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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RENE VAN DER WOUDEN: Pro Sequentia (2005)

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

A beautiful first album woven of multiple sequenced movements which intertwine with affinity on fluid and melodious orchestral arrangements

1 Prosa Part 1 6:12

2 Prosa Part 2 13:28

3 Prosa Part 3 22:23

4 Prosa Part 4 9:33

5 Prosa Part 5 15:47

(DDL 67:28) (V.F.)

(Analog cosmic rock)

PRO SEQUENTIA, or Prosa in Latin, means sequential hymns sung by monks and musicians in the 1100's. This abstract and repetitive form of art is said to be the birthplace of sequenced music today. It's also the title of René Van Der Wouden's first work, a Dutch musician-synthesist inspired by the French and the Berlin Schools with a net penchant for analog synths. I had the chance to hear some of his music on various compilations and I found it good enough to be interested in this first album. It's therefore with a well-nourished curiosity that my ears rubbed against PRO SEQUENTIA. And as much to tell you from the start, I had a good time.

Prosa Part I starts with an astral breath, filled with particles and similar effects, which follows the progression of an ascending orchestral movement. Soft, this movement floats with tenderness. And while a series of undulating notes traces a nervous sequence, a magnificent flute appears and freezes a melancholic melody to melt the tears repressed for a long time. The rhythm comes alive around another more dynamic sequence and a good percussions game. A divinely melodious synth propels Prosa I with serene harmonious segments which coalesce in a rhythm structure woven in the Berlin School. I found it went too quickly. More atmospheric Prosa II offers a long intro with heterogeneous sound effects. On a cosmic wind, notes cross and uncross a sad melody which will nourish the sequence to come. The tone is grave, and fatal bells open the way to a sequence which oscillates in the hazes of synth strata which balance a waltzing orchestral movement. The percussions explode a more melodious rhythm driven by a line of bass sequences and crowned by a beautiful synth-mellotron which adds a richer and deeper musical texture to the rhythm with very good solos tinted by the breezes of enchanted flutes. A particularly good moment which is embellished by the addition of a piano and which ends in the vapors of its opening. Prosa III continues this atmospheric quest. The intro floats on good synth pads which stretch their resonances in a complacent furrow of harmonious themes. Passages of synth paired with breaths of tenderness from a seraphic flute lull these melancholy ambiences that populate this introduction. Symphonic and majestic, the synths progress until the rhythm gets lively. Percussions fall dryly and a heavy buzzing bass sequence seize these ambiences around the 8th minute. The sequence flutters with resonance on a slow but stylized rhythm in the Enigma or Jean-Michel Jarre genre. The melody which was extinguished in cosmic vapors finds the road of rhythm and clings to it with striking synth solos.

A gentile little serenade rocks the melancholy darkness of Prosa IV. Clear chords, sounding like a crystalline harpsichord, undulate in a static broth. Frantic, they leap sharply like rhythmic spasms on a sequenced movement which pounds a jerky and hypnotic rhythm. Heavy layers dramatize this ambience while the percussions hammer a hungrier rhythm on a linear movement of the virtual harpsichord which decreases with sequences pounded with intensity. Prosa V closes this album as melodious as rhythmic with a symphonic touch developed in a contemporary classical movement. It makes me think of some good Synergy! A beautiful melody is waltzing on these mellotron layers filled by astral violins, by flutes and by other classical wind instruments. A symphonic synth takes control and blows majestic hymns on a sequencer which makes twirl its lines to put down a solid rhythmic section. Some great contemporary art that plays on different styles and sequences, embracing heavy rhythms and sumptuously melodies dressed in the finest orchestral assets. This is quite a whole final!

This first René Van Der Wouden exceeds my expectations. PRO SEQUENTIA is a very beautiful opus with highly stylized arrangements. The Dutch musician-synthesist uses and develops his sequences in an amazing way. His music is woven from multiple sequenced movements which intertwine with affinity on fluid and melodious orchestral arrangements. I like the orchestral arrangements and I had goosebumps on more than once on this album, showing all the potential of this new artist who seems very promising.

Sylvain Lupari (January 1st, 2007) ***¾**

Available at REWO Bandcamp

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