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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GERT EMMENS & RUUD HEIJ: Urban Decay (2015)

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Urban Decay is a petite hors d'oeuvre for those who wanted more than Signs

1 Urban Decay Part I 10:42 2 Urban Decay Part II 12:42 3 Urban Decay Part III 8:51 4 Urban Decay Part IV 12:28 5 Urban Decay Part V 14:27 6 Urban Decay Part VI 9:16 Emmens-Heij | EH-009

(DDL 68:26) (V.F.) (Netherlands School)

A muffled implosion spreads a veil of dark reverberations of which the pulsations vivify an organic sound fauna. A sharp line of sequences lets loose some keys which wriggle strongly in this surrealist industrial electronic decoration where good arrangements, rather theatrical, harmonize sounds, sequences and orchestrations. With its unmoving rhythm, decorated with sequences which flicker like flies on steroids, Urban Decay Part I brings us literally in the lands of Lost in the Swamp. Written exactly a little after this 6th opus from Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij, URBAN DECAY is a petite hors d'oeuvre that the duet offered to their fans in a downloadable format after the very ambiospherical music of Signs. And we find with delight this unique tone to the duet with a structure of percussions, among which some very ear-catching effects of rattlers here, and an alert sequencing pattern, born from lively and keen keys, which lays the foundations for good cosmic and soft electronic rock. Soft! Because if our feet don't dance, our fingers strum with Ruud Heij's lively movement of sequences and our head waddles on this effect of undulatory rhythm which goes and comes, rises and falls in an electronic mosaic rich in related tones and where the keyboard riffs and those of a six-strings dissolves their charms in the harmonies of this synth so unique to Gert Emmens. A synth which is soaked with a perfume of bluesy nostalgia. If the structures of sequenced rhythms are almost identical, the ambiences stigmatize the imprints of each track. Urban Decay Part II mixes the delicious nebulous scents of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis with some synth lines, while the sequences, always so lively, portray some ample oscillatory loops which dislocate its skeletons beneath the peckings of the percussions. And what would be the music of the Dutch duet without these softening of the rhythms, otherwise these interruptions, in order to make us drift briefly through our both hemispheres? It's still one of the charms of this album where the movements of sequences faint, as here, in an intersidereal feast.

Urban Decay Part III distinguishes itself with an elusive structure of rhythm. Sequences pull the strings for a lively and linear rhythm and the bass line plays a rhythm on the verge of a Groove and the percussions lug around an index of jazz. It's a rather special alloy which gives at times airs of rhythm for movie action. The beauty of it is this other pattern of sequences which harpoon this structure with gluttonous movements of swallowing, giving so a beautiful depth to a structure which would have easily been able to exceed its 9 minutes so much the originality of the rhythm was there. Even if the structure of sequences improves a very electronic approach, the always undulatory and motionless rhythm of Urban Decay Part IV brushes a little bit Gert Emmens' influences for a more progressive music. But not as much as in the following track. The guitar here sculptures a good duel with the synth, while maintaining a rather electronic language. Urban Decay Part V is the track which distances itself the more, and the better, in URBAN DECAY. Its mist, evaporated by beautiful arrangements, embraces the increasing movement of sequences with so much intensity that it's getting rather poignant. The gallop of sequences, which rides a sonic plain loaded by phantasmagorical ornaments, shapes a kind of slow dance tempo for dreamers and lovers. The rhythm grows slowly with an effect of gravity in the sequencing which diffuses now a more and more theatrical approach. As an announced disaster! The percussions make heavier the rhythm which reaches a good and temperate swiftness, adopting even a structure of electronic rock, with some very juicy sequences which untie marvellously the arcs of their shadows' reverberations The riffs of guitar are structuring quite a Gilmour approach, and Gert Emmens' synth holds the top of the road with wonderful solos full of acrobatics and cabrioles, they will be even more incisive in the very lively Urban Decay Part VI, making so spatter even more the beauty of Emmens & Heij's EM who offer with this URBAN DECAY a beautiful little gift of forgiveness to those who had some difficulty getting through Signs. This is a good EM albums with some efficient music gem on it. An album which almost remained secret and which is now available in a download format.

Sylvain Lupari (August 5th, 2015) ***½**

Available at Emmens & Heij's Bandcamp

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