OJE Music - March 2005


Review of The Path

Peter Swart - The Path

In the late 70’s Swart has been involved in The NeoSinfonia Association, a symphonic rock fan club. Even then he already was an excellent guitarist and he put tracks from Genesis (‘For Absent Friends’), Phillips & Rutherford (‘Field of Eternity') and Gordon Giltrap ('Reflections & Despair') into a guitar notation. The sheet music was subsequently published in the magazine Symphonic Credo. His continued interest in this music and his development as a guitarist and keyboard player in recent years has resulted in a collection of songs, solo and within the band Morphosis.

On the solo album 'The Path' Swart found inspiration in his dreams, in the works of Tolkien and the world famous painting ‘The Peddler' by Jeroen Bosch. Is the peddler always on the road, all the people, animals and other creatures that figure in the tracks are also underway. The first nine compositions refer to a large extent to Anthony Phillips. Both by the intimate atmosphere and by the acoustic guitar of Swart and his fine and direct, sometimes drawling way of singing. He also shows to be a very deserving player of the keyboards. The magnificent opener 'White Melancholy' let it all hear together. Also ‘Tender Innocence Part 1’, which is ingeniously put together, is a good example. There are five tracks that relate to Tolkien's world. In particular ‘Nimrodel' and 'Gandalf' stand out by the alternation of quiet passages and bombastic keys and drums. In these tracks faintly, by the way of singing, Swart relates to Robert Wyatt.

The transition between Tolkien and Jeroen Bosch is formed by two instrumental interludes, namely ‘Tender Innocence Part 2' and 'Along Flowing Waters’. The latter is a beautiful composition for guitar, with at the start and the end a few chords on the keys. Long ago Peter Swart had the opportunity to play this track in the studio of Anthony Phillips on one of his guitars. At that moment Phillips will undoubtedly have felled to be listening to himself.

'A Retrospect / Towards the Unknown' contains three connected compositions based on the aforementioned painting by Jeroen Bosch. The lyrics are written by Peter van der Laan, once frontman of The NeoSinfonia Association, who also can be heard in the declamations of 'Bearer of Darkness’. The compositions in the triptych are good and by the use of more instruments show how the tracks would sound if they were performed by a full band.

In 'The Path' Peter Swart shows to be a fine musician and composer, his genes steeped with the history of symphonic rock music. There are also downsides, I find the album at times a bit too fragmentary. Although it is an independent release, the production is very acceptable. Peter Swart has much more to offer. I hope he keeps up the motivation, always difficult when you have to arrange everything by yourself. Thereby he deserves support so I would say "order this CD" . I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

Harry de Vries


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