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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GERT EMMENS: The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 2 (2009)

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

Once again the Dutch synthesist surprises, even if we are used to his style

1 Part VIII 8:51

2 Part IX 9:24

3 Part X 10:05

4 Part XI 5:42

5 Part XII 6:20

6 Part XIII 12:17

7 Part XIV 19:03

(CD/DDL 70:52) (V.F.)

(Progressive EM Netherlands School)

Here is the 2nd part of this trilogy to be completed, which took shape during the 2007 E-Day festival organized by Kees Aerts and Ron Boots from the Groove nl label. Divided in 7 parts, just like The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 1, THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE Vol.2 continues on this amazing lyrical vision for an electronic music artist (EM). True to what Gert Emmens has been producing for years, this 11th opus from the Dutch synthesist is filled with varied rhythmic sequences, ingenious synth solos and catchy melodies as well as moving mellotron arrangements. An album where the Berlin School oscillates between the old and the new generation.

The Nearest Faraway Place Part VIII starts off quite fast. A sequence jumps with force after a short cosmic intro. The constant rhythm is enveloped by a mellotron that spreads its sweetness over a cadence that has become very catchy. Chime notes filter a dreamy soft harmony, paving a new rhythmic direction that bifurcates under waves of synth with lyrical harmonies and a mellotron and its sober voices that flow in an atmosphere of metallic dust. We slowly move towards Part IX where a cosmic guitar offers its notes in an enchanting nebulosity decorated with the repetitive incantations of the Spanish voices of Cara and Natxo Asenjo-Fernández. Progressively we are submerged by an aggressive sequence that sculpts a heavy and hypnotic rhythm, supported by a keyboard that loves the rhythm. Surrounded by a mellotron choir, this heavy cadence bursts with electronic percussions which are surrounded by good sinuous solos. A very good moment that makes us slide into the floating introduction of Part X. A nervous sequence escapes from the heavy cosmic vapors and its staccato movement gives an echoing impression that gradually fades away, offering a hypnotic rhythmic structure drowned in a cosmic atmosphere streaked by thin blueish synth blades. But Gert doesn't linger too long in these atmospheric spheres. Decorated by another mellotron choir, the movement takes a tangent animated by a more jerky rhythm around the 7th minute. And so we slide into the unsuspected sweetness of the finale that takes us to the delicious electronic rumba that is Part XI.

A cosmic rumba with chiming notes that flirt with the lines of a harmonious synth. Part XII takes us back to an electronic-cosmic concept with a nebulous opening that generates a sequence that goes through a heavy ambience. Emmens multiplies the sequenced rhythms around an enveloping mellotron, creating an unstable atmosphere under romantic harmonies. Part XIII offers a boisterous and colourful intro that gives way to a Phaedra-like sequence that is overlaid with a mellotron blowing spectral airs. The sequence is minimalist and accelerates the cadence echoing a kind of percussions that shake up a soberly harmonious universe where Eline Feldbrugge's voice improvises lyrics in French on a rhythm wrapped in a heavy mellotron's sound coat. A good title imbued with a sentimental nostalgia... with a feeling of lost love. Part XIV begins in a din glow before sitting on heavy circular reverberations that float with echoes in a sonic nothingness. Slowly, a sequence flutters like the wings of a metallic dragonfly before embracing the Emmens style that restructures the movement with varied cadenced directions under big synthesized vapes, creating a sometimes uninviting, sometimes more harmonious universe.

And so the musical universe of Gert Emmens is made of. Once again, the Dutch synthesist surprises, even if we are used to his style, with an imaginary approach that can be experienced as a cloudiness can always make way for iridescent beauty. Another major work in the modern art of EM.

Sylvain Lupari (July 9th, 2009) *****

Available at Groove nl Bandcamp

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