releasedate: 2001, May


1. Ceres
2. Pallas     
3. Juno
4. Vesta     
5. Chiron
6. Geographos


coverdesign: Fred Schulenberg
mastering: Gert Emmens
Ordering: Groove Unlimited  Article number is: 43741




Sequences #26 (March 2002), by Carl Jenkinson

If the title 'Asteroids' brings to mind the ancient arcade game (which I was never very good at!) then you can think again as this second release from a memeber of the growing Netherlands synth contingent (and, on this showing, certainly one of the best.) claims the name for his own with a quite superb release.
This follows on from an earlier release entitled 'Elektra' and shows a talented and skilled artist at work.
It's not that Gert does anything original on this album, it's just that his attention to composing, dynamics, atmosphere with some superb melodics thrown in make this a most enjoyable offering. Take the opener 'Ceres' for example, starting off in a traditional cosmic vein and building up into a slow and stately rhythmic number it's main strength is it's production which brings depth to the spacey mood and is a major plus point for Gert, even overcoming the analogue drum rhythms which are usually a jarring counterpoint to rich music such as this. It's not without it's teutonic moments, of course but these occur only in small doses, such as the opening sequences of 'Juno' which soon develops into another skilfully managed rhythmic piece and the closing 'Geographos', the latter helped by the Mellotron that accompanies the bassy sequence. Like most of the tracks this doesn't rest on it's laurels, boasting another memorable melody which accompanies the track as it progresses and develops. This is another asset of Gert's, as demonstrated by the 15 minute 'Vesta' which can be seen as a piece of two halves. The first being another memorably majestic piece with more superb melodics and the second a more uptempo section which sticks in the memory first play and begs for repeated listenings. 'Chiron' is another uptempo number with some rather snazzy sequencing interfacing with more synth leads to top effect. 'Pallas' is, perhaps, slightly less successful in that it doesn't really develop in the way one might have hoped but this does nothing to alter the fact that this is probably one of the best instrumental EM albums I've heard this year and ought to establish Gert as a major force in European EM.

Paul Rijkens (Klem #107 (October 2001),  IO Pages #33 (August 2001))

Gert Emmens is not a stranger anymore in the world of the Dutch Electronic Music. Asteroids is his second CD-R and he performed at the Alfa Centauri festival. A pleasant thing about Gert's music is that he is not only influenced by the so called ''Golden Age'' of the electronic music (the second half of the seventies) but also performes his music on instruments that are partly from that period. The music of Emmens is a melodic variation of the Berliner Schule. The six tracks on Asteroids are all build up and played on a capable manner and have many variation and excitement. The first track, Ceres is a good example of that: at first a dark intro after which sequences are starting, accompanied by Mellotron-choirs. This is typical for the whole CD-R. Especially Juno is a very strong track. When I listen to this song, I get overwhelmed with very pleasant memories. Just as when I heard Moonwind from Wavestar for the first time, because Juno is related to that music. The solo's are also good. I think the most brilliant song is the closing track Geographos: again Mellotron-choirs, excellent sequences, nice rhythms and relaxing melodies. This is one of the best Dutch Electronic Music productions ever, as far as I know.


Spacemusic Discussion of space-music and floating ambient

ASTEROIDS is an album of tightly arranged serious spacemusic realizations
that is as much well put together and carefully thought-out as well as it
is spontaneous and unpredictable. Emmens draws on influences from the early
days of "Rubycon" and "Stratosfear" on into the "Tangram" and "White Eagle"
period of Tangerine Dream. Sequencer patterns, analogue leads and pads plus
the ever present urgencey and solemnity our spacemusic so well conveys...

David Law of SMD (Synth Music Direct):

First I must mention the packaging and artwork. This is one of the best presented CDRs I have ever seen. In fact its only when you inspect the playing surface of the CD that you would know it is not a 'conventional' CD. The artwork looks as if it has been professionally printed on good quality paper, not just run off an ink jet and even the CD is directly printed on rather than use a transfer. Superb, well done to all those involved.

We begin the first track 'Ceres' rather appropriately with dark cosmic sounds then after a couple of minutes a rapid sequence abruptly bounces from the speakers. It mutates beautifully and a splashing high hat line shimmers over the top. The music gains power as the track progresses but there is a sudden change in direction at the seven minute mark as the sequence first mutates one way and then another. A slow rhythm gives the track further momentum and takes us to a very satisfying conclusion. From that excellent start we move on to the second track 'Pallas'. Again we start with cosmic sounds, this time with a sort of sighing vocal quality to them. At five minutes a bouncy rhythm becomes the main focus with melodic pads playing a supporting role. By the end of the track I did find my attention beginning to wander a little but on the whole a good track.

'Juno' is a great little track - excellent and contrasting sequences combine together to form a really appealing pulsating brew that got my whole body bopping to it. Even the melodic detail was well done. 'Vesta' begins with laser type noises, dark drones, cosmic effects and strange animal noises. It easily takes the mind to strange alien worlds but then brings you back to reality again as the first sequence forms. It is a gentle one providing some structure rather than shaking the foundations. When the rhythm comes in it plods along with the sequence and was a little under produced or 'thin' sounding to these ears but it doesn't play a major role and soon disappears as does the sequence. We enter another short cosmic section out of which a very laid back sequence and rhythm emerges. Sort of easy listening retro if you like.

'Chiron' uses bells to accompany more cosmic noises. The track starts nicely, the sequence working very well with some deep reverberating stabs but again the drum sounds just didn't really do it for me and the lead line that came in around the four minute mark was much too high in the mix and again the sound chosen didn't really work. Its a bit frustrating as there is much about this track that works very well, the sequences and melodic pads for instance are always very satisfying. As we are beginning to expect by now the final number 'Geographos' has another cosmic start and this one is absolutely fantastic, sounds and effects picked being some of the best I have heard in a while. A lovely rapid sequence break through and in classic retro style in comes the mellotron- works for me every time! The pace quickens momentarily at the five minute mark adding interest to an already excellent track.

Nearer the end we get a laid back lead line which calms things down somewhat. Up to this point this has certainly been the best track on the disc but again its the drums that come in during the last quarter that were just a bit too easy listening for my tastes but other people might like them. Let me know.