Heijden
This is our third official live release and it gives an impression of the music we play as specials and encore pieces. In other words: This is all new music. You don't hear any familiar pieces from other CDs. That makes this CD unique, with music that was played once and will never be heard in this form again.
For us musicians this is the greatest way to perform; not being limited to studio versions, it gives us a feeling of freedom on stage and it certainly increases the amount of adrenalin in our vains during the performance.
Some mishaps are inevitable and also remember that NO overdubs or after-editing is done other then making it as good sounding as possible. The audience you hear are the people who came to CEOS 1999 in Cologne. I decided to let them in for the atmosphere and edit them in after Harolds drumsolo in Freewave.
Have fun listening and remember... Live recordings should be played LOUD! Never mind the neighbours, you can blame it on me.
1999. Ron Boots
This is all new music not just live tracks from other albums. Ron states on the liner notes that it should be played loud and even offers to take responsibility if the neighbors complain!
Very atmospheric beginnings conjure up all sorts of lost in the dark images on the aptly titled 'Sonic Scenery part 1'. This scenery is not all tranquil however as a sequence starts four minutes in, develops and becomes more dominant as the track progresses. I now know what he means about playing it loud! It is all change at the beginning of Part 2 (or is it end of part 1?) to this track however with a beautiful piano melody being introduced. This is then replaced by a slow beat and an echoing sequence combines with it to superb effect. The main melody is carried by a flute sound which just manages to make itself heard as the sequence again develops and sizzles from the speakers in wave after wave, absolutely magnificent stuff! The further we get into the track the greater part the drums play imparting more energy to a piece that is already super heated.
The sequences are back for 'Stranger' though the first one up is rather melodic, accompanied by vocoded vocals in true 'Chromium Echoes' fashion. A very beautiful (but not pretty) track. 'Light Pollution' is an atmospheric and moody piece for piano and swirling synth pads and is an ideal break from the sequencer dominated pieces we have had so far. So thoroughly refreshed lead me back to the fray! The first half of 'Freewave' gets right into the groove and dare I say it is almost funky, very rhythmic and melodic but above all great fun, I couldn't keep still to it. There are then a couple of minutes of drum solo by Harald van der Heijden returning to where we left off with blistering lead lines right to the finish.
'Aftermath' starts as a piano solo and develops with drum and synth pads through quite a heavy guitar section. To be honest it isn't the strongest track on the album but with such a long running time and with the quality the rest of the album possesses you can afford to drop one track and it still be a superb buy.
Actually this is the 2nd live CD of MORE and in that sense the successor of the very succesful MORE CD "By Popular Demand". The last mentioned CD was re-released on April 10 at the Alpha Centauri Festival in Huizen ( Netherlands ) together with the afore mentioned CD. Together they form a true brilliant team.
Newcomer "Joie de Vivre" contains over 70 minutes of live (and some studio ) tracks which, for the greater part, came about through improvising. The first three tracks – together about 45 minutes – are all descended from the CEOS- concert in Cologne. They form, as for me , the top of the already very glorious musical skills which Ron Boots & Friends have built up in the course of the years.
This triptych (performed by the exceedingly flexible running and again surprisingly strong tandem Ron, Eric, Kees and Harold ) leaves an impressing and above all, magic orgy of whipped up sequencers, soundscapes, effects and rhythms which will enthrall many a listener. In that sense it is one piece of pure, deeply rooted musical emotion which keeps on bubbling up and splashing apart in the ears of the listeners for 3 quarters of an hour.
In the slowly built up track "Stranger" very spheric vocodersinging of Kees Aerts has been recorded. After this track follows the – recorded in France one day later – planetarium piece "Light Pollution" by Ron Boots and Harold van der Heijden.
Track 5 is something special, namely a studioversion of the, at live performances very popular "Freewave" (a.k.a. "The Wavepolice"), in which Harold really goes bananas during his racy drumsolo in the in-between part of this track.
However, it is difficult to accustom to the studioversion, because the "bubbling excitement" of the live atmosphere is unmistakebly missing , despite an excellent performance and faded-in applause. A thing or two could be blamed on the fact that a qualitative good live-recording of "Freewave" wasn’t available. Also, the live recording failed more than once. ( During their concert in Cologne the harddisk was full all at once )
The CD ends spherically with a 13 minute lasting Summerstudio-jamsession of Ron, Eric, Harold van der Heijden , Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (Mr. Mind over Matter) and Harold Theunissen ( of Syndrone ).
Summarizing: For over 70 minutes "Joie de Vivre" leaves a superb musical statement of high-qualitative, flaming electronic music as it has been performed live by Ron & Friends throughout the years, always earning a lot of success.
In that sense this CD is a "perfectly chosen thank you" to their large crowd of loyal fans.
1999. Bert Strolenberg
"Joie de Vivre" is the third live release from the Groove Unlimited consortium of electronica masters. Ron Boots, Kees Aerts, Eric van der Heijden and Harold van der Heijden create monstrous walls of sound and elegant ambience. Sometimes the music creates the rhythm; sometimes the rhythm drives the music.
The diversity is a sonic masterpiece. There are NO weaknesses! The CD oozes intelligent, emotional joy.
1999. Jim Brenholts
Listening to a live CD of a concert you've seen can be an interesting experience. But live CD’s are also a good way to catch up on the concerts that you haven't attended. Sometimes, as an EM fan, you just can't help but conclude that you've missed something special, which is the case with "Joie de vivre".
Ron Boots and his friends Kees Aerts and Harold and Eric van der Heijden claim that this is their third official live album. This is a questionable claim. The first four tracks on the album were recorded ‘live’, while the last two tracks were recorded ‘live in the studio’. The foursome’s performance at the CEOS festival (Cologne, March 1999) provides us with three tracks.
‘’Sonic Scenery’’ is in two parts and it is, musically, mostly Ron Boots’ work with beautifully arranged keyboard parts, subtle sequencers, and dark (but not too dark!) sounds. Van der Heijden adds a few excellent solo parts, while Harold is busy with his electronic drums.
The third track, ‘’Stranger’’, is the highlight of this album. In 16 minutes, Boots & Co. show us why their collaboration is so fascinating. Aerts’ vocoder text is the finishing touch and reminds us of Klaus Schulze’s experimental works of the late seventies and early eighties.
In ‘’Stranger’’, everything just falls into place. Unfortunately, these highlights do not occur in the remaining three tracks.
The first, ‘’Light Pollution’’, which was recorded in Lille and is too short, at least leaves us with a positive impression.
Yet the rehearsal piece, ‘’Freewave’’, and the jam piece, ‘’Aftermath’’, don’t substantially add to this cd. Both tracks sound aimless and uninspired, and could have been left off of the cd. Whereas the first set of tracks on this cd makes a very professional impression, the second set is the height of amateurism, which is a shame.
On top of that I always wonder if it wouldn't be better for Harold van der Heijden to use sturdy ‘analogue’ drums alongside the warm and partly analogue sounds made by Boots, Aerts, and cousin Eric. Listening to his substandard electronic drumming on ‘’Freewave’’ I can't draw any other conclusion. I believe that van der Heijden is capable of far better technical performances. A missed opportunity?
But to be honest, as the album cover already implies, musical freedom reigns on this disc and characterizes the music made by Boots & Friends. Every ingredient is certainly present in this collection of tracks, yet the combinations just don't turn out to be quite what they could have been.
Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend buying this album, if only for the fantastic tracks recorded at Cologne!
Wouter Bessels / SonicImmersion.org
This cd was purchased the very second I heard the sample "Freewave" It was the solo part before the drum solo by Harold Van Der Heijden, But then I heard another drum solo after the drum solo a much more higher pitch, So I emailed Groove and asked who it maight be Ron Boots replied back saying it was him Hammering away on the end solo So he must be doing the first solo on the sample one as well, But you be the jude on this Beautiful Melodic Release With Tons of Melodies It will take you out of your past into this present knowing there is always a future.
Way to go RON !!
2006. Mike Costa / USA
Live album by Boots and friends, but one cannot get rid of the feeling that there's not much live playing going on, except maybe for "Aftermath" which is a testimonial for the limited soloing qualities of Boots & Co. Overall, the music is slick and 'over-programmed' which is not compatible with the essence of a live performance, ie. the 'live' bit. The only real jamming is done by drummer v.d.Heijden on "Freewave" but I found this drum solo to be completely out of place. The vocoder on "Stranger" is pathetic and makes this boring piece even worse. All in all a missed opportunity, because there are a couple of good ideas on this disc, like certain parts of Sonic Scenery 1 & 2 and Freewave.
2007. Erwin Broers / Belgium
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". After releasing the great 1998 "Tainted Bare Skin" album, Ron Boots came back in 1999 with this live album, officially accredited to Ron Boots & Friends.
"Joie de Vivre" (6 tracks; 74 min.) consists of the first 4 tracks recorded live in March, 1999. With most of these live electronic/ambient live releases, you can't really tell that they are live, but for the occasional applause at the end of a track.
"Sonic Scenery Part 1 and 2" is a 28 min. piece that takes its merry time to evolve, and it's the reason to get this album. The line-up consists of 3 synth players and a drummer, and at times the drumming nicely compliments the whirlwind of synthesizers, at times it does not (I'm generally not a fan of live drums on this type of music). "Stranger" is another nice long 16 min. piece. The last 2 tracks were recorded live in 1998 and 1993 (per the album's liner notes), and really don't fit as well with the rest of the album. They are not bad, but are not essential either, and in particular "Freewave" feels kinda out of place.
In all, "Joie de Vivre" is a good album, although not quite as strong as "Tainted Bare Skin". That said, I'll still recommend this album to any fan of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Spacecraft, Harmonia, Cluster, and the like.
Sometimes live improvisational albums, especially electronic ones, can fall a bit flat, as if someone just turned on a few buttons and then only tweaked them often enough to see if the audience was awake. Not so with "Joie de Vivre," a solid collection of original electronic music from Ron Boots, Eric and Harold van der Heijden, and Kees Aerts.
The CD opens very strong with "Sonic Scenery," a two-part piece comprising almost a full half hour of the CD. Beautiful opening synth pads sweep across the listener for a few minutes. A rich yet soft bass sequence starts up about four minutes into things, serving as an anchor to the rest of the music. Part 1 is a big churning, pulsating machine, its parts combining into a delicious taste of synthesizer heaven. Beautiful, bright piano, reminiscent of Tangerine Dream's "Pergamon" album, closes out Part 1 nicely. Part 2 begins with a single, bleating drum. This rather primitive sound is joined by electronic pinging back and forth, dancing playfully from side to side. Then, a great wall of synthesizers, seemingly coming from every direction, get into the act. Music builds, then fades, changes directions, and builds again in different ways. In the wrong hands, this could have disintegrated into a muddled mess. As it is, it is brilliant, not to mention a whole lot of fun.
The rest of the disc has good moments, too. "Light Pollution," features nice piano work laid on a bed of soft electronics. Far from new age, this is relaxing, but still has a good bite to it. After such a low-key song, I was quite taken aback by a blaring horn section to open "Freewave," but once it gets going, this is a terrific track, in the best tradition of TD's melodic period of the mid-1980s. The album does take a strange turn toward traditional rock toward the end, including a drum solo in the middle of "Freewave," and the guitar-dominated "Aftermath." Still, these are easily overlooked among real gems like "Sonic Scenery." Highly recommended.
1999. Phil Derby