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