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Ron Boots: a Heritage of Evocative Electronic Music

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For three decades, Netherlands synthesist has been producing exemplary electronic music, earning him international renown as a vanguard of contemporary EM.

While most of these releases are offered in physical form, all are available as digital downloads (in MP3 and FLAC).

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RON BOOTS Cutting Branches (CD on Cue Records)

This CD from 1995 features 69 minutes of engaging electronic music.

Versatile electronics and demonstrative rhythms generate compelling tuneage.

The electronics make scarce use of textural backdrops, relying more on layered riffs to create a lush sonic density. Some tonalities lurk within the mix, but they serve to enhance the mood rather than establish an atmospheric auralscape.

The majority of these electronics are triggered by keyboards, producing lavish melodies of a sweeping nature. Numerous riffs conspire to establish rich melodies, each pattern interacting with the others to achieve a pulsating vibrancy. The flavor of the keyboards varies from song to song; sometimes sweet and whistling, sometimes slippery and spry, sometimes celestial in character, other times delivering an earthy resonance.

The rhythms are vital to this tuneage, contributing locomotion in the form of powerful percussion and subliminal tempos immersed within the flow. There are puissant drums, pounding out regal rhythms of captivating authority. There are sneakily hidden beats, often consisting of cyclic pulsations, which inject additional buoyancy to the tunes.

There are numerous incidents which could be construed as guitar, embellishing the flow with their soft lilt. Bass pulsations also feature prominently in the music's construction.

These compositions demonstrate a certain sense of awe with their gripping melodies and novel enhancements. The tunes cavort with a playful mirth that is often tempered with a dramatic flair.

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RON BOOTS Too Many Secrets (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 1997 features 74 minutes of abstract electronic soundscapes.

This release offers one long track, a piece that explores Boots' more ambient side, with dreamy electronics simmering along, accompanied by periodic metallic beats that initially express no rhythms, serving mainly as punctuation for the mounting keyboard melody. This intro gives way to a moodier auralscape of sashaying textures embellished by remotely pulsating tones. Eventually chords of a majestic nature emerge from the vaporous flow, generating a certain tension as they toy with the listener by hinting at but never fully embracing a melodic structure. This display of exotic sounds continues for a while, moving from one electronic presence to another as if traveling through a realm of living sound. Each passage possesses a unique character, exploring diverse electronic stylings which drift along in an ambient zone. While mainly harmonic, the music tantalizes with ongoing presages of evolving into a melodic presence. These melodic omens are arranged in a sequence that frequently strays into melodic territory for a time. Actual percussive rhythms seep into the mix, tempered by heavenly chorales. But then everything sinks into a quiet deep where whale songs dominate. Then the electronics resume, pacific and soothing, with hints of tempos and droning keyboards describing a stretch marked by the minimal presence of a melody, before sliding into a fog of haunting abstraction, only to once again allow a gentle passage to surface and flourish. There are far too many unique passages here to describe each one; suffice it that the exhibition remains alluring throughout. There's even a passage in which stately piano music evokes a pensive demeanor. As the track reaches its final stretch, a fluid melody comes into play, with sweeping keyboard riffs and marching drums, creating a majestic coda.

The music's general mien is one intended to inspire relaxation, a goal that is steadfastly achieved in a relentless flow from one bewitching electronic expression after another.

A shorter version of this music was released in1994 in a limited edition. This CD offers the full version of the composition.

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RON BOOTS Tainted Bare Skin (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 1998 features 71 minutes of peppy electronic music.

Joining Boots on a few tracks are: Eric van der Heijden (on electronics) and Harold van der Heijden (on drums).

Rapid riffs and lively rhythms fashion tuneage of urgent beauty.

The electronics are crisp and lilting. Although a degree of texturals occupy the background, the gist of the electronics are busy crafting enticing chords. Some looping may occur, but auxiliary effects embellish the melodies. Many of the notes exhibit an icy flair in their heavenly resonance.

Nimble-fingered keys unleash a relentless series of fresh riffs, each characterizing a wonderful melody. An abundance of smooth melodies can be found here, all of them sultry and bewitching. And while certain keys maintain a luscious riff, celestial sweeps swirl just behind that theme.

The rhythms are vital to this music, but not in an overwhelming way. The percussion serves to help propel the tunes, but the beats remain suitably immersed in the flow, never obtrusive, always reliably contributing the necessary oomph.

A sinuous romanticism marks these compositions, fusing a comely charm with an energetic spirit, and producing tuneage of attractive animation. While technically contemporary EM, this music has a distinct rock flavor, manifesting as tunes with notable punch. The last track exemplifies this upbeat temperament with a jovial piece that's almost techno.

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JOHN KERR & RON BOOTS Offshore Islands (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 1998 offers 70 minutes of noble electronic music.

Joining synthesists Kerr and Boots is: Bas Broekhuis (on additional drums on one piece) and Thea van der Putten (on vocals on another track).

Stately electronics and pensive rhythms produce tuneage with a certain nobility.

The electronics are sinuous, slippery textural chords wafting through vistas of ghostly fog. Keyboards generate lavish sweeps whose duration stretches into the next sweep. merging the threads into a serpentine gestalt.

The keys often speak with a certain puissance, delineating cogent melodies that tug at the heart. Whether ringing with reedy intonation or resounding in a classical piano vein, the passages swell with contagious magnitude.

The percussion is moderate yet majestic, used more as emotional emphasis than as any rhythm. There are, however, a few occasions in which the tempos contribute solid locomotion to tunes.

One song features operatic vocals praising the virtues of those who brave dangerous waters.

These compositions express a stately attitude with their grandiose mien and regal melodies. While the songs are all about shoreline nautical affairs, there's little in the way of seaside elements in the tunes. Instead the point is documenting the courageous personalities who take to the water. The adventure, the bravery, the loneliness--all are captured in songs of somber grandeur.

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RON BOOTS By Popular Demand (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 1999 features 76 minutes of active electronic music.

Joining synthesist Boots is Eric van der Heijden and friends.

This release features mostly new material, with new versions of some old Boots favorites.

There are a lot of electronics here, each track offers a dense nest of engaging pulsations. Most are dedicated to quickening the listener's pulse rate, but there are a few more peaceful tracks wherein the electronics adopt a dreamier poise, coaxing the audience into introspection.

Strident keyboards spill forth hordes of masterful riffs, a complexity that flows together ever so nicely. The resulting meshing is a delight, generating fascinating melodies that flow with a liquid elegance.

The percussion is forceful and reasonably prominent. The rhythms contribute sold propulsion to the surging melodies.

One track, a brooding piece of tantalizing effects mounting tension, features brief female vocals (more a recitation than lyrical).

Most of the compositions exhibit a severe degree of vitality. These songs throb with animated riffs brimming with hooks that won't let go. While the few sedate pieces smolder with a sense of imminent potential--which is readily fulfilled by the following dynamic tune. The release's emphasis is on the latter, though, delivering tuneage of satisfying sonic activity.

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RON BOOTS Joie de Vivre (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 1999 features 74 minutes of elegant electronic music recorded live in 1998 and 1999 (with a special jam session piece from 1993).

Joining Boots on this music are: Eric van der Heijden (on synths), Harold van der Heijden (on percussion), and Kees Aerts (on synths), with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock on guitar on the last track.

The first track begins with texturals rising into clarity and allowing pulsations to breach the fog. Percussion heralds the advent of cohesion as the pulsations rally together to form a delicious melody. With each passing moment, the elements muster more strength; the keyboard flows prancing with jubilant enthusiasm, the drums gathering puissance, until a fully regal tune has been achieved, rich with surging electronics and peppered by uplifting tempos. Everything winds down with a pensive piano solo.

Ponging diodes usher in the next piece. Soon, chittering sounds emerge from a background drone, summoning forth reedy keys with a breathy aftertaste which establish a basic melodyÉwhich is swiftly elaborated by further, more strident pulsations. The gestalt coalesces together to form a momentous fervor of hyperactive electronic rhythms. A state of cosmic euphoria is generatedÉbefore everything settles down into a passive version wherein all the prior elements grow contemplativeÉand then resumes its activity, rising back into upbeat authorityÉbefore dwindling away.

Track three bubbles into being and promptly gives way to a harmonic passage of sighing tonalities. A vocodered voice leads the electronics into a swirling structure of grandeur, punctuated by mounting percussion. The piece continues to build in intensity until the keyboards begin to deviate from the central loop, establishing ground for an even higher level for the music to expand its monumental posture. The lofty attributes sink into a heavenly mist for the finale.

Track four is the album's shortest song (at almost 7 minutes long). It's also the album's dreamiest song, with sighing electronics flavored by twinkling notes, like sparks going off amid a cloud of hazy light.

Track five is another short piece (at just over 8 minutes long). Unlike the previous ambient piece, this song erupts with vibrant animation. Synthesized horns announce a march of rhythms attended by sweeping keyboards crafting a lovely tune.

The final piece returns to the long-form format, starting off with delicate chimes drenched in honeyed keys. Gradually other threads join in, creating a lush pastiche of throbbing melodics. A deep bass punctuates the mix, grounding the other chords as they cavort skywards. Squealing guitar provides a tasty crescendo.

A pretty cool release.

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RON BOOTS Detachment of Worldly Affairs (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 1999 features 72 minutes of bouncy electronic music recorded back in 1993-94.

Joining Boots on a few tracks are Eric van der Heijden (on electronics) and Harold van der Heijden (on drums).

Intricate electronics and snappy rhythms mark this tuneage.

The electronics are diverse, though mostly triggered by keyboard. What texturals are employed are elongated key chords. The leaves the stage fairly open to be filled by lead riffs. Agile-fingered keys produce a bevy of threads that wind through the mix, embellishing each other and resulting in serpentine melodics.

Percussion plays an important role here, providing the music with a strong animation. The rhythms are tempered, though, so they boost without bursting through into the foreground.

Some of the compositions feature a haunting edge with a more pensive pace, where the keyboards undulate gently among themselves in a dreamy fashion. But most of the tracks typify a realm of electronic music that applies a lively attitude to flowing electronics, flavoring everything with a tasty dose of bouncy rhythms.

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RON BOOTS Screaming Whispers (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2000 features 71 minutes of lilting electronic music.

Joining Boots on a few tracks are Eric van der Heijden (on electronics) and Harold van der Heijden (on drums).

Versatile electronics are accompanied by lively rhythms, flavoring the tuneage with a high appeal ratio.

The electronics possess a stately grandeur as they create melodies of tasteful intricacy. Deeps tones are tempered by sweet chords whose tender shimmer superbly compliments the more regal electronics.

Multiple layers are generated in a fashion to combine into lavish passages wherein spry riffs invigorate the flow of the music. Nimble fingers guide these sparkling notes into enthralling structures, strident chords deftly meshing with slippery textures.

The rhythms are a nice blend of delicate tempos and dramatic beats. The e-perc threads wind their way through the songs, bestowing a subdued pep to the tuneage.

These compositions are marked by a meticulous dedication to communicate a sense of inspired optimism. The melodies instill a floating feeling that then receives a boost. The rhythms serve to lend the music with a bouncy animation, further enhancing the overall sonic appeal. Even the more pensive pieces retain an edge of upward mobility lurking within their mix.

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RON BOOTS Fanta Magic 2005 (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2005 features 60 minutes of electronic music.

The first track (a live one) establishes a strong standard of vibrantly energetic electronics, high-end and bass tones cooperating to generate a lush resonance. The chords are aligned into a bouncy structure, a vivacity aided by the demonstrative percussion.

The next piece features vocals (a reading, actually, outlining a wizard's fairyland observations of a long-standing conflict). Here, the tuneage adopts a more somber disposition. The electronics become muted, while the rhythms pursue measured tempos which enhance the storyteller's account.

Cathedral chants adorn the third track, and the music takes a dreamy turn in order to remain unobtrusive. The tonalities waft with breezy character, while relaxed drums contribute a touch of oomph.

The following song shines with a flourish of intertwining tempos; attractive and compelling, the beats draw you in with their engaging patterns. Sinuous electronics swim through this percussive zone, lending fluidity as a background element. The tune achieves a dazzlingly satisfying pinnacle.

Track five features another recital, for which the music goes soft with pensive tempos and vaporous pulsations.

Track six (another live one) has an ambient opening, where whispering winds are infiltrated by sustained celestial keyboard chords, which gradually blossom into twinkling key riffs that cavort with whimsy. Drums provide the evolving piece with an appealing backbone.

The final track features more oration accompanying a bouncy tune which communicates a mounting tension. Glittering effects lurk within the mix as the electronics seem to wrap themselves around the percussion, bestowing a fuzzy texture to the beats.

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RON BOOTS Beyond the Boundaries of Twilight (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2009 features 71 minutes of cosmic electronic music.

This music was recorded for use in planetariums, so the overall temperament is one of relaxed awe. ButÑdo not expect a profusion of softly ambient passages. Boots unleashes some tasty riffs with suitable passion here, not only capturing a sense of awe but building it into a breathtaking state of euphoria.

The electronics constitute a myriad of complimentary sequences that undulate with pulsing vibrancy. Each sequence embodies a holistic puissance, yet together they become liquid passages of glittering beauty.

Searing guitar is present, lending a crisp blaze to the tuneage.

Percussion contributes vital locomotion, driving each song into snappier attitudes. The tempos tend to be rather catchy.

A vocal recitation dominates one track, describing man's evolution from primitives to rational philosophers and proposing that humanity spread their wisdom to far corners of the galaxy.

These compositions serve as a glorious inspiration, linking mankind with space in an intimate manner. While some passive sections do exist, the music generally seethes with animation, enticing listeners with sparkling oscillations set to captivating melodies. The majority of these songs possess an elevated peppy character. Avoiding any overtly spacey milieu, Boots evokes the majesty of outer space in a more primal manner, utilizing compositions of stately elegance.

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This CD from 2009 features 62 minutes of cosmic electronic music recorded over several years. These songs add to the music found on Beyond the Boundaries of Twilight.

Sparkling electronics and nimble rhythms establish tuneage that combines dreaminess and agilityÑa tasty union.

The electronics are earthy yet spacey (another enticing union). Mainly triggered by keyboards, they generate lavish riffs of an engaging luster, capturing the listener's attention and instilling a sense of courageous optimism. Keyboard chords are accompanied by twinkling auxiliary effects, resulting in lively pastiches.

The rhythms are spry and complex, but restrained so they do not overwhelm the tunes. In fact, an air of animation is present even in passages in which the percussion adopts a more relaxed model.

One song features a tasty dose of horns, which lends a majestic edge to the bouncy foundation.

These compositions follow a similar design as those on Beyond the Boundaries of Twilight, in that they evoke the wonders of outer space not through airy ambience but with energetic music whose melodies serve to stimulate rather than lull. Admittedly, some songs exhibit an astral dreaminess, but it is favorably tempered with a stirring of awe. Whatever the pace, these tunes possess a charm guaranteed to bewitch and satisfy listeners.

One track on this release duplicates the vocal recitation from Beyond the Boundaries of Twilight, which describes man's evolution from primitives to rational philosophers and proposes that humanity spread their wisdom to far corners of the galaxy.

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RON BOOTS (with MORPHEUSZ) From the Forgotten Rooms of a Lonely House (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2011 features 60 minutes of a versatile mixture of dynamic and dreamy electronic music.

The first three tracks are by Morpheusz (Ron Boots, Frank Dorittke, and Harold van der Heijden); the remaining four pieces are by Boots playing solo.

Guitar marks the first track with its searing riffs, chords languidly spiraling out of view amid a swirl of sweeping electronics, as percussion lends temperate rhythms. Secondary electronics rise to augment the guitar in the creation of a dreamy nocturnal composition.

In the next piece, crisp bongos establish gentle tempos which are eventually tempered by sedate guitar sustains and fluid electronics. The percussives maintain an understated dominance as a somber piano enters the mix, while the guitar pursues some delicate chords of a soft nature.

Track three allows the guitar to flourish once more, issuing astral twangs that hang like humid fog. Twinkling piano and shuddery electronics provide a dramatic milieu boosted by mounting percussion. The melody adopts an epic posture and continues to swell into a taste of euphoric grandeur.

With track four, the music gets softer, dreamier, more cosmic with sparkling electronics and celestial textures.

The fifth song (a long composition) persists with this spacey mien, seasoning the atmospheric flow with grinding rotors and swelling tinges of an orchestral character. Rhythms slide into play, ponderous and even-paced to match the rise of a stately melody emerging from the ambience. This tuneage evolves, mustering stamina and innovative diversions with each passing moment, ultimately achieving a hypnotic flair punctuated with bursts of dazzle.

A sense of tension churns in track six, as the electronics don a darker, moodier disposition with a seething structure, and distant pitterings hint at elusive rhythms.

The last track displays a peppier mode. The electronics pulsate with rapid flux, establishing tempos which are nicely augmented by snappy percussion. Surging keyboards add to the song's overall hyperactivity with their urgent riffs.

The blend of drama and dreaminess results in a well-rounded and wholly satisfying sonic dose.

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RON BOOTS Ante Oculus (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2011 features 68 minutes of pensive electronic music.

A moodier outing, with sedate electronics establishing vistas of undulant sound seasoned by effects and tender rhythms.

While solemnity is the overall character of this music, the electronics are hardly restricted to downbeat resonance. Mixed in with the pensive chords and deep bass pulsations are more crystalline sounds, riffs of gently shimmering electronics. Slippery keyboard riffs create flowing melodies amid the brooding harmonics.

Rhythms contribute to the music's reflective character. These tempos sneak into the mix, often evolving from synthetic oscillations. Their cadence conveys a certain reverence.

One track features a delicate thread of violin that establishes a rather wistful disposition. While in another song the strings (this time synthetic) adopt a more haunted presence, evoking a more contemplative mood.

In another song, a stately guitar provides an uplifting aura of confidence. In another, acoustic guitar generates a soft romanticism.

These compositions explore a series of dreamy mental states, ranging from introspective to outwardly expansive. Several passages are heavily seasoned with a dramatic flair, stirring deep emotional responses in the audience. While a cursory listen defines this music as generally sad, closer examination reveals an undercurrent of optimism lurking deep in the mix. These melodies evoke sorrow, then provide hope and closure.

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RON BOOTS La Caida de Hormigon (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2012 features 61 minutes of epic electronic music.

This music pursues a long-form model, offering tunes that build slowly from pleasant evolutions to intense structures of melodic drama.

The first piece begins with a remote pulse beat embellished by twinkling effects. Electronic threads creep into play, undulated until they eventually intertwine to form a compulsive flow. Percussion helps establish a sense of tension, as these rhythms increase the momentous nature of their beats. The keyboard riffs mirror this progression toward an epic stature. Together, everything achieves a regal puissance.

Track two launches its own celestial ascension with a cosmic dalliance of sparkling pulsations and pensively applied synth-strings. The latter leads the melody and is soon joined by throbbing bass tones and bouncy keyboards. These fresh threads mount in intensity. Their resonance is grand and heartfelt. Passages of vivid euphoria are generated as these keyboards concoct intricate lattices of compelling riffs.

The last song offers a languid opening of abstract electronics; this churning pot is soon overcome by the introduction of livelier keyboard sequences. Certain non-pact electronics serve to establish a fluid rhythm accompanying the gathering tapestry of keyboard threads. As the piece progresses, the riffs gain in grandeur and actual drums enter the mix, furthering the music's mighty presence.

These compositions are masterful examples of dynamic electronic music, crafted to captivate the audience and delight them with engaging melodies.

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MORPHEUSZ Garden Gnomes and Goblins (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2012 features 78 minutes of somber electronic music.

MorPHeuSz is: Ron Boots, Frank Dorittke, Eric van der Heijden, and Harold van der Heijden.

Under this band name, one can expect a particularly dreamy sound to be prevalent in this tuneage.

The electronics provide background atmospherics as well as lead threads. Texturals often consist of elongated drones rippling in the background, establishing a moody temperament. Meanwhile, more substantial electronics (usually triggered by keyboards) contribute supple riffs which (while expressing distinctly melodic passages) frequently adopt a vaporous attitude, as delicate chords shimmer amid the background tones. And an amount of peripheral effects occur, momentarily embellishing the tunes.

The keyboards deliver a plethora of melodies, each sequence seemingly isolated, yet these riffs conspire with additional threads to become luscious passages of complexity.

Guitar handles a certain ratio of the lead riffs too, but not in any overt manner. The guitar riffs are fragile and sinuous, crafted to nicely blend with the fluid electronics. Even when pursuing more manifest riffs, these chords endeavor to remain aloof from the rest of the instruments.

Percussion lends a sense of propulsion with pattering rhythms, sometimes lurking within the mix, other times shouldering their way into more prominent positions. A percentage of the tempos come from the cyclic application of non-impact electronics, often employed in conjunction with actual beats. Synthetic bongos evoke languid locomotion, while more strident percussion tends to be more animated.

These compositions exhibit a gentle demeanor, creating tunes of smoldering power that gradually build in intensity as the internal elements evolve in tandem with each other.

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BAH Live in Sweden (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2008 features 65 minutes of electronic music recorded live on the island Valo on June 1, 1998.

BAH is: Ron Boots, Kees Aerts, and Harold van der Heijden.

A blend of dreamy and vibrant tunes crafted by electronics and rhythms.

The electronics fall into two classes: a motley of brooding pulsations which are suitably embellished by more lively threads. The former tend to be ethereal passages rather than textural tones, keyboard chords that cycle to form harmonic backgrounds of tender resonance.

The livelier threads pursue more substantial riffs. Their vivacious presence produces a series of melodic riffs, each converging to achieve a tasty state of hypnotic appeal. While these threads also employ looping to stretch their utterances, they undergo continuous evolution which results in a steady flow of changing sequences. A profusion of peripheral effects constantly infuse the music with additional animation.

Percussion serves to further energize these tunes with rhythms that match each song's temperament. Stately tempos accompany slower pieces, while more animated beats add to the invigoration of the peppier tracks. In fact, in the second-to-last track, the percussion flourishes with demonstrative tempos of a grand character.

These compositions offer a variety of modes: languid tunes and bouncy ones. These moodier songs evoke an easygoing relaxation, coaxing the audience's outlook skywards into a realm of endless possibilities. While the livelier pieces serve to revitalize the listener with stimulating tuneage that quickens the pulse rate with enticing melodies.

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RON BOOTS Backgrounds (CD on Cue Records)

This release from 1994 features 71 minutes of enthusiastic electronic music.

The music on this CD comprises a selection of tracks from Boots' early releases (Bookworks, The Wind in the Trees, Moments, and Hydrythmix, the latter done in collaboration with Bas Broekhuis). These featured songs have been remastered for this collection.

Where one might expect a musician's early works to exhibit crudity or naivete, Boots' early material shines with a robust power and displays a crisply vibrant sense of composition. These songs glow with jubilant enthusiasm.

A variety of electronics is utilized in these tunes, ranging from crystalline to deep bass to spry reedy tones. Nimble keys activate animated chords which coalesce to generate lively compositions. Riffs are cultivated, then elaborated upon, until they reach an intricate density of delightful luxury.

Percussion is often integral to the material, boosting the melodies' sprightly character with intricate rhythms. While much of the rhythms consist of e-perc, certain tempos are achieved through the cyclic use of non-impact electronic pulsations, which lend the tunes a glimmering fluidity.

These compositions are crafted to evoke a scope of emotions, from inspired to pensive, but each one shows a distinct freshness with their vivacious temperament. The lively pieces bounce and cavort with cultivated verve, while the pensive ones seethe with undercurrents of subdued drama, eternally promising an eruption into expressive celebration (eruptions that are frequently delivered as the tunes achieve states of euphoric accomplishment, whether they be wild pinnacles or tense codas).

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An amount of early Boots' releases have been collected together as The 80s Box, a review of which can be seen here.

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