Band: Lars Boutrup’s Music for Keyboards
CD Title: Small as a Ball
Label: Ex’cess Records (2015)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
This is the third instrumental progressive rock album for Boutrup and by my estimation is a much rockier-prog affair that his previous release which emphasized his symphonic side. These eight compositions, roughly forty-nine minutes of music, feature mostly Hammond organ or other keyboard driven tunes that put the “rock” in Progressive Rock. The music hearkens back to artists like Emerson Lake and Palmer or even other trios like Trace where the organ tends to take centre stage. It’s quite amazing what musical gymnastics the threesome of bass, drums and keyboards can get up to. Most of these selections are in the six or seven minute range offering plenty of time for musical change-ups in time, tempo and dynamics. From growling Hammond organ to sinewy synthesizer lead-lines, the music is brash, dramatic and fun to listen too. It’s interesting to note that Boutrup has composed music for more than 200 silent movies in Denmark and Sweden. This has certainly given him a cinematic sense in his musical composition. The songs tend to provide a wonderful musical backdrop to the visual images the listener creates, knowing when to create tension and knowing when to release it. While this release may be somewhat rockier, it doesn’t avoid the symphonic side completely. Something made quite clear on a track like “Metro Scheme 69” [6:51]. I have to admit I like this punchier side of Lars Boutrup. While I enjoyed his previous The Symphonic Dream it seemed almost a little too slick to my ears, especially when compared to this release. Small as a Ball is a little rougher and displays a more intense contrast in the musical composition. I like this one a lot. Recommended to fans of keyboard driven progressive rock.