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(55:51, Oskar Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Barren Lands 5:24 2. Symbiosis 3:39 3. Feeling Good 3:59 4. Forgotten Lines 2:34 5. Tenderly 4:10 6. Hurry Up 3:12 7. Long Ago 3:36 8. Questions 4:15 9. Dreamcatcher 4:07 10. Go With the Flow 3:14 11. Waves 10:08 12. Sorrow 3:37 13. Leap Day: Humble Origin 1:41 14. Trion: Wandering 2:15 LINEUP: Eddie Mulder – guitars, bass With: Margriet Boomsma – flute Edo Spanninga – keyboards Derk Evert Waalkens – keyboards Gert Van Engelenburg – keyboards
Prolusion. Hailing from Holland, composer and musician Eddie MULDER is a veteran in his native progressive rock scene, and has been noted mainly for his tenures in many bands generally described as being either symphonic or neo-progressive, Trion, Flamborough Head and Leap Day arguably the most notable of those. "Dreamcatcher" is Mulder's first solo album, and was released through the Polish label Oskar Records in 2015.
Analysis. Solo albums by long time band musicians tend to go in a few different directions. You have the ones that have material that doesn't quite fit the scope of the bands they have been in, often stretching across multiple styles and genres at that, finding their way onto a single CD. Then you have the ones that include material fairly similar to what one or more bands they are in explore as well, making a solo album something of an extension of the band operation. And then you have the ones who, like Eddie Mulder, uses the solo album to explore music dramatically different than what is explored in the bands he's most recognized for being a member of. That being said, there have been items in his previous band history with a similar style, sound and approach to the material on this album. Two of these are included here as bonus tracks, as a matter of fact. But they don't represent the dominant aspect of either band, whereas in this context, they represent the kind of material Mulder has penned for this solo album as well. While one can say quite a lot about this production, it isn't one that falls within the parameters of progressive rock as such. The focus, and often the sole instrument, is the acoustic guitar. Wandering, delicate guitar creations are the main focus throughout. Often mellow and pleasantly relaxing compositions, possibly with references back to classical guitar music, at times with a firmer and more urgent nature to the guitar notes explored, as on the aptly named Hurry Up and its more uplifting general nature. There is a bit of variation here on other levels as well, and it is in these cases the more dedicated progressive rock fans might take more of an interest. On a small handful of compositions Mulder's elegant acoustic guitar is accompanied by keyboards, mainly a Mellotron-sounding variety, adding a soft but compelling coating to the proceedings. On a few occasions a flute appears as well, adding a pastoral sheen to the proceedings. It is in these creations I find this album's most appealing moments, at least for someone who isn't an aficionado of instrumental acoustic guitar pieces. The most magnificent of these, the epic length Waves, features layered keyboards, recurring instances of an atmospheric electric guitar solo, and even a bass guitar in support. With sampled seaside sounds as an additional and tasteful detail that works very well in this specific context.
Conclusion. An album filled with instrumental acoustic guitar compositions will have a finite reach presumably, and while Mulder is a fine guitarist, and also adds some additional instrument details on a select few tracks, to very good effect I might add, this album, I suspect, won't have a broad appeal, at least not among ardent progressive rock fans. Those with a taste for mellow, elegant music revolving around a skilled guitarist and with the acoustic guitar as the key instrument might want to take note of this one however, especially if you enjoy occasional, careful use of keyboards and flute within such a context.
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