Eddie Mulder - Victory

(CD 2019, 46:30, OSKAR 1097CD)

The tracks:
  1- Just An Ordinary Day(3:49)
  2- Dark Rose(3:42)
  3- Victory(2:57)
  4- Mountain View(3:12)
  5- Strange Beauty(3:57)
  6- Get Going(2:20)
  7- After The Work's Done(3:59)
  8- No More Suffering(2:52)
  9- Demi(2:10)
10- More Than Enough(2:50)
11- The Longing(3:04)
12- Easy Going(2:40)
13- Jigsaw(6:52)
14- Memoir(4:34)
15- Goodbye For Now...(2:00)

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Eddie Mulder was born in 1959 in the very northern Dutch province Friesland that has its own language. His deepest musical memories are a picture of Cliff Richard on a matchbox when he was 4 years old, and then the music of The Beatles. At the age of six Eddie picked up a classical guitar and started lessons. But when he was 13 he said goodbye to the classical guitar, and changed to the electric guitar, after listening to legendary prog music from Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Steve Hillage, Gentle Giant and Gong. As an adult he turned into a professional musician and played at dances and parties, alongside session work in the studio, and in the Nineties Eddie worked for one year in Germany during a huge show. After returning to The Netherlands he joined the acoustic guitar trio French Connection. And since 2000 Eddie has shown his love for progressive rock in the formations Flamborough Head, Trion and Leap Day. Meanwhile Eddie is also a guitar teacher so no complaints about a lack of work for him. In 2015 Eddie released his first solo album entitled Dreamcatcher(see review), followed by a new solo effort every year, so now in 2019 we welcome #5 entitled Victory. It contains contributions from Edo Spanninga (Flamborough Head), Gert van Engelenburg (Leap Day), Albert Schoonbeek (Pink Faces), Antony Kalugin (Sunchild and Karfagen) and Oeds Bouwsma (French Connection).

The first four compositions are recorded in the studio. Just An Ordinary Day: a slow rhythm featuring Camel-like guitar and pleasant work on synthesizer and piano. Dark Rose: beautiful acoustic guitar reminding me of Dutch acoustic guitarist Harry Saksioni. The title track: melodic and warm acoustic guitar and bass, evoking Dutch prog folk formation Flairck. And finally Mountain View: a slow rhythm, embellished with soaring strings and Hammond organ, and delivering another moving Camel-like guitar solo and sparkling Mini Moog sounding synthesizer flights.

So two out of four acoustic pieces, and that turns out to be the 'warming up' to a kind of “Eddie Mulder Unplugged”, a live recording in Italy, 2018. During the 8 tracks Eddie Mulder delivers wonderful and tender work on the acoustic guitar (rhythm, twanging, solo runs). It sounds like the acoustic side of Steve Hackett and Steve Howe, but also (again) evoking Dutch guitarist Harry Saksioni and Dutch prog folk band Flairck.

Now back to the studio for the final 3 compositions. Jisgsaw is the absolute highlight on this album, and most close to his work with Flamborough Head and Trion. It starts with a dreamy climate featuring twanging 12-string guitar (like early Genesis), followed by a sensitive electric guitar, along soaring Mellotron violins. Then a slow rhythm with double bass, Mellotron violins, spacey synthesizer flights, subtle jazzy guitar runs and lush Hammond organ. Halfway, first a twanging acoustic guitar, then again a slow rhythm with a sparkling synthesizer solo (an Keith Emerson kind of keyboard brass sound). Now it is 24-carat symphonic rock with Camel-like guitar and majestic Mellotron violins. Finally, delicate keyboards and strumming guitar, a subtle ending.

Next the track Memoir, it contains a sound like the previous one but with delicate Fender Rhodes electric piano, along a sparkling pitchbend driven synthesizer solo and soaring Mellotron violins.

Finally Goodbye For Now, a warm acoustic guitar piece that emphasizes the acoustic side of Eddie on this pleasant new solo album.

For me the acoustic guitar overtones are no problem, as a huge fan of the 'unplugged' Steve Howe and Steve Hackett, and Harry Saksioni (once I witnessed a concert, with Kayak member Ton Scherpenzeel) and Flairck (I have seen that awesome band many times in the late Seventies). Now I hope the progheads and especially the fans of Eddie Mulder, Flamborough Head, Leap Day and Trion will be up for this beautiful, very warm acoustic side of Eddie Mulder.

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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