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Frank van Bogaert: Geographic

AAJ Staff By

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Frank Van Bogaert is a Belgian pop composer whose work is very much like that of Vangelis. He shares Vangelis’ taste for simple chord changes, easygoing rhythms, synthesized “orchestral” textures, and buildups to dramatic climaxes. In this album, Bogaert uses samples from native chanting as well as environmental sounds – certainly not original touches, but they fit well within his theme of “pop world” music of the kind that those other Europeans, "Deep Forest," produce. He also uses Scottish and Irish bagpipes, along with other ethnic instruments. These ethnic sounds are so adapted and transformed away from their own context that they simply become part of Bogaert’s sound texture, rather than cultural artifacts.

Bogaert, like Vangelis, is a commercial composer and his professionalism shows in his tightly structured pieces, which almost all deliver their message in less than 6 minutes. Like Vangelis, Bogaert likes the “triumphal” sound which a big major chord climax creates. In some of the tracks on “Geographic” you can just imagine the slow-motion video of the winning ski racer or victorious athletes hugging each other at the finish line. Other pieces, which are more quiet, could be music for meaningful moments in a romantic film, or perhaps commercials for luxury resorts or wine. This is the kind of music Bogaert creates, easily understood and full of upbeat, cheerful emotional appeal.

Though Bogaert’s sound is well-crafted, he just doesn’t have the kind of tunes that stay in your head, and Geographic tends to roll by you without much memorable material. It sounds like background music, to which you, the listener, must create your own inner video of adventure, pleasure, and victory.


Title: Geographic | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Groove Unlimited


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