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CHRIS

Neo-Prog • Netherlands


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Chris biography
CHRIS is the project of Dutch multi-instrumentalist Christiaan Bruin. His debut album, "A Glimpse Inside", was recorded between 2007 and 2008, and finally released by Musea Records in 2009. Bruin played all instruments on the album, sang all the vocal parts, and also handled the artwork and the mastering. After the album's release, Bruin managed to put a live band together (formed by him and three other members), and started rehearsals with a view to getting some gigs in the second half of 2009.

Raffaella Berry (Raff) - September 2009

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CHRIS discography


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CHRIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.45 | 24 ratings
A Glimpse Inside
2009
3.65 | 44 ratings
Making Sense
2010
2.67 | 19 ratings
City Of Light
2012
3.17 | 6 ratings
Snow Stories
2012
4.08 | 74 ratings
Days Of Summer Gone
2013

CHRIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CHRIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 City Of Light by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.67 | 19 ratings

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City Of Light
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars 2011 was an extremely busy year for Christiaan Bruin.He had already launched his first album with Sky Architect and this period was full of live shows for the young Dutch, including performances at Night of the Prog and Progpower festivals.But there was no intention to slow down the writing process for another solo album and in 2012 he returned with ''City of light'', yet another totally one-man production, released on Progress Records.

This was another very strong album by Chris, even if you feel already from the start his tendency to throw in some poppier and more conventional acts in his music.The thing is that Bruin works mostly as a drummer, but most of the album's drumming appears to be sampled, delivering robotic beats, which is not what you expect from a drummer.But he appears to be a great multi-instrumentalist and composer at the same time, you can still find these light Mellotron/electric-acoustic piano washes and vintage touches in his music, the overall result though being a modernized Prog/Art Rock album with electronic samplers standing next to the natural instruments.At this point his work has more to do with bands/artists like FISH ON FRIDAY, JOHNNY UNICORN or ACTIVE HEED than to say SPOCK'S BEARD or IZZ.While the irritating vocals and digital sounds are a matter of discussion, the compositions are still intricate and varied with multiple themes and tonal changes, offering acoustic textures, sharper guitar/keyboard edges, symphonic textures and plenty of Art Pop.And there is an amazing ability by this young man to place some epic instrumental ideas next to his more accesible ideas.Six tracks are contained in the album and three of them are longer than 8 minutes, but the most enganging piece is the romantic/dramatic ''Stars align'', excellent stuff indeed.

Remember, this guy was only 24 years old at the time and he had already produced three very good solo efforts.''City of light'' doesn't sit at the top of the list, but it's a nice mix of progressive grandieur and poppy quirikness with plenty of memorable tunes and striking melodies.Recommended.

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 Days Of Summer Gone by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 74 ratings

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Days Of Summer Gone
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What does it take for a two-star artist to soar to five stars? You might just want to ask Chris that question. That name refers to Christiaan Bruin, a multi-instrumentalist that takes care of vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and keys on this magnificent album, "Days of Summer Gone". I had originally heard "City of Light" back in 2012, and I was completely underwhelmed. Despite a beautiful cover and some great ideas, the album fell flat with overproduction and uninspired songs. Fast-forward to 2013, however, and Chris has created an album that has captivated me for the last six months.

Chris seems to be the king of beautiful art, enticing track titles, and just an overall feel of quality. "Days of Summer Gone" is no different, as the art is the aspect that convinced me to give his music another go. As I got deeper into the album, his concept of using mostly acoustic instruments for this album really presented itself well and it was addictive, to say the least.

But what can one do with all acoustic instruments, ranging from the standard fare to cellos, trombones, flutes, and so on? Chris has created an album of intimate orchestration; an album that begs the listener to come a little closer. He paints what literally seem to be tapestries of folksy music, except the folksiness is often American in sound, and not just the wonderful European style. Indeed, as an American, I get "Americana" in this album, for better or worse. But not the loud, boisterous America that I know the world detests: No, I hear the quiet, snow-laden country America, complete with dark, starry skies and a good bit of whimsy and fantasy.

Indeed, "Days of Summer Gone" is a grand, fantastical opus of perfect melodies, quiet moments, and plenty of space and time between notes in order to reach heaven. Truly, the wondrous melodies, driven by flutes and oboes, crest rolling hills and soar into dark night skies. They will weave a tangled web within your mind, and you will be humming them for months. Yes, hum-worthy melodies!

My two favorite tracks (difficult to choose, though) are "Cold Night" and "A Heart's Endeavor". The former feels exactly that: cold. It weaves in and around and over your mind, but the lyrics are sad and desperate. The latter feels urgent and flowing, caught in a river of emotion. Yet, though these are my favorites, there are high points in every track that make this album feel like one complete work that was written in a single setting. While I doubt it was, it really feels that way, as if Chris had an epiphany. Honestly, his vocals were my least favorite part of the album at first, but their subtlety has really grown on me, too.

If this had released in 2014, it would be my album of the year. As it stands, Chris' "Days of Summer Gone" is an album of emotional, melodic musings; an album that plays wistfully with your heart and with the corridors of your artistic mind. It will ever be on the corners of your brain, I promise you. Buy it. You won't regret it.

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 Making Sense by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.65 | 44 ratings

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Making Sense
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars By the time of the release of ''A glimpse inside'', Christiaan Bruin had already finished the recordings of a second album.Hansi Cross, the manager of Progress Records, had appeaciated the talent of Sky Architect's young drummer and decided to team up with him for this sophomore effort.''Making sense'' was released in September 2010, being a concept album about human beings and the philosophical content of their existence.As with ''A glimpse inside'', all vocals and instruments are performed by Chris himself.

This was another solid release by the young Dutch, showing full respect for the 70's and transforming the sound into the modern era, recalling the works of SPOCK'S BEARD, MAGIC PIE and BEARDFISH, incorporating poppy sensibilities into symphonic arrangements and coloring the style with heavier overtones akin to his own SKY ARCHITECT project.Once more the mix of multiple voices and instruments is absolutely brilliant and Chris' multi-instrumental talents are more than satisfying.Musically ''Making sense'' appears to be an efficient concept work, divided in mini-epics and shorter tracks with an evident sense of melody but also enough complexity to convince die-hard Prog fans.The music passes from emotional lines and accesible tunes to big symphonic themes and grandiose instrumentals, featuring lots of synthesizers as well as some old-styled organ and Mellotron.THE BEATLES appear to be an obvious influence during the vocal parts, but the music is rooted in the style of RUSH, YES and GENESIS with dramatic sections, pompous orchestrations and shifting climates.Chris avoids any kind of laid-back ballad-like stuff and the acoustic passages are also very limited, insisting in a dynamic electric sound with his proposal being deeply rooted in the principles of Classic Progressive Rock, while the heavy guitars add a welcome dimension in the well-crafted keyboard moves.

Another one-man beauty by this great Dutch talent.Dramatic, modern Neo/Symphonic Prog with accomplished executions and filled with interesting arrangements.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Days Of Summer Gone by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 74 ratings

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Days Of Summer Gone
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by Ensouled

3 stars I came by "Days of Summer Gone" by accident and the cover got my attention. I totally agree that Chris has a very theatrical style and he does sound a bit like a Dutch Phideaux version (instrumentally), I might add that the trippy jazz sections reminds me a lot of The Tangent too and the guitars and some vocal parts somehow fall into Radiohead landscapes. The string instruments and flute might appeal to give you an After Crying feeling but the piano really goes into another direction creating a more proggy approach than classical.

It is a beautiful album and aside from the comparisons I have made with other bands Chris has managed to put together some really good ideas and melodies; I enjoyed a lot his decision of including a Cellist and other musicians as they give the album more freshness.

As for the theatrical style I must admit that the "dramatic" climax of the album contains an interesting blend of nuances.

For some reason the vocals can not match the quality of the music; I think that the addition of a singer in the future that could blend better with this orchestral variety will definitely make Chris music reach a even superior level.

The essentiality of this album depends on how appealing the vocals feels to you, I definitely recommend listening to the album since it contains great moments that make it worth all the while.

Recommended!

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 Days Of Summer Gone by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 74 ratings

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Days Of Summer Gone
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Maybe it's his thoroughly modern style of theatrical prog, or maybe it's the treatments applied to his vocals, but Chris - or Christiaan Bruin, to give him his full name - presents on this album a sound which reminds me a lot of Phideaux. And given how hot a streak Phideaux has been on since Doomsday Afternoon, that's no bad thing - especially with the ongoing wait for the release of the much-delayed Infernal.wearing on prog fans worldwide. With Baan taking on the more usual prog instrumentation himself, guest spots on the album are saved for a range of classical instrumentalists, giving this album a particularly orchestral air.

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 City Of Light by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.67 | 19 ratings

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City Of Light
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I'm not so sure I like this album. I mean, everything is there for a good neo-prog album, but some aspects are just a little strange. For instance, the vox are quite pop-influenced. I couldn't get past them. In a way, Chris wants to sound a bit like Frost*, but I think they take the pop influence too far for my tastes.

Another example would be the drums. It sounds more like a drum machine or something. Just like the rest of the album, they don't sound organic or even real. This really bothers me for some reason. Overall, there are some nice synth solos, and some catchy melodies, but that's about it. Everything else sounds cheap.

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 Making Sense by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.65 | 44 ratings

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Making Sense
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by Richens

4 stars I have to say that this is a fantastic album by Chris Bruin. Yes, it's definitely got clear Genesis influences. I can even hear a bit of Mike Oldfield sprinkled around as well. This is really a superb second album and a big improvement over the first album 'A Glimpse Inside'. If this is the sort of stuff he can make by himself, why the hell is he bothering with Sky Architect, a group I cannot get into at all. He is clearly a hugely creative and talented individual and deserves a better vehicle (unless Sky Architect go out and produce a masterpiece next year). To be honest, I am also looking forward to his next album and I hope he can prioritise his solo work, because it is superb. Great artist, great album and a huge talent for the future. There are a few artists I follow. Chris Bruin is one of them. Easily 4 stars and I'm anticipating even better in the future. Go Chris!

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 Making Sense by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.65 | 44 ratings

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Making Sense
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars The second album from Christiaan Bruin, one of the biggest talents to have hit the neo-prog and prog rock scene during the last decade. This is a composer and artist I will keep a close eye on in the future.

The second album from Chris continues down the neo-prog, nee symphonic prog path he set out on with his debut album. The music is sophisticated and refined. The references are Genesis, Yes, Pendragon and Marillion. Those bands and a solid dosage of Christiaan Bruin himself. I can also smell some RPI undertones too on this album. In short; this album is very melodic. Melodic, but not hard as in progressive metal. The songs are on average 8 minutes long and this album is a very big mouthful. Hence; this is not AOR or would appeal to fans of catchy three minutes long AOR songs.

The instruments are the usual synth, guitars, vocals and vocal harmonies, bass and drums. Nothing spetacular here, but nothing bad either. There is no Jimi Hendrix or Rick Wakeman like brilliance here on the instruments, let me put it that way. The instruments are though put to good use and I have no complaints.

The music here is on average very good with some superb harmonies and melody lines scattered around the place too. The title track is excellent. The same can also be said about Walking From A Dream. My only gripe is the vocals which is tested to destruction on this album. A good song teacher or another vocalist would be a good idea because the vocals sounds very painful. That and the lack of a real killer track. But this is though an excellent neo- prog/symphonic prog album from a man I hope we will hear a lot about and from in the next decades. Give us more, Chris !!

4 stars

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 A Glimpse Inside by CHRIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.45 | 24 ratings

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A Glimpse Inside
Chris Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A new'ish one man project from Holland with the drummer in Sky Architect.

Neo Prog it says on the tin. Neo Prog it is, but at the more melodic end of the spectrum. The music is somewhere around Elton John, Marillion, Genesis at their most melodic, Pendragon and at times; King's X. The tempo is really pedestrian and not heavy enough to wake up a cat from it's sleep. Those who has seen a cat sleeping knows what I mean. The music is based on piano, other tangents, some symphony orchestra samples and some guitars. Gentle it is. Gentle but not dull.

The music is a bit challenging to say at least and it demands the attention from the listener. The quality is good throughout and the forty-eight minutes passes quickly in the company of this album. The vocals is decent enough and the orchestration is clever. This is by no means a great album, but it shows a lot of promise. I have yet to hear his second album so I do not know if Chris delivered on the promise shown on this album. But this debut is a good fare.

3 stars

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Thanks to raff for the artist addition.

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