Reviews: The Symphonic Dream2020-09-22T13:36:38+02:00

Reviews: The Symphonic Dream

ProGGnosis: The Symphonic Dream – Review (US)

usa USA – The Symphonic Dream

The Symphonic Dream by Lars Boutrup falls very much in the category of instrumental symphonic keyboard dominated progressive rock, made famous by the likes of Keith Emerson, Par Lindh, Rick Wakeman and a number of others. The music on The Symphonic Dream does vary in moods and styles but overall it’s pretty much on the busy side and Mr. Boutrup keyboard performances are very much at the forefront.

If I compare The Symphonic Dream to most albums by the famous musicians I’ve just listed, I would say that Lars Boutrup’s style is perhaps even more “in your face” than they are.

I would recommend The Symphonic Dream to fans of intense keyboard driven symphonic prog. The tracks are very interesting and the performances of quite a high level. This music is certainly not for everyone, but if you love the genre, you’ll get what you want with this album.


Reviewed by: Marc

December 6th, 2011|

Background Magazine: The Symphonic Dream – Review (NL)

The netherlands The Netherlands – The Symphonic Dream

Lars Boutrup was involved with or played in bands like Simcess, Big Bang, Evil Masquerade, Supernova, Baby Electric, Cleemann and Juruda Music. Just like me, you’re probably not impressed since you’ve never heard of these bands before. I surely haven’t either. So without too much hope and faith I put on this record … and I was blown away by Boutrup’s music.

Imagine Keith Emerson who got a sex change so that she could now play in Ars Nova or something like that.

Or take Larse Larsson’s Weaveworld and let Oliver Wakeman sabotage the keyboards while Jean Michel Jarre watches from a distance. You get my drift?

Fast forward to track 7, Eddy Will Not Be Ready and you will experience seven minutes of glorious bombastic keyboard violence.

The music is propelled foreward by the addition of a drummer and two bass-players which is a very good move from Lars Boutrup as the symphonic sounds of his synths get a nice rhythm and never degrade to new age; far from it.

Every song flows and meanders through a fast flowing stream, no rapids, no blockages, just streaming and streaming and streaming … out of my speakers, time after time.

Reviewed by André de Waal (edited by Peter Willemsen)


Link to Background Magazine & review

November 13th, 2011|

Hallowed: The Symphonic Dream – Review (SE)

Sweden flag Sweden – The Symphonic Dream

Danish keyboarder Lars Botrup is known for collaborations with many bands and artists, he has also done music for films from both Sweden and Denmark, he has done a lot and this album called The Symphonic Dream is his second in the project he calls Music For Keyboards. The difference between this album and the first one is not just that it is a new cover art and that it is released in 2011, this album also features bass players, two guys have helped Lars with the bass work and the drummer Sunesen is with just like in the first album. The cover artwork witnesses of some atmospheric work and also adds to a sense of adventure, the label speaks of all the ingredients of progressive rock music along with some great keyboarding and some new kinds of rhythmic subtleties, on paper it sounds interesting but what about reality?

Musically it can be said to originate from the progressive rock music, but then it flows out into a world of keyboard atmospheres. I think that you can call it atmospheric as it moves in that direction, the compositions are often quite grande and majestic and the musical performances of the members is of the highest class and as is the production which is modern and clean as well as powerful. The album contains eight tracks and those eight tracks will take 53 minutes to play through, unless you tried to play the tracks converted to play on my iPod which only made my iPod freeze and fail, stupid machine made by an abusive and worthless company, anyway that apple thing made this review a bit late but I guess it can be better late than never.

The Symphonic Dream is a great title for this album because that is what it feels like, a symphonic dream, taking you to a place where the daylight meets the night, you could call it a twilight zone. The songs paint different kinds of landscapes and sceneries where you are then free to add your own characters and sequences of events. I find it to be a dreamy record which really takes me places, like a dream or an escape from reality, you could almost call it cinematic with the only difference that it is you who adds the stories and the adventures to the music. In being this musical adventure it is also a document of what can be done with the keys and the organs, pianos and whatever else keyboardish that you can muster up, so if you like instrumental music or if you are a fan of progressive rock with a dominating keyboard style, then I am quite sure that you will enjoy this album.

It was not the easiest thing to pick out favourite songs on this album as I do think it works really brilliantly as a coherent storyline, but I do think that the opening track June along with track four Space Peace and second to last song Eddy Will not be Ready are the ones to watch out for. But it is in many cases splitting hairs to select the best track which I will not do, but any of the three mentioned might fit that description. Still, I do think all the tracks on this album are very good and almost equally exciting and you might even say that they are hypnotic in their disposition.

I would say that this album was something of a positive surprise, a 53 minutes escape from the dullness of reality into a magical place, a place where your symphonic dreams are realised and you can feel safe and happy maybe. Not only is it a good album to listen to, it is a way to escape the hardships of today’s hectic life. I can recommend this album for anyone who likes the art of keyboard magic, or just is a fan of instrumental music, I think it is a really good album and a given for anyone looking to escape reality for a while.

Rating: 5 out of 7
Really good album – Fans will adore this and most will like it

Reviewed by Daniel Källmalm


Link to Hallowed & review

November 8th, 2011|

ProgNaut: The Symphonic Dream – Review (US)

usa USA – The Symphonic Dream

While new material from Wakeman, Emerson, and Norlander is still on the slow burner, and where the new album from Yes might be a little light on the keyboard acrobatics for some tastes, Lars Boutrup’s dexterous skills make for an unexpected and welcome entry into the area of symphonic keyboard instrumentals. Boutrup even dubs his specialty “Music For Keyboards,” and that states bluntly what The Symphonic Dream is all about. Bassists Andreas Jensen and Niels Knudsen, along with drummer Fredrik Sunsesen, are Boutrup’s Pomeroy & Fernandez, keeping things civil in the rhythm zone and setting up a pulsing backdrop for the keyboardist’s ample supply of synth, organ and piano melodies and electronic textures.

The Dream’s title track and its soulful organ bliss-out won’t ward off any comparisons to the aforementioned prog keyboard titans (after all, Boutrup wrote a piece titled “Emersong” on the previous album), and there’s little to be concerned about there — when it’s done this well, there’s always room for one more. The album won’t just invite comparisons to the masters, but also less talked-about heroes like Grand Prix/Uriah Heep keyboardist Phil Lanzon and Planet P mastermind Tony Carey. Opening track “June” is eight solid minutes of diversified keyboard wizardry, with a gradual crescendo of synthetic frosting graduating to high multi-keyboards drama executed with a plethora of sounds. Likewise, “Secrets Behind The Curtain” is another card-brandishing servo that does the Godfathers proud.

Tracks like “Space Peace” and “A Song For John” are more piano-centric and showcase a subtler side to Boutrup’s compositional prowess. “Eddy Will Not Be Ready” is a classical-trance hybrid with pipe organ, synthbass and slick scalar colorations. The final eight-minute statement “The Black Event” bears an ominous title but unveils a Banksian homage of legato soloing on a robust synth patch that recalls what the great Genesis keyboardist used to do before embarking on a new poolside career.

It’s not just a fitting close to an album of sterling keyboard prog, it’s a beacon to let all know this much-maligned corner of the genre isn’t all just shadows and cracks, and is alive and well.

Highly recommended to enthusiasts of the genre and lovers of keyboard rock.


Reviewed by: Elias Granillo Jr.

Link to ProgNaut & review

October 29th, 2011|

Progression: The Symphonic Dream – Review (US)

usa USA – The Symphonic Dream

Some 20 years ago after his first band gig, Danish keyboardist Lars Boutrup  offers a second solo album, following his well-reived 2005 debut. This time, he and drummer Fredrik Sunesen recruit two bassists to help rock more, resulting in a happy meduim somewhere between minidism and bombast.

Thoughout, Boutrup displays clean, well-honed chaps on piano, organ and synthesizer while avoiding overkill. All he lacks is a bit of edge that classic prog keyboard wizards wielded when needed.

Sunesen´s percussion is tight and tasteful, while the bassists add almost enough comph to compensate for any absent guitars.

More a series of vignettest han developmental, each pjece carries just enough to become memorable without tedium, and Boutrup´s sensitive orchestration is usually perfect.

I first cranked thi son a late afternoon drive through the country under a brilliant blue sky, and it made my day. The title track´s theme could easily drive a film score, the grand piano on ” Space Peace” and ”A Song For John”  was worth seveal listens; ”Eddy Will Not Be Ready” was a fun, funky disco surprise

Rating 13


Reviewed by: Phil Todd

October 1st, 2011|

ArtRock.se: The Symphonic Dream – Review (SE)

Sweden flag Sweden – The Symphonic Dream

Danske klaviaturspelaren Lars Boutrup har ett långt förflutet i ett antal bandkonstellationer genom åren
(har t ex spelat i Simcess Off Celeberty, Sing-Sing, Supernova, Juruda Music, Evil Masquerade, Slowdogs and Baby Electric). År 2005 släppte han dock sin första egna instrumentala platta (”Lars Boutrup´s Music For Keyboards”) och här kommer alltså ytterligare en platta med samma artistbeteckning men med undertiteln ”The symphonic dream”.

Plattan är som väntat fylld med låtar dominerade av diverse keyboardssound, alltifrån piano till mer utstuderade samplings- och synthinstrument. Till sin hjälp har han också Andreas S. Jensen på bas och Fredrik Sunesen på trummor. Och tur är väl det för annars tror jag verket hade låtit lite väl fattigt, trots de mäktiga sounden.

Men jag måste säga att musiken på plattan inte tilltalade mig på ett sätt som lockade mig till så värst många genomlyssningar. Visst är det tekniskt helt OK men jag saknar tydligare melodiska strukturer och spännande arrangemang. Det här är tyvärr rätt vanligt när det gäller instrumentala plattor från klaviaturgenier. Tillsammans med andra musiker i en bandkonstellation kan de imponera men på egen hand på en hel fullängdare saknas ofta tillräckligt med inspiration för att hålla intresset uppe. Till och med en sån stjärna som Rick Wakeman i Yes led av detta – det är verkligen inte alla av hans plattor som håller lika hög klass. Jag tycker faktiskt det blir bättre när man spelar med flera skickliga musiker och där man komponerar inte bara för egen del utan för andra (gärna med sångare). Bästa exemplet här är Nick Magnus (som brukar spela med Steve Hackett) som gör alldeles lysande soloplattor fyllda med en uppsjö av gästmusiker. Här i Sverige har vi Lalle Larsson som ett annat väldigt bra exempel.

Nåväl, för att återgå till Lars Boutrup’s platta så får jag väl ändå till slut säga att hans inledningslåt ”June” och avslutningslåten ”The Black Event” är riktigt trivsamma. Här hittade han några fina teman och gästmusikerna får en hel del plats. En annan läcker sak med plattan är det urtjusiga omslaget med havstema.

Rating 5 of 10

Reviewed by Karl – Göran Karlsson


Link til ArtRock.se & recension

August 20th, 2011|

ProgWereld: The Symphonic Dream – Review (NL)

The netherlands The Netherlands – The Symphonic Dream

2011 zal een gedenkwaardig jaar zijn voor de uit Denemarken afkomstige toetsenist Lars Boutrup. Niet alleen vanwege zijn ontmoeting met Abraham dat jaar, zeker ook omdat zijn tweede solo-album “The Symphonic Dream” dan wereldwijd wordt uitgegeven. Het album, waar de toetsen regeren, is in z’n geheel instrumentaal en omdat ik nogal graag vocalen hoor is het eigenlijk verwonderlijk dat ik mijn duimen zo hoog in de lucht steek. Ik kan er niet omheen; ik vermaak me kostelijk tijdens de vele luisterbeurten die dit album van me krijgt.

“The Symphonic Dream” is een blijvertje. Ik hoor een hoop hartstocht en in gedachten zie ik Boutrup al helemaal uit z’n dak gaan achter zijn arsenaal. De meeste nummers zitten stampvol stuwend orgel en synthesizer. Het is elektro in het kwadraat. Direct al is te horen dat Boutrup een zeer ervaren muzikant is. Zo speelde hij in talloze bands en maakt hij momenteel furore met de band Juruda Music. Daarnaast heeft hij voor meer dan 200 ‘stomme’ films de muziek geschreven en uitgevoerd.

Voor de drums heeft Boutrup net als op zijn debuutalbum een beroep gedaan op een echte drummer. Fredrik Sunesen heet de man en hij ziet zich ditmaal ondersteund door Niels Knudsen en Andreas Jensen op basgitaar. Dat scheelt natuurlijk meer dan een slok op de spreekwoordelijke borrel, want de muziek is ondanks de stoïcijnse, haast machinale ritmes vaak een stuwende en energieke boel. Je zou het bijna spacerock noemen. Je kunt de muziek nog het makkelijkst aanduiden met het woord ‘going’. Er zijn maar weinig overgangen en breaks te horen. De muziek gaat zogezegd z’n gangetje zonder noemenswaardige sfeerwisselingen. Ondertussen riedelt de Deen er lustig op los. Het fijne is dat hij z’n kundigheid niet gebruikt om zichzelf in de etalage te zetten, maar om de muziek lekkerder te maken. Dat hij z’n loopjes en solo’s niet wat harder ingemixt heeft is dan ook best wel jammer. Niet dat hij een Rick Wakeman is of een Jean Michel Jarre, maar in die richting moet je het toch zoeken.

De onderlinge nummers zijn goed gevarieerd waardoor het album een strak geheel is. Er zijn zweverige en gedragen songs, je hebt up-tempo tracks of nummers met een mid-tempo beat. Tot twee keer toe komt Boutrup met een pianonummer en dat is buitengewoon slim. Space Peace en A Song For John zijn dan ook welkome rustpuntjes. Het titelnummer The Symphonic Dream is het meest symfonische van het stel, maar dat is ook niet zo verwonderlijk gezien de titel. Dat brengt me bij de enige twee euveltjes van de plaat. Zo zou een meer progressieve structuur binnen de nummers het album mogelijk interessanter hebben gemaakt. Een tweede puntje is dat door het vele gebruik van strings de productie niet zo transparant is. Alles wordt nogal dichtgesmeerd.

Wat blijft is een album met acht nummers die gehoord mogen worden. Een droom is maar een droom. De werkelijkheid is een leuk toetsenalbum.

Dick van der Heijde


Link to ProgWereld & review

August 6th, 2011|

The Progression Rock: The Symphonic Dream – Review (CA)

Canada flag Canada – The Symphonic Dream

Danish keyboardist Lars Boutup is kind of a ‘have keyboard will travel’ kind of guy. Looking over his resume one is struck with the fact, he’s always working with somebody. The Symphonic Dream is his second solo release and you have to wonder where he finds the time? Boutrup has worked in a succession of bands that include; Simcess, Big Bang, Evil Masquerade and Supernova. In addition he’s recorded with many others. Then he’s become known for providing the music for over 200 silent films in Denmark and Sweden. For this second release Boutrup (keyboards, organ, synthesizers) has once again enlisted Fredrik Sunesen (drums, percussion) and for the first time brought in bass players Niels W. Knudsen and Andreas S. Jensen.

The Symphonic Dream is everything you might expect from a keyboard album of that name and more. There are eight instrumental tracks half of which are around the eight-minute mark. As with any instrumental album it’s sometimes difficult to hear the intended musical references to the actual composition’s title. None-the-less each of these pieces tends to offer up a cinematic, grand-scale sound. A number of them start out like the theme song of a dramatic movie, not surprising given Boutup’s penchant for working with film, but then the sound changes to more of a classic symphonic prog as the bass and drums kick in providing the essential rhythm while Boutrup provides layers of atmosphere and various solos. One of the things I liked was that he avoids the typical solo-keyboard pitfall of trying to impress the listener with too many musical performance styles. He stays clear away from any keyboard display of ragtime, jazz, honky-tonk, rock-n-roll and sticks to a symphonic theme. That said he also avoids a samey-ness as each of these compositions conveys its own feel. The music is dramatic at times, melancholy at others. It can be upbeat and then slow and moody. Much of the music features layers of lush, complex keyboard arrangements but then again these are balanced with moments of quiet solo piano.

It’s clear from the first listen that Lars Boutrup is an accomplished keyboardist with lots of great musical ideas inside him. The Symphonic Dream is the type of disc that will have instant appeal to fans of keyboard oriented symphonic progressive rock. It touches on lots of hot-buttons and is a very satisfying listen. The songs contain depth and variety and hold up really well over repeated spins. I really liked his musical approach and I look forward to hearing more. You should check it out.


Reviewed by: Jerry Lucky

Link to Progression Rock Files (Jerry Lucky) 

July 30th, 2011|

Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal – Review (BR)

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


July 21st, 2011|

DPRP: The Symphonic Dream – Review (NL)

The netherlands The Netherlands – The Symphonic Dream

Tracklist: June (8:08), Secrets Behind The Curtain (7:50), The Symphonic Dream (8:56), Space Peace (4:06), Thanks For Everything (5:19), A Song For John (3:55), Eddy Will Not Be Ready (6:55), The Black Event (8:02)

A project with a name like Lars Boutrup’s Music For Keyboards has a name that is self-explanatory with respect to the predominant musical instrument. But the music of the Danish keyboard whiz’s outfit incorporates much more, namely bass and drums. Good things come in threes, and this trio (bass duties are handled on various tracks by two different bassists) serves up a sugary, symphonic concoction of instrumental prog across the CD’s eight tracks on the group’s sophomore effort, appropriately entitled The Symphonic Dream.

Boutrup, on keyboards, organ and synthesizers, is joined by returning drummer and percussionist Fredrik Sunesen and newcomers on bass Niels W. Knudsen (Xcentrik) and Andreas S. Jensen (Funktuary). Boutrup himself has recorded and toured with no less than a dozen bands since his time as a teenager in the late seventies, and has interestingly also done music composition and performance to over 200 silent films screened in Sweden and Denmark. His experience shines on The Symphonic Dream, and it’s not just symphonic we’re dealing with as an influence here. Whether by accident or design, Eddie Jobson’s “industrial prog” template laid out in the UKZ track Radiation makes appearances on a few tracks of The Symphonic Dream with respect to the dark orchestral style keyboards and the often machine-like drumming elements.

This is evident to a point on the unique title track, which showcases recurring tsunamis of drumming from Sunesen, choral synthesizer elements from Boutrup evoking Tangerine Dream, and stabs of bass from Knudsen.

A few other tracks on the CD evoke German prog project Mind Movie, such as Thanks For Everything which spotlights pendulum swings of bass from Jensen, some synthesizer runs from Boutrup evoking The Alan Parsons Project and freewheeling drumming from Sunesen.

Eddy Will Not Be Ready is another Mind Movie-like tune starting with a Prokofiev-esque feel and digital string keyboards from Boutrup, all giving way to a techno-rock dance beat flavoured by shimmering ribbons of synthesizer and fortified by the drumming of Sunesen, the whole shebang pointing to the Vozero trilogy era of Phil Manzanera as a commonality.

Overall the CD is not unlike the solo work of Erik Norlander, but without Norlander’s often used minor key arrangements.

You can check out samples of music from the CD, as well as some samples of Boutrup’s other work, by hitting up the link above.

The four-way foldout CD booklet is colourful and professionally done, featuring a panoramic ocean photograph in the foldout as well as track listing on the back face and credits.

This CD will appeal mostly to fans of keyboard driven instrumental prog. Those lyrically oriented purveyors will have to choose something else for their next karaoke night.

I would say that the main area of improvement or opportunity for Boutrup with his next release is to compose his tracks with stronger endings, as many of the tunes on The Symphonic Dream end in drumless almost ambient sections and come across as weaker than their respective intros. So my rating comes in half a point under recommended.

Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10



Link to DPRP – Dutch Progressive Rock Page & review

July 10th, 2011|

Vampster: The Symphonic Dream – Review (DE)

German flag Germany – The Symphonic Dream

Wieder mal Interesse an entspannender und nicht zu verkopfter Instrumentalmucke? Dann könnte “The Symphonic Dream” von LARS BOUTRUP´S MUSIC FOR KEYBOARDS was für euch sein. Wie der Projektname schon vermuten lässt, spielen die Keys hier die absolute Hauptrolle, unterstützt wird Lars Boutrup aber dennoch von zwei Bassisten und einem Schlagzeuger.

Die Tasten stehen trotzdem klar im Vordergrund, rein elektronisch wie besipeielsweise bei KLAUS SCHULZE oder JEAN MICHEL JARRE geht es aber eben auch nicht zu. Viel eher lässt sich “The Symphonic Dream” vielleicht mit ZOMBI vergleichen, klingt im direkten Vergleich aber bombastischer, überladener und irgendwie auch mehr in die Prog Rock-Ecke schielend.

Die Stücke pendeln sich alle zwischen knapp vier und neun Minuten ein und wirken trotz vieler überlappender Parts doch von Anfang an ziemlich eingängig, was unter anderem auch daran liegen mag, dass das Material wenig kaum vertrackt klingt und immer klaren Linien folgt. Persönlich würde ich mir ab und an vielleicht wirklich noch eine Gitarre wünschen, während nämlich ZOMBI in abgespeckter Instrumentierung perfekt klingen, habe zumindest ich bei den aufwändigeren

Arrangements von LARS BOUTRUP´S MUSIC FOR KEYBOARDS öfter mal den Eindruck, als ob irgendwo ein Soundloch stecken würde, welches von einer 6-saitigen gut hätte ausgefüllt werden können.

Auch so funktioniert “The Symphonic Dream” aber ziemlich gut. Man merkt einfach, dass Lars Boutrup ein erfahrener Musiker und Arrangeur ist, der u.a. auch für EVIL MASQUERADE tätig war und die Musik zu etlichen Stummfilmen komponiert hat.

Der Opener “June” oder das atmosphärische, mit einigen coolen 70s-Licks versehene Titelstück bieten ordentlich Abwechslung und ziemlich einprägsame Melodielinien, dass bei einer Spielzeit von über 50 Minuten und doch immer ähnlich gestrickten Tracks aber auch die eine oder andere Länge vorhanden ist und nicht jeder Part voll ins Schwarze trifft, ist aber natürlich absehbar.

Das ruhig gehaltene “Space Peace” kommt nicht so richtig auf den Punkt und auch die darauf folgenden “Thanks For Everything” und “A Song For John” könnten für mich etwas zwingender sein, dafür entschädigt das härtetechnisch aufgemotzte “Eddy Will Not Be Ready” aber wieder auf ganzer Linie und auch der Schlusstrack “The Black Event” überzeugt mit coolen Harmonien und schönen Melodiefragmenten. Kein absoluter Brecher, aber sicherlich ein Album, welches ich in ruhigen Stunden immer mal wieder in den Player schieben werde – hört mal rein!

Spielzeit: 53:13 Min.

Lars Boutrup – keys, organ & synths
Niels W. Knudsen – bass
Andreas S. Jensen – bass
Fredrik Sunesen – drums


Link Vampster & rezension 

July 1st, 2011|

Get Ready To Rock: The Symphonic Dream – Review (UK)

UK flag United Kingdom – The Symphonic Dream


As the name suggests, Lars Boutrup is a keyboard wiz from Denmark who has been on the Scandinavian music scene for a number of years – both playing in various bands and composing music for films.

‘The Symphonic Dream’ is his second outing as a solo artist. His first, ‘Music For Keyboards’, was a completely solo effort, but this time he has employed a couple of bass players plus a rather fine drummer to energize proceedings.

So, does it work? Well, yes and no really. Sorry to get all Liberal Democrat on your arses but it really depends if keyboards are your thing.

This is an eight track, completely instrumental album and, as such, really needs to lead the listener by the ears in a number of different aural directions – a classical theme here, a swell of synths there, a touch of Keith Emerson here a bit of Jean Michel Jarre there, and to this end it just about succeeds – though it’s touch and go at times.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that the boy can play, and at times here he sounds absolutely inspirational, but there are also times when he labours the point with the over-repetition of themes and riffs and you find your attention wandering.

Best track on the album by a country mile is the title track which sounds very similar to the music used by the BBC in their coverage of the 6 Nations rugby this year – a very Jarresque theme and some tasty Hammond thrown in for good measure.

If the rest of the tracks had been at this standard, five stars beckoned. As it is, it’s very good but just lacks that je ne sais quoi that makes a good album great. Fans of the aforementioned ELP and J-M Jarre will find plenty here – the rest of us will have to wait for album three which, if he could just vary things up a bit, could be a corker.

Review by: Alan Jones


Link to Get Ready to Rock & review

June 10th, 2011|

Lydtapet: The Symphonic Dream – Review (DK)

Denmark flag Denmark – The Symphonic Dream

Det var med bange anelser, jeg første gang satte cd’en i afspilleren. Cover og titel lugter langt væk af søvndyssende anti-stress musik, men det viste sig – heldigvis – ikke at være tilfældet. Helt godt er det dog heller ikke…
Lars Boutrup har været udøvende og indspillende musiker i mange år. Selv husker jeg ham fra Simcess i slutningen af 80’erne, men han har optrådt i mange andre sammenhænge.
The Symphonic Dream er hans andet album under navnet Music for Keyboards, og som på det første album er her tale om et rent instrumentalt værk, men denne gang får han udover trommeslager Fredrik Sunesen også hjælp af 2 bassister.

Rytmesektionen føjer liv til det lidt syntetiske lydbillede, som Lars’ orgie af ’keyboards, organ & synthesizers’ giver. Men rytmesektionen fjerner ikke mit indtryk af, at Lars’ lyd er temmelig bedaget. Jeg tror ganske enkelt, man skal være vild med keyboards for at forelske sig i dette album. Men det er Lars med sikkerhed også.
Stilmæssigt sigtes der, trods den totale mangel på guitar, mod den progressive rock. De første 3 numre varer da også omkring 8 minutter hver og indeholder hver især et par fine momenter. ”June” er med sin tålmodige opbygning en udemærket indføring i pladen og i genren, mens titelnummeret nok er pladens bedste. Her rammer Lars en god balance mellem stemning og blær på tangenterne, hvilket komplimenteres yderligere af samspillet med den dynamiske rytmesektion.

Men så satte tangent-trætheden altså ind for undertegnede. Jeg savner i dén grad modspil til Lars – det være sig form af vokal, guitar, samples eller andet. Jeg sidder tilbage med fornemmelsen af at høre et langt og trættende lydspor til en film eller et computerspil af ældre dato. Ikke stemningsfuldt eller bevægende, bare retro på den kiksede måde. Og så nytter det ikke meget, at det er velspillet.

Anmeldt af: Jens Christensen


Link til Lydtapetet & anmeldelse

June 6th, 2011|

Soundtape: The Symphonic Dream – Review (DK)

Denmark flag Denmark – The Symphonic Dream

Lars Boutrup har efterhånden etableret et stort katalog af indspilninger og udgivelser. Udover at have være en aktiv del i bands som Supernova, Baby Electric, Big Bang, Simcess og Jeep m.fl., har han bidraget med kompositioner til mere end 200 stumfilm til både det danske og svenske filminstitut.

På Boutrups andet instrumentale udspil, “The Symphonic Dream”, indgår 8 instrumentale kompositioner, omspundet i et sammenspil mellem atmosfæriske synthesizere og listige soloer. Alle numrene er instrumentale, og lydbilledet bliver hovedsageligt domineret af keyboardspil. Numrene består oftest af opbyggende fraser, som munder ud i diverse keyboardsoloer eller andre vekselstykker.
“The Symphonic Dream” adskiller sig langt fra den typiske pop og rock, derfor er det muligvis tiltænkt, at oplevelsen deri også skal være andreledes. Musikken egner sig bedre som soundtrack til spil eller film, men udover dette vil musikken kun have optimalt formål ved liveoptrædender.

For fans og kendere af keyboard-musikken vil dette album blive en interessant tilføjelse til kollektionen, hvorimod virvaret af toner hurtigt vil blive overskueligt for den almindelige lytter, da man til tider savner et fast holdepunkt.

Anmeldt af: Max Uldahl



May 21st, 2011|

AntiMusic: The Symphonic Dream – Review (US)

usa USA – The Symphonic Dream 

Boutrup specializes in composing music for films and he’s handled that chore for over 200 films in Sweden and his native Denmark. He’s also been in a handful of prog bands, so combine that influence with his propensity for film work and you can sort of imagine what The Symphonic Dream sounds like—big, cinematic instrumentals in a Rick Wakeman vein amongst passages that, with their King Crimson-like quirks, bring to mind groups like Agents of Mercy. It is said that most dreams play out in a matter of seconds; The Symphonic Dream on the other hand lights up the mind for nearly a full hour.


Link to AntiMusic & review


May 16th, 2011|

Sea of Tranquility: The Symphonic Dream – Review (US)

usa USA – The Symphonic Dream

Lars Boutrup is a Danish composer/musician who writes and plays intricate and overwhelming keyboard instrumental pieces. He has written and produced a number of keyboard instrumental albums over the past. With The Symphonic Dream, Lars wanted to add bass players to give depth to the sound coming from his keyboards and synthesizers. He invited Fredrik Sunesen, on drums and percussion, Niels W. Knudsen and Andreas S. Jensen on bass to help add power to this awesome keyboard masterpiece he has created.

This is an excellent keyboard symphony full of dynamic arrangements that keep you forever interested and entertained. Despite this being a completely instrumental work, the rhythms and melodies are full of dynamic progression that will keep you wondering what is next. The best keyboard and synth instrumental album I have heard this year.

“June” opens with slow keyboards and synths before the regal and then cascading synth work begins. The drums and bass join in to fill out the sound and give it depth and dimension. The organ, synths and keys are intertwined perfectly to create a dramatic, awe inspiring eight minute soundscape. This symphonic masterpiece has just lifted off the ground.

The drums that open “Secrets Behind the Curtain” help accent the glorious start to this 7:50 minute epic. The bass also shows up powerfully to enhance the sound and provide a dramatic rhythm to support the keys. The percussion work also does a great job of providing dramatic features to the overall sound. The popcorn – like and other sound effects towards the end are wonderful.

“The Symphonic Dream”, the title track, opens dramatically with what sounds like a vocal choir with chord – like keys and percussion, before the bass and drums enter the soundscape. At 8:56, it is the longest epic soundscape full of dreamy synths, cool bass, percussion and drums. The organ section, towards the middle is an excellent break before the synths and keys re-enter to take control. Every note is precise and timed to provide satisfaction.

Beautiful piano – like keys open “Space Peace”, accompanied by synths. More dramatic and relaxing keyboard melodies roll out and fill the soundscape with dynamic sounds. One of the shortest, but best pieces on the album.

Shimmering keys and synths open “Thanks for Everything”, before darker synths and bass join in. The drumming again is superb. Cool, mesmerizing synths take over and slowly ooze out the sound.

“A Song for John” opens with that wonderful piano like sound again. This time the piano stays and leads the sound throughout.

“Eddy Will Not Be Ready” opens with deep bass sounds and an almost deep pipe organ sound before the cool percussion and drums join in. This one rocks once the percussion takes off. Full of rhythm and a great beat. The organ that joins in later, adds to the overall soundscape, as does the spacey synth which closes out the track.

“The Black Event” opens with soft synths and keys before an almost ‘Close Encounters’ like key rhythm starts. A very cool opening which is carried through this over eight minute epic. Later a bright, almost Tony Banks – like key melody takes over, which eventually closes this song and album.


Reviewed by: Mark Johnson

Link to: Sea of Tranquility & review

May 10th, 2011|

Devilution: The Symphonic Dream – Review (DK)

Denmark flag Denmark – The Symphonic Dream

Intelligent tangentfræs

Lars Boutrup har hurtige fingre, mange ideer, og så svinger skiven selv uden guitarer.

Lars Boutrup dækker selvfølgelig over en mand, der hedder Lars, men også over et keyboard-soloprojekt, hvor man trods fuldstændigt fravær af guitarer, kan tale om progressiv rock – og ikke overraskende, er netop manglende seksstrengshegn det svære punkt at forholde sig til.

Efter flere gennemlytninger ved jeg stadig ikke om ikkeeksisterende guitarer er et problem, fordi jeg forventer dem inden for genren (eller rockmusik i det hele taget), eller simpelthen fordi de mangler! Derfor springer jeg elegant hen over en stillingtagen til dette og giver mig i kast med albummet, men dog inkluderer jeg en advarsel om, at denne indspilning ikke er til keyboardforagtere!

Tålmodighedens triumf

‘The Symphonic Dream’ er en instrumental omgang, og det sætter naturligvis store krav til sangskrivningen, hvor instrumenter (og i denne sammenhæng alene keyboards) skal stå konstant i midten med interessante figurer, melodier og rytmer. Men det giver også mulighed for at opbygge stemninger på en helt anden måde, og her er Lars Boutrup absolut ikke uden evner. Han giver sig god tid til at nå frem til klimaks, og samtidigt er han ikke bange for at holde fast i højdepunkterne og lade dem udvikle sig videre.

Lars Boutrup kommer også vidt omkring de mange lydvarianter, som ikke-fagfolk (denne anmelder) kategoriserer som keyboard, det vil muligvis sige: hammond-orgel, synthesizer, el-orgel, el-klaver og sikkert også et væld af andre udgaver, hvilket er stærkt medvirkende til, at man så alligevel efter en tid må erkende at tørsten efter hegn er forsvundet.
NB. Lars Boutrup kan med mellemrum også opleves som pianist til stumfilm i Københavns Cinemateket.

Anmeldt af: Anders Molin


Link til Devilution & anmeldelse

May 6th, 2011|

Arlequins: The Symphonic Dream – Review (IT)

Italy flag Italy – The Symphonic Dream

Il senso, se dobbiamo trovarne uno, potrebbe essere riassunto in questa frase: “Se uno suona bene le tastiere e vuole dimostrarlo a tutti, è bene che si dedichi al Progressive Rock, meglio se di stampo sinfonico”. Più che una dichiarazione è un luogo comune, ma talvolta calza a pennello e spiega in maniera chiara perché un giovane musicista si “caccerebbe” nei meandri di un genere che non ripaga, specie in termini crudamente monetari.

Lo ha fatto questo Lars Boutrup, danese dalle belle qualità non solo tastieristiche, visto che in questo suo esordio suona tutto, eccezione fatta per batteria e basso.

L’intento del disco è piuttosto chiaro ed è la riproposizione dello schema virtuoso tastieristico del prog settantiano. L’autore cavalca lo stile, non solo del trio più logico Wakeman – Emerson – Banks, ma recuperando certi manierismi anche da nomi come Thijs van Leer e Rick van der Linden, strizzando l’occhio a stilemi molto classici, uniti a tocco e suoni spesso più moderni e talvolta più vintage, come già visto – ad esempio – con i lavori del Pär Lindh Project. Tra tutte queste ispirazioni e queste miscele di stili, risulta difficile trovare un riferimento particolare e superiore agli altri, un lavoro che a tratti è piuttosto vicino, per suoni e tipologia costruttiva, è “1984” di Anthony Phillips, tenendo conto che qui – ovviamente – c’è un forte elemento virtuosistico a discapito di qualche livello emozionale in meno.
Il disco è composto da otto tracce, dai 4 a 9 minuti e quasi tutte, pur piacevoli e melodicamente persino amabili, risultano abbastanza penalizzate ritmicamente, per colpa della linearità delle figure con rullante secco e costante, non siamo a livello del progetto Jabberwocky di Nolan e Wakeman Jr., ma l’orecchiabilità del risultato è piuttosto decisa e si scontra, di conseguenza, con l’esibizione tecnica dell’autore.

Si discostano da quanto detto un paio di tracce: “A song for John” con i suoi quattro minuti di pianoforte, ricco ed evocativo e la pacata “Space peace” quasi una ballad tra il Tony Banks solista di “A Curious Feeling” e certe cose ambient – new age. Mentre è esempio tipico della massiccia ritmicità del lavoro, unita a corse tastieristiche di notevole presenza “Eddy will not be ready”.

Tutto sommato un lavoro di buon senso, che avrebbe potuto essere persino migliore se solo pensato per un pubblico più prog e dalle esigenze meno sbarazzine, ma siamo sempre in quel discorso che si morde la coda da solo: ha senso fare un disco con intenzioni prog, ma che punti anche sull’orecchiabilità per piacere in senso più vasto? Io credo di no, perché, come in questo caso, ne viene fuori un disco solo piacevole, piuttosto che un buon disco.

Roberto Vanali


Link Arlequins & recensione

April 29th, 2011|

Zeitgeist: The Symphonic Dream – Review (UK)

UK flag United Kingdom – The Symphonic Dream

Danish composer /keyboards player, Lars Boutrup, has been recording since the seventies, although his first all solo album, “Music For Keyboards” only came out about 5 years ago. This new release follos on from that with eight new progressive insttrumentals, which hark back to the glory days of keyboard based progressive rock.

As such, it has a limited audience, but prog fans who enjoy dense, instrumental prog will probably have a field day here. It’s not all show-off stuff, although Mr Boutrup quite rightly goes a bit doolally in a few places. Which is his prerogative, as it’s his solo album and his tunes. And he’s hasn’t forgotten the tunes, as there are plenty of melodies here that the more casual listener can hang on to.

It’s a fine mix of synths and organ, especially on ‘June’, which slowly builds into an impressively emotional work. But it’s the title track, ‘The Symphonic Dream’, that really lives up to its billing, as the amazing keyboard work is helped along by an impressive (real) rhythm section. Elsewhere, there are some nice piano lines galore, and just to show he knows how to rock, he turns it up on ‘Eddy Will Not Be Ready’.

If you liked the seventies sounds of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, souped up with a dose of ELP, then this record is well worth checking out.


April 24th, 2011|

Babyblaue Prog: The Symphonic Dream – Reviews (DE)

German flag Germany – The Symphonic Dream

Mit der Projektbezeichnung “Music for keyboards” kann man auch als erfahrener Progressive Rock-Hörer einige allzu oft gehörte Schemata assoziieren. Bei dem Albumtitel “The symphonic dream” und einem Cover, auf dem nur Meer und Wolken zu sehen sind, wären auch orchestrale New Age-Kompositionen denkbar. Nach der Betrachtung der äußeren Merkmale des Tonträgers hatte ich also gewisse Befürchtungen entwickelt, die überraschenderweise doch unberechtigt waren.

Lars Boutrup macht nicht den Fehler vieler Prog-Keyboarder, die grossen Vorbilder Emerson und Wakeman nachahmen zu wollen. Bei einseitiger Betrachtung können selbst bei Boutrup Synthesizer- und elektronische Orgel-Klänge ausgemacht werden, die ohne die 70er wahrscheinlich so nicht möglich wären. Aber der dänische Musiker entwickelt solche Konzepte weiter, so dass ich fast geneigt bin zu meinen: “schaut her, der Gute macht vor, wie man keyboardorientierten Retroprog modern und kurzweilig gestalten und dabei auch noch sich selbst treu bleiben kann. “The symphonic dreams” von Lars Boutrup’s Music For Keyboards ist für mich geschmacksvoller als alle Soloalben von Emerson und Wakeman, was in diesem Fall eigentlich etwas heissen sollte.

Von erster Minute an erklingt kein angestaubter, sondern auf mich modern wirkender, von Tasteninstrumenten bestimmter Retroprog, der – treibend und energetisch – mit einer gewissen Dramatik, unaufdringlicher Symphonik, durchdachten Arrangements und den dem Stückaufbau dienenden Synthesizer- und Orgelsolos zu überzeugen weiss. Die Instrumentals wie “June” und “Secrets behind the curtain” atmen für mich denselben Geist wie beispielsweie der Mittelteil von “Fanfare for the common man” von Emerson, Lake & Palmer: zielsicher, etwas dramatisch und doch verspielt. Ein leichter Industrial-Elektronik-Touch macht einige der Stücke von Boutrop interessanter und moderner. Die New Age-beeinflusste Piano-Romantik von “Space Peace” und das mit der charmanten Akustik eines Nebenzimmers gesegnete, atmosphärische Piano-Solo-Stück “A song for John” gehören hier zu den absoluten Ausnahmen. ELP hatten mal eine Witznummer namens “Are you ready Eddy?”. Boutrup präsentiert nun “Eddy will not be ready”, das jedoch keine Stilbrüche im Vergleich zu den beschriebenen Stärken von “The symphonic dream” bietet und damit keine richtige Antwort auf ELP’s Rock’n’roll-Versuch sein kann. Es sei denn, man betrachtet die aggressive Spielweise, die Boutrup seiner Orgel zuteil werden lässt.

12/15 ************


Von: Siggy Zielinski

Link Babyblaue Prog-Reviews & rezension

April 9th, 2011|
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