The Netherlands – The Great Beyond
Back in the progressive rock scene of the 70s and early 80s, Patrick Moraz, Rick Wakeman, Duncan MacKay, and other artists recorded some great keyboard dominated rock albums. These types of recordings are more rare these days, which help to peak my interest in Lars Boutrup’s Music for Keyboards. His moniker is not at all misleading because the The Great Beyond is an extravaganza of keyboard playing from start to finish. Heavy emphasis is placed on synthesizers and organ with a sound that leans heavily towards classic era prog.
The album is fully instrumental and musically forceful without drifting into metal territory. Think Emerson/Wakeman style performances driven by heavy synth/bass/drum rhythms. Boutrup’s skills as a keyboardist are well on display, but the focus is on composition and melody rather than musical muscle.
Tracks such as Mr. T, Whatever Mama Said, and Jerry And The Suitcase are great examples of old school progressive rock with a bit of Larry Fast (Synergy) style synth work thrown in. There are also some effective breaks in the form of mellow piano and symphonic songs (Invento, Klavier Stuck Fur Freude).
The Great Beyond is a very enjoyable album for any keyboard aficionado, but also a satisfying listen for anyone who likes good, old fashioned, instrumental prog.
Reviewed by: Patrick McAfee