RON BOOTS: When it gets dark (2021)
Updated: Jan 24
“This is the recording of Ron's very good concert at the Byss Studio at the end of 2020”
1 7:08 (28:51)
2 36:55 (22:43)
3 59:59 (28:00)
(CD/DDL 79:34) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, Dark Ambient)
The period of confinement forced the artistic community to reinvent the rules for its survival. It took a certain period of time to finally see the appearance of shows on internet platforms. At the level of the Berlin School-style of EM, the prize goes to Bas Broekhuis and his Byss Studio where REMY and Däcker, the video is still available, Skoulaman and Ron Boots, among others, gave intimate performances absolutely free of charge which were broadcast on Facebook. Ron Boots' performance took place on November 28, 2020. Encouraged by his fans and his entourage, the boss of Groove looked into the possibility of making an album. Not entirely satisfied with the result, our friend Ron started adding chords and effects when requested. In his own way, he has Tangenizing the whole thing in spaces needed. In return, this activity took place when he was alone and in the shadows of his studio, hence the title WHEN IT GETS DARK and the ambiences surrounding the rhythmic progression of his very good performance at the end of November 2020.
A reverberating line is transformed into a thick cloud of sound radioactivities which sweeps the horizons with an approach as prismatic as the title of this latest Ron Boots album. The radioactive mass moving slowly, our ears are the witnesses of these iridescent streaks which pierce the shell. A voice in a vocoder mumbles phrases whose incomprehension is even more blurred by an avalanche of synth pads and layers as well as light fluty tunes which perceive this possibility of cleaning up the ambiences. Rather, it's an ambient rhythmic structure that emerges around the 6 minutes. Hesitant, this rhythm remains well in withdrawal welcoming a string of arpeggios in different and nuanced colors whose plasticized choreography stigmatizes in a suspended spheroidal dance. The moods are as dark as ever with an arsenal of gas jets and powdered drizzle as the synth emits a series of moans to define 7:08 in its role of contemporary chthonic mood music. Packed in a stationary mass, these oscillations form the cradle of a rhythm rolling constantly on its impulses and its comings and goings, creating the illusion of an imaginary passage. King of his domain in suspension, Ron Boots makes hatching his solos which fly over this frozen rhythm in a Mephistophelic vibe. These solos scream while drawing luminous arabesques above a structure which little by little sees its riches disappear in a long dying finale. The oscillations became static sparkles and the solos invite the musical craftsmen to beat in retirement. There is life in this finale which drifts into the dark moods of 36:55. In fact, since the opening of WHEN IT GETS DARK, the ambiences remain in tune with its title, like that of the cover rather revealing of the state of mind of Ron Boots during the tangenizing of his album.
Three minutes later, the rhythm dispels the obscure elements of the opening by offering a Pyramid Peak approach in a setting that reminds us of the Tangerine Dream from the Franke-Froese-Schmoelling years. Minimalist and magnetizing, this rhythmic framework is as lightly catchy as it's melodious. Dazzling arpeggios dance there while more austere chords cast this neurasthenic shadow which breathes in every corner of WHEN IT GETS DARK. We are at the borders of the 8th minute when the rhythm is enriched with the presence of percussions and low pulsations which dance with this sequence of peaceful and morphic rhythm. 36:55 becomes heavier and more threatening. A great electronic rhythm invading our neurons with superb nuances in its development, arousing admiration and curiosity for the continuation of things. We are in the land of the real Berlin School, of contemporary Klaus Schulze with these whirling sequences which draw a subtly ascending line where Ron puts down good solos. If the solos fade away, their distant sonorous gleams weave rich ambiences under this rhythm moving more quickly, like a conqueror close to his goal. Other solos escape to compete with these serious chords and their venoms of intimidation. In return, their tunes are embalmed with this fatal vision which gradually takes hold of the chthonian finale with its murmuring noises, its 70s-style Tangerine Dream trumpet lines, its synth line rotating like the eye of a lighthouse at night over a deserted village, its effects of fog and its vocoder voices. These surrounding elements lead us to 59:59 which needs a good 6 minutes of ambient idleness with layers and pads of mist waving like celestial bodies adrift. If the image is astral, it's quite the opposite for these ambiences which are all the same more translucent, unlike 7:08 whose main elements are at the source of 59:59 which, after more than 6 minutes of vapors of ether and of Neuronium voices, let go a timid structure of rhythm based on oscillating loops. The brilliance of these loops, the stealthy structure of the bass-sequence and the percussive elements are the basis of a rhythm whose essences come from 7:08. The tssitt-tssitt of the cymbals add a certain fluidity to the rotational spasms of the oscillations, drawing up more firmly this minimalist route where the solos have a darker hue, but remain exquisite by their musical presence. Master of his technique, Ron Boots amazes us here with this solid structure of minimalist rhythm which begins to lose its pawns some 4 minutes before the ending. And again, the bass line remains present to make us groove with our feet suspended in the void.
I missed Ron Boots! If we do the math, more than 2 years separate us from Once the Dust Settles, another album imagined in the abyss. An excellent Ron Boots album, with some technical flaws that we forgive, so much the envelope of WHEN IT GETS DARK is that close to genius!
Sylvain Lupari (January 23rd, 2021) *****