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Anton Roolaart

Symphonic Prog

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Anton Roolaart Dreamer album cover
3.58 | 45 ratings | 11 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Near of Far (6:18)
2. On to the Afterglow (8:29)
3. Dreamer (6:15)
4. Scary Monsters (4:33)
5. Color of Your World (5:48)
6. Mid Summer's Day (7:40)
7. Manon (6:09)
8. The Spider (5:16)

Total Time 50:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Anton Roolaart / vocals, guitar, keyboard, programming
- Rave Tesar / keyboards
- Vincent Puryear / bass
- Rich Berends / drums (1,3,4,7)
- Charles Descarfino / drums (2,5,6,8)

- Vito Vitale / slide guitar (3)
- Alana Roolaart / backing vocals (2)
- Stephanie Malewski / backing vocals (2)
- Kayla Roolaart / spoken vocals (8)
- Alice Hamlet / cello (8)

Releases information

Umbrello Records UMBCD00008

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ANTON ROOLAART Dreamer ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ANTON ROOLAART Dreamer reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's always a pleasure to review the debut of a Symphonic artist, but is a double pleasure when it's a very solid album like "Dreamer", because it makes us have hope that our beloved genre will keep evolving in time and it's not doomed to oblivion as many other genres before Prog.

ANTON ROOLAART has carefully worked in the composition performance and production of "Dreamer" which as it's name clearly implies is an oneiric album full of atmospheres and reminiscences of the 70's with a very unique approach that combines not only different influences but also the best sound modern technology can provide.

It's hard to talk about influences because despite it's evident that echoes of YES and PINK FLOYD plus the dark atmospheres of early STEVE HACKETT and a bit of JAN AKKERMAN are present, Anton's guitar sound is so unique (Also combines Flamenco and Flemish style) that sounds like a breeze of fresh air.

The most unusual element of the album are the vocals, Anton sounds almost as a very controlled Heavy Metal vocalist (don't expect screams) with touches of Axl Rose and Bruce Dickinson singing pure Symphonic tracks, not a bad combination "per se" but must admit you have to get used to this collision of styles to really enjoy it (I got used almost instantly).

His band is formed by very talented musicians, Rave Tesar from RENAISSANCE (Keyboards), "Rich Berends" (MASTERMIND) - "Charles DesCarfino", both on drums and "Vincent Puryear" on bass. All of them prove along with the guests to be in the same level, so the professionalism is assured.

The album starts with the pompous opening of "Near or Far" that slowly fades to allow a sweet guitar, piano and mellotron introduce the aggressive vocals that are a bit shocking in the context, but soon the ear gets used to the contrast and with the lead of a heavy and distorted guitar give the wrong impression that we will soon be before a mainstream song....wrong deduction because the constant changes plus excellent arrangements makes us notice we're before a pure Prog track with reminiscences of YES. Excellent keyboard work to complement a very solid starter.

"On to the Afterglow" starts soft and dreamy with a beautiful flute and acoustic guitar that lead to a mysterious sounding vocals that remind of the spirit from "Voyage of the Acolyte", the interplay between guitar and keyboard in the purest style of Steve Hackett is simply delightful and the piano complete the scene. Moments of calm are interrupted by guitar and Moog semi solos with some controlled explosions and female backing vocals that create more mystery, beautiful blend of almost everything Prog has to offer.

The title song "Dreamer" starts reminiscent of Pink Floyd during the "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" era, the guitar solos have passed as magic from being inspired by Hackett to sound absolutely influenced by Dave Gilmour and again the keyboards complete the effect adding some Psyche touches. To be honest I find the vocals too loud and plain for a song like this one, maybe Anton could search for a second vocalist to complements him in some tracks. Except for a couple of guitar flashes disperse along the song, "Dreamer" carries the spirit of Pink Floyd. Not bad at all and again the band shows enormous versatility.

"Scary Monsters" starts as a Power Ballad with some Prog moments, the vocal work is nice but it's only until the middle of the track where it gets really interesting, again Anton proves his versatility playing in a Flemish style (Well, he was born in The Netherlands) which clearly reminds of the delicate Jan Akkerman trademark, it's hard to find a guitar player so efficient in so many different styles. Another good but not superb song.

"Color of your World" is a weird track (Hey....weird is a great adjective in Prog), the vocals have the lead but are very dissonant with the rest of the instruments that enter in a controlled cacophony, this is the only song in which Anton really lets his voice explode without restraining himself..It was about time to try it! Hard to describe because it's very experimental, interesting music, the guitar and keyboard instrumental is amazing, at the end reminds a bit of early Wakeman hard sections when he left the band go beyond his soloing, great material.

"Mid Summer's Day" presents a very unusual blend of styles, as if Focus arrangements met Gentle Giant structures and a touch of Uriah Heep, the guy is hitting us with all he has, the song keeps changing almost chord by chord jumping from one style to the other, didn't expected to find something so complex in a mainly atmospheric album.....For God's sake, he even uses a Heavy Metal distorted guitar and progressions reminiscent of IRON MAIDEN, the greatest achievement is that he never looses the sense of melody and coherence, excellent stuff, IMHO the peak of the album.

"Manon" starts very jazzy with the bass and drums marking the time perfectly, again if something sounds slightly out of place are the vocals but then you notice they are working as a bridge between the "fusionesque" intro and the clearly Symphonic (in the vein of Relayer) change around the third minute of the song, at that point you can expect almost every thing, sound effects, telephone conversations and soft flute passages plus aggressive guitar, that's what Prog is about, experimenting. The song ends brilliantly after a long instrumental passage lead by Anton's guitar.

The album ends with "The Spider" a simpler track (structurally talking) but very strong in melody and instrumentation, tends to be repetitive, but that's the main point of the song IMO, make something basic and leave the he performance and the instruments chosen (Which include a nice cello section) be the central theme, probably not the best choice to close the album because lacks of great energy but there's a special beauty in the na´ve approach.

I won't stop to talk in detail about the lyrics because most are based in daily life instead of fantastic narrations as we are used in Prog, despite this fact are coherent and simple but without falling in cheesiness, I believe this aspect may be better developed but the main interest is in the excellent music and unless the lyrics are specially bad (which is not remotely the case) their role is fulfilled.

Now comes the hard part for me, rating the album, normally I never give a debut the maximum rating because it would mean the artist has reached his peak, and for what I see, ANTON ROOLAART has much more to offer, so I expect "Dreamer" to be the first of several good albums, plus it's evident that not all the tacks are in the same level (Well hardly an album is absolutely perfect and those are the masterpieces), also some rough edges may be polished, so I will go with 4 very solid stars for a very solid excellent addition for any Progressive Rock collection, an amazing album specially if you consider it's a debut.

"Dreamer" has been officially released today, so try to be one of the first persons to get it, it's much more than worth.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This musician has an interesting geographical background: Anton was born in the Iranian capital Teheran, his father is Dutch, his mother is Belgian, he grew up in the Dutch city Laren and at an early age the family went to the USA.

Listening to this debut CD I notice that the eight compositions sound like a journey through a beautiful and varied musical landscape with lots of surprising and exciting ideas. The music sounds modern but in some songs I trace elements from the Seventies symphonic prog like the titletrack (Floydian atmosphere and slide guitar, wonderfuly blended with violin-Mellotron waves) and Mid Summer's Day (Yes during the Fragile-Close To The Edge era featuring great Howe- like guitar and frequent runs on the organ along great interplay between guitar and organ). A strong point on this album is the tasteful colouring of the melodic and accessible music, it contains many flowing shifting moods, good soli and strong breaks like a swinging Hammond organ solo in the final part of Near Or Far, a biting wah-wah guitar solo and sensitive acoustic - and Spanish guitar (with castagnettes) in the symphonic On To The Afterglow and a strong build-up with pleasant sounds on piano, organ, vibraphone and cello along a blistering wah-wah guitar solo in the fairy tale-like The Spider. My only negative remark goes to the vocals, at some moments these tend to sound a bit too theatrical but it's not disturbing.

Anton Doolaart has delivered a very adventurous symphonic prog album that sounds both melodic and accessible as tastefully and elaborate, well done fellow Dutchman!

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Anton Roolaart is a PA member, and a nice guy (sorry we didn't get the chance to meet at NEARfest buddy). Since he is a nice guy, he sent me a copy of "Dreamer." So you could imagine how I felt when I first put it on, and I didn't really like it. My first thought was that I couldn't review it. How could I trash something a friend created? Thankfully, it grew on me with repeated playing.

Dreamer is classic style prog for modern times. Anton's guitar work is dynamic, and soulful. There is a bit of a David Gilmour quality to it, but it is not limited to just that. The piano parts are absolutely gorgeous at times. His compositional skills are also very strong. These pieces are very well constructed, and have plenty of range. Don't expect to hear anything particularly groundbreaking, but the strength is in the execution. The backing musicians also do some splendid work.

Dreamer takes you through varying moods and thoughts. Most of the lyrics seem to be of a reflective nature. It reminds me of how I look back at certain moments in my own life. The music is always right in sync with the mood of the verse. Each piece moves along with grace, and always keeps your interest. There is definitely a feeling of precision here. It's as if every nuance was planned out in advance. All of this attention to detail definitely pays off.

I guess what turned me off at first (and what still bothers me) was the singing. Anton does not have the strongest voice. With a different type of music it might work just fine. However, music of this magnitude needs the right vocal out front. You may say what about Peter Hammill? That's true, but it is also a different style of music. This is some powerful, and beautiful symphonic rock. It should have a powerful and beautiful voice to match (sorry Anton).

By no means avoid this album. The music is very good. You may just have to look past the vocals a bit. Perhaps next time out Anton could find another singer, or maybe do an instrumental. Because of this, I can only award "Dreamer" three stars.

H.T. Riekels

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I always have a strong passion to expand my listening horizons in prog music especially with group or artist that I have never heard before or the kind of music that I have not been familiar with - like those of Magma, Universe Zero, Isildurs Bane, Thinking Plague etc. As you know by now, I was trained more on symphonic prog rock kind of music stemming from Yes, Genesis, ELP etc. But when prog was about to die because it was almost swept by the new wave and punk era in early 80s, there was Marillion which brought in the new type of the symphonic prog genre - a neo progressive music. Basically, there is no major different between classic symphonic prog and neo prog except that the latter is a bit simpler in structure and musical arrangements. Under the banner of neo prog, you would hardly find any song with a level of complexity like ELP's "Karn Evil 9" or Toccatta or Yes' "The Ancient" or Genesis' "The Battle of Epping Forest" for example.

Why do I need to give you a bit of background above? It's simply due to the fact that relates to Anton Roolart's debut album which the music is I think much closer to neo progressive music than a symphonic prog. Well, I am really happy to know that Anton is a new comer in prog arena and this is a good news because he might have been a prog lover (as listener only not a recording musician). The way I see him through the introductory notes in the CD sleeve is that he has a strong passion in prog music especially that he also established a despite as being a musician. I salute him for this, in this respect. This is motivating me as well, because who knows in the future there will be a prog album by Gatot Widayanto? I must have been dreaming!

This is a good debut album by Anton Roolaart abacked with talented musicians. The reason I put a neo progressive proximity is that looking at the style and the tempo he presents his music through this album. In terms of tempo, most of them are in relatively slow / mellow style with interludes that offer guitar solo or keyboard. The opening track "Near or Far" starts with symphonic style textured by dynamic bass lines which then bring to the bridge which lets the vocal (by Anton himself) to enter the music. The guitar work at the background of his singing is quite interesting. There are some piano works during transition pieces and they help enriching the music texture. The organ solo work is also nice followed intertwiningly with guitar solo. The next track "On To The Afterglow" is really excellent in terms of melody and musical arrangements. It starts wonderfully with an ambient nuance led by acoustic guitar fills. The keyboard augments the music well so that it helps maintain the flow. I know that this is nothing to do with Symphonic Slam, but I find the similarity in music nuance. The keyboard solo is really excellent. There are sounds of mellotron (or at least mellotron-like) at the background that lifts up the symphonic atmosphere. The guitar demonstrates its solo work followed beautifully with keyboard. I really enjoy the part with acoustic guitar solo in the middle of the track augmented with soft keyboard sound at background. Wow! It's really an excellent track - at least for me personally.

The opening part of "Dreamer" confirms the fact that this is a neo progressive music. It starts with long sustain keyboard work followed beautifully with guitar solo combined with soft riffs. There is, again, excellent pulsating keyboard solo during interlude part combined beautifully with touchy piano work. "Scary Monsters" flows in similar tempo with previous track demonstrating guitar and keyboard work, combined with piano. "Color of Your World" opens with ambient music featuring keyboard and guitar. It flows in slow tempo through vocal and rhythm section in symphonic style. Again, Anton puts the keyboard solo nicely towards the end of the track. Unfortunately the drum work is so empty in this track and also all tracks in this album, so it causes a low density of the music. The drum should actually fill in transition pieces nicely as to avoid the song is becoming a bit boring.

The opening part of "Mid Summer's Day" is quite complex and reminds me to the complex nature of Yes music or any avant-garde arrangement especially with the guitar portion. The song also features long sustain keyboard work during transition piece as well as background. This song is quite tight in terms of composition. The opening part of "Manon" reminds me to Marillion's Fish era music even though it's not close at all, with a bit of Steve Hackett howling guitar nature. The concluding track "The Spider" opening part reminds me to the style of Supertramp music especially through the piano work.

Overall, this is a very good debut album by Anton Roolaart. The strengths of this album are on its composition where Anton has successfully blended the touchy melody with symphonic music arrangements and the overall flow of the music. Some segments of the music on some tracks seem like being forced into the composition so that they do not fit naturally - but overall is still good. Drum is the weakest point of this album because it serves just as beat keeper. Am not saying the drummer is lousy but more on the composition that may not give sufficient room for drums to take acrobatic beats. On vocal, I do not mind with Anton's vocal quality because the most important thing is how he can fit his vocal with the music. Remember Steve Hackett? His vocal quality is much worse than Anton but he still can deliver great "Dark Town" or "Mechanical Bride". On the next album, I expect Anton will write music with varied styles, adding more energy and drive into the music because this album does not offer sufficiat drive like Marillion's "He Knows You Know" (for example) or Pallas' "Beat The Drum". Overall, it's a good work, Anton! Keep going and ..keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice debut album from this US-based Dutch born composer and musician.

The name of the game for this album is symphonic rock; and in a manner highly similar to some of the great bands of the 70's - most often I'd describe the songs as a mix of classic Genesis and Camel; with some detours into Gentle Giant territories.

Floating synths are a key feature, often in multiple layers, as well as melodies, melodic fragments and sounds from keyboards and synthesizers. The guitar is used to provide atmospheric solos, a couple of instances of more regular guitar solos in a more blues-influenced vein, while acoustic guitars, undistorted electric guitar and mostly slick riffs add textures to the main melody.

Fans of 70's symphonic rock should appreciate this one; not a future classic but it's a good, steady release nonetheless.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's easy, I feel that this record has anything I expect from good music. And I also hear a lot of prog elements. Fellow reviewers, why I'm the only one to give five stars ? Because this is probably fifth listen of this record in row, it's late night, maybe early morning and this music is the only thing that keeps me alive. It's very good to listening. I'm not gonna do track-to- track review as to my other reviews (well, some of them), because it''s pointless here. Just listen to it, or be advised with these words, or words of collaborators who gave it average of 4 stars. But there's one bad thing that is worrying me. I don't remember almost anything from this music. But I guess I will forgive it this, because I know one thing. It's good prog. Even I can't remember it.

EDIT: Well, this is some kind of failure (of my brain), because now I see it on 4(+)

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Getting this album was a labor of sorts, been on my wish list based on a number of imponderables such as past reviews, hunches, gut feeling etc... This is nothing new really for the average prog hunter who is constantly in search of a new buzz thrill and falls victim to random choices based on god knows what spirit. As is often the case, the first few spins were lightly appreciated, having left little mark beyond the pleasant and interesting. Truth is our progressive genre has such a wide palette of sounds and styles that we often need an "adjust" button in our minds, trying to find the connectors that eventually lead to recognition and perhaps delight. Such is the case here, as Dreamer has screwed itself nicely into my psyche mostly due to its precious innocence and genuine expression. I am happy to report that there are numerous accolades to be espoused as long as readers accept that this will not be "prog at first sight, ?blinded by the light". Anton explains the premise behind his creation as a deeply personal adventure and that is precisely what you get, a symphonic prog album that has multiple similarities to acts as diverse as Phideaux , the first Ric Ocasek (ex-The Cars) solo album Beatitude (a sensational non-prog disc BTW) , some winks at the sadly deceased Shaun Guerin and even a smidgen of Bill Nelson ! His guitar playing is first rate, his vocals not that much but frankly more appealing that the 3 Steves (Hackett, Hillage and Howe), the songs are slow intoxications that will require multiple visits to get hooked. But once you are, the thrill is there. There are typical winners such as 'On the Afterglow' and 'The Spider' (the above mentioned influences will wink at you) but the title track 'Dreamer' and 'Color of Your World' are equally entrancing. The artwork, production and musicianship are all first rate, the presence of Mastermind's Rich Berends on drums, and the gifted ex-Haslam , ex- Renaissance keyboardist Rave Tesar are both further brilliance to the overall sheen (No, not Charlie!). 'Near or Far' is a seductive opener, setting the personal tone quite nicely, 'Scary Monsters' has that Nelson/Ocasek feel I mentioned earlier and both the spacey 'Manon' and the quirky 'Midsummer's Day' evoke a certain charm that is entirely pleasurable (the lead guitar on all tracks are particularly stellar) . This is a surprising addition to my collection and will get numerous future spins. 4 Flemish flame motifs
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Born to Dutch father and Belgian mother on Persian ground in 1969, life of Anton Roolaart was destined to be adventurous from his first second on Earth.Spending time in Holland and Spain, he finally settled down in the USA, where he studied at University of North Carolina in Charlotte, taking a deegree in electronic engineering.Developing into a multi-instrumentalist and influenced by 70's Prog Rock, Anton became a member of cover bands, before taking things seriously in the 90's and starting composing hiw own music.The attempts on a solo album begin in 2004 and were finished two and a half years later.Inbetween he established the station and even participated in the Spanish band Jesdat's ''City lights'' effort.''Dreamer'' was released in 2007 on the British label Umbrello with Rave Tesar on keyboards, Vincent Puryear on bass, Rich Berends-Charles Descarfino on drums, a few guests mainly on vocals and Roolart responsible for guitars, programming, keyboards and singing lines.

Roolart's first album is a good introduction in the world of melodic Progressive Rock with symphonic tendencies and some obvious leanings towards the 70's, drawing influences from acts such as CAMEL, PINK FLOYD, GENESIS and early KING CRIMSON.The album has no signs of fillers or overstretched ideas with Roolart insisting on creating mid-length, compact pieces with a balanced guitar/keyboards sound and some great moments of grandieur, performed on Hammond B3, Mellotron and piano by himself and Rave Tesar .But the bulk of the album features some well-executed multi-layered synths with an orchestral, atmospheric aura, which combine nicely with the deep sense of melody created by the guitar chords of Roolart, either coming from his electric or his acoustic side.He has a style somewhere between ANDY LATIMER, GARY MOORE and STEVE HOWE with some notable jazzy touches among his melodic, emotional moves.In addition some sampled flutes and vibraphone show how deep this work is.The arrangements are lush, elaborate and symphonic with a slight Neo Prog edge at moments due to the constant use of synths with Roolart focusing on sensitive plays and atmospheric textures with dreamy acoustics, although some impressive, dramatic and rich passages are still in the menu.

Another fine addition in the endless list of modern bands/artists, influenced by the unforgettable masters of the 70's.Very nice music, great production and decent vocals, relying on the more melodic side of Symphonic Rock, so ''Dreamer'' comes warmly recommended.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I got this album thanks to Melo from Melo's prog bazaar. Anton gave permission that for some copies of this album the sale went to the "Hugh Hopper Fund" After a few listens you can recognize some influence by Genesis (Peter Gabriel era), Pink Floyd and a small touch of Pendragon and The Reasonin ... (read more)

Report this review (#190315) | Posted by Ginfress | Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is a nice surprise! A debut progressive symphonic album by a new artist that is a pleasure to listen to. The album is thematically "more or less" a concept album, all tracks are related to the overall theme of dreaming. More or less, since the theme is not obvious to me in all trac ... (read more)

Report this review (#128164) | Posted by Soul Dreamer | Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have known Anton Roolaart for many years, we were work colleagues for some time, we played music together for a period and we have fundamentally stayed friends over the years. As such, it would seem inappropriate for me to write a review of Anton's debut CD Release "Dreamer". But on the other h ... (read more)

Report this review (#120446) | Posted by vvitalebossa | Tuesday, May 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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