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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

RON BOOTS: Derby! (2009)

Derby! is an inescapable and a kind of greatest hits with a new shaped music

1 A Half Hour of the Wolf 10:44

2 Howling Whispers 11:00

3 Giants in the Derby Sky 7:25

4 Reattachment of Worldly Affairs 9:02

5 Acoustic Shadows 6:30

6 Canyon 7:30

7 Battle of the Somme 10:02

8 A Storm in the Guildhall 8:34

9 Tainted Bare Skin at the International 7:56

(CD/DDL 78:46) (V.F.)

(Cosmic progressive E-Rock)

A Ron Boots concert is always an event. The Dutch synthesist knows how to surround himself with very good musicians, including his inseparable friend and drummer Harold van der Heijden who strikes his skins with the surgical precision of a Harald Grosskopf. For his concert presented at the Electronic Music festival on September 5, 2009, Ron Boots had also required the services of German guitarist Frank Dorittke adding a more rock, jazz and progressive depth to music already very colorful.

DERBY! starts slowly. With ethereal vapors that introduce A Half Hour of the Wolf from the See Beyond Times And Look Beyond Words album. A soft vaporous intro where lost chords float while sparkling under a sky streaked of screaming tears from a synth with oscillating waves that blow the solitary harmonies of its lonely choirs. The structure slowly comes to life under fine starry breezes, reminiscent of the cosmic moments of Klaus Schulze, just before the music explodes with an avalanche of frenzied percussions and a synth with twisted solos, reminiscent even more of Schulze & Grosskopf in the Body Love time. Explosive and cosmic, just like Battle of the Somme which spins around on a very similar structure, but with a more biting rhythmic bass. Howling Whispers follows with an intro loaded by a soft fluty mellotron that fights with unruly percussions. A serene opening that comes to life under the distant riffs of a guitar that you can hardly guess. The synth retains its fluty approach in a static sound universe but shaken by heavy pulsations of drums and the riffs of a guitar that we can freely hear anymore. A six-string bickering with a synth with virulent solos in a cosmic universe where the percussions of Harold van der Heijden constantly hammer an infernal cadence, plunging us into the heart of a rock more progressive than cosmic which is based on Frank Dorittke's incisive riffs. Giants in the Derby Sky brings the rhythm into a more bluesy proportion with the excellent guitar of FD Project who spits heavy sensual solos under solid percussion strikes. It's a very beautiful title which has a lot of emotions and sensitivity that we find on the last Ron Boots album and which is closer to progressive zones than electronic, just like the jazzy and very rock A Storm in the Guildhall. The intro of Reattachment of Worldly Affairs delicately hops on a soft sequence paired with a chime xylophone. A sweet opening to be dreamed of and pulsating on a heavier sequenced approach whose resonances are molded to tssitt-tssitt cymbals, announcing a more sustained rhythm with guitar and synth solos bickering the heavy atmosphere that wraps the final.

Acoustic Shadows brings a little dramatic touch to this concert with a nebulous intro that oscillates between the mysteries of Pink Floyd and the slow reverberations of a superbly poetic guitar. Ron Boots' explicit narration on the nature of acoustic shadows is shattered by a superb synth solo which interweaves its lamentations with Frank Dorittke's very inspired guitar which takes advantage of the opening to plunge into the jerky rhythms of Canyon; a title carved in riffs and guitar solos as incisive as amazing. It's much closer to Ashra and it's delicious as dreamlike. A hesitant rhythm under a synth with very Vangelis layers, Tainted Bare Skin at the International closes this audio recording on a staccato sequence which is bitten by a dreamy guitar and a keyboard with spasmodic chords and its cupping effects. Another title from Ron Boots repertoire which takes on a new life thanks to a good rhythmic bass, a great drumming part and a biting guitar which facilitates the synthesized flights soaring in a final which makes us already regret the conclusion of this concert.

DERBY! is a must have for 2009. An album in concert certainly, but an album where the music of Ron Boots takes a new form. A new form animated by the guitar of FD Project who brings Ron's compositions into a more rock and progressive universe than purely electronic. Space rock at its best is performed by an excellent trio of musicians. And what about the work of Harold van der Heijden? Awesome! It perfectly complements the music of Ron Boots, like this complicity between Klaus Schulze and Harald Grosskopf, who multiplies the synth solos and the melancholic layers on sequences sculptor of rhythms not always very convenient for a drummer. In short, DERBY! should appeal to fans of Ron Boots, as well as those who love space rock, like progressive rock due to the presence of Frank Dorittke.

Sylvain Lupari (December 15th, 2009) *****

Available at Groove NL

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