Pillowy clouds of melodic music are ready to comfort you as you take an hour-long immersion in Hennie Bekker’s Beyond Dreams. This blend of New Age piano with lush and spacey synth pads sets right to work in taking any rough edges off your day and letting you know everything can be all right if we just get quiet and breathe. Bekker nails the relaxation equation here by lacing in moments of subtle vibrancy, usually via easy sequencer pulses, allowing him to find─or create─a spot that lets the listener unwind, enjoy, refresh, and come away feeling good. Across all tracks, there is always enough small detail going on that deep listens are quite rewarded; but Beyond Dreams is also a solid candidate for low-volume background looping, or even as you’re headed off to sleep. Most tracks run close to or over 10 minutes, but all of them have that wonderful time-stretching capability, and the hour running time feels blissfully longer. Bekker slips from one track to the next through very organic, seamless transitions. “Self Connect” and “Floating to Forever” open the album with a soft spacemusic feel, the sort of thing that elicits long, contented sighs and gets you ready for the deep ride to come. Bekker’s piano slips in on “Floating…”, giving us a nicely grounded aspect to harmonize with the ambient side and nudge us into New Age territory. From here, the piano becomes more present. “The Calm” adds resonant chimes for a feel that hits a gamelan-like tone in spots, that recognizable hollow ring and touch of dissonance. It’s perfect against the romance of the piano, which in turn is aided by soft string and pan-flute pads. The satiny chords of “Quiesence” are underscored with a hushed sequencer pulse that gives it just a tiny touch of energy, a gentle velocity. On the title track, Bekker goes almost pure spacemusic, bringing back the chime tones to play under long pads and a steady bass drone. The genre-ubiquitous vocal pads, lightly applied, round out this drifting voyage.
Beyond Dreams has garnered a lot of much-deserved attention in the New Age world. Its quiet atmospheres and healing-music intentions (Bekker notes that this is meant to be “brain entrainment music”) neatly bridge the gap between beatless and rhythmic music. There are points where the piano can be a bit sweet for my tastes, but it folds effortlessly into the overall feel rather than taking it over, and never draws my attention away from the calm flows I’m enjoying. It loops perfectly, and works its mind-massaging magic at any volume. Lovely work, and a must-have for New Age fans.
Available at CD Baby.
One thought on “Hennie Bekker, Beyond Dreams ─ Pathways to Deep Relaxation”
Solid analysis, John. I think it’s a great chill album (not chill out but chillllllllll at the end of the day). It’s got enough melody for new age zealots but the ambient qualities are there as well, provided the ambient fan is not addicted to drone or doom. Props, my friend.