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Zoundworks - 2014 CD (album) cover



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5 stars All instruments played by one man: Erik de Beer. And when you take out the CD from the box you can see how much instruments he owns! All sorts of (electric) guitars and basses, keyboards and even a flute!

The CD starts with a piece that is very energetic: "First Flight" - later you hear "Second Flight" - all acoustic instruments. And there is "Last Flight", more slow like a last goodbye.

"What's That Sound?" is a very funny piece, you can imagine children dancing. Number eight is "Ao Amanhecer Na Floresta": very beautiful with howling electric guitars and a quiet flute.

Most of the pieces are instrumental, but there are pieces with voices: "Injustice" with Ankie Jansen, "The Hole" with Life Line Project's Marion Brinkman (backing vocals Mieke Meijer and Heleen Vos). The third piece is "Cantata": sung by Erik, Mieke and Heleen. It cheered me up!

One piece is called "Stressless" and that is a perfect subscription of Zoundworks - very joyfull and relaxing!

5 stars!


Report this review (#1178354)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the most dynamic and passionate albums I listened to lately! At first I was held back a bit, because the longest title on "2014" only measured 4:19, but then the music started and I was immediately convinced! The first song "First Flight" shows us rightaway a very solid and dynamic rhythm section supporting a couple of acoustic rhythm guitars and then it's off. After a short Moog intro, a sparkling electric guitar takes the lead in a catchy solo flight over a great thythm section (so much liked both the drums and bass!) The middle section gives us a beautiful majestic theme, again played on the lead guitar and it's off again, shifting a couple of gears towards the end of the song with a reprise of the first theme.

The second composition "What's That Zound" starts with a true virtuoso tapping solo and then the rhythm section is off to support a simple but catchy theme played both on synth and lead guitar. The song is making clear, that this is going to be a true "happy" album with a feel good sound.

Speed is lowered in "Prelude To The Future" in which a beautifully recorded 12 string guitar plays the main theme, well supported by ivory keyboards and a beautiful fretless bass. "The Last War" is again a dynamic up tempo composition with beautiful layered guitar parts and some great tempo changes. Probably the best composition on the album is "Interlude" which opens with a subtle steel string guitar arpeggio, that is soon joined by a deep dark Moog bass and a simple but subtle flute melody, followed by a nostalgic wailing guitar lead, then the rhythm section speeds up, support some spicy virtuoso Mini Moog solo's. The song ends in the quiet of the return of the flute theme.

Analog keyboards are to be enjoyed in compositions like "Stressless" and "Zoundwork Shuffle" in which you are letterally buried under a true avalanche of Moog and Hammond solo's all cascading over each other. A beautiful contrast with all this electric violence is formed by the completely unplugged songs "Second Flight" (an unplugged version of First Flight) and the fantastic "Early Bird Waltz". Although acoustic, these songs are as dynamic as their electric counterparts. All sorts of plucked instruments, like mandolin, lute, ukulele and baroque guitar are alternated by flute duets, all supported by a dynamic throbbing rhythm section. The drumming is of excellent Quality and i so much liked the bass parts!

Most of the album is instrumental, but here are some vocal contributions by Ankie Jansen (who was actually the original Zoundworks singer back in 1983) and Marion Brinkman (leading voice with Life Line Project). Ankie is singing the funny and more poppy "Injustice" (a great voice!!), while Marion is beautifully singing "The Hole", one of the most introverted songs on the album.

The album concludes with a reprise of the First Flight theme in "Last Flight", this time highlighting the Mini Moog.

It is hard to believe that all instruments on "2014" are played by one man only. The sound on the album is so much alive! It appears that Zoundworks mastermind Erik de Beer has recorded all tracks without the use of midi or click-tracks, in order to preserve stronger dynamics and how well he succeeded. It's hard to believe also that one man is a master on so many different instruments. With "2014" Erik delivered a great symphonic achievement, that will probably please lots of lovers of dynamic melodic symphonic prog. A beautiful production, worth checking out!!


Report this review (#1179557)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible! This complete album has been played by one man only! Erik de Beer, who released with his Life Line Project some nine albums, is playing flute, all guitars, basses, keyboards, drums and a number of rare plucked instruments, like the ukulele, chitarrone, lute and mandolin.

If you listen to the dynamics and the power of the songs, you would never guess that you had to do with a one man band. The drums sound really great! It appears, that Erik has started most of the recordings, by playing the drums, without the use of midi or click-track. It is rare, that one musician has mastered all these different instruments so well.

Most of the album is instrumental and you get solid symphonic melodic rock compositions, filled to the brim with great guitar leads (a beautiful guitar sound), fantastic analogue keyboard parts, subtle flute parts and a huge bass guitar sound (throughout the album the bass parts are remarkable). Most compositions are up temp pieces, played over a very solid sounding rhythm section. Even the two acoustic pieces are as solid as a rock and show us Erik's virtuosity on all instruments. More introverted songs are "Ao Amanhecer Na Floresta" and the very beautiful "Hot Summer Night Walk" (a great symphonic guitar lead and a virtuoso baroque harpsichord part).

A short re-appearance is made by original 1983 Zoundworks singer Ankie Jansen in a cheerful short song "Injustice". A beautiful ballad is sung by Marion Brinkman in "The Hole", one of the most beautiful titles on the album. A sort of musical joke is provided with "Cantata" in which a complete choir, consisting of lots of Eriks and Marion, Mieke Meijer and Heleen Vos, is alternated with short Moog intermissions and a vituoso Mike Oldfield-like guitar solo, but maybe not everyone's cup of progressive tea.

I loved listening to this exuberant and cheerful music and I can advise it to those who love well- arranged and perfectly played melodic prog with a tad bit of folk influence.


Report this review (#1189964)
Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars After I listened to this album I was immediately in love with this music. I already knew the music of Erik de Beer with his Life Line Project and I have seen him play as a drummer, a guitarist, a keyboardist and a bass guitarist with several musical projects in Rotterdam and in our village, but this one hits the jackpot! On "2014" you get 16 tracks of happy and extremely passionate melodic symphonic rock compositions, all played by one man only. It should be heard to be believed, but all instruments are played equally well.

Beautiful symphonic guitar solos and great Moog & Hammond flights. Very dynamic drum parts and beautiful flute and acoustic guitar passages. I adored the sound of the Fender precision bass, both driving and melodic, made me immediately want to play the bass too!

"Interlude" sounds like the dreamed 70's symphonic instrumental with a beautiful flute part, a fantastic symphonic multi layered guitar part and some driving Moog flights. My favourite song is the romantic "Hot Summer Night Walk", a beautiful & dramatic symphonic theme played by the electric guitar, interrupted by a neat Moog whistle part and a great Rick van der Linden like harpsichord part.

There are only little vocal contributions on the album, but the cheery and somewhat naïve "Injustice", sung by Ankie Jansen and the beautiful "The Hole", sung by LLP-singer Marion Brinkman fit in with the album perfectly.

When the last sounds of "Last Flight" have died away, my first impulse is to play the album again!

PP (Patty)

Report this review (#1196479)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars A happy and pulsating album, full of eloquent melodies and straightforward jubilant harmonies. That's probably the best way to describe this solo album by Life Line Project keyboard & guitar player Erik de Beer, who plays all instruments, flutes, drums, basses and all sorts of keyboards and plucked instruments included, himself.

There is a simple, but very effective dynamic main theme, that appears three times on the album. First Flight starts with an exquisite lead guitar solo over a three chord progression, alternated by a beautiful symphonic theme in the middle section, also performed on lead guitar. Great bass and drum playing! Second Flight gives us an unplugged version, in which we hear ukuleles, mandolins, lutes, chitarrone, acoustic guitars, a harpsichord, an acoustic bass and again very dynamic and solid drums, a lovely version! Last Flight starts with a slow keyboard introduction, before a fiery Moog lead makes its entry. This version ends with a multi layered lead guitar part and is at the same time the conclusion of the album.

Most of "2014" is instrumental. There are some vocal contributions however. Original 1983 Zoundwords singer Ankie Jansen performs "Injustice" . Her voice is suited perfectly for this type of music. I checked out the original 1983 version on the Zoundworks facebook page and I must say, Ankie is singing even much better today, well-succeeded intermezzo ! I liked her voice a lot !! Marion Brinkman, member of Life Line Project, is performing the more introverted and melancholic "The Hole", a beautiful song with a beautiful piano solo in the middle part. A strange vocal intermezzo without lyrics, that could well do in a Coca Cola commercial, is delivered with Cantata, in which Erik acts as a male choir, counterparted by Marion, Mieke Meijer and Heleen Vos (great Oldfieldish guitar lead at the end).

All other compositions are instrumental. All music is straightforward simple to understand symphonic rock, that will cheer up your day. One of the brightest songs on the album is the Early Bird Waltz, with a charming double voiced flute part in the middle of all sorts of acoustic guitars, supported by an excellent Fender precision bass part and again some formidable drumming. I also liked a lot the Zoundwork Shuffle, featuring a magnificent Hammond part, reminding me very much of the old Greenslade albums.

Don't expect long complex progressive rock compositions on this album, but just let yourself be cheered up by this happy and catching sparkling melodies and harmonies. I wanted to give four and a half stars, but since this is not possible on PA, we'll make it a fiver this time !!


Report this review (#1245001)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars No eclectic complex progressive rock on this album, just plain and simple straightforward melodic prog, but so well-played ! In fact, all instruments are played by Erik de Beer and it's hard to tell, which instrument he plays best. He plays all keyboards, lead guitars, basses, drums, flute and a colourful cheerful parade of all sorts of plucked instruments.

No long compositions full of complex rhythms and imaginative dramatic tempo changes. Here we have a very happy extremely melodic progressive rock, that every now and then is characterised by inclinations towards folk music. The album is mainly instrumental and I think it could easily have done without the few vocal contributions, even when well-executed, by Ankie Jansen and Marion Brinkman. All themes have already sufficient instrumental strenght. The often multi-layered lead guitar sounds beautiful and impressive, but most of all I liked the pumping sound of the Fender precision bass. The keyboard sounds, mainly done on Moog and Hammond, are fantastic, but perhaps the best moments on the album are made up by the acoustic instruments. The cheerful "Early Bird Waltz" with its gentle lutes and its bucolic mandolins, lutes and acoustic guitars, the introverted dreamy "Prelude to the future" with its beautiful 12 string guitar and the extremely dynamic "Second Flight", displaying all plucked instruments in less than two minutes are all little masterpieces in their way.

The rating on this album would be somewhere in between 3 and 4 stars, but the dynamics and the drive of this music are so contagious, that I decided on 4 stars !


Report this review (#1272445)
Posted Monday, September 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know, I am prejudiced, because I have played the drums in Life Line Project in 2003 and I have been playing the drums in a jazz band with Erik de Beer some years ago, but I am deeply impressed by his solo album.

The music is very cheerful and dynamic. The drums sound very much alive, the basses rock and all lead guitars and vintage keyboards sound sparkling and fresh. I didn't believe it was possible, that one man only can produce such a dynamic and sparkling sound. Nowhere you are reminded that this is a one man project. The music is very accessible and agreeable to listen to. The few vocal contributions by original 1983 singer Ankie Jansen and Life Line Project leading voice Marion Brinkman fit in with the music perfectly. I think "The Hole" is one of the most beautiful pieces on the album. The drumming in the melodic folk-like composition, full of flutes and acoustic guitars is fantastic!

2014 is the kind of album you enter in your player when you are sad and need to be cheered up. The disire to be alive and happy is present in every bar on this album.


Report this review (#1279026)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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