Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label
A Progressive Technicolor Musical Dreamscape For Rock Fans of All Hues.
For many years I’ve been quite dismissive of instrumental albums, but this year I’ve received 7 and four have now made it onto these hallowed pages; and all four have been as disparate as music itself and all are things of beauty in their own idividual rite.
The story behind this one is quite fascinating; as, obviously I first encountered guitarist Jan Akkerman one Tuesday evening watching the Old Grey Whistle Test when Focus made their first UK appearance ……… MIND BLOWN!
That Saturday I went to Newcastle with my best friend Malcolm who bought Focus 3 from JG Windows. We spent that evening, much of Sunday and several nights the following week wallowing in the depths therein and trying to decipher this wondrous and intriguing music.
Leap forward nearly half a century and I hadn’t even finished reading the e-mail asking if I’d like a copy of the Dutchman’s latest release when I’d replied ‘yes please’.
The intricate acoustic guitar that leads us into opening track Spiritual Beauty is almost hypnotic, and is gently followed by a handful of instruments that combine to create an other-worldly opus that combines Flamenco and Eastern musical styles; and the title itself couldn’t be more apt.
Another 7 minute opus follows with the Semi-Classical technicolor dreamscape, Beyond The Horizon; but fear not Rock Fans, the vast majority of tracks here are more +/- 4 minutes in length!
Akkerman crosses many musical boundaries here; taking me (and you) into uncharted territories with Passagaglia and and the Electro-Rock stylee Meanwhile in St Tropez; which will more than likely find it’s way into a perfume advert one day.
There’s a majesty to the music here I’ve not heard in many years; these tracks are all completely different, yet inseparable the way Jan and his producer have sequenced them to take us on a beautiful journey.
Obviously this album and the songs therein are never destined for commercial radio play; although I would hope someone like Jazz FM would be brave enough to play French Pride or the 8 minute plus Good Body Every Evening, while the new Classical radio channel Scala should be able to squeeze in Retrospection and Reunion without losing or baffling any listeners.
Then there is the difficult task of selecting a Favourite Track, most of those I’ve mentioned have their merits and a couple of others are still making my head spin; but one track in particular has made my heart skip a beat; Don Giovanni is more or less the cornerstone for everything else to spin wildly from its centrifugal force. Part Classical, part Rock and more than a little bit Trip-Hop too, this really is four minutes of sheer musical magic.
I’ve been troubled about my summation for a couple of days now, as the expression that keeps springing to mind is ‘background music’ ……. normally a detrimental term; it really is the best description for this collection of tunes ……. the perfect accompaniment for reading the Sunday papers or perhaps even a book (remember them?); but as I am now ……… you can always put on a good pair of headphones and drift away into Akkermanland where you won’t have a care in the world.
As Jan Akkerman himself says;
“The title was inspired from a simple notion, that when you are too close to an object you cannot see the real value. The same applies to music.”
“My aim is to create beauty in my music; I like diversity and freedom.”