Spectrum - An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music
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Spectrum - An Anthology Of Relaxing Instrumental Music
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~ THE AWARD-WINNING ANTHOLOGY FROM MASTER COMPOSER HENNIE BEKKER ~
Multi-platinum-selling recording artist and master composer Hennie Bekker brings you Spectrum - An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music. This beautiful, award-winning compilation features a colorful sequence of soothing music from some of Hennie Bekker s most memorable works, including the best selling albums Spring Rain, Summer Breeze, Temba and Reverie.
#1 ZMR TOP 100 RADIO AIRPLAY CHART
WINNER - ZMR MUSIC AWARDS - BEST CONTEMPORARY INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM AND BEST ELECTRONIC ALBUM
Spectrum encompasses some of Hennie Bekker s most significant instrumental works, embodying a melodic array of various musical genres. This epic compilation features fourteen tracks from eleven different albums. From echoing soundscapes of the mystical African jungle, to romantic piano and modern ambient sounds, Spectrum shines as a colorful celebration of Bekker s lifelong journey of timeless musical expression, truly showcasing Bekker s strength as a multi-genre artist.
Hennie Bekker is well known for his own Tranquility, Kaleidoscopes and African Tapestries album series, and his pioneering work with Dan Gibson on the Solitudes<sup>TM</sup> Exploring Nature with Music series, having composed the music for the first fourteen albums. Bekker s impressive discography encompasses over fifty albums and over a thousand works he has either composed or arranged, or to which he has contributed his musical genius.
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Hennie is perhaps best known in some circles for providing the music for the first 14 albums in a series entitled "Dan Gibson's Solitudes - Exploring Nature With Music", which as the title implies, blends Hennie's soothing melodies with Dan's globally recorded sounds of nature - a series that has sold literally millions of copies. Hennie's latest release: "Spectrum" is a well-chosen compilation from a sampling from his many albums over the years. Subtitled: "An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music", the compositions reflect diversity, yet interestingly enough, exhibit a sense of cohesion that makes it feel like a body of work rather than a collage of unrelated tracks.
The album opens with "Spring Rain" which is a perfect start, breezing in like a gentle shower and watering the seeds of the fruit to come - in this case, 13 more tracks from his musical garden. As a keyboardist extraordinaire, Hennie's lavish piano and synths create a beautiful soundscape with new age and classical overtones. Sounds of life awaken from deep within the jungle as the second song: "The Heart of Africa" begins to beat and marks a shift to a more rhythmic energy. Track 3 takes on a decidedly Brazilian flavor with "Bahia Nights" blending Latin and reggae influences, A highlight for me was "Stormy Sunday" with its synth and sequencer-driven motion that brought to mind artists like Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, and early Yanni. By comparison the nature sounds and blissful melodies of "Tranquility" and the more spacious drifting sound of "Entranced" were equally enjoyable.
I could not help being continuously impressed with Hennie's compositional ability and the level of expertise and creative vision he brings to whatever style of music he plays. Rarely have I heard a recording artist able to cover such diverse musical terrain and do it so well. From tender piano melodies, to dreamy ambient soundscapes and earthy African-influenced grooves, Hennie Bekker is a consummate composer and masterful musician.
Born and raised in Zambia near the Congo border, the young Bekker was captivated by the sounds of the African wilderness, the haunting harmonies of tribal chanting, and the rhythmic dialog of drummers communicating between mining camps at dusk. He began playing music at an early age and performed with various bands around southern Africa before settling in Johannesburg and becoming established in the music industry there. He relocated to Canada in 1987 and worked with Dan Gibson on the first fourteen Solitudes - Exploring Nature With Music series. He also composed, arranged, and produced many solo albums, all of which are on his own Abbeywood Records label. He also did a lot of innovative techno work as part of the band BKS, producing a number of progressive hits popular with the contemporary club scene; the BKS album "Astroplane" earned the 1997 Juno Award for Best Dance Recording.
"Spectrum" opens with "Spring Rain," a gentle, carefree piece that features keyboards and strings. "The Heart of Africa" begins with the sounds of African wildlife before a catchy rhythm ignites the music. The playful nature of this piece reminds me of Ray Lynch, and it's impossible to keep the feet still while the music dances and swirls with delight. "Bahia Nights" has an exotic, mystical quality that soothes with graceful movement and a beautiful melody. "Urban Trance" can send you on a wonderful flight of fancy with its gentle rhythm and dreamy quality. "Amani (Peace)" returns us to Africa, the call of the jungle, and a message of peace. "Alone In a Dream" moves us even deeper into a state of tranquility with piano, strings and keyboard washes. If you aren't there already, "Elusive Sensation" will melt away any tension or stress you might be experiencing - gorgeous! "Entranced" moves into the ambient realm, dreamy and ethereal. "Always There" is a lovely melodic piano and strings piece (plus keyboard washes) intended for romance - an elegant and eloquent slow dance. "Silent Embrace" ends the collection softly and tenderly, eliciting contentment and a deep sigh. Good stuff, Mr. Bekker!
"Spectrum" is an enchanting work of art and an excellent introduction to Hennie Bekker's world of music; Bekker's many fans will be thrilled with this compilation of highlights from his lengthy career. Recommended!
Some of the tunes are piano-based, while others focus on synthesized electronic textures. Many are inspired by Bekker's homeland and as such feature the natural ambience of those environs. But whatever the style or sound, all of the tracks are of one accord - as the CD's subtitle states, they are all indeed pieces of relaxing instrumental music.
While the music is soothing and refreshing, it is also engaging and inventive. Highlights include the Miami Vice vibe of "Urban Trance," the refreshing reverie of "Stormy Sunday," and the hip, mellow fusion of "Tranquility."
In terms of overall feel, Bekker is definitely in the league of Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, and Jan Hammer, and listeners who enjoy those artists will find much to like in Bekker.
I trashed it.