Reviews United KingdomMFK2019-07-11T14:34:57+02:00
Reviews United Kingdom
Get Ready to Rock: The Great Beyond – Review (UK)
UK – The Great Beyond
Danish keyboard wiz Lars Boutrup evokes organ grinders of a bygone age. In doing so he also fashions his own version of classic keyboard-led rock. ‘The Great Beyond’ is quite simply highly addictive.
There is nothing quite like hearing a Hammond organ played really well and within a tight song structure. ‘Mr. T’ is essentially the album’s opening blast and is a perfect showcase for Boutrup’s compositional and musical talents. A six minute workout that also evokes the very best that this genre has produced.
‘Whatever Mama Said’ could be some long lost sci-fi theme with deft orchestration punctuated by Spike Nior’s “Let There Be Drums” beats. Similarly ‘Dripping Cycles’ sounds like something you might hear as the end credits roll. It should come as no surprise, then, that Boutrup has composed the music or played to more than 200 silent movie pictures in Scandinavia.
If you like the albums that Geoff Downes (Yes, Asia) produced under the New Dance Orchestra moniker you will like this. ‘The Great Beyond’ manages to not only evoke seventies bands such as the Dutch jazzy prog rockers Trace but create a groove and contemporary vibe of its own. ****
Get Ready To Rock: The Symphonic Dream – Review (UK)
United Kingdom – The Symphonic Dream
LARS BOUTRUP’S MUSIC FOR KEYBOARDS – The Symphonic Dream (2011)
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.
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.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, all the way from denmark, Europe – Mr Lars Boutrup! Which is a wholly inappropriate way of introducing this refined album of instrumental, prog electronica.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Lars has worked in the classical field and that of silent movie music as, at its best, there is a cinematic, sweeping feel to his sound.
It covers a wide range from the bouncy “Agent Orange” through the bombastic “The Day After” and into the album highlight, the organ heavy “Emersong” – yes, really. Nearly as good is the nine minute album closer, the portentous “Rockall”.
For fans of keyboard driven prog this should give much pleasure.