The first EM collaboration between New Zealand and the Netherlands.
The Netherlands’ Groove label, perhaps the premiere label for sequencer-heavy electronic music, has been on quite the roll lately, releasing and distributing a number of albums by newcomers and veterans alike. This batch of releases presents the label’s stylistic range from ambient/drift electronic music through Berlin school and borderline techno styles.
- Deep Within Forbidden Mountains [5:41]
- The Morning Dew (for Barbara) [3:15]
- Fields in Evening Light [8:09]
- Tranquil Moon [5:23]
- Dawn Across the Southern Ocean [5:47]
- Forgotten Islands Rediscovered [6:45]
- Under a Sheltering Tree [6:53]
- Moonrise [4:26]
- Night Sky (part 2) [9:47]
- Across the Silver River [6:39]
- Fragile Feelings [6:03]
- Ancestral Graves [5:01]
- Papanui Lagoon [3:50]
Rudy Adrian is one of the label’s brightest stars and while the last couple releases by him have been firmly in sequencer/planetarium/space mode, Across the Silver River represents the New Zealand synthesist’s ambient side. The album is a bit odd in that it was initially recorded as a solo album of Adrian’s, but due to Ron Boots’ enthusiasm for the album, it was turned into a collaboration by overdub. Adrian’s ambient style is actually not a child of the American tribal/indigenous school (think Steve Roach) entirely, and despite the addition of percussion and sequences (more a product of Boots’ addition than Adrian’s intention), the sound retains an alluring freshness and mystique missing from so much of the European ambient musicians for whom Sonoran deserts and rainsticks still remain the dominant influences.
The results are a lot like the music of another New Zealand synthesist, David Parsons, particularly with the sequencer and percussive additions. We already know Boots is no slouch, so this attests greatly to the skill of Adrian in more than one electronic school.
Clearly Euro-electronic is striving to surpass its influences while attempting to evoke the same sort of emotion and impact these same influences did for the new crop of artists. And really there is no label more intrepid than Groove where this is concerned.
Rudy Adrian has garnered considerable attention with his solo ambient releases during the last few years. When New Zealander Adrian sent some of his new music to Ron Boots in the Netherlands, Boots was so taken by the work that he suggested a collaboration. "Across the Silver River" is the result of that creative conjunction.
While Adrian's peaceful music has been favorably compared to Harold Budd and Brian Eno, Boots' sonic work has spanned more than a decade and numerous styles of electronic composition. The fruit of a collaboration between these two talents offers a unique amalgamation of Adrian's fluid sound with Boots' mature infusing.
Ambient tones and drifting sonic airs unfurl and hover in the crisp sky, lovingly nudged by elegant piano passages. A distinctly pastoral flavor is evident in these serene soundscapes, transporting the listener to stately woodlands nestled between a mirrored river and majestic highlands. Pastures of halcyon chords are bathed in dawn's vibrant illumination, releasing a gentle sense of power that lingers in the subconscious.
These delicate and evocative atmospherics merge with sinuous percussives which inject a softly energetic pace to the dreamy pieces. These rhythms are hardly demonstrative enough to overwhelm the melodic flow, adding instead a feathery propulsion that gives the ambience an aerial bounce as the heavenly music rides the morning breeze.
Tracks like "Forgotten Islands Rediscovered" excellently display this wondrous fusion of atmospheric power and regal percussives. While the electronic breezes waft with soothing and inspirational expressions, the genial tempos elevate the music to loftier altitudes with their benign resonance. A sense of environmental sovereignty is richly communicated.
Nick Prosser joins Adrian and Boots on one track, lending his baroque flute to the forest of ambience.
2002. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Ik heb nu ongeveer twee weken Across the Silver River in huis. Als ambient-grootverbruiker sinds Eno en Budd's "The Pearl" en Eno's "On land" weet ik waar ik het over heb; Across the Silver River behoort tot de vijf beste cd's van het jaar. Waarom?
Omdat je (Ron Boots) samenwerking met Rudy Adrian heeft geleid tot een evenwichtige, hoogst sfeervolle en mystieke cd. Vooral de interactie tussen de bloedmooie post-Eno/Budd tracks en de soms Ashera-achtige, met "eco" of "ethno"-surroundings versierde tracks werkt betoverend. Het plaatst de rechtgeaarde ambient-adept in een weergaloos muzikaal "biotoop"; soms verstild en wijds, dan weer met een exotisch ritme of uiterst mystiek. De opnamekwaliteit is uitstekend en sfeervol.
Er is in 2002 een aantal cd's verschenen in 2002 in deze stijl, zoals van Ashera, Greinke, Johnson (vooral The Butterfly Chamber) en Vir Unis/Short.
Across the Silver River past min of meer in dit rijtje.
Mijn complimenten voor deze parel!
2002. John Schrijnemaekers
Any album that results through the exchange of CD-R's is usually best avoided as it leads, in most cases to a monotonous experience lacking in dynamics or variation. That's certainly not the case here as these two geographically disparate artists (Adrian lives in New Zealand, Boots in The Netherlands) have combined to create an album which will easily satisfy any ambient cravings you might have.
The expertise & experience that these two musicians have gained over the years is put to good use throughout with each track perfectly evoking it's title in the listener's head. The gently swelling chords which open "Deep Within Forbidden Mountains" in unison with ethnic flutes & the sound of thunder are perfect for bringing pictures to life within the head of the listener as do the touching piano notes that herald "The Morning Dew".
Close your eyes (like any good ambient album this is best experienced late at night in a darkened room, preferably with headphones) & you can easily picture the sun peeping over the horizon as the flowers open to welcome the new day, likewise the bird song & isolated piano notes that open "Fields In Evening Light" perfectly reflect the end of the day. The rhythmic coloring adds a more optimistic feel although the underlying changes are very subtly done which is an important but often overlooked part when composing music that is tranquil yet compelling.
This is something the two musicians achieve with ease time & time again with "Moonrise" & "Night Sky" hinting at the mystery of the night, the latter with a smattering of ethnic percussive coloring while the plaintive lament of "Ancestral Graves" ably evokes memories of those long gone.
While it's true that the explicit titles used here do explain the influences behind each piece it's a fair bet that the effect would be the same even if they were absent. The muggy, slightly indistinct chords of the closing "Papanui Lagoon", as another example or the bird song that opens the title track (a small but nevertheless important contribution) could never fail to evoke the mind pictures that they do.
This tranquility is broken somewhat abruptly by the ethnic percussion of "Forgotten Islands Rediscovered" & here it's very much a "Mutiny On The Bounty" feel with just the slightest hint of menace.
Peace is soon restored during "Under A Sheltering Sky" where an underlying tone that is rich & warm provides the basis for a soundscape that is forever changing gently & subtly, like an artist mixing colors on his palette creating a host of different tones.
Where Ron Boots & Rudy Adrian succeed where so many others have fallen is in their expert use of appropriate sounds, both synthetic & sampled which is why in this case the phrase 'Picture Music' has never seemed more appropriate.
2002. Carl Jenkinson
In this age of electronic music that is easily distilled onto a PC file or a CDR, it is increasingly common to find musicians, particularly in this genre, doing long-distance collaborations, making a musical partnership without ever stepping into a studio together. Such was the creation of this disc, originally conceived and recorded by New Zealander Rudy Adrian, and added to by Dutch artist Ron Boots.
The result has anything but a tacked-on feel. Rather, it sounds as if it were intended that way all along. Though Ron added all the rhythm tracks, the disc remains largely a soft ambient work, probably the quietest music that Boots has been involved with. Though Adrian has done very mellow works like The Healing Lake, this has a different character to it.
The thirteen tracks cover a range of sounds and moods. From the dark thunder and echoing flutes of "Deep Within Forbidden Mountains" to the delicate piano piece "The Morning Dew (for Barbara)" to the nature sounds and almost tribal beat of "Fields in Evening Light", just these first three tracks hint at the sonic diversity to follow.
Across the Silver River has a soothing mood suited to either early morning or late evening listening. Several tracks are very free-flowing affairs like "Tranquil Moon", "Dawn across the Southern Ocean", and "Under a Sheltering Tree".
But once in awhile, numbers like "Forgotten Islands Rediscovered" bring forceful beats to beat, this one conjuring up images of tribal natives on a remote island paradise.
"Night Sky (part 2)" (part 1 was on The Healing Lake) is another rhythmic piece, this one with a cool bass line. It sounds very much a Boots piece.
At times over the nearly 80 minutes and 13 tracks, it seems to meander. Deleting a couple of the similar-sounding tracks and keeping it down to 60-65 minutes might have tightened it up a bit. But this is a minor quibble for collection of generally strong tracks in the ambient mode.
2003. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
The collaboration between these two composers, Rudy in New Zealand and Ron in Holland, is a magnificent example of how an initial musical idea can become enriched with independent contributions.
The basic approaches were created by Rudy Adrian. On this recording, Ron Boots built complementary sections, favoring everything that attracted him the most, and giving freedom to the creative impulses that the listening to the music by Rudy caused in him.
"Across the Silver River" is an album basically calm, with soft melodies, earthly ambiences sparkled with occasional nature sounds, and a percussion of an ethnic air in certain passages.
‘Across The Silver River’ is a collaboration between dutch ‘EM-pride’ Ron Boots and New-Zealander Rudy Adrian. This cooperation came about in a rather unique way. Adrian, after having worked on it for three years, sent a CD-R to Boots because he was not satisfied with the result. Boots added his music and sounds, and together both men were pleased with the end result ‘Across The Silver River’.
This release can be best categorized under the denominator new age/soundscapes/(very) tranquil EM. Many weaving sound tapestries, nature sounds, and occasionally a lost tom tom (as in the song ‘Fields In Evening Light’) are present, but it never gets too heavy or wild.
Yes, indeed, a real Sunday morning CD.
André de Waal / SonicImmersion.org
When Rudy Adrian sent a CD-R with new music to Ron Boots, Ron was inspired by the tranquillity and the power of the music and wanted to join this music with parts of his own. Many people were thrilled when they heard or read this. How would Rudy’s ambient/space-style merge with that of Ron, who is very well at home in all styles of electronic music? Well, excellent! The result is an amazing album of shear beauty.
Deep Within Forbidden Mountains is a typical Adrian-composition: calm, relaxing and with Nick Prosser on baroque flute. The Morning Dew (for Barbara) is surprising because the gentle piano parts remind of the music of ambient legend Harold Budd.
Fields In Evening Light is also a superb ambient piece. In a subtle way, Ron manages to lace in percussion in this composition. This is also the fact in another great tracks Forgotten Islands Rediscovered and Night Sky (part 2).
Dawn Across The Southern Ocean, Under A Sheltering Tree and Fragile Feelings show, again, fantastic ambient music.
To conclude the album, Payanui Lagoon has a minimal feeling as we know from Budd and Brian Eno.
Across The Silver River has become one of those rare albums that grab the listener to never let loose again. Rudy Adrian and Ron Boots show again, and now together, that they are on the foreground of electronic music.
2002. Paul Rijkens