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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ERIC Van Der HEIJDEN: Dal Segno (2011)

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

I adored the harmonious and emotional depth which goes out of this splendid album!

1 Signature of Signs 1:36

2 The Inner Self 8:59

3 Feel 5:40

4 Sign of Life 8:11

5 Joy of Being 8:27

6 Beyond the Dream Lies Universal Love 13:01

7 Dal Sagno 8:28

8 The Journey 18:26

(CD/DDL 70:43) (V.F.)

(Melodious EM, E-Rock, New Age)

The first time that my ears crossed the melodious electronic world of Eric van der Heijden was with Da Capo, from the album of the same name released in 1998, that Morpheusz (a band to which Eric van der Heijden is part) has featured on the album From the Forgotten Rooms of a Lonely House. I found it very beautiful and hyper melodic, with a clear influence for the orchestral structures of Vangelis. DAL SEGNO is made from the same mold. It's an album as intense as poetic with dreamy and melodic structures that abound and form very good earworms around superb electronic ballads.

DAL SEGNO means The Sign. The sign is the universal language. And the universal language could be that of music. At the very least, this is the nature of the text that Caren Weisleder recites above the floating mists of Signature of Signs. This ethereal intro leads us to The Inner Self and its dramatic and symphonic synth breaths which sing on nice modulations of a mellotron synth. Mists that float adrift on violin clouds, causing rain to fall crackling under the thunder of cymbals. The movement is of an angelic tenderness. Cradled and propelled by iridescent breezes, it slips into the melancholy of an electric piano whose notes fall like tears in the middle of a whirlwind of oneiric rain, drawing a nostalgic melody that charms choirs singing on heavy orchestral impulses. This evasive melody continues through the bells of a cosmic angelus, introducing Feel whose morphic sweetness concludes the delicate poetic trilogy initiated by the first breezes of Signature of Signs. Sign of Life offers DAL SEGNO's first rhythmic movements with a bass line loosening its fine pulsations which beat a delicate measure around a series of three chords with felted wood tones that sober percussions frame with delicate strikes. Everything is soft. The synth layers divide their harmonies between tears of violins and wandering choruses while arpeggios with felted tinkles draw a soft melody imbued with a mysterious veil. Always delicate, the rhythm accentuates the pace a little under the breaths stretched in solos of an extremely harmonious synth which borrows the skin of a solitary saxophone. The piano notes that pierce the introductory mist of Joy of Being draw a good melodic line that a synth transforms into a soft whistle in order to create a more ethereal ambience, giving an air that resembles to Foreign Affair melody from Mike Oldfield. The percussions which click in silence, a thin slightly bouncy bass line and cymbals with a soft samba tempo ensure the rhythmic portion which remains always delicate, while the synths and the piano forge a contemplative melody which adjusts to a second part more lively and even more melodious.

Beyond the Dream Lies Universal Love shows all of Vangelis' influence on Eric van der Heijden. The intro is dark and releases a lonely piano which traces a superb meditative melody. Progressive riffs and felted percussion echoes add a ballad-like depth to this track which evolves into a gentle crescendo, a kind of bolero à la Chariots of Fire. The harmonic layout is imbued with an approach as dramatic as romantic with a very musical second part where the notes of a dreamy piano flow on a rivulet of prisms of the sequences, while the synth tears the lyrical ambience with breaths that cry on more accentuated percussion strikes. By far one of the most melodious titles on DAL SEGNO with the title-track which is to tear all armor of indifference and whose superb strummed melody wanders on an absent rhythm. Dal Segno's introduction is bathed in a cinematic approach with its gentle pulsations that hum delicately around crystalline arpeggios that drag with loneliness in the heart, depicting the full meaning of the expression of a soul in pain. And the rhythm marries another form of crescendo with the resonant strikes of percussions and with sequenced riffs which are linked to jerky violin strata. The music marvelously exploits a philharmonic approach for a title which constantly dresses its tenderness with poignant musical elements. The finale is to cut out the emotion with its arpeggios of glass which tinkle on a sequential movement extinguishing in the oblivion of oneiric tinkles. The metallic synth breezes that jostle in the introduction of The Journey project us into the futuristic spheres of Blade Runner. A piano with solemn notes emerges from it. These notes weave a melodic procession that other piano notes chisel with a playful approach, tracing a fine whirlwind of piercing tinkling notes. This ritornello gets lost in intriguing pulsations while The Journey borrows a musical corridor more mysterious than harmonious with a synth which throws aphrodisiac sighs. Moans that wander between two ambient phases and which are accosted by FD Projekt's guitar to be then harpooned by the percussions of Harold van der Heijden, propelling the sweet melodic approach of the intro into a heavier rhythm where the synth and guitars solos exchange the evasive lines of a spiral melody.

I loved the harmonic and emotional depth that comes from this very good album of Eric van der Heijden. DAL SEGNO is not a complex album, nor from Berlin School. Far from there! But it's an album of astonishing musical richness where the melodies weave nice earworms which sing and charm on very diverse structures. From ambient to melodic, including a long track with strong influences from the Dutch electronic movement, DAL SEGNO is the perfect antidote for those who miss Vangelis. It's very beautiful and superbly poetic. Eric van der Heijden lulls our dreams with splendid strummed melodies whose sweetness is devoured by good orchestral arrangements and delicious crescendos as dramatic than harmonic. We cannot let such a beautiful album pass. For those who like Vangelis, of course, and also Mike Oldfield as well as Bernd Kistenmacher.

Sylvain Lupari (April 24th, 2012) ***¾**

Available at Groove

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