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Christiaan Bruin - City Of Light CD (album) cover


Christiaan Bruin


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Second Life Syndrome
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.

Report this review (#955048)
Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#1346577)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2015 | Review Permalink

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