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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RON BOOTS: Awakenings 2016 (Ron and Harold) (2016)

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

This is a very good live album with a music which has the merit to not be an imitation of Schulze's works but to compete with his great music at the end of the 70's

1 Awakenings Set 1:12:15 Groove Music

(DDL 72:15) (V.F.) (Vintage Berlin School)

Ron Boots is a music machine and an inescapable artist to see, and especially to hear, during the numerous festivals to which he participated. Going back at The Awakenings in May 2016, he had already performed there in 2014 (Awakening at Booth's Palace), he takes to opportunity for this event to give a concert tribute to Klaus Schulze in a very long river-title of 72 minutes together with his faithful companion-percussionist Harold van der Heijden. AWAKENINGS 2016 (Ron and Harold) is the recording of this event which is mastered by Ron Boots. The host of the evening is rather direct in his prelude; he asks to the public to close their eyes, to sit back and relax while imagining to be in the 70's when Klaus Schulze and Harald Grosskopf united their efforts in order to give us timeless classics such as Moondawn, Body Love, X and the peak of it; Live in 1980. And let me tell you that the aimed purpose is reached with a delicious contemporary touch, in particular at the level of the layers and effects of synths which make very Tangerine Dream, the Jive years, in the first part.

Mastered but not edited, Awakenings Set starts like these good old classics of improvisations where the artists connect by adjusting and by warming up their instruments. Therefore, the introduction is weaved of nebulous breezes and layers with spectral voices which float over a layer of a rather lugubrious bass. The effect is Mephistophelian and oratorical. A sequence emerges from this fog and accentuates its presence with keen skipping tinted with glass which dance and collide their delicate ringings. That gives the effect of an astral gallop executed by a horse of competition. A line of bass snores silently while a delicate stream of sequences reveals an ardent flowing where are hiding these glass sequences and their random hits. With the addition of the tears of synth which are dying on the movement, Ron Boots finishes the architecture of his soundscapes by starting a phase of circular rhythm which waits only for the percussions of Harold van der Heijden to get in the dance in order to accentuate the strength and the swiftness of this 1st part. It happens around the 7th minute. At first hesitating under the rolling of the percussions and the tearful airs of the synth, Awakenings Set gets awaken more and more below the prickles of the cymbals. The decoration of the atmospheres is hallucinating; another more contemporary texture of this concert tribute. While the solos replace the abstruse airs, the rhythm always spins around until that a splendid bass line forges this delicious movement of four sequences which goes up and down a little after the point of 11 minutes. Magical, this continual ongoing makes us roll of the neck and tap our fingers while flooding our ears of a sonic flow out of the ordinary. Ron Boots multiplies the solos while Harold van der Heijden exhibits his tentacles for the next 12 minutes, there where the structure hesitates between its phase of rhythm and its soundscapes perfumed of very TD effects. This 1st part crosses a passage of ambiences and electronic effects at the bridge of 25 minutes. A psychotronic stop of 8 minutes where the electronic elements pile up in a more intense approach at the door of 33 minutes, where the track offers its wildest phase with a Harold van der Heijden at the top of his art. The sequencing is not outdone! Dominating the direction of the rhythm, it redirects it towards more swiftness in a good movement of pure electronic rock where Boots and Heijden show all the extent of their talents and their knowledge for the tastes of the fans of the beginning of this EM, a thing which is so hard to explain all love for this art by the aficionados of the genre. One grand finale which is so much just like Ron Boots!

This war of tones, beats and moods between Ron Boots and Harold van der Heijden needs a rest around the 44th minute. The duet offers then an encore built around an introduction just as much nebulous than the opening. The rhythm progresses slowly before reaching its cruising speed, of which the velocity is situated between the 2 rhythmic parts of Awakenings Set. This other delicious movement of EM hangs on indefatigably to our eardrums with a lively rhythmic which is forged around a very good ascending movement of the sequencer and of the multiple strikes of Heijden. The sequencer moreover shapes an insidious melody which finds its way straight in the deep of our ears and jostles a bit our effect of rhythmic hypnosis with those glass ringings. And Ron Boots, always so creative, decorates the whole thing with very judicious effects and aerial solos which reminds us the foundations of EM of the 70's. AWAKENINGS 2016 (Ron and Harold) has gone under the radar when at its released. It's a pity because it's a very good live album which has a very good mastered. Out of stock very quickly, Ron Boots has finally decided to release it again in a downloadable format for now and for the pleasure of those who heard about it but who missed its first release. There is also a video on YouTube of this event (see the link before the review in French). If the sound quality is so/so the performances of Ron Boots and Harold van der Heijden is unequivocal. A superb tribute to Klaus Schulze of which the biggest merit is not to copy a work of the master but well and truly to compose a long 70 minutes of pure EM which would undoubtedly have competed with Schulze's music in the golden years of EM.

Sylvain Lupari (June 10th, 2017) *****

Available at Groove

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