Van Otterdyke — The Syrens
(SI Music SIMPly 45, 1983/1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-10-01Ed Van Otterdijk (spelled Otterdyke here) is a Dutch multi-instrumentalist who released this one self-produced album on WEA in 1984 as part of a three album deal. The music straddled the line between prog and accessible pop, and after WEA pulled two singles off the album, they wanted more. Van Otterdijk, interested only in pursuing a more non-commercial direction, was promptly dropped by the label and never heard from again — at least that's how the story goes. The music here is definitely inventive, full of hooks and instrumental brilliance, lush orchestrations, stunning choral arrangements and plenty of Mellotron, and flows smoothly from one track to the next, but at the core this is definitely pop — residing somewhere between the later works of 10cc and perhaps Steely Dan (or even Hall and Oates at times). On the plus side, Van Otterdijk's voice is outstanding and multifaceted, and combined with the orchestrations on tracks like "Someone Else" and "Sad Affair" the effect rivals some of the best pop harmonies I've ever heard. On the minus side, the programmed drum tracks on several of the songs are rather annoying. But overall, the album is far too mainstream and only flirts with progressive ideas in a way that puts it in the same league as 10cc or Queen, and as such may not have wide appeal among progressive fans.
Related artist(s): Ed van Otterdijk
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more