Guido Meyer's 2007 offering contains familiar EM rock elements but this time he's added less strident instrumentation such as glockenspiel and wind chimes, and even a coffee cup! The title Connected to the Dead is a reference to paranormal activities with a family member when he was young.
Ghostly washes and wooden rattles open the album in the short piece "The Gathering". Light churchly organ sounds then add an eerie sense of the supernatural while swirling washes and otherworldly tinkling stand out in a build up to a crescendo.
A couple of tracks later Guido plugs in and lets rip his heavy metal guitar in "On the Other Side" which is soaked in blistering guitar lines and drums broken up by a just as unsettling interlude of bright glissandos, distorted groaning voices, and whistles.
This is the only track straying into heavy metal territory, though some pieces such as "Multidimensional" do feature electric guitar plus drum programming and percussion. In this track there's a lot of synth initially followed later by guitar tones and playing a little reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's Five Miles Out.
It's in the aptly titled "Ghost Sonata" that guitar is eschewed in favour of a springy piano sound and synth effects. You can imagine the spirit of a pianist playing forlornly as ghostly whistles and humming sounds glide around and voices merge almost imperceptibly with the music.
The way Guido uses guitar and other sounds on Connected to the Dead does give a sense of communing with spirits and another realm. The mix of some melodic EM rock with discordant spectral ambient passages works well overall. It should appeal to those who like bold music that grabs the listener at a visceral level.
2008. Dene Bebbington / Melliflua
De Zwitser Guido Meyer verklankt op zijn nieuwste CD-R een seance met occulte sferen. En het moet gezegd: de multi-instrumentalist slaagt daar met al zijn keyboards, drummachines en gitaren bijzonder aardig in. We horen dus vaak ijle ‘glasachtige’ geluiden, kamerbrede strings, enge stemmetjes op de achtergrond, gothische effecten en vooral heel veel sfeertapijtjes, die glad in elkaar overlopen.
Muziek die zeker filmische kwaliteit heeft, en het thema van het album prima weergeeft.
Het titelnummer is in mijn ogen het beste stuk van de plaat vanwege de spanningsopbouw, melodie- en klankgebruik en de symfonische zeggingskracht. Een track verder gaat het echter ietwat mis. Hier is het net die enkele maal dat Guido de elektrische gitaar op metal-standje zet en veel te harde riffs produceert. Niet passend, en de overall sfeer van het album behoorlijk doorkruisend. Gelukkig keert daarna de balans weer terug en is het meer meditatief uitbollen geblazen naar het statige nummer Will We Meet Again? Hoogtepunt twee van de plaat, overigens. Buiten enkele stemklanken als effect (in het prettig klinkende Meeting Amely goed geslaagd trouwens) is de CD van 56 minuten volledig instrumentaal.
Met beslist genoeg kwaliteit om dit via een reguliere platenmaatschappij uit te brengen.
2007. Robbert Schuller / The Netherlands
The long awaited follow-up to "Lightyears" is here!
Moreover, it's a concept album and it starts with "The Gathering". That's a rather spooky piece, with all sorts of nightmarish effects. After a while melancholic Schulze-like strings come in, making this a very emotional and heartfelt track. Excellent introduction!
The title track waits around the corner, with spooky clanging sounds and dark resonating drones. This is some of the darkest and scariest music Guido has ever recorded. After a while the track becomes brighter, with all sorts of synth strings, pads and echoing effects. What's interesting is the laid-back, ambient nature of the music, something you wouldn't expect from an artist famous for his high-energy, rocking numbers. Having said that, I found the change highly enjoyable and overall it's some of the best music I've heard from Guido.
"On the Other Side" begins with much overused digital ohs, but after a few seconds heavy guitar riffs come in and it's not EM by any stretch anymore. Hard hitting drums accompany the riffs, along with some voice / siren samples. This track has got that "80's criminal drama" feel to it. Not that it's a bad thing... Ok, I did find some sections a bit on the cheesy side of things, but it's still an enjoyable number. Once the drums and guitar riffs depart, we get an AWESOME mysterious synth section! Now, this is what I call a contrast. Thinking back, the track does make perfect sense.
"On the Other Side"... Hmmm... I am surprised and very pleasantly surprised, too. The riffs do return after a while, this time accompanied by the horror voice samples, going completely over the top. It's like being in a nightmare, torn apart by monstrous creatures.
"Meeting Amely" is a slow melodic instrumental ballad. Midway between Rock music and EM, it's a moody atmospheric piece, with good use of voice samples.
"Paranormal Activity", despite its title, starts in a bright and serene, even New Agey, manner, as all sorts of synth atmospheres and pads fly across the stereo spectrum. An arpeggiating pattern appears as well as a marching rhythm. Guido's typical guitar soloing can be heard. Distorted piano pattern finishes off this strange track.
"Multidimensional" starts with spooky effects but they are soon gone, once a melodic line is introduced, along with an effected male voice. Laid-back rhythm appears, while intricate guitar lines make the track sound more intense.
"Ghost Sonata" is filled with piano chords and synth atmospheres and sounds more like an interlude that a full-blown track.
"Among the Living" begins with excellent distorted chords and overlaid voice samples. After a brief busy section we get a steady rhythm, supported by Guido's guitar playing. Excellent track with a "Towards the Blue Horizon" feel. Some very nice acoustic guitar playing on this one.
"In Memory" continues with spooky effects, until an excellent melodic theme is introduced. This music is so emotional and rich in melodic colors, it can hardly be described in words.
"Will We Meet Again?" starts with unearthly effects and a melancholic mood. However, all this soon transforms into an optimistic bass line and a bright, hopeful atmosphere.
Whether it's a good choice to finish an album with such a subject matter on an optimistic note, is debatable, but in any case it's quite obvious by now that Guido Meyer has recorded his best album to date and certainly his most experimental one.
2007. Artemi Pugachov