Frank VanBogaert Colours Like most paintings and photographs have an emphasis on a certain colour, each track on this album has a distinct atmosphere, primary to the melodies and rhythms. I consider them no more than “Musical Paintings.” You should listen to this recording in a comfortable way. Frank VanBogaert wrote that in 1997 for the liner notes for “(the start of his) electronic career” (as Kees Aerts states it) - Colours. Groove Unlimited has re-issued this electronic tour-de-force as electronic music enters a golden age. It is a very appropriate release for 2004, too, as it is versatile and variegated. Frank does not limit himself to a single reference point or influence. Rather, these wondrous soundscapes run the full – well – spectrum of the colours of the musical universe. Deep listeners will hear chorale, classical, pop, tribal, Native American and new age references and echoes. Of course, there are Berlin school sequences and ambient atmospheres but the overriding appeal is the diversity. It is very cool to revisit and review this disc in this amazing year and era. - Jim Brenholts
Geographic By Frank Van Bogaert Groove Unlimited, 1999 http://www.frankvanbogaert.com Frank Van Bogaert is a Belgian pop composer whose work is very much like that of Vangelis. He shares Vangelis’ taste for simple chord changes, easygoing rhythms, synthesized “orchestral” textures, and buildups to dramatic climaxes. In this album, Bogaert uses samples from native chanting as well as environmental sounds – certainly not original touches, but they fit well within his theme of “pop world” music of the kind that those other Europeans, "Deep Forest," produce. He also uses Scottish and Irish bagpipes, along with other ethnic instruments. These ethnic sounds are so adapted and transformed away from their own context that they simply become part of Bogaert’s sound texture, rather than cultural artifacts.
Bogaert, like Vangelis, is a commercial composer and his professionalism shows in his tightly structured pieces, which almost all deliver their message in less than 6 minutes. Like Vangelis, Bogaert likes the “triumphal” sound which a big major chord climax creates. In some of the tracks on “Geographic” you can just imagine the slow-motion video of the winning ski racer or victorious athletes hugging each other at the finish line. Other pieces, which are more quiet, could be music for meaningful moments in a romantic film, or perhaps commercials for luxury resorts or wine. This is the kind of music Bogaert creates, easily understood and full of upbeat, cheerful emotional appeal.
Though Bogaert’s sound is well-crafted, he just doesn’t have the kind of tunes that stay in your head, and Geographic tends to roll by you without much memorable material. It sounds like background music, to which you, the listener, must create your own inner video of adventure, pleasure, and victory.
HMGS rating: 7 out of 10 2/7/01
Docking By Frank Van Bogaert Groove Unlimited, 2000 http://www.frankvanbogaert.com Frank Van Bogaert is from Belgium, and his output is definitely in the tradition of European synthesizer pop music. Not the German kind, with its driving obsessive sequencer patterns, but the “inspirational,” dramatic kind epitomized by Vangelis. You hear the Vangelis imprint everywhere in Bogaert’ s music, from the modal melodies and easy-going but insistent rhythms, to the slow buildups into a “big sound” full of emotional appeal.
Bogaert, though, lacks the bombast and pretension of Vangelis. (He also lacks the catchy tunes that Vangelis is famous for.) The Belgian plays us long passages which are rather delicate and contemplative, such as the first half of “The drift” (track 2). This is where I think that Bogaert is at his best. This track eventually does build up into one of those big Vangelis climaxes, but that part doesn’t last very long. That musical structure of beginning slow and quiet, then building up into a big climax, is repeated in track after track, which gives Bogaert’s music a kind of predictability. Yet it’s still enjoyable to listen to.
Perhaps the best thing about Bogaert’s music is its upbeat mood. In many of the tracks there is a kind of pastoral, sweet quality (echoed by the peaceful photographs in the CD papers). He can even play the piano like a European version of George Winston. Other tracks have a kind of cheerful, bouncy, sunny, Caribbean-inspired quality. It’s the kind of music you’d hear as background to ads for vacation places. He also puts in a sort of “ad” for his own motto, in track 4, “A State of Mind,” where his North European (Flemish?) voice recites, “Each Day…We Haf, A State of Mindt.” It’s a cute track, in fact the whole album is charming. Having heard hours and hours of gloomy darkest ambient from his countryman “Vidna Obmana,” I’m glad to hear music from Belgium that makes me smile.
HMGS rating: 8 out of 10 2/7/01
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