Reviews: The Great Beyond2020-03-05T18:47:52+02:00

Reviews: The Great Beyond

DPRP The Great Beyond – Review (NL)

The netherlands  The Netherlands – The Great Beyond

Back in the progressive rock scene of the 70s and early 80s, Patrick MorazRick 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. TWhatever 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
The Great Beyond

Link to DPRP – Review: The Great Beyond

May 23rd, 2020|

Backgroundmagazine: The Great Beyond – Review (NL)

The netherlands  The Netherlands – The Great Beyond

Lars Boutrup is a Danish keyboard player. So far he has released three albums as Lars Boutrup’s Music For KeyboardsMusic For Keyboards came out in 2005. Followed by The Symphonic Dream in 2011. In 2015 he finally released Small As A Ball.

Now five years after the last album Small As A Ball, Lars Boutrup released his fourth work under the project name Music For Keyboards. Like the predecessors, The Great Beyond also gives you the right dose of instrumental progressive rock mainly performed on the organ. This time around he is accompanied by Niels W. Knudsen on bass and Spike Noir on drums.

How does Boutrup succeed on the new album? There are a lot of pieces that appeal even if the overall impression has some left to give. The skill of the instruments is faultless as are the arrangements, as lovers of symphonic music, here are a number of tracks for that taste. Here you will find both atmospheric parts and melodic pieces. All of the nine compositions are written by Lars Boutrup and are this time around mainly up tempo pieces except for Inventio and Klavier Stück Für Freude.

These are the compositions on which the rhythm section went out for a break. They are probably for me the highlights on the album. Inventio is a great piece of music which sounds like an orchestra but performed on the string synthesizers. What I like most about this tune, is Boutrup’s taste for wide-ranging orchestrations and his ability as a symphonic arranger, he certainly does not lack the ambitions of a classical composer. Anybody who can read the German language knows what Klavier Stück Für Freude means in English. A piano piece for joy translated. Well the title says it all. It’s just a clever classical piano piece, nothing more nothing less. Reminding me a little of the Late Keith Emerson because of the bit of jazzy influences.

As for the other up tempo pieces on the album you could say they are mainly happy tunes to listen to. Some of the titles here also tell you what to expect. For example Ich Will Tanzen is in English I want to dance. And you can mainly dance on up tempo music, right? The best up tempo piece is without doubt the title track. Here Boutrup relies primarily on fat organ and synthesizer sounds and you can hear he is very much inspired by artists such as Keith Emerson or Jon Lord. But also the Dutch keyboard player Rick van der Linden (Trace and Ekseption) might be one of his influences without any doubt.

Even if bombast, spherical elegance and massive themes prevail, the music also has a certain groove and catchy melody, which enable relatively easy access to the music. So the music ticks professionally interpreted and nicely staged in the best keyboard prog manner, usually rather cheerfully.

If you have a soft spot for symphonic keyboard music and if you like Ars NovaThe Nice, Trace, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Ekseption, Gerard to name but a few, this might be your cup of tea. You can certainly try out this release as well, but beware these are only references. Because Lars Boutrup’s Music For Keyboards has certainly a style of his own and is certainly not a copy cat!

Reviewed by: Henri Strik
The Great Beyond

Link to Backgroundmagazine – Review: The Great Beyond

May 23rd, 2020|

BetreutesProggen: The Great Beyond – Review (DE)

German flag Germany – The Great Beyond

Fünf Jahre nach dem letzten Album “Small As A Ball” legt der dänische Keyboarder Lars Boutrup sein viertes Werk unter dem Projektnamen Music For Keyboards vor. Wie die Vorgänger bekommt man auch auf “The Great Beyond” die gehörige Dosis instrumentalen Progressive Rock und  etwas Hard Rock im Retro Flair. Begleitet von Niels W. Knudsen (Bass) und Spike Noir (Schlagzeug) wurden die neun Kompositionen von Lars Boutrup geschrieben und sind logischerweise von erheblicher Tastendominanz gekennzeichnet. Boutrup setzt dabei auf vor allem auf fette Orgel- und Synthesizersounds und fühlt sich laut eigener Aussage von Künstlern wie Keith Emerson oder Jon Lord inspiriert.

Selbst wenn Bombast, sphärische Eleganz und wuchtige Themen vorherrschen, so durchzieht die Musik ebenfalls ein gewisser Groove und griffige Melodik, die einen relativ einfachen Zugang zur Musik ermöglichen. So tickert die Musik fachkundig interpretiert und gefällig in Szene gesetzt in bester Keyboard Prog Manier meist munter im Mid-Tempo vor sich hin.

Leider vermisst man dabei echte Überraschungen, so fällt es wirklich schwer ein offensichtliches Highlight herauszupicken – am ehesten noch die beiden in Deutsch betitelten ‘Ich will tanzen’ bzw. das sehr klassisch geprägte ‘Klavier Stück für Freude’. Nichtsdestotrotz wandelt die Musik mitunter scharf am Rande der gut gemachten Beliebigkeit. Nicht falsch verstehen: handwerklich und von der Produktion her kann sich dieses Album durchaus hören lassen, aber aus persönlicher Sichtweise heraus, verharrt die Musik doch viel zu stark in den ihr selbst auferlegten Grenzen.

So gehen die rund 46 Minuten launig und flott als ordentliche Unterhaltung durch. Wer ein Faible für sinfonische Keyboardmusik hat, mag hier sicherlich ein Ohr riskieren. Hörbeispiele sind auf der Homepage des Künstlers verfügbar.

Bewertung: 8/15 Punkten

Reviewed by: Kristian Selm
The Great Beyond

Link to BetreutesProggen – Review: The Great Beyond

March 5th, 2020|

Get Ready to Rock: The Great Beyond – Review (UK)

UK flag UK – The Great Beyond

Danish keyboard wiz Lars Boutrup evokes organ grinders of a bygone age.  In doing so he also fashions his own version of classic keyboard-led rock.  ‘The Great Beyond’ is quite simply highly addictive.

There is nothing quite like hearing a Hammond organ played really well and within a tight song structure.  ‘Mr. T’ is essentially the album’s opening blast and is a perfect showcase for Boutrup’s compositional and musical talents.  A six minute workout that also evokes the very best that this genre has produced.

‘Whatever Mama Said’ could be some long lost sci-fi theme with deft orchestration punctuated by Spike Nior’s “Let There Be Drums” beats.  Similarly ‘Dripping Cycles’ sounds like something you might hear as the end credits roll.  It should come as no surprise, then, that Boutrup has composed the music or played to more than 200 silent movie pictures in Scandinavia.

If you like the albums that Geoff Downes (Yes, Asia) produced under the New Dance Orchestra moniker you will like this.  ‘The Great Beyond’ manages to not only evoke seventies bands such as the Dutch jazzy prog rockers Trace but create a groove and contemporary vibe of its own.  ****

Reviewed by: David Randall
The Great Beyond

Link to Get Ready to Rock – The Great Beyond review 

March 5th, 2020|

Tempiduri: The Great Beyond – Review (IT)

Italy flag Italy – The Great Beyond

“The Great Beyond” è il nuovo lavoro di Lars Boutrup valente tastierista danese che con questo disco giunge al ragguardevole traguardo dei quattro lavori.Il fatto poi che Lars Boutrup faccia musica strumentale la cosa è assolutamente degna di nota perché di questi tempi è difficile trovare artisti del genere; ma è ancor più difficile trovare qualcuno che sia disposto a  perdere del tempo per ascoltare una musica di siffatto genere.

Il nostro è un musicista dallo stampo classico che si rivolge ad un pubblico adulto; viste anche le sue influenze che vanno da Keith Emerson a Jon Lord. Ma non solo,infatti ascoltando il disco infatti mi è venuto in mente quanto fatto a suo tempo da Patrick Moratz e Bill Bruford tastierista il primo e batterista il secondo che hanno pubblicato diversi dischi e tra i quali mi sento di consigliarvi “Flags” il cui approccio è molto simile.Non potrebbe essere altrimenti anche perché, come dico spesso: “per ascoltare cose nuove bisogna essere curiosi ed avere una mentalità aperta”. Questo non perché sia difficile, per i molti, ascoltare della musica “particolare”.

Faccio questa affermazione solo perché ritengo che chi abbia interesse verso questo genere musicale ha già di per se un bagaglio tecnico pregresso di ascolto che gli permetterà poi di apprezzare e anche giudicare, come nel mio caso, di recensire un disco come questo.Ascoltando questo lavoro ci si rende subito conto di trovarsi di fronte ad un artista di indubbio talento e la musica che produce ha a che fare con un rock progressivo con forti tinte neo classiche. È quindi chiaro poi che citare i riferimenti soliti del genere: Elp; Yes; Trace; e Pink Floyd sia del tutto normale.

Il grande pregio di questo disco è che oltre ad essere registrato magistralmente è anche suonato benissimo. In questo disco non si trovano le strutture musicali intricate proprie del rock progressivo e permette quindi a chi lo ascolta, di vivere un’esperienza molto piacevole e permette di arrivare alla fine del disco senza troppi patemi d’animo.

Merito anche del fatto che lo stesso si componga di nove canzoni e che le stesse non abbiano una durata troppo lunga. Parliamo di una durata massima di circa 7 minuti e mezzo per “Dripping Cycles”. Mentre la più corta (e parliamo di circa quattro minuti), intitolata “Klavier Stück Für Freude”.Molto divertente è invece “Jerry and the suitcase” tanto è vero questo , che ritengo sia  un brano adatto ad un airplay .

Dico sempre che il Progressive, più di ogni altra musica, ha capacità immaginifiche; di questo fa parte anche The Great Beyond e sebbene si tratti di musica strumentale, in taluni casi è impossibile non farsi trasportare dall’ascolto immaginando luoghi o situazioni del tutto particolari. Anche ascoltando la suggestiva “Inventio”: una traccia suggestiva dagli arrangiamenti molto larghi che ti fanno immaginare di volare tra le nuvole.

Altro pezzo molto bello è il pianistico “Klavier Stück Für Freude”. Dalle atmosfere tardo romantiche chiude in bellezza un brano dalla spinta elettronica della title track.In chiusura certamente “The Great Beyond” è un ottimo lavoro adatto agli amanti del genere e dei progster di tutto il mondo. A tutti gli altri dico: “avvicinatevi senza timore a questo genere e potreste scoprire di aver perso tempo per non aver ascoltato prima musica del genere . 

  1. The Rising
  2. Mr. T
  3. Whatever Mama Said
  4. Dripping Cycles
  5. Jerry and the Suitcase
  6. Inventio
  7. Ich Will Tanzen
  8. Klavier Stück Für Freude
  9. The Great Beyond

Lars Boutrup – keyboards, organ and synthesizers

Niels W. Knudsen – bass

Spike Nior – drums, assorted percussion

Reviewed by: Stefano Bonelli
The Great Beyond

Link to Tempiduri – review: The Great Beyond 

February 28th, 2020|
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