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
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more