Lars Boutrup's Music For Keyboards -
Small As A Ball

(CD 2015, 49:53, Ex'cess Records)

The tracks:
  1- Small As A Ball(6:21)
  2- Metro Cheme 69(6:51)
  3- Back To Horn(7:11)
  4- Für Deine Kleider(6:37)
  5- Heaven Can Wait(2:43)
  6- Will We Dream About The Ball?(7:53)
  7- And The Boy Gets A Sigar(5:00)
  8- Story Harp(7:17)

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Lars Boutrup delivered his third album Small As A Ball under the name of Lars Boutrup's Music For Keyboards in 2015. Boutrup is a man who has been publishing music since the early 1980s, for film as well as in more or less progressive and experimental band settings. The Music For Keyboard albums are ones he makes together with fellow Danes Fredrik Sunesen (drums) and Niels Knudsen (bass).

When it comes to playing organ and keyboard, Lars Boutrup certainly knows what he is doing, as the sounds and melodies that are scattered around this album are well crafted, as are a lot of the leads he takes. Despite the fact that the music is played by a trio, with him being able to use two keyboards at a time, the music never feels empty. Having keyboards as lead instrument, without a guitar around is not something I hear everyday - partly due to my taste, partly due to the fact that a lot of rock bands have at least one guitar on board. And that's where the problem starts, although the guitar is not missing, what it often brings in a (progressive) rock band is: a bit of tension and variation. This album contains 8 tracks, all but two of which run between 6 and 8 minutes, and I feel that all of them lack changes in tempo and atmosphere. The drums and bass lay down a beat, which allows for a little variation, over which the keyboards and organ play leads and melodies sometimes in an almost psychedelic or space rock way, sometimes bordering on symphonic rock, but often not exactly going anywhere. Instrumental music is not easy to create, because it's not easy getting hooks in there that drag the listener in. With this album I feel my mind drifting away, even after listening to it on and off for a few months. Only the opening track Small As A Ball and the 5 minute long And The Boy Gets A Cigar really catch me. The first has a rock sound to it that makes one wonder whether there is a guitar involved, the latter has the keyboard hook that does grab your attention. The other tracks are not bad, but as with a lot of instrumental music that borders on psychedelic they're well played, but a bit too long winded and unadventurous.

Those who thrive on keyboard driven music will probably like this but others should have a good listen before buying I expect.

**** Angelo Hulshout (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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