All songs composed and played by Ron Boots.|
- Liquid Structures in Solid Form [19:00]
- KGM [6:22]
- Thunder Road [13:57]
- Forgotten Memories [9:09]
- Centre of the Sphere [8:53]
- Soft Skin [11:10]
Drums on track #1 by Harold van der Heijden.
It's the title cut up first. 'Liquid Structures in Solid Forms' opens with analogue drones and effects, the latter sounding very 'liquid'. A simple but melancholy lead weaves through the effects; rather beautiful it is too. It soon builds in intensity with some gorgeous fast runs. As I'd expected, it all sounds very retro. At the 2.36 mark a mid tempo, subtle sequence is deployed with accompanying 'Tron choir – the elements for a classic Berlin track are now locked in formation – destination the 1970s! More syncopations, including a loping bass sequence enter at the 4.30 mark. Just sit back and nod to the beat – great stuff! The lead, of course, just hovers over the rhythmic structure in the time-honoured fashion. By the 9 min mark a more strident lead makes its presence felt, but the tone is still resolutely retro. Likewise the beats become more muscular and somehow familiar. I decided to check the sleeve notes: they're live and superbly played by Harold van Der Heijden. I love the combination of live drums and electronics, and really rate Harold's work. What a stunning opener!
Syrupy analogue strings ease us into 'KGM'. Another melancholy lead shows Boots' musicianship. A rhythmic drone and various effects held forge a Spartan atmosphere. A drum roll at the 2.40 mark heralds the inevitable sequence; it's a steady but heavy bass one. Symphonic washes add to the atmosphere and the track simply runs its course.
I expected Van Halen when I read the next title!
'Thunder Road', however, opens in atmospheric style with a bubbling drone and string melody. It isn't long before a very analogue and skillfully played melody is introduced, along with a stuttering sequence and choir backing. The sequence is joined by an insistent mid-register sequence and ticking percussive sounds. The symphonic string melody and lead duel or duet through this growing rhythmic storm – it's infectious stuff, you just have to move to this one! Boots strips back the track to sequence and effects at the 6 minute mark. Elements re-configure, and first up is a Tron-like choir. It's joined by strings and a faintly-eastern sounding melody. Vocal 'ahs' are used as rhythmic stabs – there is a lot going on but it's skillfully handled. By the 9 min mark we are left with bass synth only, but a high register sequence, marimba-like in sound, begins another build. This section is far more digital in sound, recalling 'Logos' era TD. Another excellent track.
'Forgotten Memories' is up next. The mix is fairly 'full' from the start, with warm pad, piano, tinkling sequence and laid-back beats. The backing continues in this manner and is a little too 'lounge muzak' for my taste, but the soloing is just superb!
A ticking sequence and Tron drone open 'Centre of the Sphere'. Boots is quickly into the soloing here, but its more atmospheric and sparse – this is more like it! Symphonic strings build and rise in the background as electronic effects come and go. The solo gains more grit, but the atmosphere is expertly held – I just loved this one!
Swirling pads, a dense drone and abstract effects open 'Soft Skin', and are joined quickly by vocal samples and a contemporary beat. The atmosphere is a little unsettling, reminding me of the late 80s sounds employed by Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb. This comparison is cemented as the vocal samples become semi-whispered vocals! Metallic sounds punctuate the beats at times, though a warm pad does lighten the mood a little.
This a tough CD to sum up. Four of the tracks are classic retro and would be instant friends. It's the last track that really unsettles me. It's a song, and is really 11 minutes of angsty EBM (electronic body music).
High marks for Ron Boots Liquid Structures in Solid Form if you don't have this yet. I must confess to having no idea what Ron was trying to do with the last track on Liquid Structures, but I still think this may be his best CD and I'm a big Ron fan. So this should tell you how highly I think of the rest of it.
2002. R. Fox
A few weeks ago when I visited Ron at home I asked him what can I expect from your new CD.He answered me it's like going back 10 years in the approach of creating music.Well, after listening to his CD for several times I wonder that if this is going back then what is going forth, the opening track alone is reason enough to buy this CD. So, if all of you can forget the "Greek Guy" I consider Ron to be the most innovative artist from the last decade and hopefully he will continue to do so. And to those who dislike singing on an EM Record, go and buy a Britney Spears Album.
2002. Greet Belmans
The mighty opener that is the 19 minute title track has it all, big atmospheric opening, sequencers aplenty but with that all-important distinctive edge & just for good measure, some impressive drumming by Harald Van Der Heijden. Although this is a very sequencer led piece (with all the attendant teutonic overtones that this implies), this has always been a part of Ron's music (& indeed most EM) & Ron doesn't bow to any retro fads, the music is very much in the Boots style, as is also the case furing the shorter, more restrained "KGM" which follows directly on. Such comments apply equally to "Centre Of The Sphere" which can be found later in the album where a no-nonsense bassy sequence sets a solid basis for Ron to go to work in his own unique way. However, the same can't quite be said of "Thunder Road", the opening sequence of which sounds a lot like that of "Phaedra" (sorry, but it does!). It is to Ron's credit, though, that by the time the track is over, these similarities are largely forgotten as he puts his own stamp on the piece with some fine melodic & chord work.
"Forgotten Memories" is an appropriately touching number with gently soaring leads providing a focal point that carries the latter half of the track along nicely. In the past Ron has often opened his heart in his music (as well as on his album sleeves) & he does so again here to great effect.Using the same methods Ron has never hidden his admiration for the ladies either (not that there's any reason why he should, of course!) & the closing track "Soft Skin" is doubtless inspired by this fondness. Musically, this sees him trying something new, with a chilled, smoking trip hop flavour more reminiscent of Massive Attack than anyone else. The ambient chords & vocal effects add to the far out nature of the music so immerse yourself in this music & pass me a joint, brother!!!
Presented in a fetching tin box, this album sees Ron Boots on top form & is another must-have from this Dutch musician as throughout the music is played with feeling & conviction.
2002. Carl Jenkinson
Ron Boots has firmly established himself as a force in electronic music. His latest release is, as always, accessible top-notch electronic music. The title track gradually unfolds over the disc's opening 19 minutes, coasting along in effortless stride. A light, midtempo sequencer pattern is joined by fine solos, featuring a plethora of classic sounds for vintage synth fans. Just past ten minutes, after only hints of percussion, the drums finally assert themselves at just the right moment. The track shows Boots at his best, finding a comfortable groove that varies just enough to keep things interesting, resisting the urge to build too much into a melodramatic finale. In fact, it just smoothly levels off, knows when it's time, and then it's over just like that, without any pretense. "KGM" is mellow yet powerful, with just the right amount of tension. My favorite is "Thunder Road." It starts with mellow strings and soft chimes, then a chugging bass line brings forth images of Jean-Michel Jarre's Equinoxe. The key change with the thunder at the 6:00 mark is perfect. Later, it sounds just like TD's Livemiles CD. But these are only reference points, it is all unmistakably Boots' own identity. He even sings on the last track, "Soft Skin." I wasn't at all sure about this at first, but it is growing on me quickly. More great stuff from Boots.
2002. Phil Derby / Exposé Magazine
"Liquid Structures..." opens with a strikingly resonant bass drone, and runs though a series of analog-ish sequences under plaintive Moog-like leads interwoven with huge Mellotronic male choirs. It's more or less in the area of mid-paced 1970's Klaus Schulze, with key changes and the introduction of drums occurring in a manner very reminiscent of something like "Nowhere Now Here" from the "Body Love 2" album.
The 6-minute "KGM" is more chord-based, though it does build up to a twanging sequence half way through, but this dies away without much development.
More dynamic is "Thunder Road", which with a faster-paced sequence layered with rain, thunder and wind effects resembles another Schulze piece, one of the up-tempo ones from "X".
"Forgotten Memories" is more delicate, melodic and maybe suitable for turning into a ballad, while "Centre of the Sphere" brings back both the Mellotronic choir and the buzzing, Moog-like twangs and lead and lines.
"Soft Skin", at 11 minutes, stands out with its use of guttural vocals and an off-beat more hip-hop oriented drum loop, so the CD closes with a piece that sounds as if it's from a much more experimental album altogether.
His latest release, Liquid Structures In Solid Form, represents a massive slab of synthesis with great schulzian sequences, soloing and key changes.
Simply superb stuff, the only thing I can say is: Bravo, Ron, bravo!
2002. Artemi Pugachov
Stately tones amid gurgling synthetic winds usher the listener into a realm of vibrant moods and grand impressions. Melodies commence their formulation from this primal soup, emerging with sequenced riffs and arctic chords to unfurl into even greater structures replete with uplifting textures and dazzling cycles. Repetition gives way to urgent development as the riffs intertwine to create more elaborate harmonics.
All throughout this evolution, a sense of awe swells to mammoth proportions, gripping the listener with dramatic hooks and impending tension. By the time percussion appears, injecting even more drive to the surging sonic mass, the audience is snared by the impressive gestalt.
The electronics are generally keyboard-driven, but resound with versatile signatures that run the gamut from luxuriantly deep bass to delicately crystalline patterns. The CD's title is very indicative of the overall impact of this music, as melodies rise from fluid definition to achieve momentous stature, towering into the sky like huge cliffs of blue ice.
Vocoder effects are peppered throughout the pieces, manifesting as an instrument rather than communicating lyrical content. The last track, however, features traditional vocals in a whispered style, imparting satin sentiments that wax romantic over illusionary tactile impressions.
Long-form compositions stand with shorter pieces on this CD. The longer tracks afford the music the opportunity to build to excruciating crescendos, while the briefer tracks (6-9 minutes) deliver more compressed dynamics.
Joining Boots on the 19 minute title track is Harold van der Heijden on drums.
2002. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Ron Boots is the most important electronic musician from The Netherlands. Since his early musical explorations in the eighties, "Big Ron" developed a distinguished style that has its roots in the classical electronic music from the seventies, and early eighties but can clearly be regarded as "Ron Boots-music". "Liquid Structures In Solid Form" is another example of his many talents as a musician and a composer of high-quality electronic music.
It all starts with the title track, which perhaps is the best piece of music Ron, has ever recorded. It is a collaboration between Ron and one of his many musical friends, drummer Harold van der Heijden. Loaded with many layers of impressive sequences, brilliant sounds and solos, the interaction between the two leads the listener back to the days when Klaus Schulze and Harald Großkopf worked together. Of course, there is more on the album: from the atmospheric strings in"KGM", the gentle melodies in "Forgotten Memories" to the laid-back dancetrack "Soft Skin" in which he even sings!
"Liquid Structures In Solid Form" is another giant step forward in Ron’s career that becomes more and more impressive every time a new album is released. Where will it all end?