REMY: Exhibition of Dreams 20th Anniversary (2019)
“It was already a pivotal work. Now imagine in this edition. Superb, brilliant and essential!”
1 Into The Dream 12:38
2 Mirage 24:56
3 Lost Forces 11:34
4 La Luna 16:25
5 The Fields of Infinity 5:44
1 Unidentified Dreaming Object 42:33
2 Silent Voices 8:00
3 Out of the Dream 8:18
1 Entering the Dream 11:53
2 Velocity 11:30
3 Lunascape 17:18
4 Silent Conversations 8:04
5 Mirage 22:59
1 Into the Dream (album edit) 12:14
2 Into the Dream (live 13-11-1998) 12:10
3 Lost Forces (live 13-11-1998) 11:46
4 Silent Voices (live 13-11-1998) 7:28
5 Mirage (live 17-2-1999) 21:56
(4CD 288:40) (V.F.)
(Cinematic New Berlin School)
Remy Stroomer gave me this wonderful gift by sending me this quadruple CD of his ultimate masterpiece Exhibition of Dreams. The joys of being a columnist 😊! This 20th anniversary edition is the third time that the musician, native of Haarlem in the Netherlands, has reworked his pivotal work, which was also his very first album in 1999. There is a lot of music on this 4 CD box set. And it was quite an exercise to compare the 3 editions of this album. A pleasant exercise I must add because even if I always listen to this album more regularly than occasionally, especially the personal selection of Remy, it's a real masterpiece which finds a 3rd skin in this edition where Remy Stroomer put everything on the table with a superb mastering by Wouter Bessels, to whom we owe this mega compilation of Tangerine Dream; In Search of Hades and other concert recordings of the legendary Berlin trio.
What is most striking is this clear difference between the sound envelopes. It jumps to the ears as soon as Into the Dream lets hear the fall of its introductory's sound effects. Everything is amplified; from the decor filled by a chthonian cloudiness to the synth riffs without forgetting these harmonies in the form of synth solos. The percussions are better defined with percussive effects clearly more visible to the ear than in the previous version. This difference is accentuated in Mirage where the acoustic chords are pinched with more clarity. Ditto for the sound effects. We will notice more pronounced percussive effects in Lost Forces while La Luna remains as well balanced as the 2009 version, but with a more improved sound. This enhancement of tones brings out the smallest details, such as these voice riffs around the 8th minute. In such a context, a title like The Fields of Infinity shows all its correctness. It's indeed on this title that we notice this need to better separate the sound details of this wonderful album. From subtle to pronounced, the 20th anniversary's version of Unidentified Dreaming Object always remains a monument that requires a few listenings before being comfortable in front of its 43 minutes. Silent Voices and Out of the Dream are 2 other titles which take full advantage of this enhanced sound of EXHIBITION OF DREAMS (20th Anniversary edition).
This new edition offers this CD which sold in a snap of the fingers, and therefore discontinued, which preceded the publication of the 10th anniversary edition in 2009. It's this CD that I like to listen to most often. It proposed reworked and remixed versions of a selection of titles to appear on this edition. And I would say that it's this CD which offers a completely different dynamic than in its previous version. And this at all levels. I like to rediscover this more commercial version of Into The Dream in Entering the Dream. The details are more precise in Velocity, while the weight of nostalgia in Lunascape is even more lyrical. The evolution of Silent Conversations is more pleasant in its new sound envelope which gives more life to percussions and to keyboard chords. This is simply remarkable, both here and in its only edition unlike Mirage which looks almost note for note to the original, but in a sound envelope improved by today's recording technologies. If you don't have this CD it's a must. But I do believe that it was out of print. You have a chance here!
And now CD 4!
It's officially a must-have for Remy fans since we discover here the first concert recordings of what was to become Exhibition of Dreams. The first surprise is this version of Into the Dream that was rejected. Into the Dream (album edit) is a different version that throws out the charming initial melody to offer a more cosmic rock version filled with very good synth solos. Minimalist, the structure is based on four sequences that come and go quite abruptly in a setting that gives Remy all the latitude to feed our ears with acrobatic and musical solos. The second part offers a more psychedelic vision with strange vocal effects, it looks like whales on morphine, in a slightly Latin atmosphere at the level of the chords. A very pleasant surprise! The 3 other titles come from a concert that Remy gave in 1998 at the MEM Festival on November 13, 1998. These titles demonstrate all the artistic complexity of the album with interpretations that are in tune but in the context of a live performance. Performed at the Mendel Talenten Show in February 1999, Mirage (live 17-2-1999) shows Remy's progression and ease in a breathtaking performance.
With Wouter Bessels at the mastering and a 20-page booklet filled with information, EXHIBITION OF DREAMS (20th Anniversary edition) is a very good collector's item for fans of Remy Stroomer. The sound quality is undeniably better than that of 2009. But no matter the different editions of this flagship album in the career of the Dutch musician, remember that the music is always a real masterpiece which can be listened to with the same passion as its first edition in 1999. And if the techniques of recording, mixing and mastering have evolved since then, they make it possible to improve and better separate the sounds that were sometimes lost in this mass of overdubs that many artists like to do so by making their musical canvases more nourished. Sometimes quantity can affect the quality that some ears are able to discern. It's not my case. I had to listen again and make comparison points in order to discover the improvements, some of which are clearly evident, in this new edition. So, what to do? Apart from the quality intrinsic of Wouter's mastering and the booklet accompanying this set of 4CDs, EXHIBITION OF DREAMS (20th Anniversary edition) offers 2 CDs that you must discover and /or have. CDs 3 and 4! And, for me, hearing this rejected version of Into the Dream and the interpretation of Mirage at the Mendel Talenten Show, as well as the reworked versions of CD 3, are essential. It was already a pivotal work. Now imagine in this edition. Superb, brilliant and essential!
Sylvain Lupari (March 26, 2020) *****
Available at Desert Island Music