when darkness falls upon the earth


Gert Emmens - When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth


releasedate: 2005, Spetember 22 th


1. Rendez Vous With 2004 MN4     
2. When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth  
3. Nostalgia 
4. Casting Shadows On The Cold Ground 
5. The Day After (extended version)
6. Requiem Pour Sam     

coverdesign: Pablo Magne
mastering: Ron Boots
more info and soundclip here
ordering: Groove Unlimited



Paul Rijkens for E-dition - ***** (out of 5)

Gert Emmens has the unique ability to mix elements from the Berlin School with excellent melodies. Don’t expect ultra-long experimental and spaceintros and stretched sequencerlines. No, all of his tracks have a head and a tail. This approach has put the Dutchman on the very top of electronic music. "When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth" proves this once again. 

The album starts in "Rendezvous With 2004 MN4" with a great (short) ambientintro, played on a Korg Wavestation, after which the sequences and rhythms fall in. Gert’s solos (amongst others -he uses a lot of "old" gear- the legendary Yamaha CS80-synth) are fat and fit the music. What an opening. But there is more. 

The titletrack and "Nostalgia" contain some of the best melodies Gert has ever composed. -

The rather Tangerine Dream-like "Casting Shadows On The Cold Ground" is maybe his most Berliner Schule-track so far. The sequences are masterful. "

The Morning After-extended version" was initial a piece written for a Analog Project. 

"Requiem Pour Sam", with which the CD ends, is a short melancholic track that was made special two fans of Gert because of the sad loss of their little boy Sam. Personally, I find this the best album Gert has ever made. And the cover by Pablo Magne is again great.


Artemi Pugachov

"Rendezvous With 2004 MN4" has a few seconds of atmospherics before a sequence appears which is then joined by a bass one and some lovely Mellotron string swells. The effects on this track are excellent. Some of the sounds reminded me of Gert's previous effort, "Waves of Dreams". Typical melancholic, sad atmosphere prevails which has by now become a trademark of Gert. Nice soloing with a new timbre as well. A very laid back number. After the 8-minute mark the sequences are emphasized and let to fly on their own. The Mellotron string sound returns, adding extra depth and atmosphere. I do notice the excellent sound quality of this release - nice mastering work, indeed! A mournful lead line can be heard that after a while cries alone, in a desolate, misty soundscape. Wow! This is some moody stuff! 

The epic title track starts with dark sheets of sound. Incredible sound design - Gert just gets better and better in this regard. A whistling synth solo gives it all a vaguely Kitaro-ish mood. After 2 minutes, though, the expected sequences do come in and... BOY, this is some DARN GREAT sequencing!! All my thumbs are up in sheer ecstasy! Somewhat reminds me on Jarre's "Arpegiateur" (my favourite Jarre track). Excellent melodies as well. I'm telling you, guys, this is some of the best Berlin School music I've heard. Looks like Gert has mastered the art of sequencing to a degree where few can follow him. An atmospheric section comes at the 6-minute mark and gets somewhat darker towards the end. Another sequence starts supported by lovely Mellotron strings. The sequence is more bass-laden and menacing this time. The rhythm that comes a few moments after is very enjoyable and swiftly supports the sequencer runs. A lead line flashes on top - this is pure Berlin School EM which is simultaneously atmospheric and melodic. The next synth solo had me in raptures - this is so tasty - it sent shivers down my spine as I flew through desolate landscapes and cosmic ether - very moody stuff. Ok, enough of the New-Agey talk, the finale to this track is anything if pure bliss, with the Mellotron string sound giving may to dark sheets of sound we heard at the beginning. 

"Nostalgia" starts with gentle soundscapes but then a few melodic notes suddenly drop out of nowhere and then a misty synth lead joins - sort of romantic sounding stuff, but still way out in space. A galloping bass sequence fades in that is then joined by another melodic one. An impeccable journey that has so much feeling put into it, it's amazing. A total change of pace and rhythm comes after 6 minutes into the track - a more floating section dominated by synth solos and melodic sequences. It all ends on a reflective note with some excellent use of Mellotron flute sound. 

"Casting Shadows On the Cold Ground" (those titles...!) begins with some of the deepest sounds so far, like echoes from a subterranean world. Whisper-like effects add to the spooky atmosphere. A Mellotron choir fades in ever so slightly with the whole picture bearing an almost Lustmordian air. This is some new ground for Gert in which he seems to be equally skillful. A persistent bass sequence appears along with some more familiar synth / Mellotron sounds. After a while it turns into real sequencer heaven. Really, if you dig sequencer-based synth music - this is it! Dramatic effects, mournful leads, soundscapes, rhythmic pulsations - it's all there. On this album you will find lots of whistle-like (or theremin-like if you know what I mean) synth soloing and this track is no exception. We finish on a sad, dark and dramatic note - this music expresses fear, longing, pain and anguish and does it so well - you can almost feel it down your throat. Gert's emotional prowess has never been so strong and evident. 

"The Morning After" is an extended version of a track composed for an analogue sampler project. It's a bright number with melodic sequences, EMS-like effects, melodies and slightly phased pads. After the darker tracks that preceded it it's like seeing a sun ray glide along the surface of long suffering Earth. The second part however is more insistent, with slightly more aggressive sequences and a return to minor chords. This section has an almost classical feel to it, especially when the sequence subsides. There is a strange humming sound underneath and when I listened to it, I thought someone forgot to turn off the hairdryer. :-) 

"Requiem Pour Sam" ends this excellent album of neo-prog Berlin School Electronic Music on in a rhythmic sequency fashion, still retaining the aura of sadness and melancholy.


© 2005 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space


With Ruud Heij or without, Gert Emmens has quickly established himself as one of the top names in electronic music these past few years. His latest solo effort, When Darkness falls upon the Earth, is no exception. 

Rich pads fill the opening moments of “Rendezvous With 2004 MN4,” followed by slow and steady sequencers, both a main part and a bass part, paired up perfectly. Synth percussion and drums come next, then soaring strings complete the package. Even though Emmens treads familiar Teutonic territory, he always maps out a niche of it that is easily recognizable as his own. On the lengthy title track, churning restless textures and a cool “ooo-eee-ooo” synth lead get things going. A steady chugging rhythm is next, followed by – what else? – more excellent sequencing. Gert tells me that Ruud is a master at sequencing, but he’s clearly learned a lot from his frequent collaborator, sustaining a great trance-inducing loop of his own. A metallic shimmering ambient section in the middle is excellent as well. The sequence following this is a rich, slowly looping bass tone, a dead ringer for some of David Hendry’s exceptional work under his O-Head moniker. 

The driving rhythm of “Nostalgia” is soft but insistent. 

Eerie electronic echoes begin “Casting Shadows on the Cold Ground,” the spacious sci-fi quality reminding me of Chuck Van Zyl’s The Relic. A very cool sound effect like a cross between percussion and human voice samples is next. Splashes, twitters and other effects burst forth here and there as it goes along, propelled along by yet another bit of fine sequencing. 

The disc ends with the touching  “Requiem Pour Sam,” a beautiful tribute to friends who lost a son. Emmens just keeps getting better and better.



Lew Fisher / Progday Society

I am not an expert in what creates Electronic Music. I only know that Electronic Music has been a favorite of mine since first hearing Tangerine Dream's Phaedra album in 1975. I know what a Sequencer, Synthesizer and Mellotron sound like, but that's about the length and breadth of my technical prowess in EM gear. What matters to me is the artist knowing and thereby creating a music that paints a picture without words and speaks to my heart as well as my mind.
Dutch composer, Gert Emmens is one artist who knows. I won't bore you with details of great sequencer lines and haunting soundscapes. The music will certainly speak for itself. This review will focus more on what this music means to me as a listener and as a fan.
"When Darkness falls upon the Earth" is a refreshing twist to a sometimes stagnant "Berlin School" sound. I discovered Gert's music in 2004 with his brilliant "Wanderer Of Time" album. Although all of Gert's albums ( either solo or with Ruud Heij) are excellent, this new album manages to surpass his previous work as it seems to be a total idea or concept; a topic Gert wanted to "speak" on.
The "Darkness" is not about lack of sunlight, but is a metaphor for the times we live in. Gert's haunting and melancholy sense of rhythm in his compositions speak volumes to me of loss, fear and in the end, hope.

"Rendezvous WIth 2004 MN4" opens this journey. A desolate landscape opens up as if on an alien world filled with ancient temples as the music of the ages ring through them. This music is ancient and romantic, with a sense of mourning of the past. Gert's ability to texture and layer the music is brilliant. It's hard to believe this is only one man playing this music.
"When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth" can be interpreted as a comet heading toward the earth, or seeing images of war, fear, desolation and strife right here in the real world. Either way, this track lends to the urgency of the need for change in Earth's path. As the track progresses, there is a sense of "blackness" as if made blind to what is going on around us. The world is in a darkness that needs to be changed.
"Nostalgia" is indeed a way of re-living, or mourning the past. Images of our life can be set to this passage and watched, as if it were on film. Memories of a better time, or at least a simpler one. Through Nostalgia, a rebirth is possible. Remember the good things and make them your own blueprint for living.
"Casting Shadows On The Cold Ground". Gert's ability to create images in his music is brilliant. This track is indeed cold, forbidding and at times, frightening. Shadows all over the ground, as if burned into the ground as the horrors of Hiroshima depicted. Devastation, fear and hopelessness abound in the feeling of this track. Surely, Darkness has fallen. "The Morning After" can be seen as the world has turned the tide and is finally in peace. There seems to be a lot of "joy" in this track as it features a triumphant synth line that would usher in a new way of thinking and creativity. In a world of so many languages and beliefs, it's always music which brings people together.
The final track, "Requiem For Sam" is about a family of Gert's acquaintance who lost their baby in childbirth. It's a very touching song and fits well to end the album.

Summary: Gert Emmens is one of the best in the EM genre today. His "signature" sound is becoming more and more recognizable with each album. Any Electronic fan would do well to get this album.
Allow the Darkness to light up your listening room.


2005. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity

This release from 2005 features 75 minutes of moody electronic music.

This CD features a theme, a tale if you will, involving the collision of an asteroid with the Earth. Yet, despite this gloomy subject, the music is hardly fatalistic or desolate. Emmens takes a dire mood and elevates it with awestruck grandeur, applying gripping melodies whose drama transcends the standard disaster panorama. Much of the majestic tuneage is concerned with mortal survival in the face of overwhelming odds.
Epic harmonics are teased with pensive keyboards, producing a dramatic flair that is enthralling and hopeful. Demonstrative percussion provides a spectacular dignity, with the noble rhythms injecting power as well as pep to the heroic music. As each track unfolds, the mood rises from tenuous harmonics into full-blown epic resplendence. While maintaining a comfortable relaxed nature, the tunes accrete greatness with each passing moment, conveying the incredible power contained in a simple lump of space debris, transforming that igneous state into unbridled force as the object interacts with our atmosphere. And then, when the catastrophe has occurred, the music generates a stolid courage as mankind faces the challenge of a darkened tomorrow. Perseverance and empowered optimism are the dominant dispositions communicated by this superb soundtrack.

The cover graphics by Pablo Magne superbly capture the notion of a gigantic object plummeting through the atmosphere, colliding with the ground and darkening the sky for untold millennia with volcanic ejecta.


Stephan Schelle

Der aus den Niederlanden stammende Gert Emmens ist wieder sehr fleißig gewesen, erscheint doch neben seinem Album „Blind Watchers Of A Vanishing Night“, das er zusammen mit Ruud Heij einspielte auch noch Ende 2005 sein neues Soloalbum mit dem Titel „When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth“. Der Titel lässt erst einmal auf sehr düstere Klänge schließen, doch wer Gert’s Musik kennt, der weiß, dass sein Name eher für herrliche Melodielinien steht.

Auf sechs Trips, deren Laufzeit zwischen 4:26 und 18:33 Minuten Länge liegen, nimmt er uns mit. Track 1 startet nach einem ca. zweiminütigen Beginn, bei dem er eine eher surreale Stimmung aufbaut, mit Loops aus seinem Sequenzer, auf denen er dann seine Melodielinien aufbaut.

Sound und sanfte Melodien sind so, wie ich sie am liebsten mag und sorgen dafür, dass man so schnell nicht davon loskommt. Kopfhörer auf und einfach fallen lassen. Auch das Titelstück beginnt erst atmosphärisch und geht dann in einen rhythmischen Sequenzerteil über wechselt dann aber mehrmals Melodie und Struktur, so dass der Titel über 18 Minuten sehr abwechslungsreich bleibt. Das erinnert streckenweise an die „Berliner Schule“.

„The Morning After“ ist auf dieser CD in der langen Extended Version von über 14 Minuten Länge enthalten. Der Track war auf dem Sampler „Analogy Vol. 1“ erschienen, dort aber in einer 6:23minütigen Version herausgekommen. Auch mit diesem Silberling hält Gert seinen Standard an hochwertigen Elektronikproduktionen aufrecht. Wer die bisherigen Alben von ihm mochte, wird auch das neue Album lieben.

Dezember 2005


Uwe Saße

...... kann sowas nur von Gert Emmens richtig umgesetzt werden.... ;-))
Es ist erstaunlich , wie Gert seine CD-Titel in Musik ausdrückt. Treffender kann man es kaum spielen. Der Titel lässt etwas düstere Stimmung vermuten , ich würde sie als Geheimnisvoll und Mystisch beschreiben. Ich mag die weiten Flächen in seiner Musik , man hört intensiv zu , weil man nicht anders kann ......
Aber nicht nur die Musik ist klasse , die ausgewählten Cover hinterlassen ebenfalls einen bleibenden Eindruck . Daher ein Tip von mir : nehmt Euch Zeit um die Musik zu geniessen und dabei immer wieder das Cover ansehen . Musikerlebnis pur !!!


David Law (SMD)

A deep rumbling drone gets 'Rendezvous With 2004 MN4' underway. A lovely slow haunting two-note melody calls out and receives an echoed reply. A superb sequence flies forth. A rhythm fits perfectly between the pulsations and we are now careering along at quite a pace, gentle pads providing a contrasting softness. Strident lead lines strike up in the sixth minute as if shouting out in ecstatic joy, the positive vibes being enhanced by the deployment of a further jaunty sequence. A belter of an opener! The title track comes next appropriately oozing misty, brooding atmospherics. A sonic shimmer makes it sound as though the rays of the sun are trying to break through but are answered by a powerful bass sequence as if forcing them back. A brighter sequence then strikes up, battling with the first and we are soon in an avalanche of wonderful pulsations.

A slow wistful melody hangs in the air like birds soaring high above looking down upon it all. All subsides to gentle pads in the sixth minute. This gentleness suddenly develops an uneasy character however as if darkness is descending. Another sequence, of the lovely deep rumbling variety, now becomes the main feature. A big whooshing sound heralds the arrival of a steady head nodding rhythm. From here the music once again becomes very positive and optimistic. 'Nostalgia' commences with cosmic colouring before bright melodic tones let rip. They fade away as a sequence breaks through and grows in stature. The pace quickens with the introduction of motoring rhythms. With four minutes to go it is all change in every department but things are still syncopated with a positive joyous edge. 'Casting Shadows on the Cold Ground' begins all dark and eerie like being in a forest alone late at night. The sounds of animals, or worse, being constant companions. Little chattering unintelligible vocal effects add to the feeling of dread. A really deep sequence starts up. Another is added, twisting and morphing around the first superbly creating an ever-shifting pattern of notes from which are launched a lead line (using an eerie fifties type Sci Fi film sound) and multitude of sonic twitters and whooshes. The best track on the album.

'The Morning After- extended version' first appeared on a compilation but at half this length. The sequence comes in very quickly and once more it is excellent. Again the mood is uplifting and full of hope (obviously not that sort of Morning After feeling on losing count of the number of beers consumed the night before). Little melodic touches are allowed to hang in the air then fade into the ether. The strongest melody line of the album so far then hurls itself triumphantly from the speakers- wonderful stuff. At around the seven-minute mark all is change as everything subsides to windy effects. A very different sequence to the first strikes up and when combined with the accompanying melody the mood is somewhat more reflective. 'Requiem Pour Sam' begins with a little echoing motif but a sequence and rhythm are also deployed almost straight away. Fitting to the subject matter the overall feeling is rather sad but there also seems to be a positive element there too. So to sum up- some great sequences and fine melodies but for the most part much more uplifting than your average 'Berlin School' type album.