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Henry Krutzen - 1997 - "Iceland"

(50 min, Mellow)


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TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Dedicated to Dorian But He Wasn't Listening 19:58
2.  Torquemada's Dream 5:27
3.  By the Sea 2:36
4.  On Her Own 0:56
5.  Per Te 1:47
6.  La Patineuse 1:19
7.  Come Again Some Time 1:46
8.  Future Past 2:33
9.  Pour Julie 1:16
10. Cuchulain 2:23
11. For Joelle 1:51
12. Nostalgia 1:22
13. Au Fil d'Ariane 1:05
14. Trop de Silence 2:56
15. Che Vuoi 2:05

All music: by H Krutzen, except 14: by Ramzi & Solo.

LINEUP:

Henry Krutzen - vocals; keyboards & piano; saxophone; percussion
Alain Lemaitre - bass; percussion & drum programming 
Richard Redcrossed - lyrics 
Jean-Louis Aucremanne - keyboards 
Jean-Luc Plouvier - piano
With:
Wendy Ruymen - violin (1)
Eric Figon - flute (1)
Celine T'Hooft - voice (1)

Prolusion. "Iceland" is the second solo album by remarkable Belgian musician and composer Henry KRUTZEN, who is probably more known to Prog lovers as the primary mastermind behind Finnegans Wake. Here is Henry's complete solo discography: 1981 - "Silances", 1997 - "Iceland", 1998 - "Che Vuoi?", 1998 - "Them" (as Xeno), 1999 - "Moving to Town" (as Xeno), 2000 - "Play La Chance (2CD).

Analysis. I am a huge fan of Finnegans Wake, but I was not acquainted with Mr. Krutzen's solo creation until now (thank you, Mauro). "Island" is an extremely diverse and complex album, touching a wide variety of progressive music's directions. Three out of the fifteen tracks contain vocals, all being performed by Henry. Two songs take the first two positions and are with English lyrics. The 20-minute epic: Dedicated to Dorian But He Wasn't Listening is largely instrumental and is the most diverse. The instrumentation includes piano, organ, synthesizers, saxophone, flute, violin, bass, and also acoustic and electronic percussion. This is a multi-sectional composition with nearly ever-changing arrangements, but isn't a suite, because most of the sections aren't linked among themselves by any common storyline, being done in different, seemingly incompatible musical styles, which makes it quite difficult for a quick comprehending. The classically influenced passages queerly alternate with those of a jazzy origin (the parts of saxophone being purely improvisational wherever they are), the latter slightly resembling "VII" by Soft Machine, though there is also an episode with ambient textures and somewhat an oriental female vocalization soaring over them. Two sections feature Henry's singing, the instrumental arrangements sliding somewhere between Art-Rock and quasi Jazz-Fusion. Torquemada's Dream is an unplugged version of the eponymous song from the second Finnegans Wake album, "Green". The feeling dramatic vocals (on the quite philosophical lyrics, with a touch of a bitter irony) develop alongside the symphonic piano passages, which were once disturbed by the dissonant improvised solo of saxophone, evoking obscure associations with RIO. The remaining song, Trop de Silence, is in French, featuring only vocals and piano passages. It is located on the next to last track, though I would have preferred to see it in the third position. Except for the sax solo, it's much in the same vein as Torquemada's Dream. As for instrumental pieces, two of them, Cuchulain and By the Sea, could have also been used as the initial material for Finnegan's Wake. They present the more intimate approach to combine symphonic and more angular, RIO-like textures, with jazzy and metallic overtones respectively. Che Vuoi is mainly an improvisational interplay between vibraphone and bass, though the middle part of the piece also reveals elements of electronic music. The other nine tracks, all being placed in the core of the CD, were performed exclusively on piano. Three of them: Future Past, For Joelle and Nostalgia are Classical music-like pieces, and the others are either pure or quasi improvisations.

Conclusion. This material clearly displays that its creator is an unbelievably versatile musician, with a perfect knowledge of probably all existing harmonies: symphonic, improvisational and those related to Avant-garde academic music. "Iceland" is an excellent album, destined to the open-minded listeners with a wide musical horizon.

VM: Agst 4, 2005


Related Links:

Mellow Records
Henry Krutzen


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