Ron Boots is the most well-known and successful electronic musician from The Netherlands. Musically brought up by the grandmasters of electronic music and packed with many influences by pop- and rockmusic, Ron has developed a style and a place of his own. With his last studio-album "Tainted Bare Skin" from 1998 Ron definitely entered the major league of electronic musicians. It took him almost two years to create the follow-up "Close, But Not Touching" but it was certainly worth the wait.|
- Close, but not touching [16:16]
- Save it for a rainy day [10:14]
- Well! So what? [18:25]
- Giants of once before [12:35]
- Au revoir [10:31]
Hearing the first notes of the title track it is not hard to hear Roní recognizable signature: innovative rhythms, great sequences nice solos and a lot of room for the finest sounds around. "Save It For A Rainy Day" shows the melodically side of Ron, almost like symphonic rock. In the epic "Well! So What?" (with 18:25 minutes one of the longest tracks he has ever recorded) Harold van der Heijden plays drums in the middle part. "Well! So What?" gives us some of the best Boots-sequences ever. "Giants Of Once Before" is a live recording from the Gruga Park in Essen, Germany of Ron together with his friends Harold van der Heijden and Kees Aerts. It is a rather melancholically piece with a driven solo.
And then, to conclude this great album, there is "Au Revoir". This is French for "goodbye". Lets hope this great sequencer-track with a soft vocal in the background is really a goodbye to a hopefully quick new rendezvous (again, French!) with the wonderful music of Ron Boots.
"Close, But Not Touching" really sets new standards in melodically electronic music.
2000. Press information
"Close but not Touching" is the pinnacle of Ron Boots' illustrious career (to date!). His innovative use of Berlin school sequences and playful minimalism has come half circle. His focus has shifted to the minimalism.
Ron still uses, at times features, his comfortable sequences. He did not achieve his legendary status, however, by standing pat. His position as Europe's leading electronician (my apologies to Dirk) was built upon his ability to take risks and win. This album celebrates the old and the new. Ron's atmospheres are dense and bright. He fills them with his joy and his lust for life.
This is another essential groove from the good folks at Groove Unlimited!
I am unabashedly biased when it comes to reviewing Ron Boots. His perfect blend of sequencers, atmospheric textures, and melody are irresistible to me. Even better, Boots' style, while immediately recognizable, continues to gradually evolve. His musicianship has reached a peak on his latest release. Five long, patient tracks slowly develop, adding wonderful sonic layers as they go along.
The title track begins with very subtle colourings, as it is nearly silent for the first minute or so. Eventually, though, the music explodes into a wall of electronics and toe-tapping beats. The classic Boots style of forceful rhythms, sequencing and synthesizers is in full bloom by the middle of this gorgeous 16-minute track. A very punchy synth chord stabs through the last few minutes, giving an extra kick. Each of the five tracks flows smoothly together, with nature sounds joining them together. A crash of thunder heralds the beginning of "Save it for a rainy day," which again builds slowly and smoothly, but soon a pulsing bass line carries the track into a more active realm. Boots' percussion is always strong, showing how synthesized drums do not have to be lifeless at all. As is often the case, he is aided ably on drums by his friend Harold van der Heijden on the oddly titled "Well! So what?" The opening section is very much like Ian Boddy's work on "The Uncertainty Principle."
After a brief pause midway through for some spacey sounds and effects, a very Jarre-like passage ensues. This is classic brisk sequencing, surprisingly retro for Boots, though of course he's always been clearly influenced by that sound. Bright, beautiful atmospheric sweeps come in over the top, along with very nice lead synth lines. This is a brilliant 18-minute centerpiece to the CD. "Giants of once before" goes into more laid back territory, a perfect midtempo change of pace with more emphasis on melody. The strings are very good here. Another wonderful chugging bass line drives the mellow "Au revoir" as the disc comes to a close.
If Boots continues to improve with each release, I can hardly imagine how good the next one will sound.
2000. Phil Derby / Sequences Magazine
Ron Boots is certainly no newcomer to the international electronic music community, having many previous releases of splendid sonic worth. This one is his latest, featuring 68 minutes of high energy tuneage.
Boot's innovative stylings are in high form with sultry melodics and driving passion. His electronics are a hyper blend of atmospheric airs and surging sequencers. These synthesizer sweeps and powerful riffs are accompanied by intricate E-perc networks. Catchy riffs and keyboard chords are applied in a succession of escalating grandeur, until the music is melodically dense and thick with hyper-rhythms.
While there are Berlin School roots in Boots' music, he has taken this sound much farther, carving his own style of dynamic electronics. Rich with emotion, there is a chill to the melodies, evoking ice crystals and glacial flows with his sparkling tuneage.
His compositional sense tends toward the dramatic, producing lively trance states compelling the listener into a condition of bodily gyrations. There are frequent hints of symphonic rock throughout Boots' music, further enhancing its epic qualities.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
I dont have much to say but this cd gets a 10/10! My bro let me listen to it and then he let me borrow it but now I want it and I can barely find anywhere that sells this cd. It has the capability to let you see the music flow inside your mind. Its the best when you have a room with a lot of black light stuff and wicked crap. I am fifteen years old and Ron Boots has changed my perspective on what to look for in an electronica cd or what ever kind of music you wanna call it.
2002. Josh Odle / United States
I spent a few hours listening to the Dutch synthesist Ron Boots. I listened to 3 of Mr Boots CD's Close But Not Touching, Ghost Of A Mist and Different Stories Twisted Tales.
I have to say I didn't realise what a wonderful composer this Gentleman is. The guy is brilliant.
BIG RON is MAGIC. Go out and BUY some BOOTS.
2003. Colin Jouxson
Apparently Ron Boots is quite a well-known electronic musician in the Netherlands. He has an extensive discography that extends back to the eighties, and runs his own online record store and label, Groove Unlimited.
Close, But Not Touching is a joy ride through electronica, ambient and space age atmospheres.
Although the album only contains five tracks, they are quite lengthy ones all exceeding ten minutes each.
Three of the tracks have a more techno edge, while the other two tracks are more atmospheric yet still very digitally manipulated.
Favorites include the sixteen minute and sixteen second Close, But not touching, a very energetic and dance driven song that progresses through different sequential stages as layers of electronics roll in and out. Also, Giants of Once Before, which has an odd spaceship-like sound effect with chirping noises in the background at the beginning. This song has an interesting mix of synthesized flutes, a layered echoing beat and baseline, and some very peculiar noises that sneak up on the listener at random moments.
What I find especially interesting about this album is that although it contains a lot of elements of modern electronica, it sounds more directly evolved from older retro-space music like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze or Jean-Michel Jarre.
Although currently only available as an import from the Netherlands, this thoroughly fun recording is very well worth getting a hold of.
This is a really cool album. Very high ranking in my collection. I rally like the build up in the title track CLOSE BUT NOT TOUCHING the music he produces creates images in your mind & anyone I have played it for remarks the same. Great sounds that stick with you & catchy to. The first track is 16.16 mins long. Another nice track is #3 Well so What? also catchy great electronic beat & loop also creates a Dreamscape type of imagery.
2004. Geoffrey Keogh / Ireland
If you don't have this one, then why are you "collecting" EM? This is one of the few dutchmen who does what he's saying.
Get it, you'll love it.
2005. Jeff Wouters / belgium
The eponymous opening track begins almost subliminally as different textures are subtly introduced into the mix as the volume gradually increases. Interspersed with resonant bass synth, reminiscent of 'Live Miles', and underpinned by a vivacious rhythm, Boots allows the music to evolve slowly, but there is no sense of wasted time or self indulgence. At around the six minute mark, melodic interest becomes more discernible with a hypnotic motif accompanied by powerful chords, but this gives way to another interlude where Boots builds up the atmosphere with some effective solos, variations of earlier melodies are given occasionally interspersed with phased effects and inspiring pads. Boots, with great skill, builds up the atmosphere, and then sets about creating another on a slightly higher level. After 14 minutes the mood is relieved by a short ambient interlude which brings the track to a conclusion after more than 16 minutes.
'Save it for a rainy day' begins with light, ambient textures before the sequencers begin at just under the three minute mark as Boots embarks upon another sonic collage. The rhythms become more intense at around the five minute mark and although less prominent this time, Boots maintains melodic interest with simple patterns of motifs which uplift and inspire. At 10.14 it's the shortest cut on the disc, but the composer again proves to be a master craftsman as he does on the longest piece 'Well so what ?' which clocks in at 18.25. Vaguely Jarre-like in its early sequencing style, Boots proves that he is one of the finest practioners of classic European-style extended sequencer based electronica with careful control of light and shade and enhanced by Harold van der Heijden's drums on the middle section. The music is finely paced, and segments are not allowed to outstay their welcome but are allowed to breathe and unfold gradually in the finest tradition of 'centring' imaginative electronic music. 'Giants of once before' is a live track featuring Kees Aerts and Harold van der Heijden recorded in concert in Gruga Park and it keeps up the high standards of the album. A subtle change in direction, this piece features some outstanding percussion work by Harold van der Heijden, some inspiring keyboard improvisations, textures and motifs, and although probably too close to call, is just about my personal favourite on the album. 'Au revoir' closes the set and is another carefully constructed gem deploying melodics, sequencers, the merest hint of vocals and despite probably being my least favourite cut here, would probably be a highlight on most lesser albums.
I have avoided using my usual, somewhat lazy descriptor, for music of this genre, "traditional E.M.", or the geographically inaccurate "Berlin School", because Boots manages to make his music sound fresh and contemporary, whilst deploying the techniques beloved by those who favour long tracks of gradually evolving electronics. I also found that the music takes on a new life with each listen and it is rare that I get to play a review disc so many times before I commit myself to a review, but in this case I'm glad I did.