All tracks composed, played and recorded by Gert Emmens
- After the rain [12:52]
- Another time, another space [14:34]
- Waves of dreams [10:26]
- Dawn [10:06]
- Heading towards unknown destinations [10:52]
- Bright spot on a grey day [13:09]
Gert Emmens is amongst those artists who are getting better every time they come up with
a new record.
"Waves Of Dreams" is no exception of this. Again, the Dutchman surprises
us with his pleasant melodic retro electronic music that is played excellently.
"After The Rain" opens with soft sequences after which intriguing rhythms take over. In the
third part of the track Mike Oldfield-like sequences enter and bring the listener in electronic
heaven. This is absolutely top electronic music.
And it doesn’t stay with this piece alone: tracks like "Another Time, Another Space", "Waves
Of Dreams" and the somewhat darker "Bright Spot On A Grey Day" all bear the same
quality (well, actually all tracks).
Electronic music that is built up beautifully, with great
sequences, atmospheres, Mellotron sounds and solos. Gert sets himself apart from most
other retro/Berlin School electronic music by always keeping the melody on top. This makes
his music very special.
And the musical content is not enough: also the recording is great, the cover by Pablo Magne beautiful (it almost looks like cover from Pink Floyd or The Alan Parsons Project)
and the list of equipment Gert uses (a lot of vintage gear) is very impressive.
This all makes
"Waves Of Dreams" amongst the absolute top in retro-electronic music.
2004. Press Information
Doubtless, the music of Gert Emmens is one of the most full of imagery in contemporary EM. A little as big names in progressive music, Emmens succeed in structuring a music which is listening as much as she is telling. Waves of Dreams is among albums that won't get astray within time. A musical tale, in 6 chapters, which explores an extremely rich sound fauna with its howling synths, aleatory sequences which flutter in all directions and its dense Mellotron to foggy atmospheres.
This splendid journey filled of strong elaborated sounds and tones begins with After the Rain. A quixotic finger touches lightly the surface of water to widen multiple waves that are sound circles. This elfic intro is breaking on low curves of a swaying sequence which lazes beneath a soft Mellotron. The synth filters its harmonious breezes, whereas the sequencer is quietly getting astray in a heavy synth mist. These atmospheric moments which interfere in Waves of Dreams are tinted with fascinating sound effects, creating an active musical life. On this passage strange pulsations act as percussions, on a ghostly structure where a sequencer proposes an odd march, accompanied by a shadowy Mellotron. After the Rain’s 3rd movement is a soft sonorous sparkling which titillates on chords of a Mellotron violin. The structure is soft and filled of pulsations build upon hardly formed sparkling percussions, synth choirs and a soft synth which roars in a mystic fog while filtering beautiful hemmed solos that will be lost in a cosmic silence.
Another Time, Another Place pierces this silence by freeing notes that float on a hesitating Mellotron. Arpeggios swarm of a new life with a sequence which is slowly accentuating the pace. Spectral synth on dark background, the musical structure deviates to become uncertain and to embraces stratospheric limbs. A short moment of calm which breaks on an alert sequencer with its heavy notes which swirl on hesitating bends to be melting in a heavy atmosphere filled of synth solos so unique to Gert Emmens.
The title track begins on a cosmic wind where fine chords flutter on the back of a suave Mellotron. An astral intro with a magnificent vocal presence which pushes ethereal laments on a soft waltz with too much slow movement to be danced, but perfect to loved. Through this beauty, we hardly felt the presence of a sequence which shaped its structure to reach a more livened up cadence, but all in suppleness. Waves of Dreams will fly between rhythms with a surprising sensibility for a synth musical work.
Dawn is a superb cosmic tribal track starting with amazing sequenced arpeggios which float lazily on a very spatial Mellotron before forming a more sustained pace around percussions been born on the rustle of steel sheets, creating an eclectic sound universe which is shaping in an unsuspected coherence. The sequencer’s play on a synth that watches such a cosmic lighthouse is simply stunning.
In particular finale which explodes on a strange environment weighed down by the prisms of sequences which sparkle with a renewed imagination near the crossing of atmospheres from Heading Towards Unknown Destinations. If you thought of having heard everything, your ears will be surprised again. First Nations tom-toms go out of this cosmic atmosphere to set the tone to a quick march which rushes into the twilights of the sound strangeness’s of Gert Emmens's solos. A superb movement which amazes, both by its tempo eroded by the thick synth layers and the tom-toms tones. Hooked at our speakers, we are entering into a huge hypnotic musical storm, like these tales where the innocent tries to avoid the vile, on a stunning sequenced race which ends in sequential stammering. An amazing music piece that it’s better to listen to than trying to describe it. This is simply great electronic art built upon a musical vision which doesn't stop to amaze.
Bright Spot on a Grey Day enclose this opus filled of complex and melodious sound meanders on familiar musical structures; sclerozed wind, nervous sequential arpeggios on a waltzing but balanced Mellotron and perfect sound effects on a structure which tries to develop its pace. All in melody, Emmens deepens his artistic approach to lead us on a rhythmic with beautiful spatial harmonies. Everything is soft until the rhythm is getting astray in a black hole where dark winds paralyze sequences to reshape them into fluttering metallic pads. Too much busy to care, the wind oversight the strengths of Mellotron which reties its melodious airs on weak percussions which lurch towards limbo.
To me, Waves of Dreams is a magnificent album. The kind that will become a classic in modern EM area, just like Free System Projekt’s Impulse or Frank Specht’s Sebastian Im Traum. A great album that continues what Wanderer of Time has started; the opening of a great synthesist and composer that amazes and bewitches at each listening, especially because of this melodious ingenuity of sequencing.
2011. Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness
'After the Rain' initially uses a slow sequence, mixing with dreamy shimmering effects to create a lazy laid-back feel. The pace quickens slightly as another sequence strikes up. A slow moody lead line continues the tranquil sunny afternoon feel. By the fourth minute however it is all change as things suddenly descend to dark atmospherics out of which emerges an ominous twangy sequence and brooding lead line. In the seventh minute a rapid tinkling sequence then another with greater oomph lift the spirits and pick up the pace. This isn't all bludgeoning stuff though as the melodies retain that tender element.
'Another Time, Another Space' certainly starts very cosmically. The engines are engaged as a rapid morphing sequence breaks through. We take a breather in the fifth minute. Dark drones set the scene for the best moment on the album so far as a typical mid seventies bass sequence surges forward. This really is tremendous stuff! We reach even greater heights as a lead line enters and the sequence careers this way and that. Even classic mellotron sounds are tossed in for good measure.
We moodily drift through to the title track. The atmosphere becomes more positive, as if a door is opened and the sun comes streaming in. More sequences and rhythms enter as we transcend from beauty to an edgy excitement.
'Dawn' might be the title of the next track but it certainly doesn't sound like it is on this planet. When the inevitable sequences arrive they are bright and joyous like the rays of some alien sun gradually rising above the horizon. A beefier sequence joins the original combination making it seem as if things are getting hotter. The temperature rises still further as a rhythm then positive melodic lead line join in the fun. In the sixth minute things seem to become more urgent, a serious edge cutting straight through the frivolity. Dark melodic stabs add to the unease then the sequences depart and the sun goes down once more.
The mood darkens still further for 'Heading Towards Unknown Destinations'. Clangs, as if from some gloomy cell, mix with the sound of wailing spectres. An inventive jaunty stuttering brace of sequences takes us into the light but there is something almost tribal about the syncopations. Wistful John Dyson type lead lines impart a touch of melancholy. By the sixth minute the pace quickens still further, maybe the chase is on. The atmosphere lightens considerably as we near our destination.
'Bright Spot on a Grey Day' starts with deep space Sci Fi type effects.
A similar sequence to that in the first half of 'Dawn' breaks through. Things become even more exciting as a bass line starts to form. I really thought it would continue to build but instead we chug along nicely before returning to the cosmic effects. Then silence……. before the introduction of a snippet of strange, mysterious, half whispered vocals and windy pads to finally finish.
This CD by Gert Emmens is an excellent work in electronic music at the purest cosmic style.
In "Waves of Dreams" we find six compositions full of sensitivity and electronic romanticism. The composer proves his great imagination by creating a powerful music, with sequencer rhythms forming rather unusual tonal structures. His talent can be also appreciated as he creates complex rhythmic structures, that become perfectly fused with the melodies and the atmospheres. The melodies appear to grow little by little, in a continuous crescendo that reaches incredible heights.
No doubt this CD will appeal to the fans of Gert's music as well as the lovers of Space Sequencer Music in general.
2004. Edgar Kogler
Gert Emmens’ type of EM reminds me of progressive fusion/prog rock from the late ‘60s or early ‘70s (e.g. Yes, King Crimson, and Rush, to name a few). I don't make this comparison in a musical sense, but rather because of how he structures his long compositions.
A popular convention back then for the aforementioned groups was to compose long pieces and give them separately titled "movements" in which different musical themes would be explored, yet still retaining a certain signature sound so the artist/group was identifiable. An excellent example would the multi-part classic from Yes, "Close to the Edge", which had three movements: "The Solid Time of Change", "Total Mass Retain", "I Get Up, I Get Down".
As Messrs. Howe, Wakeman, et al. wove a musical statement throughout diverse stages of a song, so too does Emmens allow his tracks to migrate across different musical landscapes, although in his case, there is much more variety between the movements. Plus, of course, the music itself bears no resemblance to the progressive rock of that era.
On the opening piece, "After the Rain", the listener is treated to a brief "sunshower" of twinkling synth notes before echoed retro Berlin sequences delightfully pepper the soundfield, seeming to bounce back and forth, up and down, cushioned by flowing chorales. Before long, a dark strain of Mellotron swirls heralds a change of pace, combined with cyber-organic semi-tribal rhythms over a lush bed of keyboards (this is a very moody part of the song and is decidedly un-Germanic in character). He’s still not done yet, eventually yielding to a classic rapid pulsing of sequenced beats and twinkling tones over warm washes of synths (very Germanic in nature), with majestic chorales and irregular skitch-type beats brought in for good measure.
This is how Emmens differs from many other EM artists today. He not only exercises supreme control over all these separate types of electronic music, but finds brilliant ways to integrate them into cohesive tracks in a way that is not just amazing from a technical standpoint but also yields a satisfying emotional payoff.
There are six more songs (all over ten minutes long) on the CD, so serving up details on the others would require a novelette-length review. Suffice it to say Emmens wields his analog and digital keyboards, his Mellotron, Moogs and MiniMoogs, with equal parts dexterity and passion.
"Another Time, Another Space" unites whistling vibrating analog spacemusic with percolating sequencers and later thumping Berlin-esque pulses. The title track starts amidst ominous drones and rumbles, with some dissonant tonalities as well, but moves into much more accessible and friendlier territory with somber and beautiful synth strings and echoed (and nicely panned!) chirping sequenced notes. The addition of operatic female vocals takes the beauty of the song up even higher, soaring into the ethereal heights, before a rapid-fire synth sequence and dramatic snare-beats bring everything back to earth, propelling the song at the pace of a bullet train.
You want to know what the rest of the album sounds like? Well, go out and buy it, because if you liked what I've described so far, you won't be disappointed. I didn't think this artist would be able to top last year’s obscure movements in twilight shades but Gert Emmens obviously means to not stand still when it comes to making superlative EM, and that’s what Waves of Dreams is, with the emphasis on "superlative."
Easily, this is one of the best releases in years from Groove Unltd. -- and that’s saying something!
2005. Bill Binkelman / Wind & Wire
This release from 2004 features 72 minutes of lively Berlin School electronics.
Exquisite sequencing provides a heavenly foundation for bewitching rhythms that mount gradually, accreting energy and velocity until they reach a state of cosmic caprice. This joviality is nicely tempered with a serious undercurrent that generates a devastating satisfaction with its well-rounded resonance. Cyclic patterns rise and flourish, evolving and exploring variations with crafty design.
Deeply trembling chords become tinged with angelic airs. Tempos unfurl with resolute determination, twirling and propelling the melodies with a softly emphatic drive. Mellotrons produce rich embellishments to the densely layered electronics. Harmonics swarm and collide, merging to create fresh tonalities, all guided by nimble fingers into fascinating tunes.
Some of the tracks exhibit a distinctly romantic flair, becoming soundtracks for ardent lovers who lounge on their urban balconies and stare at a nocturnal sky filled with shooting stars. As night slips into morning, the music refuses to shed its dreamlike qualities, boldly ready to face the day with burgeoning exhilaration.
Emmens builds fascinating melodies that cavort amid a backdrop of astral ambience. Hints abound of the man’s retro influences, but he has developed these roots into mature styles of his own.
2005. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Gert Emmens is amongst those artists who are getting better every time they release a new CD "Waves Of Dreams" is no exception to this rule. Again, the Dutchman surprises us with his pleasant melodic retro electronic music that is played excellently.
"After The Rain" opens with soft sequences after which intriguing rhythms take over. In the third part of the track Mike Oldfield-like sequences enter and bring the listener into electronic heaven.
This is absolutely top electronic music.
2005. Michael Foster / Ambient Visions
EXCELLENT SOUND. ..REMINDS ME OF LISTENING TO ALAN PARSONS...SOOTHING..GREAT LISTENING AT WORK...MOTIVATES AS WELL AS SOOTHES THE SOUL....
2005. Kevin Fechter / U.S.A.
Got this one too. More melodic than Wanderer of time for me but still good sound on it.
2005. Marco Franchin / Italy
Diavolo d'un Pablo Magne! L'illustratore di fiducia della Groove ha colpito ancora, realizzando una copertina suggestiva come poche altre. Ricorda un disco simile dei Firefall, un altro di Echo And The Bunnymen, qualcosina anche di Pink Floyd e Alan Parsons. Insomma non c'è modo migliore per presentare un disco. E il cd è altrettanto interessante, pienamente in linea con le produzioni "retro/Berlin school" dell'olandese Groove.
Olandese è anche l'artista di cui parliamo, ovvero il tastierista Gert Emmens, prode autore di sei sinfonie cosmiche nel suo "Waves of dreams". Qui si scende nell'immaginario, nei meandri della psiche e del sonno, nelle visioni notturne che temiamo ma che sono pienamente rivelatrici.
Sei brani di durata superiore ai dieci minuti, a cavallo tra coloritura analogica e audacia digitale: da "After the rain" a "Bright spot on a grey day" c'è un trionfo della melodia, un insieme di passaggi alla Jarre/Schulze/Oldfield con puntatine alla miglior new age (Arkenstone).
Come tutti i lavori di nuova/vecchia elettronica, il risultato non cambia: prevedibile, priva di qualsiasi scatto e anche Emmens non si sottrae a questa critica, sebbene il suo lavoro sia pregevole per intelligenza e gusto. Segnaliamo infine l'imponente "Another time, another space", dal gusto a tratti minimalista, la tradizionalissima title-track, la dolce new age di "Dawn".
2005. Donato Zoppo
I just received the cd in perfect condition and after listening to it, I had to drop you a note telling what a helluva job you guys did on this cd! This is my first Emmens and I sure hope he has more like this out there. This is the best new music I've experienced in a LONG time and I have quite a nasty (yet legal!) addiction to this stuff.
Thanks for the great job!
2006. Bill Field
Waves of Dreams (72’02) de Gert EMMENS, encore un Prog-résiste 40 82 2e trimestre 2005 Hollandais, évolue dans les mêmes eaux, même si certaines séquences ont dû être inspirées par Mike Oldfield plutôt que par les Allemands généralement cités. L’autre différence par rapport à Humphries, c’est la pléthore d’instruments vintage utilisés (Arp Odyssey, Minimoog, Polymoog, et j’en passe!).
La musique est au diapason, elle en paraît moins artificielle (une difficulté bien concevable dans le domaine). Elle en est magnifiée, avec de grandes séquences, des atmosphères et du mellotron tantôt en nappes, tantôt en solo. Emmens se distingue en cela de la lignée berlinoise en gardant systématiquement l’accent sur la mélodie. Et pour ne rien gâcher, le livret confié à Pablo Magne n’est pas sans rappeler les grandes pochettes de Pink Floyd ou d’Alan Parsons Project).
Un must !
Gert Emmens continues to shine on the EM scene and "Waves of Dreams" is his new album that further pushes the boundaries of Berlin School with his unique style of atmospheric, a bit mournful music. There are 6 tracks on this album.
The first track, called "After the Rain" gets things going with deep arpeggiated synths and after a while sequenced bass notes appear out of nowhere. It then morphs into a full-blown melodic sequence which is then joined by yet another one, and at around the 1:25 mark, the Mellotron choir kicks in. This is typical Gert Emmens and the combination works perfectly here. A lead line is playing on top of the sequences.
The album has that typical "Emmens touch" that can be characterized by a somewhat mournful and reflective, maybe even a bit romantic, atmosphere. At around the 4 minute mark, a completely different section starts - somewhat industrial noises and sounds, plus a strange resonating rhythms. This is just great, mysterious stuff! The final section of the first track is again heavy on bright sequences, pads and atmospheres.
"Another Time, Another Space" is initially pretty melancholic, with lots of mellotron strings and of course, sequences. It uses theremin-like solo timbre which I find highly enjoyable. About half-way through, things become more dark and driving, with a more powerful, lower-register sequence that mutates now and then to keep you on your toes. Then another great sequence joins in and we really start to groove. I found my head nodding and my toe tapping to this one. Sequencer music is not dead! It's alive and kicking as you can clearly hear from this track! Great stuff that makes me reach for that volume control, especially after the solo kicks in! I just wish it was longer!
Next we have the title track which is pretty laid-back affair. Good to sit back, relax and just enjoy the flow. There something atypical for sequencer EM in there, but I won't reveal what it is. Let's just say that I found it highly refreshing and very beautiful. A laid-back rhythm and fast-paced sequences is what we have as the core of the second part of the track.
"Dawn" features delicate sequencing and rich pad sounds. Gert seems to have a knack for creating rather laid-back, unhurried type of EM and this track is very characteristic of his style. Nice Mellotron touches near the end.
"Heading Towards Unknown Destinations" is the best cut on the album. It's a genuine cosmic trip. Great sounds, rhythms and soloing. This is too delicious for words. Sorry, I'm off enjoying the music.. <...> Are you still reading?
Ok, the last track is called "Bright Spot On A Grey Day". It offers more mid-paced sequences, pads, choir-like sounds and, despite the title, sounds pretty mournful and desperate to me. The most delicious aspect of this track is the background sounds / atmospheres. A nice finish to this strong album.
There is also a surprise at the end of the track (THE bright spot, perhaps?), but, once again, I won't reveal it, sorry. :-)
Is there anything left to say in the genre of sequencer music? The answer is yes. And "Waves of Dreams" is the proof of that.
Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music
Gert Emmens has clearly defined the Berlin School of E-music in a way few have accomplished. There is a degree of satisfaction that is as refreshing as it is compelling, witnessed by my listeners on Monday nights @ Wisconsin Public Radio.
Waves of Dreams further enhances Gert's style among the Synth heavyweights, propelling the listener through journeys of vast soundscapes full of gentle washes of electronic color.
Since we aired "Wanderer of Time" two weeks ago Gert now has a solid fan base in the U.S.
Now, how about coming here for a tour with Redshift?? OOHH!! YYEAHH!!
2004. Stephen Ruby / Midwest Electronic Music Org.
Gert Emmens sure has been in a "groove" lately.
"After the Rain" has an awesome little sequence that kicks things off. Things turn spooky at the 4:00 mark, sparking a shift to a wonderful passage with percussion that sounds part tribal part modern, and the warmest synth pads for loads of atmosphere. What a fantastic subdued section this is. Just past 7:30 it’s shades of classic Klaus Schulze as a light crystalline sequence ensues. An energetic looping phrase is then folded perfectly into the mix, along with more pads. Sweet! Synth choirs perfect the mood, joined by a choice lead line. The last minute changes moods again, to abstract white noise and an odd but cool synth sound as it fades away. The disc is already worth the price of admission at this point.
But the rest is equally good, as "Another Time, Another Space" floats in. More beautiful pads and sequencing, and the other synth sounds are stellar. In particular, the midsection is brilliant, somehow surpassing the already strong sequencing of the intro.
Next is the title track. After the obligatory sequence gets going, a female voice wails for a minute or two. Then drums pick up the energy markedly. The synth lead that emerges is pure Emmens, his signature seamless portamento shift from one note to another.
The pattern holds for "Dawn", dark atmospherics followed by bright sequencing. Each new track brings hypnotic loops and wonderful blends of electronic sounds that are cool and seemingly effortless.
The pseudo-tribal slant of "Heading Towards Unknown Destinations" is a bit of a twist, although the Berlin school influence remains toward the fore. I’m shaking my head near the end of this one, the sequencing is so elegantly perfect.
The last track is as brilliant as the rest.
Go buy it already.
2004. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
The brand new CD by Gert Emmens continues his exploration of the early German cosmic EM sound. Filled with dense, celestial compositions that overlap rich melodies and pulsing sequences, the music forms a highly cerebral series of Teutonic Electronic soundscapes extraordinaire.
2009. Archie Patterson