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