RON BOOTS: Dreamscape (1990-2002)
“This is a great album which shows that Ron Boots has his place beside Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Edgar Froese, Vangelis and Steve Roach”
1 Cougarland 6:45 2 The Stand 14:02 3 Silent Nature 11:14 4 Rivers 7:35 5 Cry of the Heart 8:40 6 Dreamscape Part I 9:20 7 Dreamscape Part II & III 12:00 8 Rivers (New 2003 version) 7:43 GROOVE| GR-074
(CD 77:37) (V.F.)
In hovering over the biography of Ron Boots, one recognizes his impressive track record as an artist, producer and businessman with his internationally recognized label; Groove Unlimited. Founding father of the Netherlands School movement, Ron Boots is a true veteran who is largely responsible for the evolution of EM, with his label and the two festivals he organizes each year; E-Live and E-Day. These events serve as a launching pad for Groove's new releases with albums mainly from Dutch artists, and music strongly influenced by the Berlin School with a Dutch touch. His career began in 1987 with Linear Waves, an album made and distributed in four-tracks cassette, which would support the release of his next five works. Originally produced on the Synteam label, which became Groove in 1990, DREAMSCAPE is a work about dreams. Dreams and lucid dreams that are skillfully transposed on a music where rhythms and ambiences separate the melancholy from hope. With this album, which was chosen as the best EM album by the German Schwingungen Club, Ron Boots has targeted the summit and stayed there ever since. In fact, DREAMSCAPE explains by its structures and its music all the impact of Ron Boots on the chessboard of the contemporary EM in a Berlin School style.
It's with hesitant pulsations, with eroded contours of silvery resonances, that Cougarland installs a slow rhythm powered by an approach of a sequencer who struggles to climb its spiral climb. The rhythm is heavy and slow, like the footsteps of a puma encircling its prey. Seeking the support of fine percussions, like Tablas, and of lost tinkles, it whirls under the scattered breaths of a flute which misleads its harmonies in the chants of the synth. Its dreamy solos harmonize its reflections with floating choruses, wrapping the delicate staccato of Cougarland with a tender oneiric approach. The Stand is a great title that spreads its 14 minutes in phases. It sounds like the first steps of the sequencers of Steve Roach and Edgar Froese, in Drunken Mozart in the Desert on a tribal approach of Vangelis and his Opera Sauvage. The introduction takes up this astonishing fusion slightly jerky of synth breezes sounding like flutes and choirs chanting a nursery rhyme. Chords, sounding like wooden xylophone strokes, frolic around this delicate approach while gradually Ron Boots surrounds his long procession of a beautiful musical canvas that is expanding with all the softness that commands reverie. Gradually, The Stand becomes besieged by a threatening veil as the rhythmic direction deviates towards dark pulsations that bite the moods and make it spin in a beautiful spheroidal movement full of harmonic sequences. They twirl under heavy sails full of resonance where harmonies and rhythms are entangled in an astonishing allegorical symbiosis. The energy dissipates and the sequences change tones. They borrow the delicately jerky breaths of a synth that constantly subdivides its lines into flutes and in angelic choruses whose dreamy spans are delicately harpooned by these jingles of glass and by tabla percussions that roam in search of a rhythm to shape in a space became ambient and idyllic. In my case, The Stand and the amazing philharmonic bolero crescendo of Rivers are two essential titles of Ron Boots' repertoire. Silent Nature offers a soft ambient panorama with innumerable layers of synth, some passive and some more musical, which float and encircle the ephemeral pulsations of a sleeping nature.
This kind of ambient structure encircling percussions lost in wildlife is also found on Cry of the Heart. This reflection of stationary music flows between Zen elements with silvery breaths of a synth that float with astral choruses and lamentations of whales. We advance in DREAMSCAPE and a warm breeze of Orion frees fine star particles that tinkle on a carpet of fog. Dreamscape Part I enters our ears with its tones tinkling like a crystal wand on an anvil which shine around keyboards' riffs fluttering in a haunting harmonic ballet, like a storm of keys. This long prelude to a totally independent 2nd part breathes the peaceful harmonies of a Steve Roach static ballet with shimmering arpeggios that turn into a delicate stationary spiral and choirs with hatched timbres that cover its virginal approach. Dreamscape Part II begins with a beautiful ballad in which Ron Doesborg's acoustic guitar caresses the voice of Desiree Derksen reciting a poem from Reina de Jong in Esperanto. The oneiric approach gets gradually lost in the scattered percussions and reverberant breaths, dragging Dreamscape Part II towards more steady percussions that hammer a loud beat all around arpeggios. Heavy synth pads wrap up well this implosive storm while the xylophone keys blown into glass woo the heavy tribal tam-tams and the raucous breaths of a trombone stuck in the world of sound fantasies of a synth. Dreamscape Part II plunges into an intense static bubbling that calms its lyrical anger in soothing synthesizer blades with iridescent prisms. A new version of Rivers closes this new edition of DREAMSCAPE on Groove. Its pulsations that increase the heaviness of a Bolero are still intense. In return, the vaporous lines and layers of the synth take on a deep philharmonic essence, restoring in this intense way a nobility that was lacking. A detail that was hardly noticed on the original version, so much Rivers is immensely wonderful.
DREAMSCAPE is a very beautiful album where powerful rhythms, as the static ones, embrace seraphic ambient phases. And whether it's through his ambient phases or his rhythms, the strength of Ron Boots lies in this ability to structure and graft melodies with unusual ease. Titles such as The Stand and Rivers undeniably enhance its quotation of album that I highly recommend and that will introduce you to the world of an excellent musician-composer who has a place with names such as Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Edgar Froese, Vangelis and Steve Roach. Big names of EM which one perceives a clear influence on Ron Boots.
Sylvain Lupari (September 21st, 2012) *****
Available at Groove