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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

EMMENS & HEIJ: Blind Watchers of a Vanishing Night (2005)

“The biggest quality of Blind Watchers of a Vanishing Night is to be in the continuity of the very good Return to the Origin”

1 Blind Watchers of a Vanishing Night (9:58)

2 Journey through Time (44:01)

a) Solaris

b) Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp

c) The Rise and Fall of Atlantis

d) Waiting for the Day to Come

e) Crystal Tears

f) The Day the Moon will leave Us

3 Moments of Unexpected Sadness (8:08)

4 Conspiracy of Two Forces (7:33)

5 Driving Home on a Rainy Night (4:05)

EH 002 (CD/DDL 73:48) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

The sequencer is hefty. After an intro with sails sieved to metal, it releases pensive keys that waddle quickly in mists filled of ocher voices and electronic tones that chirp like phoenixes losing their ashes. And it starts to skid. He takes control of a spheroidal rhythm that rises and falls in a horizontal spiral. Scattering its silver mists and its frightening chthonic voices, he spits out Ricochet's fury, where the layers of voices float like ghosts on the edge to flee hell. And the solos fall. Docking onto this unbridled rhythmic ride, of which Ruud Heij varies the tonalities as the velocity, they split out the ambiences and the rhythm. They scream with passion while releasing these pads of diaphanous mist that hover like prowlers over a city that is consumed. Recorded live at the 2004 E-Live Festival, Blind Watchers of a Vanishing Night is one of the hottest, dark and furious titles in contemporary EM. It spits out keys destroyer of ambiences and it moves the ambient tunes with an infernal rhythm that has nothing to envy to Redshift. Surprising, Ruud Heij weaves a great universe of sequences where he tames his keys by painting nuances and harmonies on rhythms that, if they are stillness, light out our ears with movements and intersecting lines that undeniably recall the rhythmic phases of Tangerine Dream in the Encore years.

BLIND WATCHERS OF A VANISHING NIGHT is Emmens & Heij's 2nd album. It tracks the exploit of the Dutch duet during concerts following up the release of Return to the Origin, of which one of these concerts coincides with the launch of the album at the Alfa Centauri Festival in Huizen on Mars 2004, for tracks2 and 4. The other tracks were played live at the famous' Eindhoven E-Live Festival of in October of the same year. And, as you are going to hear, it breathes of the same harmonious symbiosis between the rhythms of Heij and the cosmic, oneiric pattern skilfully structured by Gert Emmens. If the movement of the sequences, which flicker with swiftness, awakens an imprint in your ear, then you recognize Solaris from the album Return to the Origin. Segmented in 6 parts, A Journey through Time negotiates its rhythms and ambiences in a good improvised symbiosis. After the kicks of the sequences from Solaris, Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp submerges us of slow morphic strata which float such as big ink stains soaked with voices in a black hole with the contours radiating of translucent lights. The voices and the orchestrations awaken a hint of Vangelis while the sensation to float in hyperspace assails our senses. Whereas The Rise and Fall of Atlantis and Waiting for the Day to Come are exchanging the same pattern of rhythms and ambiences, the 5th part of A Journey through Time, offers a superb slow rhythm which waves with a fascinating sensualism in its curves. This quiet rhythm magnetizes our inner senses and leads us quite slowly to the finale of A Journey through Time which becomes soaked of slow and whimsical morphic strata in order to complete the journey between the rhythms and the ambient phases that the duet learnt so well to develop in Return to the Origin. Adopting a little the same rhythmic exhilarating of Crystal Tears, Moments of Unexpected Sadness is a superb track which bears its name marvellously. It's a melancholy which waltzes in the ritornellos of a delicate movement of sequences of which the jolts of the morphic keys succeed at no moment to tear this mellotron mist as much musical as that of Moody Blues. And those ethereal voices that Emmens draws for our ears, they are wonderful of tenderness. They also are as mesmerizing as fragile and sing with the same maternal sweetness as the fine solos that the Dutch synthman succeeds in weaving from his melodious mist. This is a very good track which tickles the soul, you have no idea! Conspiracy of Two Forces is also offering a structure of ambient rhythm where the motionless sequences of Ruud Heij flit and intertwine their rhythmic wings with fine modulations of a movement which oscillate in the charms of a dreamy synth and of its nasal solos. Heavier, but always so motionless, and coated by a mystic cosmic mist which let passes beautiful romantic solos, Driving Home on a Rainy Night ends a good album whose biggest quality is to be in the continuity of Return to the Origin.

Sylvain Lupari (September 16th, 2013) *****

Available at Emmens & Heij's Bandcamp

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