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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GERT EMMENS: Waves of Dreams (2004)

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

“This is a wonderful album that became a classic in modern EM”

1 After the Rain 12:52

2 Another time, Another space 14:34

3 Waves of dreams 10:26

4 Dawn 10:06

5 Heading Towards Unknown Destinations 10:52

6 Bright spot on a Grey Day 13:09

(CD/DDL 72:02) (V.F.)

(Netherlands School)

And while waiting for the next release of his new album, I'll talk about the phenomenon that is Gert Emmens. Phenomenon, because his music exceeds the traditional markers of EM. She is without a doubt, one of the most imaginative of contemporary EM. Much like the big names of progressive music, Emmens managed to structure a music that listens as much as it tells itself. WAVES OF DREAMS is one of the albums that is not lost over time. A 6-chapter musical tale that explores an extremely rich sound fauna with its howler synths, random sequences that flutter in all directions and its dense mellotron with foggy atmospheres.

This splendid journey filled of strong elaborated sounds and tones begins with After the Rain. A quixotic finger touches lightly the surface of water to widen multiple waves that are sound circles. This elfin intro is breaking on the bends of a bass sequence swaying lazily beneath a soft mellotron. The synth filters its harmonious breezes, whereas the sequencer is quietly getting astray in a heavy synth mist. These atmospheric moments which interfere in WAVES OF DREAMS are tinted with fascinating sound effects, creating an active musical life. On this passage, strange pulsations act as percussions on a ghostly structure where the sequencer proposes an odd march which is accompanied by a shadowy mellotron. After the Rain's 3rd movement is a soft sonorous sparkling which shines on layers of a mellotron violin. The structure is soft and filled of pulsations build upon hardly formed sparkling percussions, synth choirs and a soft synth which roars in a mystic fog while filtering beautiful hemmed solos that will be lost in a cosmic silence. Another Time, Another Place pierces this silence by freeing notes that float on a hesitating mellotron. Arpeggios swarm of a new life with a sequence that is slowly accentuating the pace. Spectral synth on dark background, the musical structure deviates to become uncertain and to embraces stratospheric limbs. A short moment of calm which breaks on an alert sequencer with its heavy chords which swirl on hesitating bends to be melting in a heavy atmosphere filled of synth solos so unique to Gert Emmens' tones.

The title-track begins on a cosmic wind where fine chords flutter on the back of a suave mellotron. An astral intro with a magnificent vocal presence which pushes ethereal laments on a soft waltz with a too much slow movement to be danced, but perfect to loved. Through this beauty, we hardly felt the presence of a sequence which shaped its structure to reach a more livened up cadence, but all in suppleness. Waves of Dreams will fly between rhythms with a surprising sensibility for a synth musical work. Dawn is a superb cosmic tribal track starting with amazing sequenced arpeggios which float lazily on a very spatial mellotron before forming a more sustained pace around percussions been born on the rustle of steel sheets, creating an eclectic sound universe which is shaping in an unsuspected coherence. The sequencer's play on a synth that watches such a cosmic lighthouse is simply stunning. In particular with a finale which explodes on a strange ecosystem weighed down by the prisms of sequences which sparkle with a renewed imagination which will walk on the opening of Heading Towards Unknown Destinations. If you thought of having heard everything, your ears will be surprised again. First Nations tom-toms get out of this cosmic atmosphere to set the tone to a quick march which rushes into the twilights of the sound strangeness of Gert Emmens' solos. A superb movement which amazes, both by its tempo eroded by the thick synth layers and the tom-toms tones. Hooked at our speakers, we are entering into a huge hypnotic musical storm, like these tales where the innocent tries to avoid the vile, on a stunning sequenced race which ends in sequential stammering. An amazing music piece that it's better to listen to than trying to describe it. This is simply great electronic art built upon a musical vision which doesn't stop to amaze. Bright Spot on a Grey Day closes this opus filled of complex and melodious sound meanders on familiar musical structures; sclerosed wind, nervous sequential arpeggios on a waltzing but balanced mellotron and perfect sound effects on a structure which tries to develop its pace. All in melody, Emmens deepens his artistic approach to lead us on a rhythmic with beautiful spatial harmonies. Everything is soft until the rhythm is getting astray in a black hole where dark winds paralyze sequences to reshape them into fluttering metallic pads. Too much busy to care, the wind oversights the strengths of mellotron which reties its melodious airs on weak percussions which lurch towards limbo.

To me, WAVES OF DREAMS is a wonderful album. The kind that will become a classic in modern EM area, just like Free System Projekt's Impulse or Frank Specht's Sebastian Im Traum. A great album that continues what Wanderer of Time has started; the opening of a great synthesist and composer that amazes and bewitches at each listening, especially because of this melodious ingenuity of sequencing.

Sylvain Lupari (February 7th, 2008) ****½*

Available at Gert Emmens Bandcamp and Groove nl

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