Produced, composed, performed and engineered by FRANK VAN BOGAERT.|
- Awakening [2:25]
- Ballet [5:25]
- Atmospheric Conditions [5:47]
- Technologika [6:02]
- Meander [6:18]
- Human [5:10]
- Lullaby [4:05]
- Ouverture des enfants [6:05]
- Reunion [6:24]
- Naked [6:28]
- Rêve d'Afrique [3:50]
- Warmth [3:31]
Recorded and mixed at ACE Studio between January 2001 and March 2002.
Sax on "Meander" performed by FRANK DE RUYTTER.
Viola Braguesa on "Reunion" performed by ANTHONY BOAST.
The Belgian composer, producer and musician Frank van Bogaert is a master in creating music that brings together all the best from great melodic synthesizer music, film-like music and rhythmic pop "Human", his fourth album, is the best example of his skills until now.
Frank really composes music: his melodies are thoughtful and built up with very much feeling and room for details.
After the short opening "Awakening", excellent effects open "Ballet" which is perhaps the best piece of music Frank has ever written: sublime melodies reminiscent of Vangelis himself and strong rhythms. This influence can also be heard well in the title track, which could easily come from one of the recent albums of the Grandmaster. Sometimes Frank slows down like in beautiful tracks like "Lullaby" and "Naked" in which he sits behind a grand piano. Influences from ethnic music can be heard in pieces like "Ouverture Des Enfants" and "Rêve d'Afrique".
The last number on the album is called "Warmth". Actually, this is all where Frank’s music is all about. It combines relaxing pianosounds and beautiful atmospheres. "Human", an album with a very "human" sound, deserves to be listened to.
2002. Paul Rijkens
These are my first impressions on Frank's new album which I received yesterday. I'll do another review once I get back from my holidays in a couple of weeks' time, when it has had time to settle in.
1. Awakening [2:25]
It's either Frank van Bogaert or it's Vangelis (That's a compliment, BTW !). Looking at the cover, I see it's FvB. Beautiful stuff. Too short by a long way...erm, if you see what I mean. :-)
2. Ballet [5:25]
Very cool. Lots of electronic sounds and great melodies.
3. Technologika [6:02]
I'm currently having a bit of trouble getting past the 'bagpipe' lead sound, but the track is melodically strong, so maybe I'll grow to like it.
4. Atmospheric Conditions [5:47]
Currently one of my favourites. After a gentle intro, it becomes quite a dynamic number. More relaxed in structure than usual, this might be an example of the 'improvised' style Frank alludes to in the liner notes.
5. Meander [6:18]
The whole feel of this track reminds me of Jon and Vangelis' version of 'State of Independence'. It features.......real sax lead ! But don't panic - it's done with taste and feeling.
6. Human [5:10]
Has a similar vibe to a lot of the stuff on 'Docking', which was quite a dark album overall. Not sure about this track just yet.
7. Lullaby [4:05]
Unsurprisingly, a gentle and sleepy number. Not saccharin-sweet, though.
8. Ouverture des enfants [6:05]
A good old uptempo Frank van Bogaert trademark track. I defy anyone to keep their feet still while listening to this one.
9. Reunion [6:24]
Restrained dynamics handled in a expert way. Has a bit of a dark mood to it, again.
10. Naked [6:28]
Ambient and evocative, gentle and shimmery. I like it a lot.
11. Rêve d'Afrique [3:50]
Quite a jolly piece with a strong melody and a sense of motion/travelling.
12. Warmth [3:31]
This has a sort of Discrete Music vibe to it. Mellow and gorgeous. Again, too short.
As usual, the sound quality is outstanding and the Digipak presentation is very professional. Another winner from the talented Belgian!
I still think 'Geographic' is his best album, but if you like Frank's style, this latest one is a no-brainer. Enjoy.
Grant Middleton / UK
4th album after "Colours", "Geographic" and "Docking"
Packed in a great digipack designed by brother Kris, this CD is yet another milestone for Frank.
2002. Kees Aerts / Groove Unlimited
Human opens with the relaxed and mysterious composition "Awakening". With the next track "Ballet" we enter a world of rhythm, synthetic fx and gorgeous melodies. Caught up by an air stream we are floating through a canyon to a valley hidden by snowy mountains where a primitive tribe has just begun its ritual dance. It’s as if one can almost touch mankind’s past . An image of primeval nature and consciousness remaining somewhere deep inside, not touched by human civilization.
Frank Van Bogaert’s music feels as if it lays a bridge between the past and the future.It is always image evoking. "Atmospheric Conditions"evokes images of beautiful places,cities with snow-white towers hidden in the mist.
I confess that I have been looking forward to the release of this fourth Frank Van Bogaert album. My prime interest was to see in which direction his creative search would develop.
With "Human" he has surpassed all my expectations! Frank Van Bogaert has remained true to himself, his music is as great-sounding as always without losing his trademark,but on this album it has become a bit more improvised ,not being restrained by a classic structure.
In two compositions Frank did use guest-musicians playing acoustic instruments. Just listen to the fabulous saxophone in "Meander" and the exotic viola Braguesa in "Reunion".
Frank Van Bogaert’s album is called "Human" not by chance since this music is full of vital energy, tenderness ("Naked") and sublimity of feelings ("Rêve d’Afrique") . Frank has clearly the gift of putting all his emotions in his music.
The album ends with the romantic and slightly cosmic "Warmth".
"Human" should appeal not only to electronic music lovers but also to a wide circle off new-age and modern instrumental music fans. I would call "Human" an excellent work of "new electronic music", an album that should be in the collection of every music-lover.
2002. Serge Kozlovsky
Like Frank himself tells us in the leaflet accompanying his new album, in "Human" he has bet for improvisation rather more than in his previous works.
The result of having allowed himself to follow the inspiration of the moment has been fully fruitful. On the one hand, we have the basic style of his previous albums, where he portrays a musical landscape of multiple influences.
On the other hand, we find a warmth and spontainety that remind us of those typical in a live performance. Between melodic Synth Pop and the New Instrumental Music, all the CD has an air mainly blissful, optimistic, full of positive energy.
2002. Alejandro Hinojosa
Könnte gut sein, dass sich die Initialen des Belgiers Frank Van Bogaert in nicht allzu ferner Zukunft zu einem Merkenzeichnen entwicklen, das in einem Atemzug mit JMJ und TD genannt wird.
"Human" ist nämlich in nicht einmal vier Jahren schon das dritte Album (zu "Geographic" und "Docking" siehe KB 08/02), auf dem FVB seinen meisterlichen Umgang mit allem beweist, was den Puls von ‘EM’-Traditionalisten bechleunigen hilft.
Knackige Drums à la Jean Michel Jarre und himmelwärts schwebende Synthischleier in Tangerine-Dream-Manier, dazu folklore-artige Melodie-Motive à la Mike Oldfield, unaufdringlich eingebettere ‘Ethno’-samples und in "Meander" (track 5) ein Echtzeit-Sax (als Gast : Frank De Ruytter), das auch eine Linda Spa – Anfang der Neunziger in TD-Konzerten ein heute schmerzlich vermisster Blickfang – nicht sauberer geblasen hätte : das sind kaum zu widerlegende Argumente pro Brüsseler Spitzen-Elektronik.
2002. Albrecht Piltz / Keyboards
Van Bogaert’s latest album sees this underrated but increasingly important musician mixing many different styles of electronic music with a homogenous feel that marks this out as a classy album that takes on some famous names and beats them at their awn game.
For instance, listen to the opening duo of the gentle "Awakening" and triumphant and exuberant "Ballet" and you realize that here is the man who stole Vangelis’ crown and while the ethnic touches show some Enigma likenesses this superb piece effortlessly wipes the floor with Cretu and co in terms of melodic complexity and in the warmth that Frank injects into each number.
This is even more evident in the lively "Technologika" which mixes.
2002. Sequences Magazine
I didn't think it would be this soon that keyboardist Frank Van Bogaert would top his last album, Docking.
But, damn, if Human doesn¹t just top it - it completely transcends it.
Human is a fantastic CD, filled with a wide assortment of great songs, ranging from bouncy Berlin-esque EM, to dramatic Vangelis-like keyboard numbers, to softer romantic tracks and even some world fusion textured cuts. Only one song (of the twelve on the disc) is less than great (and that one is still good). The music is always accessible and imminently listenable - in fact, I positively loved this album from the very first playing.
After a short (about two-minute) ambient/new age-sounding opening track played out on a bank of synths and twinkling keyboards (some with a
Vangelis-like sound), Human hits the ground running on "Ballet" which is nothing like what you would expect from its title. A reverbed synth note gradually increases in volume and frequency, joined by some snappy electronic percussion. Synth strings come sweeping in accompanied by
timpani, and then the lead keyboard line plays the main refrain. When the "chorus" hits you, it¹s like an EM explosion - full of genuine grandeur
and majestic power (you simply must crank this album up!). Nice vocal chants add some fun world music texture to the song (the vocals have a vague African feel to them).
However, Human is just getting warmed up. The third track is "Technologika" and it¹s even more fiery of a number, careening in from the background amidst peppery percussive textures, a blend of neo-Berlin and straight up new age keyboards, and lots of cool drum work. This cut is a rave-up delight and had me itching to move every time I played it. The spoken word sample ("Technologie" spoken with vocoder effects) makes the songs even cooler.
There are some nice background vocals in parts of this song as well - but you¹ll barely notice them as anything but another instrumental layer.
Besides these two excellent track, you¹ll also hear a dreamily somber yet powerful Vangelis-like (circa Blade Runner) number ("Atmospheric
Conditions"); a mixture of atmospheric piano and keyboards with Germanic EM touches (the title song); a high-energy rapid fire sequencer track
("Ouverture des enfants") that also showcases Frank¹s dexterity on piano, keyboards and drums as it morphs into a more mainstream-new age music sounding arena; and a semi-bluesy spin into cyber-lounge EM on "Reunion" (featuring a variety of synths, including choral effects similar to Vangelis¹ The City album) that has moments of drama followed by subtle beauty.
There¹s also a beautiful semi-ambient number ("Naked") highlighted by an assortment of synths, some in a Berlin drone vein and others more
"sparkly" and melodic. The most overt world fusion number (harkening back to Frank¹s work on Docking or Colors) is "Rêver d¹Afrique," but even here the song is much more "Van Bogaert" in feel than something from, say James Asher.
As I stated above, some numbers don¹t clean my clock as much as others ("Meander" has some sax work that,.while well-done by Frank De Ruytter, seemed out of place on the album), but taken as a whole, I believe Human is Frank Van Bogaert¹s best recording by far. I played it at least ten times (including on my portable player during several walks through my neighborhood) before writing this review and loved it more each time. It may be a bit too melodic for die-hard Berlin school fanatics (even though the album is on Groove Unltd), but fans of rhythmic keyboard music that is catchy without being at too commercial should rejoice when the synths pour forth from their speakers.
2002. Bill Binkelman / Wind and Wire
This fourth release from the Belgian musician Frank Van Bogaert sees this increasingly important musician mixing many different styles of electronic music with a homogenous feel that often beats even the most famous names at their own game.
For instance, listen to the opening duo of the gentle "Awakening" & the triumphant & exhuberant "Ballet" & you realise that here is the man who stole Vangelis' crown & while the ethnic touches show some Enigma likenesses this superb piece effortlessly wipes the floor with Cretu & co in terms of melodic complexity & in the warmth that Frank injects into each number.
This is even more evident in the lively "Technologika" which mixes a Scottish-style lead synth with up-tempo rhythms for an utterly irresistible piece.The ethnic voice samples that colour certain sections see Frank making use of all the possibilities that modern EM has to offer & mixing them in a style that, even if it's not totally innovative (I thought of Tangerine Dream on more than one occasion whilst listening to this track!) is expertly executed & does have a definite personal touch.
Frank De Ruytter's sax adds to the chilled-out feel of "Meander" which possesses a mood that is gently but unmistakably cheerful & not at all diluted by the engagingly dynamic mid-section. While this might, in some cases make for a rather twee 'new age'-style album this music is far too emotionally involved to be dismissed in such a fashion & It's this asset that breathes life into the whole album, whether it's the gentle piano-led "Lullaby" or the globally-influenced "Reve D'Afrique" where the African chants easily put across to the listener this track's global influences.
In a similar manner the lively "Ouverture Des Enfants" just as accurately captures the carefree joys of the children it describes whilst the tenderness that shines through this track & the album as a whole means that the title of the closing piece "Warmth" is a most appropriate one!!
"Human" & "Reunion" both benefit from some superb piano work, with Anthony Boast's Viola Braguesa (a Portugese instrument) providing a fitting counterpoint on the latter track while the initially isolated notes that are sprinkled like icing over "Naked" gradually become the focal point of the piece until the strings & human voices add to the ever-present romantic feel of the music.
Whilst certain artists who work in this field of EM have the tendency to go overboard in terms of overt sweetness Frank avoids these pitfalls & it's this fine balancing act that makes this album the success it so obviously is.
2002. Carl Jenkinson
Frank's done it again. The man is consistently good. Has me thinking that he's better than Vangelis, whom a few consider the master in this type of melodic EM. The man is good !
2002. Frank Arellano / USA
This CD from 2002 features 62 minutes of vibrantly dynamic electronic music.
uilding on various European electronic influences, Van Bogaert has developed his own style that is both masterful and delicate.
His chords are majestically epic, while his structure ranges from experimental to deeply classical. The music itself, though, is contemporary electronics of valorous proportion with a rhythmic presence and eloquent melodics. Versatile keyboards belt out sequences and power riffs, melding with interlocking textural foundations and strenuously intricate (and often overpowering) E-perc to produce energetic tune age that is capable of knocking the listener from their seat.
This power lies not just in Van Bogaert's authoritative delivery, but stems from his powerful compositions which seethe with unbridled voracity and passion. This music fills the audience with inspiration and the promise of greatness.
Frequently enhancing the music's scope are non-lyrical vocal choirs, while other tracks feature steamy saxophone and wistful viola. There's no spacey journeys here, nor drifting passages through high altitude clouds capes. All of Van Bogaert's creative juices are channeled into interpreting the human condition in electronic melodies, a task that he superbly achieves with this CD. These tracks convey a richness of organic quality, communicating non-verbally with the inner psyche.
2002. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Human, the fourth album of Frank and his best album so far. I can't wait to hear his next albums. The CD starts very easy, good too relax after a hard day of work. A short track, which goes over to a more rhythmic and synthetic track. Influences of Vangelis can be found in this track. Nice is the sublime voices mixed in between. Totally different is Technologika. More industrial, a robot voice direct in the beginning. Nice textures and a good drum game during the track. Atmospheric Conditions is powerful Vangelis like track on this album, while Meander is more sax-based. Not one of favourites on this album, but my father heard it, and he loves it, just because the sax was so great played. Then we come to the title track "Human". Nice atmospheric melody lines with some piano textures in between. The next track brings you to an island just to relax, a place to be alone, dreaming away on the tones of the music. Again, after a slow track, Frank plays a more powerful track. A rapid track with good sequences and mixed together with ethnic melodies. Reunion is a track that can be played in the bar lounge of a hotel. Easy with a little blues in it. Naked is tender, a little in the ambient direction, with nice piano textures. Rêve d'Afrique, the second track with ethnic influences. A mix between slow and rapid melody lines. The last track, "Warmth", a very relaxing, atmospheric track. Nice piano sounds, which gives us time to wake up again of this beautiful album and play it again. The album is a nice mixture of ambient, new age, Vangelis, atmospheric style. I can only recommend this album.
2003. Sven Cipido / Electron
Human, the fourth album of Frank van Bogaert is his most "organic" album so far. The music is atmospheric, textured and melodious, but not in a structured sort of way.
This CD is far more spontaneous than his early work and hence seems to explore "freefall" the forms of music he is so good at.
The music reminds me of a sort of experimental Vangelis with some very moving instrumental textures combined with the best of electronica.
I especially like the range of Human, it seems to cover many genres of music and makes itself very hard to pin down, there are "moods" for reflection, more upbeat pieces as well as more relaxed and atmospheric tracks. It has a very organic feel where the music just moves where it wants to go, it is very natural, flowing and moving. Very highly recommended.
2003. Living Traditions
Frank Van Bogaert shows again to us his mastery when composing and recording music with precious melodies. Once again I've seen the presence of this capacity, this time after listening to "Human" for the first time. Frank recognizes to have wide influences, going from electronic music to symphonic rock, from eighties electro-pop to movie scores, and this is evident when listening to the sound richness of "Human". The musical personality of Frank Van Bogaert becomes real in this record, exactly as in "Colours", "Geographic" and "Docking", his previous works.
Personally, I see this record more organic, or, as his name says, more human. Some of the themes are more reflexive, but there are a place for the rhythmic lines and synthetic basses.
The first theme, "Awakening" is an introduction remembering to Vangelis... it sounds like a prelude of what the record will offer in the becoming sixty minutes. Without a doubt, the two minutes and some seconds of this theme become too short...
"Ballet" has interesting effects over a subtile groove rhythm, calling to "Technologika", where some of the past of Frank in the Electro-Pop scene appears. This theme has a percusive base, more rhythmic, with a melody made with a "synthetic bagpipe"... in my opinion, fits perfectly.
The fourth one, "Atmospheric Conditions" is, perhaps, one of the most relaxed themes in the CD and remember to me some themes of his previous work "Docking".
"Meander" has sax melodies, played by Frank De Ruytter. Another collaborator musician of Frank Van Bogaert in this work is Anthony Boast, responsible of the "Viola Braguesa" in "Reunion", the 9th theme of the CD.
The theme "Human" remember to me "Docking" too, while "Lullaby" and "Naked" are, once again, themes with fine arrangements.
"Lullaby" is based upon a piano precious melody, but "Naked" is a kind of musical prelude announcing the last ten minutes of the CD... I can't avoid to imagine this long and synthetic chords as a starting for a big concert, with some lights lightning step by step.
"Ouverture des Enfants" has a synthetic base at the purest electronic style, with flanging effects.
"Rêve d'Afrique" and "Warmt" are the perfect finish, to close the hour of high flying music. Once again, the piano is present in the last theme, what, sincerely, leave me desiring more and more.
To the fans of Frank Van Bogaert who know his music... you will not feel defrauded. For all the people interested in discovering the music of this genial belgian keyboardist, "Human" is the perfect work to start doing it...
2004. Jorge Sergio Iglesias
"Awakening" starts things out with windy effects and mysterious e-piano notes combined with symphonic CS-80-like "brass" synth flashes. At 2:25 it’s the shortest track on the album.
"Ballet" initially has bouncy bass synth bursts and gentle cymbal rhythms. It then gains lushness and beat, turning into a pleasant laid-back chugger. Nice quirky lead melody here. At this point the music is fairly reminiscent of Vangelis. Some voice samples and strange whooshy synths are heard at around the 4:30 mark.
"Technologika" is an upbeat rhythmic number. In my opinion, one of the weakest tracks on the album. It’s not a bad track but it pales next to some real masterpieces that are yet to come at this point.
"Atmospheric Conditions" starts with the sound of rain and symphonic pads / gentle melody combination. Trademark e-pianos are abundant here. They create beautiful, cascading lushness. Great stuff and pretty unique. The rhythms kick in after the 3 minute mark and they support this easy-going, relaxed track along its way. It’s like being unhurriedly driven along the night street in a luxurious Cadillac.
"Meander" surprises with a tribal rhythm and effects until we are treated again to gentle e-piano improvisation. Talking about improvisation, whereas Frank’s previous efforts were largely perfectly composed pieces, this album sounds largely improvised instead. It’s a welcome change, I must add, at least I like this approach much better. Anyway, back to the track. Sax playing adds some spice to the composition which is easily one of the best cuts on the entire disc.
The title track is next. Slow sequence, some voices, a rhythm and great improvisation, what else do you need? This is another highlight of the album (probably the best track of them all?). There are some Byzantine edges to the playing or maybe that’s just the way I see it.
"Lullaby" is basically a gentle piano/synth piece, while "Overture des enfants" starts with heavy synthesizer sounds and then in comes a fast echoing sequence that combines with another one and there’s also the addition of martial-type drums (and later more regular rhythm) and some voices. This track was a bit too pompous for my taste.
Track 9 - "Reunion": windy effects, slow rhythms, the CS-80-like synths, e-pianos. Great start to a thoroughly enjoyable track that forms yet another highlight.
"Naked" is another great track, very atmospheric!
"Reve d’Afrique" seemed a bit trite, with expected native song samples and tribal percussion. It’s one of the "composed" songs on the album.
Finally, "Warmth" closes the album on an appropriately sedate and relaxing note.
Overall, this is my favorite album by Frank and in my opinion it’s his best work so far, with "Meander", "Human" and "Reunion" being absolute masterpieces! When this man starts these mid-paces relaxed improvisations, he then treats his keyboard like a god. Therefore, even with some less exciting tracks, this is still a damn fine album of unique Electronic Music!
2004. Artemi Pugachov
Frank Van Bogaert nos demuestra una vez más su maestría a la hora de componer y grabar música con preciosas melodías. Una vez más esa capacidad la he visto presente, en este caso tras escuchar Human por primera vez. Frank reconoce tener influencias amplias, que van desde la electrónica hasta el rock sinfónico, desde el electro-pop de los 80 hasta las bandas sonoras de películas, y eso es patente al escuchar la riqueza sonora de Human. La personalidad musical de Frank Van Bogaert está plasmada en este disco, tal y como lo estuvo en sus anteriores trabajos Colours, Geographic y Docking.
Pesonalmente veo este disco más orgánico, o como su propio título indica, más "humano". Parte de los temas son más reflexivos, aunque también hay lugar para las bases rítmicas y los bajos sintéticos.
El primer tema Awakening es una introducción que nos puede recordar a Vangelis... parece un preludio de lo que el disco nos va a ofrecer en los casi sesenta minutos restantes. Sin duda los poco más de dos minutos se hacen demasiado cortos.
Ballet contiene interesantes efectos electrónicos sobre un sutil ritmo groove, dando paso a Technologika, donde el pasado de Frank en el Electro-Pop aparece en parte. Este tema tiene una base percusiva más rítmica, con una melodía de "gaita sintetizada" que, en mi opinión personal, encaja perfectamente.
El cuarto tema Atmospheric Conditions es quizás, uno de los temas más relajados del disco. Me recuerda a algunos temas de su anterior disco Docking.
Meander contiene melodías de saxo, interpretadas por Frank de Ruytter. Otro músico colaborador de Frank Van Bogaert en este disco es Anthony Boast, encargado de la Viola Braguesa en Reunion, el noveno corte del disco.
Human también me recuerda en parte a Docking, en tanto que Lullaby y Naked son, de nuevo, temas con arreglos finos.
Lullaby está basado en una preciosa melodía de piano, mientras que Naked es una especie de "preludio" musical que anuncia los diez minutos restantes del disco... No puedo evitar imaginar esos acordes largos y sintetizados como un comienzo para un gran concierto, a oscuras y con las luces encendiéndose poco a poco.
Ouverture des Enfants tiene una base sintetizada al más puro estilo electrónico, donde los efectos de flanger campan a sus anchas.
Rêve d'Afrique y Warmt son el broche perfecto a para cerrar los sesenta minutos de música de altos vuelos. Una vez más el piano está presente en el último tema, que, sinceramente me deja con ganas de más y más.
Para los seguidores de Frank Van Bogaert y que ya conocen su música... no os sentiréis defraudados. Para todos aquellos que quieren conocer la música de este genial teclista belga, Human es el disco perfecto para empezar...