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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GERT EMMENS: Outland (2014)

Outland follows the paths that Gert has undertaken with his  first works mixed with some ambient signals lost in Signs

1 A First Encounter 13:00 2 Discovery of the Lost Civilization 13:38 3 The Temple on the Sacred Mountain 13:20 4 Return of the Warrior 11:18 5 Exploration Flights over Forbidden Area's 18:47 6 Departure 6 AM 7:48 Groove | GR-210

(CD/DDL 77:51) (V.F.)

(Netherlands School)

There is a history of camaraderie, of intimacy which binds the music of Gert Emmens to the soul, to the senses and to the ears of his fans. Since the dawn of his career, his music, and especially this sound, has weaved a link of complicity with his admirers. An indissoluble link which gets stronger since the sublime Wanderer of Time and which increases up to The Day After's territories. Even if sometimes Gert goes out of a comfort zone by knitting his musical stories in the nets of the progressive music (Memories in 2012) and of the ambient music (Signs in 2014). OUTLAND is a story of science fiction told in music with these movements of sequences which sculpture these delicate permutations of the floating rhythms unique to Gert Emmens' style and with these synths which flood our ears with breezes tinted of nostalgia. Written on the heels of Signs, we clearly perceive here the roots and the ambient influences, this last Gert Emmens' album receives the collaboration of Ruud Heij who co-wrote two tracks.

Some cracklings generate a thick cloud of reverberations from where escapes a warm movement of sequences which makes dance its keys weakly. Another line of bass sequences lifts up the structure of ambient rhythm of A First Encounter which zigzags, rises and comes down beneath the tears of a very melancholic synth. The Emmens seal seizes then our ears. Initially mid-ambient, the rhythm is pulsing delicately in the motionless harmonies of the sequences and in the breezes of a synth rather discreet up to here. A line of sequences escapes a little after the mark of three minutes, pulling the track towards a more cosmic passage. It's a bridge that Gert Emmens sets up to redirect the rhythm to a more intense phase where the sequences gallop such as dark percussions in a plain flooded of breezes and of cosmic fogs. A synth scatters some solitary notes which beautify the firmament of nebulas stars while the rhythm sustains its swiftness with sequences which flicker such as the wings of big bumblebees trapped in linear winds. After another ambient phase, the rhythm increases its kind of stationary swiftness with a thick cloud of sequences which sparkle and shine on the undulatory curves of a line of more pulsating bass sequences. This duel of sequences is decorated with percussions of which the felted tones go and come to peck at this soft oscillatory rhythm which rocks its obedience in some slim filets of bright astral voices. Violent? No! Soft and surprisingly enveloping, A First Encounter flows with the color of our dreams which imagine this space cowboy who quietly drifts in the OUTLAND. It also puts up the parameters of this last album from Gert Emmens where the ambient rhythms change constantly of skins in cosmic ambiences with a sound quality which details aptly the scenario and the visions of his author. Reaching the goal of his mission, the astronaut and his Cyborg subalterns observe the disappearance of the civilization. Discovery of the Lost Civilization depicts with wonder the feelings of dejection, as well as the internal anger, which eats away at the cosmonaut. The synth here is more present. It blows some very good ambient solos and sweet evasive harmonies, dragged out by this feeling of abandonment which torments this hero whose purpose of his mission will remain forever unknown. The structure of rhythm evolves constantly with lines of sequences which interchange the debit always unctuous, while the synth splashes these permutations of internal violence with soft solos to the aromas of jazz and solitude. Composed with Ruud Heij, The Temple on the Sacred Mountain is purely ambient and follows the paths undertaken with Signs, just like the finale Departure 6 AM, also written with Heij, which is darker, while the delicate solos and the soft harmonies of a synth and a guitar enhance these sweet visions of exile which surrounds The Temple on the Sacred Mountain.

Although always ambient, the rhythm of Return of the Warrior is more incisive.

The sequences are bright and cut out the ambiences with curt and lively hits, drawing the lines of a harmonious structure that a synth is decorating of evanescent melodies and with soft solos to the fragrances of saxophone worn out by its solitary airs. The rhythm reveals a livelier structure after a good ambient passage, drifting and fluttering with a velocity unequalled so far in this album where the nuances dominate the moods. Exploration Flights over Forbidden Area's is a long musical act, and the best imho here, which presents a structure of rhythm in constant progression. A structure which rises and comes down, dies and reborn in schema of zigzagging and galloping rhythms from which the lines of bass sequences stride along corridors of ambiences adorned by other sequences and by their shadows which sparkle and flicker in abyssal waves. A piano comes to haunt these moments of blackness with a very melancholic presence which serves as passage between the crystal-clear rhythm of the introduction towards a heavier structure. It sounds like the aircraft is lacking gasoline and has difficulty in overcoming the obstacles of the winds from Orion. Riding silky in the corridors of a cosmos now freed from its dark breezes, Exploration Flights over Forbidden Area's cavorts with a bit of sadness in the organic resonances of its steps and in the luminous beams of more melodic circular sequences. The progression of the rhythmic phases is quite smoothly made. Gathering in its evolution the ambient ornaments which roam on this long polymorphic structure where everything seems to be in suspension. Some elements of threat, as of tragedy, encircle the phases of Exploration Flights over Forbidden Area's which concludes its odyssey with a superb mid-tempo approach where bass sequences are waving in the fields magnetized of eclectic mist and adorned of soft solos from a synth became again dreamy. A synth which sometimes unearths souvenirs of a melancholic Vangelis, a rather unique synth which adds this fascinating scent of obsession which surrounds OUTLAND; yet another small jewel which should appear unmistakably among Gert Emmens' good works.

Sylvain Lupari (December 29th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Groove NL

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