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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

EMMENS & HEIJ: Journey (2007)

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

Journey is a great album inspired by aggressive sequences as well as evasive and smooth cosmic synths

1 Journey 8:01

2 The Endless Running Messenger 15:32

3 A City Awakens 11:46

4 Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope 11:52

5 Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp 9:28

6 Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm 17:49

(CD/DDL 74:26) (V.F.)

(Progressive Berlin School)

It was on the late that I discovered the JOURNEY album from the duo Emmens & Heij. I loved Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes and The Sculpture Garden. And it's these vibes that I'm discovering on this 3rd collaboration between two friends who are doing music since 2004 at least. JOURNEY is a cosmic voyage through the evolutionary rhythms that the duo fed at knocks sequencers and with sequences which defy the imagination. Bold sequences that sleep at times, but often upset the order of things established by sometimes dreamy, strolling, poetic and melodious structures.

A nice sequence emerges on the gurgling and reverberations of a spatial intro with arcade tones. It waddles and dances with its nimble notes in rich synth layers filled of misty lines. From the first breaths of the title-track, we are enveloped in the cosmic aura of this Dutch duo. Synthesized choirs add warm depth to a synth that marries an undulating and galloping circular movement like a waterfall with bass intonations. Fluid, the synths let flow nice solos typical to the sounds of Gert Emmens. Heavy and twisted solos that cover a rhythm nourished by sequences whose subdivided and variable strikes maintain a harmonic cadence. The Endless Running Messenger presents a more cosmic intro where synth breaths float in the rain and cosmic thunders. Waltzing with the oblivion, the synth offers silky lines that roam alone in order to harmonizing their sadness with drops that dry before reaching the ground. An oscillatory sequence emerges in the shadow of the celestial choirs with bass pulsating timbres. It undulates in a hypnotic movement to caress the creamy floating synth layers to amplify its magnetism over strident solos that are lost in a heavy ambience and break on the reefs of the cymbals while the synths take back their rights in an ambient finale. Hypnotic and melodic, the sequential movement of A City Awakens skips with a bell tonality. The synth is enveloping and its lines dance out of beat on an aggressive sequencer which molds a spiral rhythm, multiplying its loops with a harmonious fluidity. The finale is superb with its dancing sequences that sparkle in an ethereal fog inflated with fine electronic sound effects.

If you like big, heavy sequencers, Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope has something to meet your expectations. It's a powerful track on a moderate rhythm with superb enveloping synth layers which caress this heavy rhythm fed by fluttering and stationary sequences. The second part is heavier with fluid sequences which hammer an obstinate rhythmic under breaths with nasal solos. It reminds me a little of the galloping rhythms of Tangerine Dream and Redshift's gloomy ambiences! Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp is a moment of atmospheric relaxation. It's a long soaring ode fostered by a cloud of synth layers which infiltrate our ears and invite us to an intense intrapersonal reflection. Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm is a title that takes root in very atmospheric vintage ambience. A nice cosmic and floating layer guides us towards a sequencer which sticks to this structure with split notes dancing like wisps that follow curves similar to those found on The Endless Running Messenger. These sequences undulate with a restrained frenzy under the whistles of a dreamy synth, creating structures with opposing movements. Rhythmic structures with sometimes tortuous and complex modulations which coiled up to a synth with harmonious whistlings before merging with the sweetness of the beautiful morphic strata, leading The Endless Running Messenger towards an angelic tranquility and its atmospheric finale.

JOURNEY is a very nice album. An opus inspired by aggressive sequences as well as evasive synths with creamy layers. The duo Emmens & Heij fill our ears to the rim as well as our imagination on evolving structures with sometimes unexpected outcomes. There are no weak moments, no breakdowns of inspiration, and very good atmospheric passages. There are some juicy nods to Tangerine Dream's analog prowess on heavy Redshift-style sequencer hits. In short, a creative, powerful and extremely pleasant album.

Sylvain Lupari (April 20th, 2007) ***½**

Available at Emmens & Heij's Bandcamp

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