Gert Emmens is amongst those artists who are getting better every time they come up with a new record.
“Waves Of Dreams” is no exception of this. Again, the Dutchman surprises us with his pleasant melodic retro electronic music that is played excellently.
“After The Rain” opens with soft sequences after which intriguing rhythms take over. In the third part of the track Mike Oldfield-like sequences enter and bring the listener in electronic heaven. This is absolutely top electronic music.
And it doesn’t stay with this piece alone: tracks like “Another Time, Another Space”, “Waves Of Dreams” and the somewhat darker “Bright Spot On A Grey Day” all bear the same quality (well, actually all tracks).
Electronic music that is built up beautifully, with great sequences, atmospheres, Mellotron sounds and solos. Gert sets himself apart from most other retro/Berlin School electronic music by always keeping the melody on top. This makes his music very special.
And the musical content is not enough: also the recording is great, the cover by Pablo Magne beautiful (it almost looks like cover from Pink Floyd or The Alan Parsons Project) and the list of equipment Gert uses (a lot of vintage gear) is very impressive.
This all makes “Waves Of Dreams” amongst the absolute top in retro-electronic music.
2004. Press Information
The brand new CD by Gert Emmens continues his exploration of the early German cosmic EM sound. Filled with dense, celestial compositions that overlap rich melodies and pulsing sequences, the music forms a highly cerebral series of Teutonic Electronic soundscapes extraordinaire.
2009. Archie Patterson
'After the Rain' initially uses a slow sequence, mixing with dreamy shimmering effects to create a lazy laid-back feel. The pace quickens slightly as another sequence strikes up. A slow moody lead line continues the tranquil sunny afternoon feel. By the fourth minute however it is all change as things suddenly descend to dark atmospherics out of which emerges an ominous twangy sequence and brooding lead line. In the seventh minute a rapid tinkling sequence then another with greater oomph lift the spirits and pick up the pace. This isn't all bludgeoning stuff though as the melodies retain that tender element.
'Another Time, Another Space' certainly starts very cosmically. The engines are engaged as a rapid morphing sequence breaks through. We take a breather in the fifth minute. Dark drones set the scene for the best moment on the album so far as a typical mid seventies bass sequence surges forward. This really is tremendous stuff! We reach even greater heights as a lead line enters and the sequence careers this way and that. Even classic mellotron sounds are tossed in for good measure.
We moodily drift through to the title track. The atmosphere becomes more positive, as if a door is opened and the sun comes streaming in. More sequences and rhythms enter as we transcend from beauty to an edgy excitement.
'Dawn' might be the title of the next track but it certainly doesn't sound like it is on this planet. When the inevitable sequences arrive they are bright and joyous like the rays of some alien sun gradually rising above the horizon. A beefier sequence joins the original combination making it seem as if things are getting hotter. The temperature rises still further as a rhythm then positive melodic lead line join in the fun. In the sixth minute things seem to become more urgent, a serious edge cutting straight through the frivolity. Dark melodic stabs add to the unease then the sequences depart and the sun goes down once more.
The mood darkens still further for 'Heading Towards Unknown Destinations'. Clangs, as if from some gloomy cell, mix with the sound of wailing spectres. An inventive jaunty stuttering brace of sequences takes us into the light but there is something almost tribal about the syncopations. Wistful John Dyson type lead lines impart a touch of melancholy. By the sixth minute the pace quickens still further, maybe the chase is on. The atmosphere lightens considerably as we near our destination.
'Bright Spot on a Grey Day' starts with deep space Sci Fi type effects.
A similar sequence to that in the first half of 'Dawn' breaks through. Things become even more exciting as a bass line starts to form. I really thought it would continue to build but instead we chug along nicely before returning to the cosmic effects. Then silence……. before the introduction of a snippet of strange, mysterious, half whispered vocals and windy pads to finally finish.
This CD by Gert Emmens is an excellent work in electronic music at the purest cosmic style.
In "Waves of Dreams" we find six compositions full of sensitivity and electronic romanticism. The composer proves his great imagination by creating a powerful music, with sequencer rhythms forming rather unusual tonal structures. His talent can be also appreciated as he creates complex rhythmic structures, that become perfectly fused with the melodies and the atmospheres. The melodies appear to grow little by little, in a continuous crescendo that reaches incredible heights.
No doubt this CD will appeal to the fans of Gert's music as well as the lovers of Space Sequencer Music in general.
Gert Emmens’ type of EM reminds me of progressive fusion/prog rock from the late ‘60s or early ‘70s (e.g. Yes, King Crimson, and Rush, to name a few). I don't make this comparison in a musical sense, but rather because of how he structures his long compositions.
A popular convention back then for the aforementioned groups was to compose long pieces and give them separately titled “movements” in which different musical themes would be explored, yet still retaining a certain signature sound so the artist/group was identifiable. An excellent example would the multi-part classic from Yes, “Close to the Edge”, which had three movements: “The Solid Time of Change”, “Total Mass Retain”, “I Get Up, I Get Down”.
As Messrs. Howe, Wakeman, et al. wove a musical statement throughout diverse stages of a song, so too does Emmens allow his tracks to migrate across different musical landscapes, although in his case, there is much more variety between the movements. Plus, of course, the music itself bears no resemblance to the progressive rock of that era.
On the opening piece, “After the Rain”, the listener is treated to a brief “sunshower” of twinkling synth notes before echoed retro Berlin sequences delightfully pepper the soundfield, seeming to bounce back and forth, up and down, cushioned by flowing chorales. Before long, a dark strain of Mellotron swirls heralds a change of pace, combined with cyber-organic semi-tribal rhythms over a lush bed of keyboards (this is a very moody part of the song and is decidedly un-Germanic in character). He’s still not done yet, eventually yielding to a classic rapid pulsing of sequenced beats and twinkling tones over warm washes of synths (very Germanic in nature), with majestic chorales and irregular skitch-type beats brought in for good measure.
This is how Emmens differs from many other EM artists today. He not only exercises supreme control over all these separate types of electronic music, but finds brilliant ways to integrate them into cohesive tracks in a way that is not just amazing from a technical standpoint but also yields a satisfying emotional payoff.
There are six more songs (all over ten minutes long) on the CD, so serving up details on the others would require a novelette-length review. Suffice it to say Emmens wields his analog and digital keyboards, his Mellotron, Moogs and MiniMoogs, with equal parts dexterity and passion.
“Another Time, Another Space” unites whistling vibrating analog spacemusic with percolating sequencers and later thumping Berlin-esque pulses. The title track starts amidst ominous drones and rumbles, with some dissonant tonalities as well, but moves into much more accessible and friendlier territory with somber and beautiful synth strings and echoed (and nicely panned!) chirping sequenced notes. The addition of operatic female vocals takes the beauty of the song up even higher, soaring into the ethereal heights, before a rapid-fire synth sequence and dramatic snare-beats bring everything back to earth, propelling the song at the pace of a bullet train.
You want to know what the rest of the album sounds like? Well, go out and buy it, because if you liked what I've described so far, you won't be disappointed. I didn't think this artist would be able to top last year’s obscure movements in twilight shades but Gert Emmens obviously means to not stand still when it comes to making superlative EM, and that’s what Waves of Dreams is, with the emphasis on “superlative.”
Easily, this is one of the best releases in years from Groove Unltd. -- and that’s saying something!
Bill Binkelman / Wind & Wire
This release from 2004 features 72 minutes of lively Berlin School electronics.
Exquisite sequencing provides a heavenly foundation for bewitching rhythms that mount gradually, accreting energy and velocity until they reach a state of cosmic caprice. This joviality is nicely tempered with a serious undercurrent that generates a devastating satisfaction with its well-rounded resonance. Cyclic patterns rise and flourish, evolving and exploring variations with crafty design. Deeply trembling chords become tinged with angelic airs. Tempos unfurl with resolute determination, twirling and propelling the melodies with a softly emphatic drive. Mellotrons produce rich embellishments to the densely layered electronics. Harmonics swarm and collide, merging to create fresh tonalities, all guided by nimble fingers into fascinating tunes. Some of the tracks exhibit a distinctly romantic flair, becoming soundtracks for ardent lovers who lounge on their urban balconies and stare at a nocturnal sky filled with shooting stars. As night slips into morning, the music refuses to shed its dreamlike qualities, boldly ready to face the day with burgeoning exhilaration.
Emmens builds fascinating melodies that cavort amid a backdrop of astral ambience. Hints abound of the man’s retro influences, but he has developed these roots into mature styles of his own.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Gert Emmens is amongst those artists who are getting better every time they release a new CD “Waves Of Dreams” is no exception to this rule. Again, the Dutchman surprises us with his pleasant melodic retro electronic music that is played excellently.
“After The Rain” opens with soft sequences after which intriguing rhythms take over. In the third part of the track Mike Oldfield-like sequences enter and bring the listener into electronic heaven. This is absolutely top electronic music.
Michael Foster / Ambient Visions