David Becker: Euroland (2005)
David Becker grew up in Los Angeles but now lives in Wuppertal, Germany. He says that the impulse for Euroland was to "capture the vivid imagery of the European landscape with my guitar. One could say he as succeeded from the point of view of creating music that evokes images, some clearer than others, while a few attempt to tie into a country's musical heritage to some extent.
Becker plays all of the instruments, which include guitar, drums, and various keyboards. The overall effect is one of multiple layers that gradually add up to the desired soundscape. If I had to give the music a label, I'd call it fusion-techno-smooth, and I must admit that it was easy for most tracks to become aural wallpaper.
The main developmental technique Becker employs is repetition of some feature, be it a drum figure, a bass figure, a guitar chord plucking sequence, or a synth background. There is not much going on in the way of harmonic or melodic development and virtually no exhibition of chops. The music is supposed to lull you into its spell, but it just might put you to sleep.
The first six tracks work in pairs, with the odd tracks being short hints at the desired feel, leading immediately into the even tracks that flesh out the vibe set up. "Celtic Sea" and "Dawn Over Dublin have their charms, but they do not evoke the Emerald Isle. "Enter Asia"/"Istanbul pairs a plinky "Asian intro with an insistent bass-vamped techno dance track that is vaguely Middle Eastern. "Hills in the Distance" and "View from Above do evoke distance, height, and a bit of awe, albeit in a simplistic way.
The rest of the tracks follow the paradigm independently, except for "But Beautiful, which is a very good melody-chord interpretation of the beautiful standard. Musically and emotionally, it really does not fit with everything before or after, so one might ask why it is there.
Track Listing: Celtic Sea; Dawn Over Dublin; Enter Asia; Istanbul; Hills in the Distance; View from Above; Webergasse; Cathedrals Calling; Do Think About It; But Beautiful; Les Space in Art; Euroland.
Personnel: David Becker: guitars, drum, keyboards, electronics.