Since the late Eighties, Ron Boots has been one of the crispest and most engaging electronic composers to export his music from the Netherlands. Boots' style of electronic music is deeply rooted in the Berlin School, but it reaches far beyond those influences, to achieve a sound that is uniquely his. Fusing elements of contemporary electronics, pop, and film soundtrack scores, Boots' music is as rich and powerful as it is atmospheric.
RON BOOTS: Liquid Structures in Solid Form (CD on Groove Unlimited)
This CD from 2002 features 69 minutes of energetic electronic music.
Stately tones amid gurgling synthetic winds usher the listener into a realm of vibrant moods and grand impressions. Melodies commence their formulation from this primal soup, emerging with sequenced riffs and arctic chords to unfurl into even greater structures replete with uplifting textures and dazzling cycles. Repetition gives way to urgent development as the riffs intertwine to create more elaborate harmonics. All throughout this evolution, a sense of awe swells to mammoth proportions, gripping the listener with dramatic hooks and impending tension. By the time percussion appears, injecting even more drive to the surging sonic mass, the audience is snared by the impressive gestalt.
The electronics are generally keyboard-driven, but resound with versatile signatures that run the gamut from luxuriantly deep bass to delicately crystalline patterns. The CD's title is very indicative of the overall impact of this music, as melodies rise from fluid definition to achieve momentous stature, towering into the sky like huge cliffs of blue ice.
Vocoder effects are peppered throughout the pieces, manifesting as an instrument rather than communicating lyrical content. The last track, however, features traditional vocals in a whispered style, imparting satin sentiments that wax romantic over illusionary tactile impressions.
Long-form compositions stand with shorter pieces on this CD. The longer tracks afford the music the opportunity to build to excruciating crescendos, while the briefer tracks (6-9 minutes) deliver more compressed dynamics.
Joining Boots on the 19 minute title track is Harold van der Heijden on drums.
RON BOOTS/KEES AERTS/HAROLD VAN DER HEIJDEN: Livelines, Essen 2002 (CD on Groove Unlimited)
This CD from 2002 features 74 minutes of vibrant electronic music generated live by this trio in Germany during the Schallwende Elections.
The music is rich with dense electronics, waves that cascade with force and strip away all extraneous distraction. Lifting the audience from the ground and propelling them through the stratosphere and into the wonder of outer space. Keyboard riffs emerge from the astral drone, energizing the ethereal mix with their sparkling notes and sequenced patterns. Rhythmic pulsations are quickly joined by demonstrative percussion, injecting body and power to the tuneage. Exotic riffs establish themselves, simultaneously growling and delicate, generating a tasty contrast that merges to form a dynamic environment of cosmic force.
There is no scarcity of melody here, as riffs flow from each other with effortless ease. Each new passage gives birth to fresh vibrancy, elevating and breathtaking in their complexity and passion. Textures surge into commanding harmonics, building exhausting dynamics that mesmerized as they invigorate the audience. Crisp cycles accrete with remarkable speed, unleashing new riffs that overlap to generate intricate pulsations and compelling rhythms.
For all this overt power, though, this tuneage is pleasant and inviting...inspiring, in fact, in its union of unbridled vigor and liquid smoothness. Ascension achieves an ecstatic state, stranding the rapt listener in a labyrinth of impressive and ultimately rewarding electronic melodies.
RON BOOTS: Ghost of a Mist (CD on Groove Unlimited)
Originally released in 1991 as Boots' second album, additional material (in the form of a 9 minute, previously unreleased track) has been added to this remastered 2002 reissue, bringing the total time to 74 minutes of luscious electronic ambience.
Besides offering a more primal glimpse into Boots' music, this release delivers a softer side of Boots' electronic stylings. The compositions are moodier here, more rooted in the ambience of Steve Roach or Michael Stearns than the powerful epics of Boots' more recent works. And yet, Boots introduces his own elegance to these atmospheric soundscapes, injecting subtle power to this peaceful sonic domain.
Languid tonalities sparkle high in a sky comprised of crystalline textures. Pleasant chords and delicate riffs nudge their way into these heavenly passages, delineating the ambience with subtle stamina and endearing personality.
To be completely honest, the "ambience" becomes dutifully submerged by these fluid chords and discreet but provocative keyboard sequences. While not rambunctious or rowdy, neither is this music lifeless or drone-heavy minimalism. Elegant melodies infuse the atmospheric foundation with fanciful sonic notions, elaborating on the basic harmonic threads with uplifting verve. The infrequent presence of majestic percussion also tends to undermine the "ambient" quality of this music, bestowing more than rhythm to the mix.
RUDY ADRIAN & RON BOOTS: Across the Silver River (CD on Groove Unlimited)
This 2002 release features 78 minutes of collaborative electronics in a more tranquil style.
Rudy Adrian has garnered considerable attention with his solo ambient releases during the last few years. When New Zealander Adrian sent some of his new music to Ron Boots in the Netherlands, Boots was so taken by the work that he suggested a collaboration. "Across the Silver River" is the result of that creative conjunction.
While Adrian's peaceful music has been favorably compared to Harold Budd and Brian Eno, Boots' sonic work has spanned more than a decade and numerous styles of electronic composition. The fruit of a collaboration between these two talents offers a unique amalgamation of Adrian's fluid sound with Boots' mature infusings.
Ambient tones and drifting sonic airs unfurl and hover in the crisp sky, lovingly nudged by elegant piano passages. A distinctly pastoral flavor is evident in these serene soundscapes, transporting the listener to stately woodlands nestled between a mirrored river and majestic highlands. Pastures of halcyon chords are bathed in dawn's vibrant illumination, releasing a gentle sense of power that lingers in the subconscious.
These delicate and evocative atmospherics merge with sinuous percussives which inject a softly energetic pace to the dreamy pieces. These rhythms are hardly demonstrative enough to overwhelm the melodic flow, adding instead a feathery propulsion that gives the ambience an aerial bounce as the heavenly music rides the morning breeze.
Tracks like "Forgotten Islands Rediscovered" excellently display this wondrous fusion of atmospheric power and regal percussives. While the electronic breezes waft with soothing and inspirational expressions, the genial tempos elevate the music to loftier altitudes with their benign resonance. A sense of environmental sovereignty is richly communicated.
Nick Prosser joins Adrian and Boots on one track, lending his baroque flute to the forest of ambience.
For reviews of releases by Rudy Adrian go here.
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