Brazil flag Brazil – The Symphonic Dream

Lars Boutrup is a Danish keyboardist who was born in 1961 in Copenhagen. His first performance happened in 1979 with the band “Blood Eagle”. Later he joined in the experimental orchestra “Massa”, which played a weird combination of Punk and Instrumental music with sound effects and metallic percussion.

Between 1985-1992 he formed the band “Simcess Off Celeberty” (shortened for “Simcess”) that released several singles and albums. After the band’s split up, Boutrup joined in the Melodic Rock band “Sing-Sing”, which released the EP “Black” and the album “Cannonball” (1995). “Sing-Sing” disbanded in 1996, and Boutrup started to tour with bands “Supernova” and “J.E.E.P.”

In 1998 he reunited old integrants of “Simcess” in a band called “Big Bang”, which released the EPs “Baby Blue” (1998) and “You´ve Gotta Move” (2001).

In 2004, Boutrup performed on “Evil Masquerade’s” album “Welcome to the Show” (with ex-“Royal Hunt” vocalist Henrik Brockmann). In 2006 he was invited by Danish singer Juruda to take part in her group “Juruda Music”.

In 2005 Lars Boutrup began his solo project “Music For Keyboards” with help of drummer Fredrik Sunesen, and released an eponymous album. The idea was to blend Electronic, Ambient, and Progressive Music in instrumental pieces.

In 2010 Boutrup began to write new material for the follow-up, titled “The Symphonic Dream” (released in April 2011, under Ex’cess Records). The album was recorded at Yello House Studios, produced, engineered and mixed by Boutrup, and mastered by Flamming Hansson at Sweep Productions. The line-up has Fredrik Senesen (drums and percussion), Niels W. Knudsen (bass), and Andreas S. Jensen (bass on 2 tracks). Musically, Boutrup was influenced by the composers “Beethoven”, “Mozart”, and “Chopin”; and by many Classic Rock, Progressive and Alternative Rock bands (“The Beatles”, “Jeff Beck”, “The Who”, “Rory Gallagher”, “The Doors”, “Deep Purple”, “Uriah Heep”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Whitesnake”, “Emerson Lake & Palmer”, “Yes”, “King Crimson”, “Pink Floyd”, “Kansas”, “Jethro Tull”, “Fish”, “Queen”, “Soundgarden”). But few of them contribute effectively to the sonority of his solo work.

His music is clean and elegant, but also strong, opulent and fluidal – futuristic, yet ancient – it sounds like a blend of “Rick Wakeman”, “Keith Emerson”, and “Vangelis”, also having a touch of “Eddie Jobson” and “King Crimson”. Some electronic textures are like “Alan Parsons”. Cosmic sounds are reminiscent of “Vangelis” and “Brian Eno”. The rhythmic section conducted by Senesen is a bonus, fusing Progressive Rock and World Music to experimental metallic percussion. Ethnical beats are sometimes combined with voice-like effects, creating a mystic atmosphere reminiscent of the score music of “Vangelis” or the recent work of “Mandalaband”.

“The Symphonic Dream” features 8 tracks. “June“ opens the album with martial cadence, combining bombastic keyboards like “Keith Emerson” and “Wakeman” with vigorous drumming and metallic sounds.

“Secrets Behind the Curtain“ is a Prog-Fusion bringing complex drumming, funky bass, and jazzy solos of synthesizer.

The great title track (“The Symphonic Dream“) begins with ancient choruses that envelope it in a dark atmosphere. Tribal beats mark the cadence, allowing slow tunes to ascend progressively (resembling “Vangelis” and “Mandalaband”). The ascension is often interrupted by solos of organ and bass.

“Space Peace“ is a serene piece inspired by “Vangelis” and “Chopin” that features romantic arrangements and floating pianos.

“Thanks for Everything“ is immersed in a cosmic atmosphere marked by long chords, but soon turns into an Electronic Prog-Fusion, with parts like “Parsons”, “Eno”, and “U.K.”.

“A Song for John“ is a short Classical piece for piano alone.

“Eddy Will Not Be Ready“ begins with some gothic tension, released later by vigorous drumming and many keyboard solos and electronic effects, also having influences of “King Crimson”, “Eno”, and “ELP”.

“The Black Event“ is driven by a slow cadence that evokes the image of a caravan crossing the Arabian Desert, spreading hypnotic melodies that slowly evaporate on the hot sand. This piece amazingly closes this excellent album, which will surely enrich any Progressive Rock collection.

Lars Boutrup’s Music For Keyboards is highly recommended for Progressive Rock fans in general, especially those who like the Keyboard Music of “Wakeman”, “ELP” and “Vangelis”.

Band members and collaborators involved in Lars Boutrup’s Music for Keyboards are: Lars Boutrup – Keyboards, Organ and Synthesizers; Fredrik Sunesen – Drums, Percussion; Niel W. Knudsen – Bass; Andreas S. Jensen – Bass (on “Secrets Behind…” and “Thanks For…”)… (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)


Reviewed by: Marcelo Trotta

Link to Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal – & review