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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RON BOOTS: Backgrounds (1994)

Backgrounds is a great way to discover the early works of this great EM wizard whom is Ron Boots

1 Khazad-Dum 6:55

2 Northwind Leaves Fall 9:07

3 Path's of Death 9:05

4Springbirds 6:32

5 Cosmos 5:33

6 Summerwind 6:11

7 Goodbye 5:38

8 Meadow 8:16

9 Ambersage 7:43

10 April Breeze 4:55

Cue Records | Cue 1111

(CD 70:46) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, New Age & Berlin School)

Ron Boots became over the years a sure thing in the world of EM. Each work coming from the Dutch synthman is surprising us with versatile rhythms which rock unsuspected melodious approaches for a musical universe weaved in the somber mathematics meanders. But before kissing this fame, Ron began his career with a series of cassettes produced between 1987 and 1990. BACKGROUNDS is a compilation of 4 of these works (Bookworks, Wind in the Trees, Moments and Hydrythmix) released between 1988 and Dreamscape, in 1990. A compilation which reveals a musical universe minimalist seasoned of fine variances, preventing the thoughtfulness of a passive listening which becomes inevitably absent-minded. Inspired by the literary works of Tolkien and Stephen King, BACKGROUNDS offers a suite of 10 compositions, remixed and reworked by Ron Boots, which inhale the atmospheric influences of the Californian deserts that Tangerine Dream has sculptured in the 70's on a surprising sequenced approach unique to Ron Boots.

Khazad-Dum is from Bookworks and introduces us to the other hillside of Boots' universe with a tribal approach of an aboriginal kind embroidered on a meshing of sequences and pulsations with keys which fidget in an aura of controlled trance. The rhythm is intense and livened up, dislocating its linear spasms under the caresses of a lyrical synth and its fluty harmonies. One can recognize there a Dreamian influence (No Man's Land) on this minimalist approach of which the variances marry the harmonious tangents which breathe under a dense ethereal pattern. Northwind Leaves Fall is a small jewel on the art of sequencing the rhythms. The melody is sculptured in a ballet of sequences of which the multiplication of the keys forges a suave musical cannon. At both fluid and jerky, the harmonious rhythm spreads its shroud of prism tones and sequences which cavort unconcernedly on an enchanting minimalist movement embellishes of its fine harmonious nuances. It's very good and very beautiful. The enchanting effect of rhythmic melodic cannon is also present on the tenebrous Springbirds and on the very joyful April Breeze (both also pulled out from Wind in the Trees) which combines its rhythm in cascade with synths as much musical as those on Khazad-Dum. Path's of Death, also from Bookworks, wears very well the blackness of its naming with a slow and dark rhythm a bit tribal embroidered on echoing pulsations and crystal clear sequences of which the alternating keys resound in the nuances of a synth and its somber fluty harmonies. Cosmos is the only track coming out of the Moments cassette and it's a lunar mood track with a slow rhythm which pounds of its bass line beneath some diverse approaches of percussions of which the kicks and the mislaid effects of surprises cogitate in the black mist of a dark synth and of its fleeting fluty harmonies.

It's a title which makes a heavy contrast to the boiling Summerwind, from Wind in the Trees, and of its furious keys which pulsate in all directions in a static dance whose minimalist evolution passes through the heavy pulsations of a bass-drum. There are also stray percussion's strikes and other ball-bearing keys that coordinate their rhythmic symbiosis with funky harmonies coming from a synth with languid twisted solos and with mystical haze. Goodbye is dark and oneiric, like a goodbye to a friend that you'll never see again. The slow modulations of the synths are tracing poignant passages that church bells amplify in this funeral title in which dark and sad chorus are breathing. Bookworks continues to present heavy and stormy structures with Meadow and its resonating pulses that beat under a universe of eclectic tones. Choruses, strange squeaks and melodious chord drops overhang this heavy menacing approach which gradually clears up with the arrival of sequenced keys that sparkle in their harmonic wakes, drawing these bewitching melodious approaches sculpted in sequences flowing in waterfalls that create the sonic world of BACKGROUNDS. Ambersage floats with its tribal tam-tams which drummer under a musical sky with clouds of ether. A synth whistles while some jumping keys cling to the drums, diverting a rhythm which oscillates between its gregarious ambience and its passive modulations.

You don't have to be a Ron Boots fan to enjoy this compilation. If we feel an influence of the Dream, we cannot ignore that of Steve Roach in this fascinating approach of intertwined rhythmic sequences that the Californian synthesist offered at the start of his career (Now and Traveler, even Structures from Silence). BACKGROUNDS exudes originality for a work that comes out of the early 90's. The conception of the rhythms in the form of echoic cannons and their harmonic movements are among those sonic elements that make EM a unique art form where beauty explodes in the smallest tinkling of unreal arabesques chords.

Sylvain Lupari (February 18th, 2013) ***½**

Available at Groove

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