Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij
Blind Watchers of a Vanishing Night
If you like sequences, more sequences and still more sequences placed in a Berlin School setting read on! No messing about here, we get straight into the ball breaking title track. Windy, ventilation shaft type effects remain in isolation for less than thirty seconds before the first sequence surges forward- and a lovely rapid one it is too full of power and excitement. The backing now consists of ethereal pads and twittering effects. Another sequence starts up. A really nice atmospheric lead weaves this way and that over the top.
Next up is the massive forty-four minute 'A Journey Through Time'. It is split up into six parts however so to make it easier to review I will take each section at a time. 'Part 1 (Solaris)' sees a sequence deployed immediately. It is another rapid one which initially does its own thing before soft pads are brought in providing a welcome contrast. As with the opener it isn't long before more sequences come to join the first. The lead line this time is somewhat more strident than in the first track but even so my attention was attracted more to the ever shifting wall of pulsations as each element of them morphs first one way then the other. The first lead departs and is replaced in the fifth minute by a softer flutey one but it doesn't hang around long as we start a slow fade to dark gloopy atmospherics. These continue straight through to 'Part 2 (Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp)'. With a sub title such as that the mind can't help but be drawn to certain images. The ones that came to my mind were of a humid insect infested atmosphere. It was a nice break giving the mind chance to recover from all the intense pulsations - for a good five minutes anyway, until another quick paced sequence arrives for 'Part 3 (The Rise and Fall of Atlantis)'.
On this album sequences tend to hunt in packs so there is no surprise when the first is joined by another. They bounce off each other nicely until we get another short transition period through to 'Part 4 (Waiting For The Day to Come)'. Things now almost sound like a battlefield after the fighting has moved on. Explosions can still be made out in the distance but all that can be heard closer to hand is windswept desolation with the sound of spectres flying over the top. It's all quite moving but also a little spooky. The sequences return for 'Part 5 (Crystal Tears)'. This time the pulsations are a little more restrained than before fitting in appropriately with a track thus named. Even when the inevitable second sequence makes an entrance and the excitement level increases there is still a feeling of tenderness, helped in no small way by more lovely flutey synth backing.
'Part 6 (The Day the Moon will leave us)' takes us back to a mood of melancholy reflection. I expected the next track 'Moments of Unexpected Sadness' to be a bit of a floater but that didn't prove to be the case as a sequence bounces forward within the first minute and a very nice one it is too. I suppose the title comes more from the backing which is suitably wistful, especially the mellotron at the end. The sequences get even better on 'Conspiracy of Two Forces' chugging along wonderfully and morphing this way and that, keeping the attention locked on. A moody lead line, pitch bending as it goes, provides that bit of 'attitude' which fits perfectly with the sequence as it gains even greater power and menace.
'Driving Home on a Rainy Night' is yet another sequencer fest backed by tron right from the off but at just four minutes it is the shortest track and acts more like a coda to finish the album off. If you liked their first album 'Return to the Origin' you should also like this though it is even more in your face - which tends to be no bad thing for most sequecer fans I know! (DL)
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