Refuge en Verre is collaboration between two of the leading synthesists in The Netherlands: Michel van Osenbruggen (a.k.a. synth.nl) and Ron Boots. Refuge en Verre combines exquisite melodic and downtempo atmospheric electronic music with trance-like pulsating loops generated by sequencers.
This is the first album the two musicians made together. “We first met at a Synthesizer Meeting organized by the Dutch ‘Synth Forum’ in 2006 where we started talking about synthesizers and synthesizer music and found out that we shared the same fascinations,” says Ron Boots.
Der große Elektronikmusiker unseres niederländischen Nachbarlandes, Ron Boots, ist eine neue Kollaboration eingegangen. Dieses Mal hat er sich seinen Landsmann Michel van Osenbruggen ausgesucht, der den Elektronikfreunden besser als Synth.NL bekannt ist. Ron hat in seiner Karriere schon mehrfach Preise eingeheimst und auch Michel steht dem nicht nach, hat er doch in der Hörergunst des Schallwellepreises 2009 (Anfang 2010 abgehalten) mit „OceanoGraphic“ das Album des Jahres geliefert.
Ron und Michel kennen sich seit 2006. Seit 2007 ist Michel beim Groove Unlimited-Label untergekommen, bei dem auch Ron mitarbeitet. So kam es, dass sich die beiden Frauen der Musiker (sie lernten sich über die Zusammenarbeit kennen) 2010 zu einem gemeinsamen Urlaub in den belgischen Ardennen verabredeten. Ron und Michel mussten zu diesem Trip natürlich einige Elektronikinstrumente mitnehmen und so entstanden die Stücke, die im Oktober unter dem Titel „Refuge en Verre“ erschienen sind. Der Titel der CD wurde dabei ganz einfach dem Namen des Hausesentliehen, das die beiden Familien bewohnten.
This is the first collaborative project of two Dutch electronic artists Ron Boots and Michel van Osenbruggen aka Synth.nl. Both musicians have unique rhythmic / melodic styles, so their influences meld together well to create a work of classic melodic Dutch EM (the "Eindhoven School"). These tracks were performed while both musicians stayed in Belgian Ardennes with their families, so the music has a bit of a pastoral quality to it, without resorting to complete new age relaxation vibe. The title track slowly builds with bass pulsations, floating pads and a wonderful melodic synth solo. It's relaxed, warm and comforting. I like the synth work on this track - everything is in place - the tasty pulsations, the high-flying solos and the warm pads. Some restrained piano notes lend their airy charm to the soundscape. "La Roche-en-Ardenne" kicks in with melancholic pads and a relaxed rocking rhythm. Then a wonderful synth melody appears - rich, symphonic and emotional. Nice stuff that will leave all fans of melodic EM speechless.
So you take two well-known names in synthesizer music, Ron Boots of the Groove Unlimited label and Michel van Osenbruggen (Synth.NL) and you send them on vacation together. Naturally they bring some gear, right? And they do a little jamming. (It’s to be expected, after all.) What comes out of it is Refuge en Verre, a robust collection of pieces with a strong retro feel, reminiscent in spots of Tangerine Dream and J-M Jarre–but not overpoweringly so. Rich, rhythmic and possessing a bit of a swaggering rock ‘n roll stride, Refuge en Verre wastes no time in hooking the listener.
This release from 2010 offers 71 minutes of dreamy electronic music. Synth.nl is Michel van Osenbruggen. In 2010, the Boots and Osenbruggen families rented a house in the Belgian Ardennes for a weekend. Ron and Michel brought along a synthesizer and a laptop and jammed together. The music they co-created became this album (with some finishing touches applied once the two returned to their respective studios). Dreamy electronics conspire with sinuous rhythms, resulting in some very tasty tuneage. While atmospheric textures are utilized, they remain background elements, while numerous frontal riffs generate lush melodies that simultaneously exhibit a soothing disposition as well as a fairly restrained energy that manages to periodically ooze through and shine. Cycles are established and then embellished by additional riffs which ultimately flesh things out into a velvet flow punctuated by incidents of glorious drama. Strong attention is given to creating a steady stream of engaging melodies. Rhythms contribute tempos, but the locomotion manifests in a subdued fashion, lending beats without becoming too overwhelming or hyperactive. While the majority of the tracks are calmly amiable, there are several occasions in which the music marshals authority and cooks with delightful results. One track is given a sultry demeanor by molten basslines. These compositions display an easygoing sonic mood, one that exemplifies a comfortable collaboration. The tunes shine with congenial melodies performed with stately mastery.
This is an excellent CD, well constructed, top notch phrasing with plenty of sequencing. I'm familiar with both artists separately, but together it adds dimension to all styles of EM that hasn't been heard in recent years. The combination of analog and digital synths makes for a rare combination of brilliant soundscapes that delivers high octane sound. This is representative of music that for all purposes does not make listening to all that difficult. Every track on this recording forms a story written to coincide with the other. Brilliant
Refuge en Verre is the name of a chalet located in the Belgian Ardennes. It is also the place where Michel van Osenbruggen, better known under the name of Synth. NL and Ron Boots sealed an increasing friendship during a family weekend of which synths and PCs were in the middle of victuals and, especially, where the panorama was favorable for an inspiration which precisely nourished these synths and PCs. Family meeting in an absolutely splendid place, according to the description made by the two accomplices, it didn’t need anything more to compose an album which soaks in a convivial ambiance. A Refuge en Verre where the duality as well rhythmic as melodious which lives and differentiates the musical universes from Ron Boots and Michel van Osenbruggen is completing throughout this soft opus to hybrid atmospheres.
The foundation of the music heard on this release was laid down as Ron Boots and Michel van Osenbruggen (aka Synth.nl) and their families had a nice weekend out in the Belgian Ardennes in a rented house, of which the latter also became the name of the album. Beside the overall moody and relaxed nature of the music of “Refuge en Verre”, the outcome is also proof of the fun musicians can have composing and jamming while complementing each other and enjoying themselves as they immerse into the music. While sometimes the sound and variation of the drums could have been better on certain spots in the first half of the album, there's a lot to like for the warm sound pads and lush synth textures applied in each piece. For me, the highlight on the album is the exciting “La Roche-en-Ardennes” with its great mixture of enthusiastic soloing from both musicians, although it's a pity they occasionally give room to a few fretless bass lines. A close second is the thrilling “Contemple du ciel” with its great groovy bass line and airy synth scapes hovering over it, while a pleasant Vangelis-flavour shines through the evocative track “Rosee du Matin”. A more powerful and up-tempo statement is made on “Combat des coqs”, which offers nice free style elements next to the sound of coqs calling to each other. “Refuge en Verre” makes me wish to see these two musicians perform this live some time.
In 2006, Ron Boots and Michel van Osenbruggen (better known as Synth.nl) digitally met on the Dutch “Synth Forum”. They started talking about synthesizers and synthesizer music and found out that they shared the same fascinations. Ron is the best and most well-known electronic musician from The Netherlands with many respected and successful releases behind his name, Synth.nl got signed by Groove Unlimited in 2007 and has released three well-received albums to date. In 2010 their wives rented a house in the Belgian Ardennes for a weekend. Both Ron and Michel brought a synthesizer with them and they started making music together. The name of the house was “Refuge en Verre”. The nice and relaxed time Ron, Michel and their families had in the house, surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Ardennes, led to the inspiration for this album. The eight compositions on “Refuge en Verre” all have a theme about the house and the environments there. The music is a perfect mix between the sounds of the two musicians: retro, powerful and melodically (Ron) as well as melodically, lively and rhythmic (Michel). It is great to hear what the two of them are capable of together.
Whether it was the relaxed atmosphere the duo were in when the music was conceived or the fact they have worked together before made a difference I don't know but from track 1 I knew this was going to be a quality album. Quite noticeable to this reviewer is the sustained keyboard solos through many of the tracks ("Refuge en Verre," "La Roche-en-Ardenne" and "Combat des Coqs") something I've been missing of late. Classic-sounding EM. A superb guitar sound on "Combat..." giving that track a real bite. "Orage d'ete," "Coucher du Soleil" and "Rosee du Matin" highlighting their mellower side with some beautiful melodies and atmosphere. This is their first CD together, although they have worked together on previous Synth.NL albums, but surely not their last. Highly recommended.