obscure movements in twilight shades



releasedate: 2003, September 27th


1. The Day The Wind Blew Out The Light
2. Obscure Movements In Twilight Shades
3. Entering The Dark Depth          
4. Voice From The Past     

coverdesign: Pablo Magne
mastering: Ron Boots
more info and soundclips here
ordering: groove unlimited




Paul Rijkens:

With his albums “Asteroids” and “Wanderer Of Time” (Also on Groove Unlimited), Dutchman Gert Emmens has established himself as one of the leading musicians in the retro/melodically style. On “Obscure Movements In Twilight Shades” he manages to further master this. The album contains music he has written exclusively for his concerts at the “E-Live festival” on September 27 2003 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

On “Obscure Movements In Twilight Shades” Gert uses some very impressive classic synthesizers like the Minimoog, Multimoog, Moog Sonic Six, Polymoog and Korg 800 DV (remember this from Kitaro?). His music can best be described as great sequences and fine solos combined with beautiful melodies and a pleasing overall atmosphere. A very impressive track on the album is “Entering The Dark Depth”. The title is a good one because it starts with dark Mellotron choirs and nice effects after a brilliant sequence enters. Another well-found title is the last track “Voice From The Past”. It leads the listener back to the golden seventies when electronic music was a big thing. Again, this piece bears his own melodically style.

Things have developed really fast for Gert during the last years.
Where will he lead us to next?


Roel Steverink / Exposé magazine no 28:

Lately, a whole bunch of new synth composers are seeing the light in the Netherlands. Emmens is one of them who debuted with Elektra around the end of the 90s. It’s obvious he likes long tracks, which have several sequencers running, up front melodies and occasionally a fine solo on top. But Emmens doesn't do it the Schulzian way with long stretched carpets, although the first track betrays his love for Picture Music.
No, he treats the listener to some fresh changes. Out of this cluster of effects a new sequence pattern takes form (some really hit the nail on the head). They don't run on their own, after some minutes they’re accompanied by drum-machine rhythm. Further you have precisely timed effects, resonant synth drones (though never oppressive), some fine Mellotron and of course beautiful choir.
But generally Emmens goes for the more catchy tunes, with a Vangelisian romantic flare. Emmens is at his strongest when imaginative sequencers take hold with iron strong melodies in their wake, like on the best and last track “Voice from the Past”.
All in all, an enjoyable album.


Edgar Kogler:

The creativity as a composer that Gert Emmens has flows through several ambiences. Yet the one that, in my opinion turns out to be his best asset in front of other artists of Space Sequencer Music and of Synth-Pop is the fact that he gives free rein to his musical inspiration, without tying himself to pre-determined structures, nor to pre-conceived ideas on how a track related to these styles should sound.
This is why his compositions happen to be so imaginative and wealthy in nuances. In "Movements in twilight shades", we find a new instance of this skill. The pieces, far from monolitic approaches, experience endless transformations, yet they never lose their identity nor do they become mere compilations of micro-themes.
The structure is completed with very well developed melodies over rich synthesizer orchestrations, sequencers of a great expressiveness that, besides sustaining the rhythm also contribute melodic nuances and futuristic atmospheres with a certain industrial, nocturnal air.


Bill Binkelman (Wind and Wire):

Here is an album of four long (between fifteen and nineteen minutes) EM soundscapes that unfold patiently (even when the music is fast tempo) by one of the more unrecognized artists in the genre. Emmens combines Berlin school elements with a strong melodic sensibility as well as borrowing from other European styles of electronic music at times. He is not some mere Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze knock-off yet he is also different from other modern practitioners of Germanic EM, e.g. Rudy Adrian, Paul Ellis, and Dom F. Scab. Emmens composes/performs highly visual, deeply evocative suites, somewhat like a classical music approach (although never sounding like classical music of course). His long compositions sometimes have "movements" containing refrains and motifs, yet the songs sustain mood and atmosphere throughout these sections. By melding flowing melodies and catchy refrains with more traditional Berlinesque sequencers, rhythms and keyboards, the result is refreshingly complex and yet also accessible (the latter is even more remarkable given the average length of a piece on this album).
Flowing melodies and lively beats at the start of "The Day the Wind blew out the Light" open the CD in remarkable fashion, featuring retro-pulsing synths in the mid-section that call to mind EdgarWinter's "Frankenstein!" morphing into classic Berlin sequences and washes of lush keyboards with plenty of spacy effects underneath it all. The title track opens with serene floating washes, a la Jonn Serrie, before introducing reverbed notes and a nice mellow mid tempo sequence that builds in intensity before heading into a series of dramatic soaring refrains amidst synth chorales. Percussive effects become more complex as pitch-bent whistling tones snake their way through the sequenced beats, eventually slowing down to incorporate mellotrons washing over you like refreshing waves before ending in a rapid fire sequence pattern. "Entering the Dark Depth" is appropriately moody, with minor key tonalities, mid to lower register synth choirs, and a melody blended with darkness and foreboding. Sequences are folded in later with darkly-tinted percussive effects heavily echoed. However, even here Emmens' flowing sense of musicality runs through the piece. "Voice from the Past" closes out the CD with eerie rumblings and burbling effects that evolve into quasi-new age soundscapes, featuring flute-like keyboards (mellotrons?) set amongst ethereal choir tones and other spacemusic-like sculptings. Of course, a nice driving rhythm of sequenced beats emerges with quavering horn-like tones echoing here and there. Later, tasty arpeggios bounce up and down the scale, buoyed by a smooth undercurrent of synth washes. Dramatic tenor/baritone chorales enter the picture and the song enters full dramatic swing.
The dense mix on this CD (as well as its perfect engineering) make headphones almost essential, unless you have the luxury of turning up your music really loud. Even after five or six playings, I'm sure I haven't even started to glean all I could from obscure movements in twilight shades. This is an outstanding recording in the EM genre and I highly recommend it as a showcase for slowly developing soundscapes that blend Berlin school with other European elements as well as entertaining occasional forays into spacemusic and a tiny slice of electronic new age music, too.


Carl Jenkinson:

Gert Emmens has certainly come along in leaps & bounds over the past two years, capturing just the right balance of memorable melodic & sequenced/spacey music in a style that never seems to lose it's popularity & adding his own talents to the mix.
Each of the four long tracks here has more than one section, which sometimes sound like ideas for two different tracks, a habit that many EM musicians have practised over the years & something which is a real peeve of mine as it's more satisfying to hear a good idea developed & matured well.
For all that, though, Emmens manages to pull many memorable moments out of the bag with the opening "The Day The Wind Blew Out The Light" demonstrating his knack for not only thinking up some rather cool titles but also for knowing just the right sound works best with any given melody & although there is definitely a greater reliance on sequencers here than was the case with the preceding "Wanderer Of Time" this remains Emmen's strongest point which makes this album another successful one for Gert.


David Law (SMD):

Metallic shimmers abound as the opener 'The Day the Wind blew out the Light' warbles into life. A superb melodic sequence soon surges forward along with a little tuneful motif. Drums come in, hitting the spot perfectly as this already superb track just gets better. More melody is added in the form of slow sighing pads. Simply beautiful. We get a whooshing / splashing interlude in the eighth minute then things take a rather dark, windy, sinister turn. Out of this a fantastic mid seventies (think 'Rubycon'ish) sequence emerges. It morphs this way and that as a second sequence falls into formation. There is lead detail but it plays the supporting role.

The title track is initially full of bright glistening pads, creating quite a magical atmosphere. The sequence starts very low in the mix disguised by slow melodic note droplets. It gradually begins to make its presence felt whilst ethereal, sighing backing gives soft contrast. It's all very pleasant, relaxing and rather easy on the ear. We get a moody mellotron interlude from which another sequence emerges. This one is much more urgent than in the first half and when a foot tapping rhythm joins it the whole track starts to motor. I suppose the sounds at the beginning of 'Entering the dark Depth' could very well conjure up images of being far underwater but they also sound very cosmic to me. Whatever there are some lovely breathy pads and sonic shimmers. An excellent sequence fairly bounces to life and proceeds to get better and better, the addition of drums giving even greater oomph. An optimistic lead line blazes out but soon subsides again to be replaced by a slow tuneful relaxing melody. Two new sequences momentarily replace the old then its back to the atmospheric depths. Gradually layer after layer of sequence return and within no time at all a real body-moving groove is created. We return to the deep ocean to finish. 'Voice from the Past' seems to start off right where the previous track finishes. We then get tranquil flutey synth with tron backing. When the sequence emerges it is a superb one, reminding me of something of a cross between TD's 'Stratosfear' and 'Tangram'. A lead line comes in, and very pleasant it is too, but my attention was still locked into that excellent sequence. Another sequence joins the first and if anything it is even better! Steam starts hissing out between the pulsations as we enter new heights of brilliance with even a moody twist or two along the way. This really is a superb track and a stunning way to finish the album.