Shortly after the excellent album “La Caída De Harmigón”, Ron Boots releases “Ante Oculos”. Ante Oculos is an expression from art. The biggest part of this album contains the music that “Big Ron” and his friends Eric van der Heijden (synthesizers), Harold van der Heijden (drums), Frank Dorittke (FD Project, guitar) and (new friend) Jamie O’Callaghan (electric violin and synthesizers) played at a concert in the planetarium of the German city Bochum. This music is somewhat more “spacey” than we are accustomed of by Ron. The theme of the album is 2012, the year we are living in and the year in which (according the Mayans and Nostradamus) the end of the world will come.
- Ad Temporum sidelines.
- Xenophobes and other weirdos!!
- Ante Oculos - (Ron Boots and Jamie O'Callaghan)
- Can we predict ? part 1
- Can we predict ? part 2
- The Sorrow remains of things that past. Ron Boots and Frank Dorittke
- Sole Novum
Everything Ron does, solo or together with his musical friends, is of high quality. “Ante Oculos” opens nice and rich with “Ad Iemporum Sidelines” that calls upon a wonderful atmosphere. With this track, Ron that he is (also) a master in space/ambientmusic. “Xenophobes And Other Weirdos!!” is more percussive but again breaths an excellent atmosphere. Also, strings from the famous Mellotron are used here. Jamie O’Callaghan can be heard of the electric violin in the great titletrack. The combination between the violin and Boots’ ambientsounds are well found and something we don’t hear so much in electronic music. Hopefully, the two will continue working together in the future. Slowly, this composition develops into more rhythmic work but the atmosphere is not forgotten. “Can We Predict? Part 1” Is almost pure ambient and in “Can We Predict? Part 2” a metallic rhythm is added, as well as a Vangelis-like solosound (from the impressive Yamaha CS80 synthesizer or a software version of it). Talking about interesting combinations: Frank Dorittke (FD Project) plays his Mike Oldfield electric guitarsolo’s in “The Sorrow Remains Of Things That Past”.
With “Ante Oculos” Ron proves that is also very well at home in spacemusic. The album asks for more concerts in a special place like a planetarium. Ron remains the best and most important electronic musician from the Netherlands.
2011. Paul Rijkens
The album “Ante Oculus” (“For Eyes”) was released on the occasion of the Bochum planetarium concert by Ron Boots and friends in December 2011. The six tracks offers a lush and atmospheric blend of contemporary electronic music graced by the Ron’s familiar musical trademark. In its own way, it breaks away from the global sense of negativism, fear and many doom scenarios suggested for humanity and the end of time. The sonic speech of “Ante Oculus” creates a welcome sense of comfort, freedom and hope to positively re-charge peoples attitude and mind towards the complex and constantly changing world that surrounds us. Along the ride, the spacious and dreamy music is spiced with subtle rhythms and percussion, and nicely blends with Jamie O’Callaghan’s sensitive violin playing on the title track. I’m particularly fascinated by almost surreal and tranquil spheres that unfold on the two-part “Can we Predict?”, the second part being more up-beat but still rather loungy.
Guitarist Frank Dorittke joins Ron on the track “The Sorrow remains of things that Past”, giving the music an energizing, sparkling vibe.
But that’s not all, as there’s a hidden piece (“Sole Novum”) found at the tail of the album: this could have been an encore of a concert, making things settle down at ease.
All in all, “Ante Oculus” makes Ron’s “second sonic detachment from worldly affairs”, a kind of cross-over electronic ambient with similarities to the music of MorPheuSz debut concert.
2012. Bert Strolenberg/SonicImmersion.org
According to Mayas and Nostradamus prophecies, 2012 should be a year apocalyptic events which would signified he end of the world. Other groups, as much alarmist as philosophic, predict that 2012 would be a year of great climatic upheavals and transitions which will drag the world and its inhabitants towards a major awareness already undertaken in 2011. Immensely poetic and introspective, Ante Oculos rests in a very beautiful artwork to pastel colors where a fairy draws circles of life on an earth which seems virgin. Did Ron Boots lose hope? However his last opus is weaved in the veins of a universe which looks for itself and which is afraid. Always so musical, Ron Boots lays a very lyrical concept album where EM goes alongside to a progressive approach with a zest of melancholy and apprehension. Ante Oculos is a superb album with intense, moving and powerful passages where the reflection brushes the passion and which moves us closer to our values while questioning us about the future prospects of our planet.
Be on a boat and split the water with the purity of the winds. That’s the impression which rocks us when that limpid synth waves are crisscrossing beneath the lost notes of acoustic guitar. "Ad Temporum Sidelines" falls in the ear as a superb electroacoustic ballad where soft riffs of an acoustic six-strings scribble a sylvan melody under choirs of mist and arpeggios streaming with transparency, a little as a brook of diamonds singing in the furrows of an enchanted forest. And the soft rhythm amplifies its oniric sweetness with synth pads to tones of melodic organ, singing of a wounded voice the pains of an earth broken in the eclectic breaths of a synth filled by iridescent radiances. It’s a great and very touching track. More hard-hitting with a very good merger of echoing, metallic, banging and tones of cosmic gas percussions, "Xenophobes and Other Weirdos!!" flies on nice orchestral arrangements of which violin envelopes cross with harmony the keys of a keyboard adrift. Dis creet the synth remains not less very effective with its morphic and spectral layers there which float and tight a movement as much slow as heavy. Particles of tinkled dusts ring and float among the dark choruses which blow on the electronic arcs of "Can we Predict? Part I". The ambience is heavy and lethal with powerful symphonic breaths of a synth à la Vangelis which hoots in a sound fauna filled of analog reminiscences. Dark and apocalyptic, "Can we Predict? Part I" waltzes in the void with heavy layers of synth to futuristic fragrances of which the multiple ions shine with a bluish iridescence and hold onto the dying breaths à la Blade Runner. It’s incredibly rich and so intense.
"Can we Predict? Part II" moves on with subtle riffs which hiccup under these heavy metallic breaths. The cymbals lug their ‘‘tsitt-tsitt’’, awakening fine pulsations and shaking percussions which fall with an unconcern debonair. On a rhythm with funky- jazz tendencies, "Can we Predict? Part II" frees from its heavy hold to sway hips of a flexible rhythm fed by fine crystalline arpeggios which skip in a universe stuffed with hoops to resonances words. Some good twisted solos glide over this delicate rhythm which is metamorphosing at the approach of percussions to tones of metal and glass. Percussions which put back "Can we Predict? Part II" on its apocalyptic road with celestial choirs which sing under industrial reverberations and its synth layers, herald angel of a blackness which will recover the earth of an immense veil of regret. After this eschatological ode, "The Sorrow Remains of Things that Past" falls in the ear with the virgin freshness of the electronic ballads. Fine notes to tones of a medieval harp roll in loops, fixing the road for Frank Dorittke (FD Projekt) chiselled solos which sing in solitary, waiting for the arrival of the felted resonances percussions. Heavy and morphic the tempo is waltzing with more mordant when steadier percussions fall and pound this slow rhythm fed by harp riffs that only the imagination can indeed hear as well as arpeggios of which the tones of glasses cross hatched fluty breaths before being mislaid in the plaintive solos of FD. Catchy and great! Like the reflections of the sun after an ash night, the first arpeggios of "Sole Novum" dance on beautiful orchestrations. The rhythm is alive, filled with optimist. Synth solos illuminate with cheerfulness and keyboard keys inhale the happiness, as a dance of innocent lovers without souvenirs, nor remorse and without malice at all. Like our ancestors!
Over the years Ron Boots accustomed us to solid works and I have to admit that Ante Oculos is one step above. The Dutch synthesist weaves a very intense cinematographic musical universe where several styles become entangled in superb harmonies as much meditative as apocalyptic. I love those powerful symphonic momentums à la Blade Runner which feed "Can we Predict?" as well as this violin which cries among this torrents of percussions on the title-track. And what is to say about "Ad Temporum Sidelines" and "The Sorrow Remains of Things that Past"? Ante Oculos has no weakness and no dead spots. It’s a wonderful opus where the whim goes alongside reality and where the musicality has to envy nothing the originality.
2012. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com