In 2015 Dutch musician Eddie Mulder released his debut solo album Dreamcatcher (see review). On this instrumental album, Eddie showed that he is an incredible guitar player. Just like in his band Leap Day only his focus was not on the electric guitar and trying to show how fast he can play like most guitar pickers do when they come out with a solo effort. No, the beauty of his playing is shown on the acoustic guitars mainly. Occasionally he grabbed one that was plugged in. He did this with such a quality that it was just a must to hear the songs on his debut. But I guess hardly anybody expected that he would come out with a follow up album one year later-including myself! But its fine by me that he released Horizons in 2016, one year after its predecessor.
The title Horizons has of course nothing to do with the acoustic guitar instrumental which you can find on Foxtrot released by Genesis in 1972. His inspiration came from a line which Dag Hammarskjöld wrote saying; “Never look down to test the ground before taking the next step. Only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find his right road”. I guess Eddie is a guy who thinks before doing something spontaneous. He is probably somebody who hardly can be surprised by something he didn't expect.
On his second solo album he again got some help from two members from a band in which he has a history too. You'll have to know that he was one of the former guitar players in Flamborough Head, a band in which he plays the bass guitar nowadays just like he does on his solo albums and in his other band Trion. First we have Margriet Boomsma on the flute and secondly we have Edo Spanninga. He is probably the main man on this release after Mulder. All songs were recorded in collaboration with Spanninga, which, beyond his role as a guest musician playing the Mellotron and organ, also took care of the technical side. Finally Vincent van Dam contributed on the violin as well.
As for the compositions on this second album, you can say Eddie moved music wise in the same musical direction. Again, mellow pieces of music on which you can dream away. Once again like on his debut he selected twelve compositions for this release and again added some bonus tracks to them! As for the main dish, you can say all of the tracks sound very entertaining. The pieces on which you can only hear his acoustic guitar, the music moves from time to time into the direction of the English guitarist Gordon Giltrap rather than Steve Hackett, Steve Howe or Anthony Phillips which I mention as a musical reference, like most reviewers probably would do. The same kind of very melodic finger picking can be found in Eddie's music. As a lover of Giltrap's music this is of course the right cup of tea for me! A special mention goes to the fact that for four tracks they recorded Eddie's acoustic guitar parts at the medieval church of Fransum in the Netherlands. This of course gives a very special acoustic sound on the tracks! The use of extra musicians certainly gave the songs something extra. Variety is the spice after all! Most of all adding an instrument such as a violin the first time to one of his songs really does sound great.
The bonus tracks of this album are excellent as well and are a perfect addition to the main dish. The five songs were recorded during the presentation of Dreamcatcher on June 21, 2015 in the conference center New Allardsoog in Bakkeveen. Again, a list of guest musicians joined Eddie on stage to come up with perfect renditions of the songs which you originally can find on his debut!
Dreamcatcher got a very good score by our reviewer. He wrote at the time; “It's all beautiful but please, the next time some more 'bite and crunch'”. Well the 'bite and crunch' can't be found again on this follow up album. But I guess you won't find it on Eddie's solo albums for a while. For the 'bite and crunch' you'll have to grab one of the albums Eddie released with Leap Day. He has chosen to show the mellow and more laidback side of his compositions on his solo albums. Well I am really into that as well and therefore a little bit higher score this time around is in place. So, four stars for an excellent album!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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