October 26, 2019 - Theater De Enck, Oirschot (NL)

In the late Seventies I became a fan of electronic music after purchasing albums by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, aka The Berlin School. To be honest, this 30th edition of the Dutch electronic music festival E-Live was my first visit. So, during all those years I have missed performances by Airsculpture, Arc, Rogue Element, Red Shift, Radio Massacre International, Neuronium, and Ron Boots, to name a few, mouthwatering!

But today I was lucky with a top notch electronic music line-up, the best for years. And with almost 300 visitors E-Live was close to sold out. The annual event is organized by Groove Unlimited, and prime mover Ron Boots did the presentation during the festival, in his unique, often humorous way. During the gigs the EM fans could buy a wide range of electronic music from several labels and artists, a kind of Electronic Music Heaven.
In the so called upperroom the festival started with a performance by the 10-year old (!) Ansgar Stock, it turned out to be a packed house, and an excellent gig, lots of euphoric words from the visitors. Only around 75 were allowed, people were stretching their necks at the entrance of the upperroom, in order to see a glimpse of that very promising young EM musician.
Next the official start at the very comfortable theatre, good views from all side. The first musician was C-Jay (real name is Christian Jansen), he was asked to present his album Adem, after 3 months of preparation. C-Jay delivered a pleasant and accessible sound, reminding me of the Berlin School, JM Jarre and ambient. The crowd responded to his performance with a lot of claps and cheers.
Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder
Then Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder, a very popular and prolific long-time Dutch-German project, playing compositions from their new album Purple, in the vein of the Berlin School: very melodic and loaded with exciting work on sequencers and synthesizers, especially two tracks from the album Green, with sultry Middle-East sounding violins, goose bumps. A special feature was Keller playing on the laser harp.
The following artist was 'down to Memory Lane' for me: Rob Papen, once a member of Dutch electronic band Peru, I bought a series of albums in the late Eighties. In 1982 Rob Papen also had a #1 single with the synth-pop trio Nova entitled Aurora. Rob Papen was born on 8 October 1964, at the age of 15 he started with the Korg MS-20 synthesizer and a SQ-10 sequencer, on these machines he learned how to program synthesizers. These experiences inspired him to compose music, He studied electronic organ (loving JS Bach). And through groups like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and artists like J.M. Jarre, Georgio Morroder, Vangelis and Klaus Schulze he started making electronic music, also at the age of 15. In 2018 Rob Papen released the album The Return, the first new one since The Prophecies from 1993. Rob's set on E-Live was an excellent blend of Berlin School and more modern electronic music featuring awesome work on sequencers, and spacey flights on the Mini Moog synthesizer. His music was supported by mind blowing visuals, from Hans Bijloo, enhancing the music in a very pleasant way! The crowd showed its appreciation for this great gig with a standing ovation for Rob Papen.
Rob Papen
Ian Boddy
The final performance for the day (around 0900PM) was by EM legend Ian Boddy, he played without visuals, in order to let the fans focus on his unique work (between Berlin School, experimental and ambient) on a wide range of knobs and wires, and the Moog Voyager. This was EM magic, and Ian Boddy succeeded to mesmerize the crowd, another standing ovation. Around 1100PM everybody went home very satisfied, a big hand for the organization, the crew from De Enck, the grateful fans, and especially the artists!

Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2019