This is the 2002 remaster with three bonus tracks. It's over 77 minutes of music.
Rob Essers is from Holland, and is a one-man Tangerine Dream army with his Electronic equipment. I’m saying this because it ‘s sometimes very hard to tell whether or not this is a TD album or not. Nevertheless, this is an outstanding 80 s TD style sequencing album at it’s very very best! It has all the infectious 80 s synth elements TD had back then and more. Most of the tracks are top notch EM and sounds both innovative and interesting, and comes with a cover and artwork that represents the music very well. On the back of the CD cover you can see Rob’s studio along with some of his gear.
- The Ability to Dream [6:43]
- A Walk Through [5:27]
- Truceless [4:29]
- Sparkles [5:11]
- Square One [5:31]
- Luscious Feelings [7:30]
- Monochromatic [3:56]
- Colors of Rain [5:52]
- Loosing Chains [6:03]
- Electrons [9:25]
- The Trivial Round of Life [4:45]
- The Gateway [4:44]
- Dream House [4:04]
- In locked Places [3:19]
The opening track offers a refreshing and energetic start with great uptempo sequencing and a bass rhythm that evolves in a somewhat typical TD way, but despite that, Rob’s own creativity is always present and obvious in the mix.
Next track, ‘A Walk Through’ is a stunner for sure. This is the best track on the whole CD, and I’m sure Rob was inspired by the album ‘Firestarter’ by TD when he composed this track. It could best be described as ‘Charly the Kid’ in a new dress if you will, or a ‘lost’ Firestarter track. This is awesome 80 s style sequencing at it’s finest.
Can’t beat the feeling of that!. ‘Truceless’ follows up with another very typical Soundtrack like theme, and starts with some awesome synth work that slowly builds with a bouncy sequence and pads that shines nicely through the whole track. Another catchy 80 s sounding jewel!
‘Sparkless’ is a more laid back synth track, but it has it’s moments here and there with some trippy sound effects.
Then comes ‘Square One’ which is another rhythmic sequencer track that builds nicely along with a very catchy melody all the way through.
‘Luscious Feelings’ picks up and stirs our imagination with more uptempo EM.
‘Monochromatic’ has a cinematic feel with great sequencing and texture to it. One of the strongest tracks on this CD, and showcases some lush synth guitar magic.
‘Colors of Rain’ is another highlight. Again, fans of mid 80 s TD sound will delight here! This track is indeed something out of the ordinary, and stands out from the rest. Great sequencing, perfectly balanced, and well structured.
‘Loosing Chains’ is a track I have mixed feelings about though. It doesn’t quite stand up there with the rest of the tracks, in terms of quality. Probably my least favorite track.
‘Electron’ on the other hand is marvelous. Starts quietly with a typical late 70 s feel. It sounds a bit like a track taken from the ‘White Eagle’ album by TD. It’s slightly ‘darker’ than the other tracks.
After that comes ‘The Trivial Round Of Life’. And what can I say? Wow! The instrumentation is arranged in beautiful harmony with long swirling sequences and pads that keeps the excitement up along with it’s melodic structure. Another favorite!
The last three tracks on the CD are ‘Bonus Tracks’. ‘The Gateway’ has a great sequencing flow, and carries the track nicely from start to finish with a subtle rhythm in the background. ‘Dream House’ is another cinematic track, almost a bit sci-fi sounding. Excellent composition! The CD rounds off with another late 80 s sounding EM track called ‘In Locked Places’. Not my favorite, in fact, maybe my least favorite. It’s not really that bad, but it could have been a better track if it wasn’t because of it’s repetitiveness. Not too much going on, I expect more than just a melody on repeat. That said, this is more TD than TD themselves. Fans of 80 s EM won’t be disappointed. A must-have album!
One would never guess that this incredible work of art is the debut CD of an artist.
Rob Essers has crafted an album of songs that feature a polished, fresh compositional style that mixes uncommon ear catching melodies, sequences, and textures into an uncommonly consistent collection of music. Essers' style can not be easily compared to any one artist or type, and that is one of the reasons to listen to it. To those who think electronic based music isn't progressing, hear here.
2002. Bradford Warner / SoundDesign
The original version of this album saw the light of day in 1994 & proved that Rob was an aspiring member of the burgeoning Dutch EM scene. This isn't the sort of album that you can use as background music & then go away whistling your favourite tracks as, for the most part, easily accessable tunes are not what this album is about. Instead Rob puts an impressive list of top-drawer gear to good use, proving himself, over the course of these 14 tracks (11 original plus 3 bonus tracks to this re-issue that were recorded in 1994-95) a dab hand at weaving complex & intricate patterns of interlocking sequencers & melodics with just a light rhythmic colouring. Having said that, when he does opt for a more melodic approach, as he does during "The Trivial Round Of Life", the album's original closer & the new closer "In Locked Places" (where a similarity to Tangerine Dream is discernable, mainly in the sequences) the results are pretty spectacular. "Truceless" is another stunning example of his melodic skills & is certainly up there among the best that EM has to offer.
Like most instrumental synth artists the debt that Rob owes to T. Dream is immense although, to his credit, he has put a lot of work into establishing his own style & this works with tracks such as the opening "The Ability To Dream" or the busy "Electrons" that demonstrate his talent for composing tracks that are of medium length (between 3 & 9 minutes) but which cover far greater ground & have far more to say than many tracks of twice the duration (which isn't a rarety in the instrumental EM world!). That all the tracks are constantly evolving & never allowed to become overly repetitous is another welcome step & one that the enthralling "Colors Of Rain", where the rapid backing sequences really do evoke a heavy but refreshing rainfall work with to their obvious advantage, something that can easily be said about the album as a whole. Despite being recorded 2-3 years later than the original album the additional bonus tracks fit in perfectly, so much so that you'd never have guessed they were recorded later if you weren't told so with the wonderful "Dream House" in particular proving a most engaging track where a wonderful melodic basis blissfully caresses your ears.
So if you're of the opinion that instrumental EM is repetitious & monotonous then all you need to do is lay back, let the music enter your mind & watch all your prejudices float away.
"Raincolors" is the first CD of Dutch-based musician Rob Essers on which his love for and the influence of the mid-'70 music of Tangerine Dream is very obvious.
To record the album, Rob mostly used some great analogue gear at his home studio, and the outcome is tasty and very recommendable.
Employing impressive sound technology (analog synths like the PPG Wave Computer, the Sequential Circuits T8, and an Oberheim Expander), Essers produces delightful electronic music, rich with dynamic melody and resounding in a style comparable to Tangerine Dream during the early Eighties, tinged with the sedate drama of epic Vangelis compositions.
This music is not meditative; it's celebratory and exhilarating, lifting spirits as it elevates the audience to dreamy cloudbanks about to explode and vent rain across the landscape. The complex melodies do not analyze the chromatic qualities of falling droplets, instead they glorify these drops, rejoicing in their uniqueness and conveying the sheer thrill of plummeting through the atmosphere. These airborne particles flitter along with the vibrant tuneage, companions that have become part of the melodies they inspired.
Essers' compositional style is enthralling and breathtaking. The positive overtones of his music are impossible to avoid. The sprightly melodies banish boredom with their commanding animation, instilling a wide-eyed appreciation with their electronic ebullience.
The bonus tracks come from the same period as the rest of the music, elaborating the invigorating "Raincolors" experience with their presence.
2003. Matt Howarth / SonicCuriosity
This reissue of Rob Esser's sought-after first album consists of the 11 original tracks recorded in 1992 and 1993, and 3 bonus tracks recorded within a year or two of that, fitting in very well with the rest.
It all adds up to nearly 78 minutes of classic EM with equal emphasis on melodies and sequencing. If you are a purist, note that the booklet indicates that some tempos have been changed "to get more drive."
Not being familiar with the originals, all I can say is it does indeed have good "drive," beginning with "The Ability To Dream", a bouncy energetic number that sets the tone well.
Dreamy soundscapes begin "A Walk Through", continuing for a couple of minutes. The music seems to stop for a moment, but it then jumps right into the main theme, a great sequence in the style of early 80s Tangerine Dream. In fact, all the synth layers here have a feel very much like Tangram or Logos Live, two of my favorite TD discs.
"Truceless" has a very light bubbly sequence, but with dramatic overtones. Again one can't help but think of TD's heyday.
"Sparkles" is a bit on the softer side, headed almost toward TD's Optical Race sound.
"Square One" also seems to draw more toward the highly melodic almost pop EM sound explored in the late 80s and early 90s.
A cool almost jazzy sequence begins "Luscious Feelings", but it too heads in a similar musical direction. Throughout, the emphasis is on lush layers of synthesizers woven together into a cohesive picture. The melody, rhythm, atmospherics and sequencing all fit neatly into individual packages. It all has a familiar feel to it for Berlin school fans, but it has many good moments on it, like "Monochromatic" and "Electrons", the former a brief laid-back affair with a great beat that chugs along, the latter a bright fast sequencer piece. At times I'm reminded of Dom F. Scab and John Lakveet, but the 80s-90s TD comparisons remain unavoidable, down to the stabbing harpsichord patch as "In Locked Places" brings Raincolors to a close.
This disc is fun to drive to, or to play while kicking back at home with friends.
2003. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
In an inspired balance between almost classical symphonies and Synth Pop, Rob Essers makes a music underlined with strong emotions and cybernetic ambiences, not lacking in analog sounds.
This album, a re-release that includes three extra tracks, is also quite near to Space Sequencer Music.
Some themes or passages are fully within this genre. This is the case, for instance, of "The Ability to Dream" and "The Gateway".
At other times, like the impressive track "The Trivial Round of Life" explore the most melodic and romantic paths of this style, while at the same time they add elements typical of Synth-Pop, all that with a very coherent approach, one of the identity traits of this artist.
This record is a "must have" IMO for any TD fan out there! This piece of work is something I've been waiting for to come in a very(!) long time.
It's pure 80's TD style and should appeal to anyone who likes TD's 80's sound ala Firestarter. Yes, it's pretty much from the 1984 era which says a lot about how good this CD really is! Pure 80's bliss from start to end, hands down.
The best songs on this CD must be "A Walk Through" (long swirling sequences) then "Truceless" (which reminds me a lot of the song Charly The Kid by TD) and off course Luscious Feelings.
So to sum it up in short words I have only a few things to end this review with. Highly Recommended! It's a keeper!
2007. Kristian Persson / Sweden
In 1994 Dutch instrument- and studio-expert Rob Essers released his first CD "Raincolors".
This critically acclaimed album was filled with melodic retro-electronic music with a strong hint towards the music that Tangerine Dream created in the early eighties. It also consisted of some of the most beautiful synthesizer sounds ("real analog synths").
Now, in 2002, it is available again in remastered form with 3 bonus tracks added.
On some of the pieces, Rob has changed the tempo "to get more drive" and on "The Ability To Dream", the first track on the CD, Rob has used extra effects. To make "Raincolors", Rob played some of the most impressive instruments around like the fantastic PPG Wave Computer, the Sequential Circuits T8 and Oberheim Expander. It is absolutely great to hear this music remastered.
Pieces like "The Ability To Dream", "A Walk Through…",
"Truceless" (with its recognizable PPG solo voices), "Monochromatic", "Colors Of Rain" and "The Trival Round Of Life" are masterpieces of electronic genius. Tangerine Dream couldn’t have done it better.
The bonus tracks originate from the same period as the album.
"The Gateway" has a very old analog feel. "Dream House" is quite atmospheric while "In Locked Places" is more rhythmic.
"Raincolors" is one of those albums, which needs to be cherished. Now, in this new remastered "coat" the listener can hold it more firmly.
2002. Paul Rijkens