This is the 2003 remaster with the bonus track "Rivers 2003"
- Cougarland [6:45]
- The Stand [14:02]
- Silent Nature [11:14]
- Rivers [7:35]
- Cry of the Heart [8:40]
- Dreamscape Part I [9:20]
- Dreamscape Part II & III [12:00]
- Rivers 2003 [7:43]
New recorded version
All tracks composed, played and produced by Ron Boots. 1989 to 1990.
Except for "Rivers 2003". No extra parts were add to this version.
Track 7 is played by Ron Doesborg, Bas Broekhuis, Eric v.d. Heijden, Wollie (4.46) and Ron Boots during an all night session in 1990 in Ron's living room.
Text by Reina de Jong, spoken by Desiree Derksen in Esperanto.
2003. Press information
By glancing through Ron Boots’ biography we are capable of noticing the impressive road map of the founder of the Dutch electronic movement (Netherlands School) and the internationally recognized Groove label. The career of Ron Boots began in 1987 with Linear Waves, an opus realized and distributed on cassette format. Format that was going to support the release of his 5 following works. Initially realized in 1990 on the Synteam label, which became Groove, “Dreamscape” is about dreams. Reveries and lucid dreams which are skillfully transposed on a music where rhythms and ambiences are separating the melancholy from hope. With this album, which was chosen as the best album by the German Schwingungen Club, Ron Boots had aimed at the summit and stayed there since. In fact, “Dreamscape” explains by its structures and music all of Ron Boots' impact on the chessboard of contemporary EM.
It’s with hesitating pulsations to outlines eroded by silvery echoes that "Cougarland" is settling a slow rhythm fed by a sequential approach which has difficulty in climbing a spiral ascent. The rhythm is heavy and slow, as the steps of a puma that surrounds his prey. Looking for the support of some fine percussions of Tablas kind, the tempo swirls under the scattered breaths of a flute which loses its harmonies in the singings of a synth with dreamy solos which harmonizes its harmonious reflections with suave choirs, wrapping the delicate staccato of "Cougarland" of a soft oniric approach. "The Stand" is a wonderful title which displays its 14 minutes by interposed phases where the rhythms are switching forms for ambiances into hybrid spaces. One would believe to hear the first sequential stammering of Steve Roach and Edgar Froese’s Drunken Mozart in the Desert on a tribal approach of Vangelis and his Opera Sauvage. The intro takes back this charming fusion of slightly jerky s ynth breaths which sound like flutes and choirs chanting a celestial nursery rhyme. Chords sounding like hollow knocks of xylophone come to cavort around this delicate approach while gradually Ron Boots surrounds his long procession of a beautiful musical pattern which goes by increasing with all the sweetness that commands reverie. Little by little "The Stand" becomes besieged by a threatening veil while the rhythmic path goes astray towards somber pulsations which bite the ambience and make it swirl in a beautiful spheroidal movement filled by harmonious sequences which twirl around beneath heavy resonant sails where the harmonies and rhythms are embracing in a surprising allegorical symbiosis. The energy dissipates and the sequences are changing skin, borrowing the delicately jerky breaths of a synth which subdivides constantly its lines into flutes and angelic choirs of which the dreamy impacts are delicately harpooned by these tinkling of glass and Tablas percussions which roam in search of a rhythm to be shaped in a space became ambient and idyllic. As for me, "The Stand" and the surprising bolero with a philharmonic crescendo à la Vangelis that is "Rivers" are two inescapable titles of Ron Boots' repertoire to nest on “Dreamscape”. "Silent Nature" is a beautiful ambient musical landscape with uncountable synth layers, some passives and others more musical, which float and surround the ephemeral pulsations of a sleepy nature.
This sort of ambient structure which encircles a fauna of mislaid percussions is also on "Cry of the Heart" where synth layers to silvery breaths cogitate with choirs and lamentations of whales. A warm breeze of Orion frees fine star-studded particles which ring on a carpet of mist and "Dreamscape Part I" enters into our ears with its tones of musical anvil which shine among keyboards riffs fluttering into an enchanting harmonious ballet. Like a storm of sonorous ions, this long prelude to a 2nd part totally independent inhale the peaceful harmonies of a static ballet à la Steve Roach with its sparkling arpeggios which turn in a delicate stationary spiral and its choirs to hatched timbres which wrap this virginal approach. "Dreamscape Part II" begins with a beautiful ballad where Ron Doesborg's acoustic guitar caresses the voice of Desiree Derksen who recites, in Esperanto, a poem of Reina de Jong. The dreamlike approach is fading little by little into the scattered percussions and resounding breaths, plunging "Dreamscape Part II" towards some more steady percussions which hammer a rhythm of lead nearby shimmering arpeggios. Heavy synth waves wrap up this implosive storm while the keys of xylophones blown in glass are courting the heavy tribal tom-toms and the hoarse breaths of an illusory trombone, plunging "Dreamscape Part II" in an intense static bubbling which calm down its lyrical anger in the soothing blades of synth to iridescent prisms. A new version of "Rivers" ends this edition of "Dreamscape" on Groove and its pulsations which increase their boleric heaviness are always so intense. Only the layers and lines of synth are taking a profound philharmonic essence, restoring to this intense title such a nobility that was lacking to it but of which we hardly noticed on the original version so much it’s immensely beautiful.
“Dreamscape” is a very beautiful album where the powerful or motionless rhythms embrace sweet seraphic ambient phases. And whether it’s through his ambiences or his rhythms, the strength of Ron Boots lies in this capacity to structure and tie melodies with an uncommon ease. It’s an inescapable that I recommend strongly and which will introduce you to the musical universe of an excellent composer who has his place beside Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Edgar Froese, Vangelis and Steve Roach. Big names in EM from whom we perceive a clear influence on Ron Boots.
2012. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com
"Dreamscape" was Ron Boots' first album to be released on CD.
It is about daydreaming and lucid dreaming. Ron uses his sequencing experience to begin his "crossover" atmospheric style. His soundscapes are gentle and pastoral. He uses the "MIDI Digital - Digital" method of recording to generate a crisp reproduction of his emotional music. The music evokes feelings of serenity and tranquility. The lucid dreams are cathartic and empowering. Ron urges listeners to drift with the music as the guide and the vehicle.
Trite and corny as it may sound, listeners will go to their "happy places."
This 2003 reissue of Ron Boots' debut CD in 1990 boasts new cover art, remastered originals, and the bonus track "Rivers 2003". I've never heard the original Dreamscape, except for the tracks "Rivers" and "The Stand" from the Boots 80s Box. So this was largely a new venture for me into Ron's musical past, and a worthwhile one.
"Cougarland" moves along at a deliberate pace, and though it seems a bit slow for an opening track the dreamy quality it imparts actually works rather well to get things going.
Next is the 14-minute epic "The Stand", which still holds up as a solid bit of EM, gently flowing along as Ron seamlessly weaves different musical phrases and themes together in a beautiful tapestry of sound. He really had a knack in the early 90s (and still does, for that matter) of being able to take a piece of music and just let it go, without feeling the need to hit the listener over the head.
The musical subtlety and grace is evident here, not only on "The Stand" but also on the soft floaters "Silent Nature" and "Cry of the Heart". Each of these unfolds luxuriously, purposefully. The two parts of the title track are surprisingly different.
Part I is dreamy synths and light sequencing, all played by Boots alone.
Part II, on the other hand, has acoustic guitar in a sort of slowed-down flamenco style, an extended spoken-word text in Esperanto, and musical contributions by Bas Broekhuis, Ron Doesburg, and Eric van der Heijden.
The speaking stops after four minutes, and the music changes from its acoustic leanings into delicate sequencers and soft yet insistent rhythms. It's a very different piece for Ron, but really quite nice.
The final track is "Rivers 2003", with its slow pulsing bass synth and simple majestic beat like the original, which appears earlier on the disc. Ron comments that he has much more technology at his disposal now than he did then and it shows, particularly as it gradually reaches its peak. Done with synth flutes and horns on the original, the new version more smoothly blends the electronic and symphonic elements together into one overall sound.
The conclusion, as with the rest of Dreamscape, is understated but highly successful.
2003. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Dreamscape (a collection of remastered tracks from albums originally recorded in 1989 and 1990, with one new additional song added) reminds me why I love electronic music in the first place. We're talking pure unadulterated electronic music, not ambient nor any current-day incarnation of the genre. No, this is music back from the days when artists like Ray Lynch, Suzanne Ciani, Jean Michel Jarre and Boots himself released albums that celebrated the unique musical qualities of synthesizers themselves. And does this album perfectly capture the magic, drama, joy and mystery that albums like Equinoxe, Deep Breakfast, and Seven Waves filled me with all those years ago.
From the powerful opening track, "Cougarland", with its driving midtempo rhythms, pulsing synth-chorals, and flute-like sounds, all the way through to the two-part title track, which unfolds electronic gifts galore over its twenty-one minutes (ranging from the gentle bell-tone spacemusic at the outset through sequenced reverberations peppered over layers of keyboards which build in intensity and move through other phases, such as soaring lush chords before delving into shadowy washes coursing under plaintive Spanish acoustic guitar and a spoken word dialogue in, what else, Spanish, eventually morphing into an explosion of pounding rhythms, Lynchian vibe-like notes, and dramatic synth washes), Dreamscape sounds as fresh and alive with artistry and wonderment as anything "new" I've heard in years. Yet, these are not re-recorded tracks, just remastered ones.
Hearing this with "fresh" ears now, in 2003, it's mind-boggling that Boots was not a household name along with those I wrote earlier (of course, maybe he was, but just not in the United States).
Whatever the answer to that puzzlement is, the fact remains that Dreamscape is one fantastic CD.
"The Stand" elicits comparisons to Lynch's best snappy electronic "pop" such as "Celestial Soda Pop" (albeit strung out for fourteen minutes so it's still accessible and "fun" but not really within the confines of being radio-friendly).
"Silent Nature" folds in gentle environmental sounds at the beginning (used with utmost discretion) under developing waves of electronic keyboards that ever-so-slowly build in intensity, but never to the point of distraction (the warmth of the music reminded me of Danna and Clement's "To the Land Beneath the Sea" until a gentle loping rhythm track is introduced).
"Rivers" (which, as a re-worked version titled "Rivers 2003" is the final track on the CD and the only new song here) will surely remind you, as it did me, of how emotionally powerfully electronic music can be as washes of keyboards flow over a slow steady cadence of synth beats-a true "ode to joy" for EM if ever there was one as it ramps up the rhythm's pace and electronic drama throughout the seven-plus minutes.
It's interesting to speculate on and wonder at how this remastering of tracks from over ten years ago will probably end up near the top of my "Best of 2003" list come year's end, but I'm confident it will happen.
My gushing praise of this music should not be construed as a knock on anything that Boots or others like him are recording nowadays, but there is something about this particular kind of EM that reminds me of the "good old days" and the timeless quality of music which is borne of inspiration and talent unfettered by any restraint that now inhabits our mass consciousness.
For fans of the artists I mentioned above (earlier in the review), or if you were acquainted with Boots back in the early 1990s, this new Dreamscape CD is, simply, a must have.
Trust me on this one, children - you can't possible be disappointed. Oh, and the one new track here, "Rivers 2003", reminds me that current-era Ron Boots still kicks major ass when it comes to recording dramatic sweeping EM, as he invigorates the earlier version with a healthy dose of modern synthetic/electronic textures while still retaining the sense of joy that permeates the original.
May the gods bless Ron Boots and may he revisit his past as often as he wants to, as far as I'm concerned.
2003. Bill Binkelman / WindandWire
Still an overwhelming debut CD by this highly successful Dutch musician. Elected as "Best Album of the Year" by the German Schwingungen Club. It was also the start of his success in the Netherlands and abroad. His unique style of heartfelt (Berliner School based) electronic music stands out through excellent compositions, atmosphere and sound/production quality.
1991. Bert Strolenberg
This remastered re-release including a previously unreleased theme of "Dreamscape", originally released in 1991, constitutes a good opportunity to obtain an album that became legendary among the fans of Space Sequencer Music.
With influences of the "School of Berlin", but with an entirely personal approach, Ron Boots succeeds in impressing the listener with a music full of intense emotions.
2003. Edgar Kogler
This 2003 reissue of Boots' debut CD release from 1991 features new material added to flesh out the disk to a total of 77 minutes of luxurious electronic music.
Deeply resonant keyboards sweep across nebulous fields of icy electronics, delivering their pensive harmonies with stately elegance and shimmering demeanor. The electronics span a variety of tones, from reed-like whistles to rumbling bass undercurrents. Often glistening like a frozen rainfall, delicate chords flourish into delicate melodies, intertwining and mating with emerging riffs. Graceful E-perc rhythms blend with heavenly textures, producing an uplifting sound that never grows demanding. The resultant sedation is peppered, though, by the festive quality of the compositions, embodying the music with a soft stamina that bolsters as it lulls.
There is a majestic property to this music, one that converts elongated soundscapes into ecstatic panoramas of inspiring sound. Boots' melodies are soothing, but infused with a restrained grandeur that tickles the mind with portends of greater things.
The "Dreamscape Part II" piece is culled from a night-long spontaneous live recording by Ron Boots, Bas Broekhuis (who provides drums on another track), Ron Doesburg, and Eric van der Heijden. It features a spoken text track in Esperanto by Desiree Derksen.
This classic release affords fans the opportunity to experience the roots of Boots' music, revealing that the man started his career with a deep reverence to the Berlin School of Electronics, but had already established a distinctive style that he has continued to evolve and refine over the last thirteen years.
2003. Matt Howarth
Originally released in 1990 this was Ron Boots' first CD release & the first Boots music I ever heard (during my first visit to Klemdag as it was called then & the first time I met your editor,eeh, doesn't time fly?).
Despite this he was already an established name in European EM with several cassette albums under his belt, & the expertise he had already picked up are still evident even 13 years later.
In comparison with his more famous later works this is more melodic, stately & warm with the opening "Cougarland" & the nicely understated "Silent Nature" proving good examples of this.
Also included is the live favorite of the time "Rivers", both the original version with it's opening pulsating bass sequence, vibrant melodics & Bas Broekhuis' percussion & the 2003 remix that maintains the verve of the original
with added sounds that bring it slap bang up to date. For me, though, the highlight comes in the form of the excellent 14 minute "The Stand", a slowly unfolding but optimistic track that builds from it's quiet beginnings & moves through several variations on the original theme. The flora & fauna of the jungle provides the perfect backdrop to another wonderful melody on "Cry Of The Heart" while the two-part title track closes the album in a rich & enjoyable mode, the second part still containing the spoken Esperanto vocals, although there's no transcript of the words on the cover this time, probably not much point, anyway!!
Despite a general 'dated' feel in some of the synth sounds used (after all he was still using synths such as the Korg Polysix then!) there's still plenty to commend this album. The original has been long since deleted, so I understand, so if you missed out first time here's your chance to make up for it, with an improved cover to boot!
Dutch musician Ron Boots has had a long career in instrumental EM, producing many much-loved albums as well as encouraging many up and coming artists with their own music, co-running the important Groove label with Kees Aerts and becoming an important part of the crew that stages the annual E-Live festival in The Netherlands.
Originally a lead figure in the so-called "Eindhoven School" that saw the first wave of Dutch E-Musicians cutting their teeth (some of whom such as Ron Doesborg & Bas Broekhuis helped out on this album) this 1990 album marked his first foray onto CD and, despite sounding slightly dated now due to some of the sounds used, still holds up well 13 years later.
A quick look at the back cover reveals some pretty lengthy tracks running between 6 and 14 minutes but this is not a case of the composer merely doodling away aimlessly for as long as he can stretch it out as Boots skillfully develops each piece at just the right rate to keep interest running high throughout.
Add to this a knack for composing wonderful slowly unfolding melodies and you have a winning combination on your hands and while Boots makes use of it throughout, never does it get boring, this is very much his forte.
This is borne out by "The Stand" which is not only the longest track on the album but also the best. Building up from it's quietly melodic beginnings it evolves into a substantially beautiful and optimistic piece of music, again gradually changing but remaining true to it's initial premise and even at 14 minutes it's not one second too long.
Another notable inclusion is the track "Rivers" of which the original and new 2003 remix, which closes the album, are included. This was something of a fan favorite at the time and, even now the upbeat melody, percussion and solid bass sequencing make it easy to see why. The newer version doesn't differ substantially from the original, aside from some added sounds and a general polish and brush up.
The jungle sounds that mark "Cry Of The Heart" demonstrates Boots' wish that the music should evoke images of far away places in your mind with the equally expansive two part title track, which originally closed the album continuing in this vein although the spoken Esperanto on "Part II" is something of an eye opener. The original carried the text on the inner cover which is absent here although I don't suppose too many listeners will worry about that!!
Groove is currently in the process of re-releasing most of Boots earlier works so if a combination of Boots own highly melodic style with a heavy sequential presence sounds good to you then why not check it out yourself? You'll be glad you did.
2003. Carl Jenkinson