Recorded, mixed and mastered at ACE studio, Aartselaar, Belgium between January 2005 and October 2006|
- Ouverture [2:34]
- Crack the blue sky [5:22]
- Nomads [5:50]
- Furious Jam [4:20]
- Aquatopia [6:57]
- High [4:33]
- Mont Blanc [3:48]
- Drive [4:34]
- Blue down there [3:55]
- Ritual [4:35]
- Heat [5:21]
- Beneath the Ice [5:08]
Composed, produced, performed and engineered by Frank Van Bogaert
Belgian composer, keyboard player, producer and sound engineer Frank Van Bogaert is a masterful creator of warm, sensitive, romantic, symphonic and hypnotizing electronic music.
"Nomads", his sixth album (if you don’t count "One out of Five", the best of album) must be Frank’s mile stone to this date. He worked 2 years on this album and the sonic richness is second to none.
Sound design is an important part in Frank’s music. Every sound on "Nomads" is thought of carefully and recorded in the best possible way. "The making of this album proved to be more challenging than any previous release I’ve done…", Frank says in the sleeve notes.
Indeed, "Nomads" has become an impressive musical journey taking the listener to different but well-defined places. Pablo Magne, designer of the sleeve artwork felt very inspired by Frank’s music, which is showcased, in the beautiful 12-page booklet.
From the symphonic "Crack The Blue Sky", "Nomads", "Ritual", "Aquatopia" and "Mont Blanc" (perhaps the best two tracks on the CD in which Frank shows his skills on the piano), the slightly jazzy "Furious Jam", the rhythmic "High" and "Drive", the soft "Blue Down There" to the closing ambient track "Beneath The Ice" with an intense atmosphere, every piece on this album has its own special story, sound and image.
It has been said and written before: Frank’s music stands out of the crowd. On "Nomads" he has surpassed everything he has done so far. This album is Frank’s masterpiece and puts him once more on top of the contemporary electronic music scene.
If you like your electronic music to sound grand, lofty, symphonic, and upbeat, then you'll flat out love Frank Van Bogaert. Many people have compared him to Vangelis -- not because his style is an uninspired derivative of Vangelis' unique sound, but because he carries a similar propensity for classic, well-rounded compositions that blend Hollywood-quality themes with innovative and intriguing synthesizer work. I have listened to hundreds of EM albums in multiple sub-genres over the years, and Frank's music definitely flies high above the rest.
This album is his latest work to date and possibly his finest. I highly recommend you treat yourself to a sonic feast that will hold you spellbound.
Das neue Jahr steht vor der Tür und ich bekomme schon die neue CD vom belgischen Elektroniker Frank van Bogaert mit dem Titel „Nomads" in die Hand. Das erste, das auffällt, ist das für Elektronikmusik sehr opulente Booklet. Es besteht aus zwölf Seiten mit sehr ansprechenden, stimmungsvollen Fotos. Für die Covergestaltung war wieder das Designerteam um Pablo Magne zuständig, der in den letzten Jahren so manche ElektronikCD verfeinert hat. Das Gesamtkonzept hat Pablo mit Frank zusammen erarbeitet.
Auf dem mehr als 57minütigen Album präsentiert uns Frank zwölf Tracks, die natürlich in seinem Stil, der an Vangelis angelegt ist, gehalten ist.
Am Eingang empfängt uns die zweieinhalbminütige „Overture", die sehr orchestral wirkt und nach einem pompösen Soundtrack klingt. Auch hier sind bereits die typischen Sounds und Melodiebögen zu hören, die wir von Frank’s vorangegangenen Werken kennen.
Auch das folgende „Crack The Blue Sky" ist ein Stück, das sehr voluminös beginnt und dann recht schnell an Fahrt gewinnt, in dem ein powervoller Rhythmus dieses Stück vorantreibt. Die sehr eingängige Melodielinie und der Rhythmus sorgen dafür, dass das Stück sofort von Geist und Körper aufgenommen wird. Den Track kann ich mir auch gut im Radio vorstellen.
Mit dem Titelstück kommt dann zusätzlich eine ethnische Komponente, die Frank des Öfteren nutzt, in seine Musik.
„Furious Jam" klingt für Frank etwas ungewöhnlich, was vor allem an den Sounds liegt. Zwar schimmert immer noch sein Stil durch, doch klingt das ganze etwas funkig und zum Ende hin durch das Schlagzeug (klingt wie eine echtes Schlagzeug) sogar rockig. Da freu ich mich schon drauf, das mal live erleben zu können, das kommt bestimmt gut.
Mit „Aquatopia" machen wir eine „schwebende" Reise durch die Weltmeere, steigen mit dem sehr perkussiven und durch Akustikgitarrensound und Querflöte (ist da schon wieder ein Schlagzeuger am Werk?) angereicherten „High" (der Track hat wieder sehr viel Abwechslung zu bieten) noch weiter hoch und besteigen mit „Mount Blanc" den Gipfel, bei dem die Musik eine erhabene Weite vermittelt. Ich kann quasi bei dem Stück in die Ferne blicken über wolkenverhangene Berge und Täler.
Mit einem sehr schönen Stereoeffekt, der einen vorbeirasenden Wagen darstellt, beginnt das Stück „Drive". Bei ihm huldigt Frank dem Soundtüftler Alan Parsons, denn die Musik, die uns Frank da reicht, klingt, als sei sie aus der kreativsten Schaffensphase des Engländers entnommen. Das Stück beginnt erst mit einem sehr rhythmischen Sequenzerloop und entfaltet dann seine ganze Soundvielfalt. Wer Parsons mag, der wird dieses Stück lieben, bei mir erzeugt es jedenfalls Gänsehaut.
„Blue Down There" ist ein sehr atmosphärischer Titel im Stile von „Blade Runner", während uns „Ritual" in Richtung „Albedo 0.39" entführt.
Nach „Heat" folgt mit „Beneath The Ice" das letzte Stück der CD, das eine sehr entspannte und ruhige Stimmung hinterlässt, denn hier legt Frank vor allem Wert auf harmonische Klänge, die keine Melodie enthalten. Der Hörer schwebt ganz einfach, Gedanken verloren, in einem Raum tiefster Entspannung und erwacht sanft aus dieser musikalischen Reise.
Frank’s Stücke haben Kraft, Melodie und Rhythmus und streckenweise ein ungeheures Volumen. Auch die Soundeffekte wie vorbeifahrendes Auto, Wasser etc. hat Frank in der richtigen Dosis verwandt und Punktgenau platziert. Diese Eigenschaften lassen seine Musik umgehend in mich hineinfließen. Frank hält mit dem neuen Album seinen hohen Standard. Wer seine Musik, oder die von Vangelis mag, der kann bedenkenlos zuschlagen.
2006. Stephan Schelle
It’s not easy not to be moved while listening to Nomads. The opening sounds bring the listener to unexplored areas which in their grandness confront us with our own futility. The overture sounds so universally that it’s hard to believe the composer is Belgian and an inhabitant of one of the smallest fields of language in the world. Is it the collision with Pablo Magne, The Argentine artist who created such marvellous artwork that it makes you long for the old LP-age, that helps Frank to succeed in catching the world in a small jewel case?
I don’t know, but it is a fact that this very mature sounding music has no boundaries. Is it a coincidence that the track ‘Nomads’ sounds a bit Arabic? Probably not. The title of this album is very well chosen by the way en fits perfectly with the 12 track global journey. We get a good variety of rhythms, but always there’s this certain grandeur, perfectly illustrated by the magnificent photography by Pablo Magne.
The rhythm totally fades away in the beautiful ‘Mont Blanc’ as if Frank were afraid to catch this masterpiece of nature in his music.
How sharp the contrast with the racing car in ‘Drive’ that pulls you back into every day reality, the rhythm of the ever ticking clock struggling with the urge to escape the rat race of modern life. This is so fun about this music: it opens your mind and invites you to travel and fantasize…
Critics will say they often hear the sound of Vangelis in this album and that is true. But is this a point of critic or a mere compliment for an artist who stands so close to the grandmaster of electronic music that one can hardly hear the difference?
Frank Van Bogaert's "Nomads" is most definitely his best, but all of his have been his best. Now this is what it's about. I can listen to "Nomads" for hours at a time.
flyingman / WAWL Chattanooga State / USA
A growling start to 'Overture' is softened through the use of orchestral pads. It is an excellent beginning but didn't prepare me for the explosive energy that was to come! Huge rolling, tremendously exciting rhythms enter like some great giant using the very Earth as a drum. Euphoric massed pads swell to join with the rhythmic powerhouse, reaching a climax then slowly descending to calm. Wow what an opener!
Things are initially calmer for 'Crack the Blue Sky' but it isn't long before an excellent melodic sequence strikes up and then more of the same style of drumming found on the previous track. A stunning melody belts forth and we are now in warp drive. Just two tracks in and it becomes evident that this is going to be one hell of an album. From a rather atmospheric beginning the title track bursts into life with a Vangelis style anthemic lead line.
'Furious Jam' actually begins with a rather analogue sounding sequence accompanied by chugging rhythm which quickly develops and really starts to kick. Amazingly we then get a Hammond organ type lead line. All these elements go together to create a rather late 70s feel. Less than two minutes in and the sequence really starts to let rip, new leads flash over the top and the drums gain even more power. It's just impossible to keep still. I found myself alternating between air keyboard and air drums whilst my legs were moving so much they almost knocked over the table! Yet another brilliant track!
'Aquatopia' sets a suitably watery scene. Gentle percussion mixes with subtle piano, all going together to create one of the more restrained tracks on the album, providing a beautiful setting in which to catch our breath after the proceeding maelstrom.
'High' picks up the pace once more as an infectious groove mixes with a lovely sublime melody that will stay in your head for many a day. Overall it had something of a Celtic feel. All rather rousing stuff.
Gentle winds blow over 'Mont Blanc'. Delicate piano brings up images of a soft snowfall. It's all rather moody in a gorgeous sort of way. There is a rather simple yet superbly crafted feel to it all.
'Drive' is well named, as it's ideal for putting your foot to the metal and hurtling down the motorway. A rapid bass pulse underpins it all whilst various different leads riff away in the foreground.
'Blue Down There' is initially all rather dark, like Ocean depths. It does lighten as it progresses but remains pleasantly atmospheric throughout.
'Ritual' starts with images and samples of some hot African (maybe) landscape. Cool syncopations pick up the pace. A slow sequence ambles forward but it's the dreamy melodies that have the main impact.
'Heat' has a gradual build up demonstrating a sort of determination and positive vibe.
Appropriately 'Beneath the Ice' has a rather crystalline feel to it. It's all so serene and peaceful.
This is a wonderful cd with the perfect combination of storming power and beauty. Frank is a true talent and I recommend this album highly.
Is this Belgian?
Yes, my dear friends. It is !
Is this a great album?
You bet, my dear sound and production aficionados.
Frank Van Bogaert is a keyboard wizard equal to the musicians he admires himself.
Surely his music is related to that of Vangelis, but Van Bogaert has his own style and is musically without any doubt as strong as the great Greek.
After the opener "Ouverture" a magnificent sound world is unveiled.
Frank takes us on an imaginary voyage through wonderful sounds and image evoking music.
These images will be different to every listener but by looking at the beautiful pictures of Pablo Magne in the accompanying booklet our thoughts are pushed into a certain direction.
In the same way the track names already reveal a bit of the secrets.
"Nomads" itself has a rather Eastern feel, "Drive" a more down to Earth feel, while "Mont Blanc" immerses us in a fragile and peaceful atmosphere.
One could be so blunt to file this album under electronic or new age, but to me there’s but one description, it’s Art with a big capital A !
2007. Carl Coppieters / Stage Magazine / Belgium
Nomads is not just Frank Van Bogaert’s most consistently enjoyable cd release, it’s also flat out one of the great EM releases of this decade so far. No hyperbole intended, folks. If this cd doesn’t grab your attention and make you want to hit the open road with its music blasting on the stereo, check your pulse and heart rate. As the artist writes in the liner notes, Nomads is "about our constant urge to explore, that natural restlessness that makes us move. In one way or another, we’re all Nomads." Well said, Frank, well said indeed.
As on past releases, the artist is obviously influenced by Vangelis. However, as I wrote in my review of Van Bogaert’s 2000 release, Docking, this highly talented Belgian musician is no mere copycat. While Van Bogaert incorporates some of the Greek’s motifs and instrument sounds, Vangelis often errs by injecting melodrama, pomposity and overwrought gravitas, while Frank excels at pushing the music to dramatic and powerful heights without taking it over the top or bludgeoning the listener with "too much" of anything.
I also want to make special mention of Nomad’s amazing liner note photography (by Pablo Magne). The cover is starkly beautiful and evocative, while the eight photos inside are equally impressive (I especially like the men gazing up at sky at the base of the radio telescopes at dusk and the lone walker crossing a bridge in silhouette against the setting sun). These images certainly compliment the cds music.
Much of Nomads contains powerful rhythmic melodic EM, perfectly suited as the soundtrack for a drive through the city or countryside.
"Crack the Blue Sky" opens with pulsing retro synth tones carrying a Berlin-esque flavor before thunderous fast rhythms erupt along with a catchy melodic refrain!
The title track has a slower tempo but is more dramatic with repeated crescendos set against wailing keyboards and swirling textures all of it encased by a lovely melodic strain and a dash of pan-Africa spice via subtle sampled kalimba.
"Furious Jam" dials up the energy to 10 with blooping bleeping synths, a cool sequenced rhythm, thumping bass beats, and jazzy Fender Rhodes-ish soloing.
One aspect of Van Bogaert’s music which I frequently resonate to is his obvious joy of making music. This emotion comes through easily in his more energizing compositions (but is even present on subdued ones, too).
A song like "High" with its joyous beauty and infectious world beat touches really shines in this regard, especially as the song concludes amidst chorals set against ethnic percussion samples.
Then there’s "Drive" which hits the ground running as the most overt EM track on the album, ablaze with myriad of synth sequenced arpeggios, midtempo drum programming, and twinkling keyboards as well as make chorals.
Van Bogaert does allow the listener to take a breath now and then, though, on softer tracks (the subdued majesty of "Mount Blanc" with its minimal piano over a flowing bed of synthesizer washes and textures, or the graceful slow undulations and low key rhythms of "Blue Down There").
The album concludes with the pinging of sonar on "Beneath the Ice", a smoothly flowing quasi-ambient track that brings Nomads to a sublime end with its reverberating bell tones, keyboard washes and an almost palpable floating sensation.
Back in 2002, when Frank released Human, I reviewed it stating that "I believe Human is Frank Van Bogaert’s best recording by far…" Now, I find myself having to write the same words! Nomads is a stunning achievement and surely must cement this artist’s reputation as one of the premier players in the EM genre. Okay, Frank, just don’t top this cd with your next one or what the hell will I write then?
In all seriousness, Nomads earns my highest recommendation with no reservations whatsoever.
2007. Bill Binkelman / New Age Reporter
Nomads is the latest release from Belgian composer and synthesist Frank Van Bogaert.
Van Bogaert is one of the leading artists working in the symphonic electronica style pioneered by the likes of Vangelis and Jean-Michelle Jarre. Van Bogaert is carving out his own territory, though, using his own unique palette of synth orchestral sounds and effects. Previously, we’ve reviewed Van Bogaert’s One out of Five, a compilation that is a great introduction to his style.
Nomads is themed around the idea that we are travellers, not just from one place to another, but from one world to another. The music is often expansive and grand, but also features sections of real subtlety, suggesting that Van Bogaert could easily make the move to soundtracks.
The CD makes clear that Van Bogaert is a skillful orchestrator of electronic sounds; he creates powerful symphonic textures with an electronic palette that ranges from imitative samples to classic synth sounds to creative sound synthesis. He also carries over instrumentation from one track to another, giving the music the feel that it is performed by a virtual orchestra.
Nomads starts off with a great track, Overture, a symphonic electronica anthem, combining a variety of orchestral percussion, synth strings and synth horns.
One of the highlights of the CD is Furious Jam, a sequencer-driven synthfest. The track combines the improvisation of prog with the huge electronic soundscapes of classic synth music. Van Bogaert layers sequences with huge acoustic percussion effects & live drums. The track is full of tasty keyboard work, jumping rapidly from one lead voice to another.
Aquatopia seems to take its inspiration from Vangelis’ Oceanic, combining surf sounds, sequenced orchestral instruments and a wordless chorus. The track starts very quietly and builds to a rousing choral climax.
Another nice track is Mont Blanc. It starts with ambient drone effects, and then builds slowly, introducing a melody on piano. Bogaert takes his time developing this, adding synth strings, wordless vocals and other effects to bring the piece to a peak before returning to the ambient effects at the end.
A truly gorgeous track is Blue Down There. On this track, Van Bogaert cuts loose his synth chops and creates a soundscape that evokes the weightlessness and strange beauty of space. He weaves samples of astronauts being interviewed in space by earth-bound children, to beautiful and moving effect. Subtlety reigns on the track, from the wonderful selection of spoken word texts to the slowly evolving synth orchestration. It’s a great track on its own, but it also brings to mind classic 70’s space music.
The last track, Beneath The Ice, is another really evocative track. It’s essentially a drone-based piece, with deep bass sounds, washes of synth strings, bell-like keyboards and drifting noise effects. It establishes a lovely, haunting mood that leaves you wanting more.
Frank Van Bogaert’s Nomads is a great collection of symphonic electronica. It explores a wide range of moods and textures, ranging from the grand and bombastic to subtle, reflective soundscapes. We’ve only heard two of Bogaert’s releases - Nomads & his greatest hits collection - but based on these, it’s clear that Van Bogaert is not just standing on the shoulders of the first generation of synth music giants, but he’s becoming one of the current leading artists in the genre.
Here we have the latest album of Frank Van Bogaert, a concept work of sorts, dedicated to all types of exploring new ground.
"Ouverture" starts with deep sounds until dramatic symphonic passages come from the ether and a relaxed, marching rhythm compliments to this solemn piece.
"Crack the Blue Sky" comes off as something more overtly electronic, with some sequences and lots of raspy, saw-wave based sounds. Some trademark Frank Van Bogaert textures can be heard as well. The melody that comes a bit later is a bit too "dancey" for my taste perhaps, but the sound design is great as always.
The title track has strange sounds and some dramatic string stabs as an introduction. A typical Van Bogaert symphonic theme is the main attraction, although on this album most tracks are a bit less focused (which is actually a good thing in this case) than on previous releases. Anyway, here, Frank's music is as expansive as ever, which probably corresponds to the album's theme. Most cuts so far sound more or less composed and not improvised.
However, with "Furious Jam" things change drastically. In total accordance with its title, the track is full of that typical improvisational style of Frank, only this time it's much more upbeat and, well, furious. Certainly the best track so far. I just LOVE it when Frank lets his fingers go up and down the keys, without any or almost any pre-conceived ideas. I also adore those Jazzy / Fusiony bits that are present thanks largely to the use of the electric piano.
In total contrast to the previous number, "Aquatopia" calms things down with what sounds like an excellent soundtrack to a documentary about sea explorations. The track sounds improvised and Jazzy, with lots of piano. This is some great music! I am so happy that Frank has chosen to go for the improvisation once again, but you already know how much I love this particular style. By the end of the track a recurring theme appears which is a logical conclusion to this enjoyable journey.
"High" has a pronounced rhythm that differentiates this track from the rest. However, the rest is typical Van Bogaert in his composed mode. The theme is good and enjoyable but after the two improvised tracks he left me craving for more.
"Mont Blanc" starts like an ambient track. Soon gentle piano notes appear. This is one of those soothing or "sleepy" Van Bogaert tracks that could help you relax after a hard day or perhaps surrender to the reminiscences.
"Drive" has underlying sequence that reminded on Jarre's "Arpeggiator". However, it then morphs into quite a danceable track with a steady rhythm and a simple, but effective melody.
"Blue Down There" makes you think of images of Earth as seen from space. A wonderful relaxing piece that has no clear melody but is very effective nonetheless.
"Ritual" sounds like another improvised piece which I sincerely hope it is. Some heavy synth stabs are supported by an urgent rhythm, as a sequence mutates beneath. I'd say that the piece is half-improvised and half-composed. A very effective composition with excellent sound programming.
"Heat" surprises with a lullaby-like electric piano and a subtle sequence. After a while, a two-note melody is introduced, together with a guitar / e-piano improvisation. This is just terrific! This time Frank improvises in a profoundly relaxed way with extremely interesting results.
"Beneath the Ice" starts with a sound of a sonar, until an ambient soundscape takes over. This is one of those rare, totally ambient Frank Van Bogaert tracks. Very immersive and I'd say, chilling.
I think that with "Nomads" Frank has proved once again that he is an expert musician in both composing and improvising modes. Making a concept album was a hard task, but Frank managed to put out something which certainly deserves any praise.
Best tracks: without a shade of a doubt, "Furious Jam", "Aquatopia", "Ritual" and "Heat".
2007. Artemi Pugachov / Russia
This CD from 2007 offers 58 minutes of glorious electronic music.
Van Bogaert's music involves an elevated degree of grandeur, and this release is no different. The electronics soar to dizzying altitudes, each chord resonates with epic proportions. The melodies are expansive and tastefully ponderous, provoking optimism and opening the audience's hearts to the promise of things bigger than everyday worries.
Propelled by masterful keyboards, the tunes pulsate with vast power. Each riff is a work of art, carefully crafted and delivered with a rich sense of drama. Electronic textures fill the sky with shuddering portends, establishing majestic vistas for the songs. The melodies throb with deep tones that evoke exhilarating panoramas (on this album, those spectacles are a travelogue of locations guaranteed to dazzle and captivate), and then those bewitching riffs continue to enthrall as they accrete more vitality, straining for rousing crescendos that defy even the wildest imagination.
The use of grand piano only serves to escalate this considerable magnificence.
Percussion plays a vital role here, generating a monumental scope for the melodies. Instead of being frantic, the rhythms are poignantly designed to maximize holding the listeners' attention once the grand tuneage has latched its hooks into you.
The tempos exude a distinctly regal demeanor, engaging and awe-inspiring.
These vigorous compositions excellently capture a sense of awe, communicating a tantalizing greatness that will linger long after the music had finished playing.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Frank van Bogaert is an artist with a special sensitivity to develop warm melodies and combine them with rhythms of a vital, optimistic air. In this album he shows us once again his mastery, building music that drinks from Synth-Pop and symphonism, shaping impressive architectures, brimming with emotions.
Most remarkable are his successful orchestrations and electronic textures. The composer spares no means and provides his pieces with everything necessary to be able to perfectly express the sensations he wishes to transmit with his music.
Nomads is Belgian sound designer Frank Van Bogaert's sixth solo release, perhaps his best and certainly the one he worked on longest. Featuring twelve original compositions performed entirely by himself in his studio just outside Antwerp, Belgium, it took Bogaert nearly two years to finish these recordings. The careful attention to detail shows, as you might expect from a professional engineer.
While Bogaert started out in the 1980's as a keyboard player for a Belgian synthesizer band, most of his professional life has been spent behind the boards, recording, mixing, and mastering primarily for theater and television. After 10 years of recording for others, though, Bogaert decided to start recording for himself, resulting in his 1998 debut, Colors, a world beat album similar in style to Deep Forest and Enigma, a style that was most completely developed one year later with the release of Geographic.
That 1999 album won three German Schwingungen awards for best album, best song and best artist in 2000.
Since then Bogaert has released four additional albums, though none sounding quite like those first two. Still focusing on the melodic, Bogaert dropped many of the ethnic influences and began recording more open, spacious music built around the synthesizer, music that has led some to compare him to a 21st century Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre.
His latest release, Nomads, bears out such comparisons. Many of the compositions are built around melodies played on the keyboard, backed with synthetic orchestras and often spiced with sound effects, like the rolling waves in Aquatopia, or the synthetic chorus in Mont Blanc. At times Bogaert might also remind you of Pink Floyd or the Alan Parsons Project. One song in particular, Drive, borrows and blends from these two icons of 70's synthesizer pop-rock.
60 minutes of inspired music from one of Europe's major contemporary electronic composers, Nomads is a collection of recordings worth a dedicated listen.
2007. Shri Durga / USA
Travel without moving. Being nomad by the thought, the illusion. This is what Frank Van Bogeart offers to us with its 7th opus, Nomads. From January 2005 to October 2006, the Belgian musician worked an album with sublimes arrangements. Twelve blazing titles, where the rhythms are moulded harmoniously with delicate symphonies and beautiful orchestral melodies that Frank Van Bogaert knew how to develop and structure over the years. A great album with a nice inner booklet, where 12 photographs accompanies us in this virtual migration, where the maestro reserves us some small musical jewels.
A small drone is made hear from far, like a long threatening call. This intro is metamorphosing in a wonderful melody blow by an oboe. A fine line, doubled of a gracious movement of bass, transforms into waltzing synthetic layer, which is subdivided in miles harmonies. A pompous Opening, on good rolling percussions and a symphonic synth which tears off some nostalgic sighs. This introduction to Nomads is completely in conformity with the style of Frank Van Bogaert. Throughout this new opus, he transports us from a continent to the other, one time with another, on superb arrangements, discrete, but very effective, samplings. If the intro brings me to the Romaine’s arenas, Crack the Blue Sky transfers me onto the quays of ancient Greece with a synthetic wave that crescendo to open out on a hesitant and syncopated line. Choirs and refrains are imprisoned in a sequential circle with the resounding notes where Crack the Blue Sky explodes on a line with the rousing synthetic pulsations. A static and aggressive swirl which gimlets on big percussions, good wrapping and waltzing layers. Intense with poignant orchestral arrangements as Ritual, which will shake our feelings towards the end of the opus.
Nomads is another very orchestral track with its sumptuous synthetic fly away, dense and harmonious, which releases its Greco Romans chorus à la Vangelis.
Furious Jam is a title with a flowing sequence which undulates on a raucous tonality. Modern environment, even jazzy, it is overhung synths threatening, whereas the sequencer becomes more bubbling, bringing a jerked tempo, which breathes on a powerful battery. A slicing title in this symphonic atmosphere.
Aquatopia is a beautiful melody which touches us deeply. A soft keyboard winds its chords on piano harmonies. A small clock percussion sculpts a romantic tempo which fits along extremely well with the piano. A small female choral enchants our ears beyond the sprays of water which surrounds this beautiful melody which is transformed into a rhythmic ballade with big orchestral percussions and great orchestration to illuminate our ears for the last turn.
Other beautiful titles, as we hear a lot on Nomads, soft and silky, like the symphonic Mount Blanc, Blue Down There and Heat.
High which is a kind of Aquatopia, but in more accelerated, as Drive where the intro points out to me Arpégiateur from Jean Michel Jarre. There the comparison stops, because Drive becomes a very cheerful title. More rhythmic, with a jerky line on spiral percussions. It is with a more ambient touch, but as much harmonious too that Nomads finishes.
Beneath the Ice is a romance, a melody with the space blown and the beautiful piano which floats, history to make us dream. History to recall us that one day we will be perhaps nomads in the search of a new ground.
Frank Van Bogeart has an incredible talent to write short tracks which have lot to say. Harmonious, melodious and with an innate direction of the orchestral arrangements, Nomads is a beautiful musical voyage which is formed with the likings of our visions. For this purpose there, you will find a beautiful small booklet assembling 12 photographs. Photographs which inspired the photographer Pablo Magne and which represent the joint visions of the photographer and the compositor. Although some approach, my imaginary further goes, like nearer.
Like no matter what the music of Frank Van Bogaert, with Nomads at the head, is a music with the miles aimed, starting from the same emotion.
2007. Sylvain Lupari / Canada
A CD of pure class from this Belgian EM-collegue, Frank van Bogaert. Very nice and inspiring. I like it a lot.
2007. René van der Wouden / NL
Van Bogaert is the shining star in the Groove firmament, a producer and keyboard artist whose music and production quality really is in a par with that of Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis or any of the major label keyboard artists.
"Nomads" features twelve tracks (and some superb round-the-world sleeve photography and digital manipulation by Pablo Magne) mixing piano, synthesizer, symphonic and orchestral percussive sounds - it's very reminiscent of Vangelis around the period of "Chariots of Fire" and "China" with crashing cymbals and timpanis underpinning churning bass synth sequences and wobbling lead melodies.
No sleeve information on Van Bogaert's instrumentation, but I think it's fair to say that he's owned most of the major keyboard models over the years and is probably getting many of their sounds now from the latest software versions.
2008. Mark Jenkins
Fresh on the heels of his greatest hits collection is a CD of all-new material by Frank Van Bogaert fresh from his studio in Belgium.
Majestic melodies are again on full display in tracks like "Crack The Blue Sky" already seemingly destined for a position on the next retrospective CD. A haunting wind begins the title track before dramatic symphonic sounds take over. Once again Van Bogaert shows he is unparalleled in building intricate pieces that weave symphony and synthesizer into one. His musicianship particularly shines on "Aquatopia", with beautiful piano playing amidst dark synth textures, much like Patrick O’Hearn but clearly Van Bogaert’s own, particularly as it builds toward the end.
"High" is a wonderful showcase of the breadth of his talent, from the quiet atmospheric beginning to one of my favorite bits of sequencing ever, a cool percussion loop. This is followed by an impressive array of beautifully layered sounds and themes, all done in under five minutes; a marvelously intricate yet accessible piece.
"Mont Blanc" is a cool subdued moody number, as is "Blue Down There".
Between the two is the catchiest tune of all, the radio-friendly "Drive".
And if the music weren’t enough, special mention absolutely must be made of the fantastic booklet with breathtaking photos and digital artwork by the incomparable Pablo Magne. Nomads is a complete package.
2007. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
It’s just unbelievable a musician such as Frank Van Bogaert doesn't get more attention of the so called ‘progressive’ scene. Is it because his work is mainly electronic?
Anyway, he really is on a par with big names who were lucky enough to score a hit (Jean- Michel Jarre) or those who were already famous because of a previous career (Vangelis with Aphrodite’s Child or Patrick O’Hearn with Zappa). With Nomads, Van Bogaert delivered his seventh and most conceptual album. On previous albums like Human we already got to know his fantastic sound but what we are hearing on Nomads, ...well I just don't have enough superlatives to describe.
The listener is immersed in the sound, is being part of it, one feels the warmth and emotion. Even when the music is finished this feeling lingers for quite a while. The orchestrations are superb, rhythms are catchy and there’s plenty of variation. Also compositional, this happens to be a very strong album. Take for instance the driving title track with its different layers preceded by a very promising ‘Ouverture’, or the dramatic ‘Aquatopia’ with lots of piano and the somehow a little frightening ‘Blue down there’. And ‘last but not least’, this album is beautifully packaged with booklet designed by Pablo Magne. The artwork has a Hipgnosis-like feel of beauty and mystery.
I embrace Frank Van Bogaert’s music as much as I embrace the music of Klaus Schulze or Patrick O’Hearn. Those who don't are really missing something here. With this review I sincerely hope to have made a modest contribution to the broader discovery of this Belgian musician.
2008. Harry "JoJo" de Vries / ProgLog Afterglow
Depuis que cette rubrique existe, c'est déjà le 3ème album de Frank Van Bogaert que nous avons le plaisir de chroniquer. Car il s'agit bien de plaisir. Bien sûr, d'aucuns rétorqueront que sa musique n'apporte rien de révolutionnaire mais les mêmes reconnaîtront que ses compositions sont de qualité et que leur interprétation est sans faille.
Après un intermède sous la forme d'une compilation de ses 5 premiers albums, il nous revient avec un nouveau CD complètement dans la lignée de Closer, son dernier opus. Nous y retrouvons les mêmes éléments qui perpétuent sa filiation avec Vangelis : mélodies attachantes, rythmiques aiguisées, arrangements évocateurs de grands espaces et qui renvoie au titre du CD, où chaque piste renvoie l'auditeur à un paysage bien défini. Si vous aimez ces musiques qui s'écoutent comme la BO d'un film, cet album est fait pour vous.
LouLou / Prog-résiste