2004. New in stock at the Hypnos store for the first time!
Recorded and mixed at ACE Studio, Aartselaar, Belgium
Produced, composed, performed and engineered by Frank Van Bogaert
Sleeve design by Kris Van Bogaert
Frank De Ruyter - sax, vocals
Nick Van Bogaert - vocals
Mien Van Bogaert - vocals
Belgian keyboard player Frank van Bogaert is amongst those musicians who have the ability to make music of great warmth and depth with synthesizers and samplers. Next to this, he is an excellent composer. He is very well at home in all sorts of music: from pop, via world to orchestral and symphonic. On many times, he is regarded the new Vangelis.
On his fifth album “Closer” Frank again creates a showcase that ranges from light and easy accessible to monumental pieces of great beauty.
Just take “Coming Up From Air”. This track could easily be used as film music.
Frank’s diversity is clear in “Rorogwela” where he uses a traditional melody originally from the Solomon Islands, also used by Deep Forest (one of Frank’s sources of inspiration) and Jan Garbarek.
Big symphonic tunes can be heard in pieces like “Melting”, “Europe’s Dawn”, the fantastic “Dans (da:ns)” and “Sweetness”.
Sometimes he also just sits down an (acoustic or electric) piano, plays softly and dresses this up with synths.
“A Picture Of You” and “Falling Leaves” are fine examples of this.
At other times, he lets the rhythm do the job, not forgetting the melody (“Closer” , “Caleidoscope”).
With “Closer”, Frank adds another highlight to his growing number of masterpieces. If you have heard one of them you want them all!
Review by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity:
"This release from 2004 features 64 minutes of masterful electronic music.
Belgian composer van Bogaert has a way of transforming synthesizer melodies into epic constructions that bristle with majestic proportion. Even his simpler compositions seem to evoke a grandeur that parts the clouds to reveal a panorama of optimism.
Stately keyboards dominate this music with a peppering of pleasant percussion. Serious piano and expansive electronics blend with heavenly atmospherics to create delicate passages that stir the soul with their tender melodies, imparting a gentle yearning with idyllic flair. For the most part, demonstrative outbursts play a minor role; this music flourishes in more sedate territory, exploring a gentler, more human side of electronic tuneage. Regal touches elevate even the most trivial excerpt, however, injecting a sense of importance to each note. The emotional focus of this music examines nature and humanity’s coexistence with the world. Van Bogaert’s compositions evoke an innocence that softly merges mankind with its environment, often exemplifying the adage that observation makes one a part of the scrutinized circumstance.
Fans of classic Vangelis will enjoy this release. One of the tracks utilizes a traditional melody originally from the Solomon Islands, the same one used by Deep Forest and Jan Gabarek on their popular recordings."
--2005. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Review by Bill Binkelman:
Closer represents a slightly new direction from keyboard artist Frank Van Bogaert, as he moves into an even more accessible and more dramatic arena than his previous CD, Human. Personally, I miss some of the more overt EM elements that enriched Human, but I must admit that Closer has many moments that made me turn up the volume or hit the “repeat” button on my CD player. There is no denying this man has an incredible knack for crafting catchy instrumental music, full of a love for life and melody and a celebration of both.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the revved up opening title track, with its propulsive rhythms, massed male and female chorales, and full on Vangelis-like keyboard assaults. If this song doesn't raise your blood pressure, or perhaps even make you feel like running a mile or two, you better check your pulse - you’re probably dead!
Throughout the remaining thirteen songs, Van Bogaert almost proudly displays his affection for Vangelis’ dramatic instrumentation and style, but as he has done on previous albums (such as Human, Docking and Colors) he does not cross the line into outright imitation, but always finds ways to build on the Greek artist’s foundations and add layer upon layer of his own magic, resulting in songs like “Coming up for air” which intermixes overt EM percussive textures with more “new agey” chorales and lush strings and romantic piano.
Van Bogaert frequently shows his romantic side on his albums (both romantic in the soft sense and also in the classical sense, being concerned with major notes and chords in pleasing melodies) and Closer is no exception.
Track length varies from not quite two minutes to the seven and a half minute long “Europe’s Dawn”. While Closer is not as varied as Human, it still holds interest throughout by having slow quasi-jazz tunes, such as “High Above” (on which a tenor sax floats amidst EM textures and flowing keyboards) and “A picture of you” (mellow bell tones and lush strings painting somewhat sad portraits of lost loves, accompanied by vocal effects and piano), mixed in with more dynamic tracks like the slow to develop but worth the wait “Caleidoscope” (a prog fusion piece that starts slowly but builds into a real treat, full of catchy funky rhythms, jazzy runs on keyboards, and some wailing sax).
Most of what is on Closer will be well suited for driving music with the car stereo turned way up, such as the thunderous “Good Morning Song” or “Dans [da:ns]”, another cut that starts slowly but builds into pounding bass and taiko-style drums underneath washes of keyboards and Berlin-esque retro synths. I'll admit not everything here was to my liking, e.g. “Sweetness” was anything but, as I found its mixture of EM beats with neo-classical dramatic crescendos somewhat chaotic and even grating after awhile, almost as if the track wasn't really finished yet.
While Closer is atypical from most Groove Unltd. releases, it is still vintage Van Bogaert. He has always walked a slightly (or even more than slightly) different path than other artists on the label. While Germanic EM fans may find this not synth or sequence-driven enough, fans of dramatic and melodic keyboard music that never abandons accessibility but still takes some risk by blending disparate elements will find plenty here to please their ears.
Even if it doesn't knock me out like Human did, I still recommend the disc, especially the first eight tracks, which shine the brightest to me."
--2005. Bill Binkelman
Review by Phil Derby:
"If you liked Frank Van Bogaert’s previous albums, Closer is sure to captivate as well. For those not in the know, the title track should bring you quickly up to speed with its appealing rhythm, melody and varied sound palette.
“Coming up for air” features a soft sequencer pattern, rich pads, beautiful piano chords, and a classic Vangelis synth lead line. As usual, Van Bogaert’s music is finely crafted, each piece carefully constructed and thought out.
“Rorogwela” is tribal drums blended surprisingly well with lighthearted piano, which builds with a sense of grandeur.
“High Above” is soft and sweetly restrained with a smattering of pads and other synths.
“Melting” shows Van Bogaert’s piano musicianship, another engaging number with a majestic flourish as it crescendos.
“A Picture Of You” is as intricate and beautifully rendered as anything he’s done, this time with a variety of unique synths instead of piano. I don’t like the male vocals in the background on this track, but the rest works very well.
On “Caleidoscope” electric keys skillfully dazzle with a jazzy flavor, complete with sax.
Two of the last three tracks are achingly beautiful piano pieces.
From beginning to end on Closer, Van Bogaert reminds what a skillful and varied tunesmith he is."
--2005. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space