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Netherlands Electronica

With electronic music catching everyone's fancy these days, numerous "scenes" are springing up all over the globe. Let's take a look at the talent flourishing in the Netherlands...

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RON BOOTS: Close, But Not Touching (CD on Groove Unlimited)

Ron Boots is certainly no newcomer to the international electronic music community, having many previous releases of splendid sonic worth. This one is his latest, featuring 68 minutes of high energy tuneage.

Boot's innovative stylings are in high form with sultry melodics and driving passion. His electronics are a hyper blend of atmospheric airs and surging sequencers. These synthesizer sweeps and powerful riffs are accompanied by intricate E-perc networks. Catchy riffs and keyboard chords are applied in a succession of escalating grandeur, until the music is melodically dense and thick with hyper-rhythms.

While there are Berlin School roots in Boots' music, he has taken this sound much farther, carving his own style of dynamic electronics. Rich with emotion, there is a chill to the melodies, evoking ice crystals and glacial flows with his sparkling tuneage.

His compositional sense tends toward the dramatic, producing lively trance states compelling the listener into a condition of bodily gyrations. There are frequent hints of symphonic rock throughout Boots' music, further enhancing its epic qualities.

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FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT: Pointless Reminder (CD on Quantum Records)

Free System Projekt is Marcel Engels. "Pointless Reminder" delivers 56 minutes of supercharged electronic music directly evolved from the Berlin School.

In fact, this music is quite immersed in that sound, with rich synthesizer sweeps and sinuous E-perc rhythms and seething walls of sequencer loops. Strong melodies imbibe these sounds with grand majesty and affluent energy. Sequencer cycles expand to brilliantly expressive capacity in tandem with thick tonalities lurking in the background. Interesting chords flow through this mix, sparkling like luminous hummingbirds.

With song lengths of ten and sixteen minutes, these tracks are allowed ample time to evolve into refined compositions, glowing with tremendous maturity. Surprisingly, little time is wasted reaching epic proportions in these tunes. The tempo hits a high velocity rather quickly, and the melodies continue to increase in speed and complexity.

The vivacious nature of this music recalls the electronic Golden Age of the Seventies. This is a truly retro CD, primed to tickle the fancy of Tangerine Dream fans everywhere with enthusiastic tuneage cut in that fashion. But it also reaches into modern times to fulfill the sonic needs of our technological civilization.

Engels has breathed new thrills into this classic style.

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FREE SYSTEM PROJEKT & DAVE BREWER: Okefenokee Dreams (CD on Groove Unlimited)

In April 2000, the first Okefenokee gathering of Tangerine Dream fans took place to spawn the celebration of electronic swamp music. This sound derives its deepest roots in Tangerine Dream's "Stratosfear" release from 1976. For many Americans, this was their first exposure to T-Dream's music, brought about by the band's Encore tour of North America in 1976.

Far more than just the USA were heavily influenced by this sequencer-heavy haunting sound; this style survives today, flourishing in many international corners of the globe.

During the gathering, Dutchman Marcel Engels and American Dave Brewer gave a live concert to bear testimony to the evolution of this electronic swamp legacy. This CD features 72 minutes of their performance.

Expect delicate keyboard loops, accreting toward critical mass amid clouds of drifting ambience. Dense application of heavenly mellotrons generate a truly retro air to the swamp. Enter some surging sequencers and you have entered electronic heaven.

There is no need for E-perc in this tuneage, for the synthesizer rhythms are profuse enough to thrill any electronic audiophile into ecstasy.

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REMY: The Art of Imagination (CD on Groove Unlimited)

Remy follows in the sonic footsteps of the great electronic music master Klaus Schulze. While most similarly inspired musicians draw upon Schulze's Seventies style, Remy chooses to pursue Schulze's more contemporary sound.

This style is rich with synthesized choral voices and sampled instruments like flute or cello or harpsichord or acoustic guitar. These sounds unravel with a regal quality, demonstrative and elegant. Also present are keyboard riffs and some E-perc.

Rich with distinguished melody, the music is compelling and engaging. The sentiments evoked are surreal and introspective despite the constant uptempo pace. There are intriguing flashes of pop and rock stylings among the racing electronics, further enhancing the music's energetic nature.

Throughout this CD's 77 minutes, the various instruments (albeit generally synthesized) are given solo opportunities, lending a jazz structure to this electronic music.

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TRANZIT: Tranzversal (CD on Groove Unlimited)

Tranzit is Dirk H. J. Nusink, and this CD features 73 minutes of his esoteric electronic music.

Synthesizers galore and driving E-perc rhythms make this music quite delightful. Keyboard riffs and cyclic weirdness occupy the soundscape with their lively melodies, filling the air with joy and exhilaration. Extremely spacey sounds are in prominent utilization, plunging the tuneage into farflung future realms with spiraling squeals and cosmic pulsations.

Nusink's music rarely dwells long in any one trend, flowing from the dancefloor to atmospheric introspection with unpredictability. Always keeping a backbeat going, there are few dull moments. Moody passages grow dense and dark, spacey excursions throb with uptempo sensibilities.

Complex harmonies and strong melodics tend to win out with satisfying frequency, despite the style in Tranzit.

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FRANK VAN BOGAERT: Docking (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release delivers 61 minutes of powerful electronic music.

Dense electronics and demonstrative keyboards rule this music, although other instruments are equally present. Basslines rumble in the mix. Defiant percussion elevates the tunes far beyond standard electronica. Spanish guitar injects a romantic edge to the music's massive nature. Effects and treatments are hiding everywhere.

But it is van Bogaert's almost symphonic application of rich keyboards that dominate the music, whether they are pounding with relentless fury, or drifting with cloudlike quality. His melodies have a bigger-than-life feeling, generating quite an uplifting, inspirational response in the audience.

Confined to shorter compositions, averaging between three and eight minutes, each song's presence is supercharged by compression.

While showing deep influences such as Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, and Deep Forest, van Bogaert has developed an extremely cinematic aspect with his dynamic music.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: World Wide Kind (CD on Groovy Unlimited)

This 72 minute collection affords an excellent sampling of numerous international electronic musicians, dedicated here to the concept of a global village society through applied electronic technology.

Included are tracks by: Ron Boots & Kees Aerts, Intelligentsia, Nathan McCree & Matt Kemp, Andy Vask'el, Nicholas D. Kent, Victor Ceruillo, Susumu Hirasawa, Jan Linten, Arthur Loves Plastic, Steve Deg, Thomas Gruberski, Elemental, T-Bass UK, Psyclonic Parandroid, Andy Pickford, Chris Born, and Artskool.

The music is varied, but generally falls into quite energetic territory: powerful electronics with strong E-perc.

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