Case, Alan - Dark Matter

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Bee & Bee Records
Catalog Number: BBAC2000
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:13:00

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands may be proud! Maybe not of her husband's activities but of subject Alan Case, the young musician who deserves to be awarded the country's highest medal next to the caption: "Alan Parsons of the lowlands!" A couple of years ago Alan Case was given the opportunity to record and deliver a complete album which was released on the Japanese Avalon label. Wide Awake was available all over the world, guaranteed the record company but ? the album couldn't be found anywhere at all. So years of frustration passed by as Case had an agreement with Avalon. When Alan was given back the rights to his music he signed a deal with Bee & Bee records who have just released this "illustrious" album, remastered and boasting some new tracks.

A new title, a new sleeve and hopefully a brand new start for Case who with Dark Matter delivers one of the best albums ever in Holland's history of pop music. Opening track "I Wonder Why" is a completely new song and boy what a song! Raymond Hallatu's voice really is world class and fits neatly into the mix of the song. I can't understand why Ton Scherpenzeel auditioned this guy for his new Kayak project but in the end let the guy go!? Raymond: do hang out with Alan Case for a very long time and lend your voice to his great compositions. You are a remarkable team and the synergy between the two of you can be felt by us, the listener.

For Dark Matter, Case has put the songs from Wide Awake in a different order so that the album is more coherent. The soft, jazzy "Mindless" is sung by Alan himself which is probably due to the sentimental character of the song, because this song once obtained the "Grote Prijs van Nederland" for songwriters, sort of a songwriter's guild trophy for the best song. Then it's back to the powerful voice of Jan Tervoort in order to steer "I Don't Need A Lover" towards radio recognition. As if Christopher Cross is helping out, "The Borderline" is wonderful, laid-back kind of music that could easily have been written by Boz Scaggs or Gino Vannelli. Where's the pina colada, my dear? So, just like Alan Parsons, Case also uses various singers for his project, and although each and every one of them have a magnificent voice I do find that Raymond Hallatu is the best. Take the superb "Mistake Of A Lifetime" where Hallatu's larynx coils around the arrangement like an anaconda on a warpath.

Another brand new composition is "Nighteye" where label colleague Steve Brooke lends his voice, sounding here like Phil Collins during his Abacab period, whilst Alan's synth sprints get very close to those of Rick Wakeman. The integration of violin also is a literal interpretation of "rock meets classic". The most "progressive" certainly is the long "Fast Asleep," initially the song which gave Case the confidence he needed to continue. This song, which is difficult to label, can maybe be seen as a "symphonic Meatloaf"? It is a bombastic piece of home industry with Case behind the microphone. I find small musical influences during "Innocent Eyes" whilst the uptempo "Celebrate Your Life" certainly has hit potential. The uncertain voice of Alan Case pops up in "The Hurting" backed by synthetic (pity) violins and cello. In the instrumental "Wide Awake" guitarists Eddy Bopp and Gino Reremassie sort of fight each other in order to end in pure guitar violence. The album ends with the bonus track "Het Nieuwe Land", the Dutch version of "The Borderline," in order to try his luck in Holland.

The only minuses I can find here are those of a financial implication. Of course a real drummer would sound much better and the same applies to the violin parts and the saxophone and clarinet solos should also be done by some musicians of flesh and blood. But if all of you go out there and order this masterpiece then, who knows, Alan can take this in consideration for his new album. In the meantime, press, radio and television in Holland have started to show an interest in this guy. And about time too! Now the rest of the world should do the same.

I Wonder Why (4:35) / Mindless (3:01) / I Don:t Need A Lover (6:21) / The Borderline (3:05) / Dark Nights (3:55) / All About You (2:35) / Mistake Of A Lifetime (4:57) / Nighteye (4:02) / Fast Asleep (11:11) / Crawl Out Of These Mountains (5:04) / Make It Happen (4:35) / Innocent Eyes (4:29) / Celebrate Your Life (4:04) / The Hurting (1:59) / Wide Awake (5:14) / Het Nieuwe Land (3:06)

Alan Case - vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums
Raymond Hallatu - vocals
Jan Tervoort - vocals
Stan Peters - vocals
Steve Brooke - vocals
Raymond van Rooijen - vocals
Lisanne Soeterbroek - violin
Eddy Bopp - guitars
Ad van Beek - guitars
Hilde Amian - harp
Gino Reremassie - guitar
Debby Nagi - backing vocals
Vivian Peters - backing vocals
Eveline Cloin - backing vocals
Simone Cox - backing vocals

Wide Awake (1997)
Dark Matter (2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin BE

Added: January 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1173
Language: english


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