Sequel to "Nearest faraway place vol. 1".
- Part 8 [8:51]
- Part 9 [9:24]
- Part 10 [10:05]
- Part 11 [5:42]
- Part 12 [6:20]
- Part 13 [12:17]
- Part 14 [19:03]
Music composed in 2008
Mixed February 2009, Mastered March 2009
Composed, played, mixed and mastered by Gert Emmens.
Spanish voices: Cara and Natxo Asenjo-Fernández
French voice: Eline Feldbrugge (improvised)
Ceux qui suivent cette rubrique connaissent les déboires qu'avait connus Gert Emmens avec le premier volume de ses endroits distants les plus proches. Un crash de disque dur (si, si, ça peut encore arriver, méfiez-vous!) avait compromis l'album, d'ailleurs en demi-teinte. Mais que les admirateurs du synthétiste batave se rassurent, Gert a retrouvé tous ses moyens et par delà toute sa créativité.
En 7 tableaux, logiquement numérotés de Part 8 à Part 14 (les 7 premiers sont du volume 1), Emmens intègre le meilleur de ce peut offrir l'École de Berlin (les lourdes séquences et les mellotrons violoneux de Ricochet, Stratosfear et Encore – Tangerine Dream) avec les plus beaux soli de Vangelis (plus ou moins la même période avec Spiral, Opéra Sauvage et China). Mais me direz-vous, sans avoir tout à fait tort : "Ça, ce bon Gert, il l'a déjà fait." Oui, mais en plus de sublimer sa technique déjà très au point, il insère quelques éléments inhabituels que je me fais force de ne pas vous dévoiler pour vous en conserver la surprise.
Concernant le bonhomme, ce Nearest Faraway Place Vol.2 est encore meilleur que Tale of the Warlock, qui plaçait déjà la barre très haut, et dans l'absolu, c'est du même niveau de génie qu'Acoustic Shadows de son compatriote et ami Ron Boots. Indispensable(s) dans votre CD-thèque!
2010. LouLou / Prog-résiste
Volume 2 of The Nearest Faraway Place picks up, quite literally, where Volume 1 left off, with "Part 8."
After a few deep space sounds, the first percolating sequence picks up the pace, with choirs and warm pads to round things out. A bright synth lead and drums complete the easygoing, enjoyable sonic picture. "Part 9" has an unexpected brief Spanish dialogue read by a man and woman before mesmerizing sequences once again ensue. Gert’s signature sound is unmistakable, with the squelchy, wavering synth lead. "Part 10" starts in deep space again until yet another killer sequence opens ‘er up, classic retro stuff that really chugs along nicely. After a mellow, melodic "Part 11," the Berlin school fest continues on "Part 12." All this, and still 31 minutes to go on the last two epic pieces. "Part 13" has another spoken word passage, in French this time.
The entire disc is unabashedly, unapologetically Teutonic in origin, and once again very well done by Emmens.
2010. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Here is the 2nd part of this trilogy to complete, which took shape during the E-Day festival organized by Kees Aerts and Ron Boots of Groove Unlimited label. Faithful to what Gert Emmens produced for years, this 11th opus of the Dutch synthesist is filled with sequences to varied rhythms, synths to ingenious solos and hooking melodies as well as mellotrons with touching arrangements. An album where Berlin School oscillates between the old one and its new generation.
Divided into 7 parts quite as the Volume I, Part 8 starts rather quickly. After a short cosmic intro, a sequence which hops with strength gives a constant tempo, surrounded by a mellotron which spreads its sweetness over a very lively cadence. Tinkled notes filter a sweet dreamy harmony, paving a new rhythmic direction. A rhythm forking under a fine synth with lyrical harmonies and a mellotron with sober choirs which flow into a syncretic ambiance.
Slowly we cross towards the 9th Part where a cosmic guitar offers its chords in a charming nebulosity with Spanish voices to repetitive incantations. Gradually we are submerged by an aggressive sequence which moulds a heavy and hypnotic rhythm, supported by a keyboard which coils up to the tempo. A heavy tempo, encircled by a mellotron choir, which bursts with electronic percussions sustained by good sinuous synth solos.
A floating intro opens Part 10. Heavy cosmic vapors drop a nervous sequence thus the movement it staccato give a echotic feeling which eases gradually, offering a rhythmic hypnotic structure drowned in a cosmic atmosphere with fine synthesized movements. But Gert Emmens doesn’t cogitate too long into minimalism spheres. Around the 7th minute mark, the movement takes a full of life tangent on a more hatched rhythm, adorned by a pleasant mellotron choral.
A finale of an unsuspected sweetness which guide us towards the delicious rumba of Part 11. A cosmic rumba with shimmering keys which flirt with a fine harmonious synth.
The 12th Part brings us back into an electro cosmic concept. A nebulous intro which engenders a sequence walking in a heavy and musical ambiance. Once again, Gert Emmens multiplies the sequential rhythms around a captivating mellotron, creating an unstable atmosphere under romantic harmonies.
The Part 13 offers a noisy and colorful intro which gives way to a sequence à la Phaedra, wrapped by a mellotron to spectral breaths. Minimalism, the sequence accelerates the pace with kind of echoing percussion which hustles a soberly harmonious universe where a French voice is improvising words on a heavier rhythm with layers of mellotron. A beautiful title prints of a sentimental nostalgia, as a feeling of lost love.
The 14th Part begins with a up roaring sparkle before settling down on heavy circular reverberations which float in echoes into a sonorous nothingness. Slowly, a sequence blinks as the wings of a metallic dragonfly, before marrying the Emmens style which restructures the movement with diverse rhythmic directions under of big vaporous synth, creating a universe sometimes little inviting, sometimes more harmonious.
And so goes on the musical universe of Gert Emmens. Once again the Dutch synthesist amazes, even if we are used to his style, with an imaginary approach which we can live as nebulosity always makes its way to iridescent beauties. Another great piece of EM art.
2009. Sylvain Lupari / Guts Of Darkness
This release from 2009 offers 72 minutes of spry pastoral electronic music.
Augmenting Emmens’ electronics are voices (in Spanish and French) provided by Cara, Natxo Asenjo-Fernandez, and Eline Feldbrugge.
In Volume 1 of this series, Emmens explored industrial "nearest faraway places." Here, he focuses his sonic interpretation on more romantic scenarios, like verdant Spanish gardens.
This time, the electronics express a more endearing mood. Foundations are achieved with lush texturals, while the lead melodies abound with pep and pastoral beauty. Keyboards drive the threads, generating sequences that are then looped and left in play while additional riffs are created to run in tandem. Auxiliary electronic effects provide sparkling punctuation like beams of daylight falling through gaps in the garden’s canopy of vibrant foliage.
Guitarsy riffs lend a certain aerial boost to some tunes. Although the searing strings are probably synthesized, the end result is one of soaring vitality.
Percussion provides a suitable propulsion. The uncomplicated rhythms do an excellent job of energizing the already majestic melodies. In one track, pseudo bossa nova tempos support a dreamy excursion.
Synthesized orchestral airs lend an aristocratic edge to certain passages. At other times, chorales provide a heavenly lift to the music.
The vocals are spoken word recitations, during which the music goes softly delicate, resuming its puissant delivery once the voices are finished making their statements.
The last track is a 20 minute divergence with a more passive temperament, exploring a relaxing evening sitting in the garden.
These compositions abound with sprightly animation. Their emotional content conveys a glorious fascination for comfortable environments. Luxurious homes and their attendant gardens are the focus. Shorn of all these allusions, however, the music stands strong with its own vigor and charm. The tunes possess a tasty flow flavored by spry aspects that can be quite enthralling. Emmens has a way with regal music, and that tendency is in full play here.
2009. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
"The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 2" is the second in a series of three albums. Gert Emmens has borrowed the title from one of his favorite bands the Beach Boys. The album was premiered and played in it’s entirety during a concert at the "E-Day-Festival". This is one of the biggest festivals of electronic music in the world, organized by Kees Aerts and Ron Boots of Groove Unlimited. The public (a full house!) was very enthusiastic. And rightfully so! Because with this album the Dutchman has created his best work until now.
It has been said and written on more occasions: Gert is an absolute master in electronic music because of the mix he manages to create: this is a mix between Berlin School-sequencer based music, fine, warm, melodies, some ambient elements and even a little bit of progressive rock. This is a musical style Gert likes a lot.
"The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 2" must be seen as one continuous piece of music, divided into seven parts (Part 8 to Part 14 because Vol. 1 also consisted of seven parts).
The album already opens with fantastic atmospheric sounds and then the sequences follows, as well as retrosounds such as Mellotron. The beginning of Part 9 could very well be used as filmmusic: it is melancholic and intriguing. Some words in Spanish are used here. A sequence comes that could be regarded as one of the best Gert has ever composed. His soloing is better than ever, though it must be said that there are less solos on this album than on previous albums.
The sequences in Part 10 are thrusting and the solo is soft. Recently, Gert has developed a love for antique drum boxes.
Part 11 starts with a rumba (remember Jean Michel Jarre’s "Oxygene" and "Equinoxe"?). The Mellotronssounds (strings, choirs) are really wonderful here and the melodies memorable again.
The 12th part again opens with great atmospheres and then some of the most menacing sequences follow. Part 14 is very melodically again. Just listen to the sounds at the end!
After hearing "The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 2" one can only say: hat’s of for the fantastic piece of work Gert has brought to us. And the is still a Vol. 3 to go! The writer of this text already has sleepless nights.
Just like the first volume of "The Nearest Faraway Place", this second installment of the series is divided into "parts" which run from Part 8 to Part 14 on this particular release.
The eighth part begins with a lovely, gentle soundscape. Pretty soon, however, the first sequences appear, joined by heavy Mellotron choir. Romantic pads support the flow, in typical Gert Emmens fashion. A somewhat melancholic melody is heard. Then a vintage drum machine bubbles along, as Gert coaxes more sounds and melodies out of his synthesizers. This is Berlin School with a soft, romantic touch. The sequences shine in all their glory for the final stretch of this track, supported by thick pads. Simply wonderful stuff!
I cannot explain how beautiful the intro to the next part is. What you get are basically spacey Floydian guitar tones and a few pads but they are arranged in such a beautiful way, it's uncanny. Some Spanish voices are heard, blending nicely with the music. Unique stuff. The mood is then broken by a strong bass sequence. However, the pads give some of it back, revealing the flowing, melancholic nature of this track, despite of it being sequencer-based. A nice analogue solo starts, supported by a clicking drum machine rhythm. It's Jazzy, improvised and yet totally focused. This track is quite simply the most beautiful music Gert has ever recorded to date.
Deep soundscape serves as the perfect transition to the next track. The amazing droney pads and Mellotron voices for some reason remind me on Vangelis' "El Greco" even, as well as Robert Rich's "Gaudi" - the two works I revere. It really has that Mediterranean flair to it that I love so much. A rapid sequence begins, supported by nice flowing Mellotron strings. The pads then play an almost hymn-like melody before the sequences take over. Later in this track Gert experiments with various sounds and melodies, most of his trademark pads having that melancholic feel and restless quality.
A rumba beat welcomes Part 11. This should be one of the most unusual tracks by Gert - a bit on the startling, eerie side of things, with weird effects and mournful Mellotron strings. Excellent combination, however weird it might sound. The track really remind me on those glory days of EM, with its clearly analogue nature and cosmic character. Some symphonic lead lines are heard as well (sort of "Force Majeure" / "Tangram"-ish). I should also mention the excellent vocoder effects. Perfect harmony, perfect atmosphere. This is what this track is - perfection.
The mysterious choirs and pads return for the intro of Part 12. Multiple sequences appear and what sequences - gorgeous, melancholic pulsations. A mournful theme is played with synth pads. However, as always with Gert's music, there's a touch of brightness everywhere, it's nowhere near depressing. Another wonderful soundscape finishes off this piece. I have to wonder how good the atmospheric parts of this album are - really effective, imaginative and spot-on.
An almost clavinet-like theme welcomes Part 13. My god, this is gorgeous. Very prog and very EM at the same time. This stuff gives me the goosebumps and sends shivers down my spine, it's so beautiful. A rapid sequence is introduced, more pulsations are added, a drum machine rhythm starts and then that French voice. Wonderful stuff. There's an irresistible solemn keyboard theme towards the end that I just can't describe. And, oh, those Mellotron choirs... heaven!
Part 14 (the final part) begins with and intense soundscape before arpeggiated synths can just be heard beneath a bed of silky smooth Mellotron choirs and pads. Shattering analogue bass notes bring us back to 1976 as we travel through space and time on a music machine created by Gert Emmens. Echoing, noisy sequences are joined by more melodic pulsations. This is stunning sequencer music with a touch of symphonic grandeur - lots of brassy analogue synths on this one. The final soundscape ends on a brighter note and there's also that "restless" sound lifted straight from Tangerine Dream's Mellotron tape archives.
Words fail me in trying to describe the cathartic experience I had when listening to some parts of this album. It's the most mature, cohesive and elegant album of his, the strongest work so far, without a doubt.
2009. Artemi Pugachov / Russia
The second chapter of this concept cd, which was released and played live at "E-Day 2009", continues the musical road with analog, romantic flavored electronics, fine Berliner School sequencing patterns, vintage drums and encompassing solos (which are kept to a minimum this time), all spread out over seven "parts".
The warm, inviting and smooth atmosphere makes this melodic, retro-infused music shine like a diamond, as it gradually unfolds for the listeners ears.
All in all, this second chapter offers well composed imaginary music that will tell or reveal its own story to every listener.
I'm already looking forward to the final chapter of this trilogy.
2010. Bert Strolenberg / Sonic Immersion