Eric Kampman - The well - 1999

A while ago the man behind "Big Balloon Music" contacted me. When I visited his website I noticed the simple structure he used for publishing music. They just burn a CD-Rom for you.


But they give attention to the smallest details, and I received this CD which has a nice self made cover and CD label. They sell the music via the Internet. What a great medium this is. The big record companies are not interested but the musician can distribute their music via this channel and we as progVisions can write about music that would otherwise only reach the families and close friends of the musician. I like this idea very much because the reason I put so much time in progVisions is simply because I would like to promote our so beloved progressive music.


This album "The well" is from an American keyboard player called Eric Kampman. In the year 1981 he formed together with Gary Morrell and Jon Ernst the band Now. (not the Belgium band Now!) They recorded three albums: "Everything is different now" (1986), "Now what" (1989) and "kNow reason" (1991) before the band broke up in 1992. After this adventure he did some vocal work for Nick Peck. In the year 1999 he released his first solo project "The Well". At the moment he is working on his next project "The Gate".


"Intro" (1:15) is the right title for this small atmospheric electronic opening piece. The solo projects of Kit Watkins came into my mind. "The well" (9:42) is an up-tempo piece in which Eric plays keyboards and sings accompanied by a drum computer. I don't like this metallic cheap sounding drummers but I understand that not every keyboard player has a friend who is also a good drummer. The second part of the track I like better with a nice piano and synth solo. The music has a lot of variation and the sounds are nice. The up tempo bit where also the vocals are you can compare with the albums Kit Watkins made with Coco Russel. The third track has the strange title "1 to 0" (5:50) and is more relaxed in the beginning. After 3 minutes there are some vocal lines while the tension is building up. Eric then plays a nice solo on the synth before the piece gets again that relaxed atmosphere where he plays very nice melodies. "Green at dusk" (3:15) has again vocals accompanied by piano and synths. This is a nice "simple sounding" piece with nice melodies. "Smaug" (6:28) has again some nice synth solos and the drum computer lies deeper in the mix. The synths and the piano (he started to learn at the age of 5) are the main instruments of Eric Kampman. And I must say that he creates nice melodies and his music doesn't become boring after a while. And that is a big compliment for Electronic music. Next comes "Somewhere between 7 & 8 Pt.II" (4:28). The instrumental parts with the nice synth sounds I like best in this relaxed track. "Ostinato" (4:04) is instrumental and very atmospheric with synths and electric piano and remembers me somehow of an album of the ex- Tangerine Dream member Michael Hoenig. The next track has again vocals and is a little bit more up-tempo "Scaffolding" (5:59) and shows again that melodic quality in Eric's vocal lines. The last track is also the longest of the whole album and has for me the intriguing title "The desert" (12:40). People who visited deserts and travelled in these unbarren but also so beautiful landscapes will never be the same again. And I am one of those lucky guys. I don't know of Eric Kampman is a desert lover but if I hear this track and see the cover I am almost sure he is. For me it is the best track in which he plays some very nice synth solos. Sometimes his sound is close to that of Tony Banks.


But this album is more for lovers of Electronic music than for the standard prog fan. Eric has a nice voice and is creating here some very nice melodic vocal parts. But I like the instrumental parts better. I enjoyed listening to this album because it is in a way very relaxed and has nice synth sounds. But it is not a spectacular album like "Feeding the wheel" of Jordan Rudess. The atmosphere is more like a mix of Kit Watkins, Michael Hoenig and Tony Banks

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - April 2002. -   - Big Balloon Music