In 2009 we could enjoy the first solo effort of Christiaan Bruin, a young Dutch musician who released A Glimpse Inside under his artist name Chris (see review). On his debut he played all the instruments and the vocals by himself and he also provided for the production, the artwork and the mastering. A Glimpse Inside certainly gave us a glimpse inside the musical brain of this talented musician. However, you could also notice that he took his first steps into the world of prog rock. His compositions couldn't always keep the listener focused during the entire fifty minutes. His songs were mostly just a bit too mellow and soft for people who like more dynamic and up-tempo prog rock. That also applied for his vocal contributions; a bit too sweet and with hardly any rough or dynamic moments. Our reviewer wrote the following lines about A Glimpse Inside: 'although Chris did a great job in making an album on his own, he has to add more variation both in the music and in the compositions next time'.
In many respects I agreed with his review but in addition, I must say that the album was a fine start for Chris to demonstrate his musical talents to the prog devotees. Maybe his work with Sky Architect made him realize that his own music needed a bit more muscles. The way Chris played the drums on the album Excavations Of The Mind (see review) sounds very mature. The change to another record company must have worked out positive for him as well, because on his second solo album Making Sense we hear a musician who both shows emotion and aggression in dynamic songs perfectly blended with mellow passages.
However, his second release starts softly again and at first you don't know what to expect, but he certainly learned from his previous recordings. Now Chris shows that he also has the talents to make music in a higher gear. This time the Mellotron-samples and the delicate and melodic guitar solos are a treat for my ears. They give the music a real retro sound that reminded me of Genesis and Steve Hackett. Also his way of singing changed considerably. Sometimes he still has a mellow and soft voice, just like on his debut album, but at other times his singing is fierce, aggressive and dynamic. Occasionally Chris returns to the sound of his debut, but that's just a part of the way he writes music. I can only compliment him with this fine second album. Listening to Making Sense gave me much joy; it's a professional release that deserves more listeners!
I'll end this review with a statement written on Chris's website. I fully agree with this statement which says it all: 'Making Sense tells the story of one's quest for identity, truth and purpose and is an inspired 70-minute conceptual work which takes listeners on a colourful journey full of twists and turns. The symphonic arrangements and typical vocal layers of the debut are still there, yet further developed into a richer, more dynamic and versatile sound. The elaborate, inventive compositions offer a wide range of emotions and plenty of melodies. Stylistically we find influences ranging from IQ and Genesis to The Beatles and Klaatu.'
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013