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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GERT EMMENS: The Day After (2013)

This is a very beautiful album where Gert Emmens is like this old friend that we like seeing again and whose music is a comfort

1 Waking Up 11:11 2 Cry it Out 11:10 3 Hope Fades Away 11:16 4 Silencio Eterno (Eternal Silence) 11:40 5 Searching for Answers 12:16 6 Contemplation 10:11 7 How to Move on From Here 3:55 Groove | GR-201

(CD 71:47) (V.F.) (Sequencer-based Netherlands School)

A musical rendezvous with Gert Emmens always stays an event not to be missed. Even if the Dutch synthesist, whose tendencies for progressive rock is transposed rather freely on these last works, counts more than 16 solo albums since the beginning of 2000's, he offers a music always inspiring and very inspired. THE DAY AFTER rests on the story of a woman whose only explanation for the departure of her lover is a poem in Spanish, whom we can hear on Silencio Eterno (Eternal Silence), that he left on the wrinkles of her pillow. Throughout 7 the titles here, and supported by the dreamlike voice of Kathrin Manz, he follows the evolution of emotions of the broken soul with structures of rhythms in continual changes, going from pure hard rhythms to ambient ones, and harmonies which are tinted with a poetic dexterity which confirms Gert Emmens' very big ease in his role of musical storyteller.

It's in breezes to the iridescent tints which hesitate to enter the heavy circular tempo of Waking Up. Well anchored on a good pulsating line of bass, which does its black chords skip of heavy resonances, the rhythm offers a sweet jerky structure which is reminiscent of Cat Scan de Tangerine Dream on Optical Race. A beautiful line of sequence winds around the rhythm which teams up to good percussions, making its arpeggios swirl such as scatterbrained fires near a dark light. The synth, always so characteristic in Gert Emmens' universe, throws harmonies with a zest of breaths of nasal trumpets which coo on a fascinating spiral a bit groovy that a discreet mellotron veil caresses of its dreamlike mist. As usual, our friend Gert uses his 11 minutes wittingly by changing the reach of his structure of rhythm which goes, for a short period, towards more serene passages and others more accentuated where the bass line caws with a more mordant and the sequences stamp with more stubbornness before that Waking Up derives quietly into those morphic ambient phases so unique to the Dutch synthesist signature. Cry it Out is typical of Gert Emmens' structures of floating rhythms. The sequences flicker like in an aquatic balletic figure, shaping a fragile rhythm with curves which wave in a morphic envelope and where the discreet riffs, the pads and the solo/lamentations of a dreamy synth weave a lyrical pattern. After 3 minutes of this oniric ambient dance, the percussions knock out the fragility of Cry it Out to plunge it into a kind of a weighty cosmic slow dance where the sequences dance languishingly on good drum strikings. The rhythm changes shape again, embracing a mi rhythmic and mi ambient phase where the voice of Matzumi and the riffs of acoustic guitar, there is a clear wink of eye to Edgar Froese here, guides Cry it Out towards another dreamy ambiospherical finale. It's a great track.

A line of bass sequences emerges from heavy organ pads which open Hope Fades Away. Slow, the rhythm oscillates like a lame horse on a bed of twinkling arpeggios when percussions bring it towards a sober electronic rock that Emmens waters with his solos to the puzzling twists. Floating between two zones, Hope Fades Away kisses an ambiospherical and cosmic phase before diving into a beautiful structure of ambient rhythm where the sequences flit with grace and harmony and the percussions shape a very cosmic down-tempo. Silencio Eterno (Eternal Silence) is the most beautiful moment in THE DAY AFTER. A line of sequences waves with musicality on a discreet bass line which draws wavelets lapping in cascades. Fine arpeggios sing with dreamlike voices whilst the title falls over slowly towards another rhythmic envelope. A soft rhythm where the delicate percussions stimulate an effect of passive impulse. After a brief ambiospherical passage, Silencio Eterno (Eternal Silence) rerolls with a renewed fluidity and reinvented harmonies. The percussions are more precise, the sequences are more alert. The synths decorate the atmospheres of fine bluish drizzle and with soft lyrical solos while the voice of Matzumi welcomes us in the morphic finale of this filmic ode where the images are dancing in our head. This is a great track. Searching for Answers offers a more free musical structure. A kind of electronic prog with fragrances of jazz which get lost into some cosmic ambiences before resuming into another shape of a more ambient rhythm which borrows the furtive paths of the opening track and finally a kind of funky groove where the rhythm hiccups into vapors of ether. There is a lot of movement in these 12 minutes, especially with a finale which rests on the ashes of Yes and their unforgettable I've Seen All Good People, and the dreamy harmonies of Yanni. Indeed, she is really searching for answers. Written in 2003 with Peter Leijdsman, Contemplation is another beautiful track molded in the contemplative spheres of Silencio Eterno (Eternal Silence), while that How to Move on From Here concludes THE DAY AFTER with a delicious meditative approach and a very beautiful album where Gert Emmens is as this old friend whom we like seeing again and whose music is a comfort that we appreciate so much. We know that he won't disappoint and that we can always trust him to warm us the soul and make us think.

Sylvain Lupari (October 12th, 2013) *****

Available at Groove NL

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