White Roses Painted Red – Smoke And Mirrors CD 2005
reissued 2007 by Michael and Spider
Egbert Brouwer – Rate Your Music
With Smoke & Mirrors latest CD White Roses Painted Red you are guaranteed that you’ll hear some kind of music that you’ve never heard before. Michael & Spider have come from a long way with their previous projects in the 80s when they made totally different kind of music. This CD came with a package of incense and some play characters from Alice in Wonderland…that was quite a surprise! I could smell the incense even before I opened the package, so my first encounters with Smoke & Mirrors was more than positive, and the listening hasn’t even started yet. With song lengths going from 1’07” to 5’36” there’s just enough space on the disc to contain 23 (!) tracks that tell the musical interpretation of “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland”. The music could be filed under ambient, but for me it’s more than that. It’s kind of strange but I can’t put my finger on it when it comes to define the music.
Michael & Spider call their music soundscapes but that doesn’t measure up with what I would call it. For me soundscapes are a collage of sounds and spheres that fill up the “gaps” that have been left by the other musicians, this is so much more. At some points the music is spooky, then it goes from chaotic to smooth and tender and vice versa, but it’s always fresh and surprising. Artists that popped into my head were Moby, Malcolm McLaren & Brian Eno, among others. Some highlights on the CD are for me the track “Pool of Tears”, which has some great guitar playing on the background. “Wonderland” is a guitar oriented track, with some modest guitar playing backed up with fabulous keyboard collages. The title track is another piece of art maneuvers in the capacity of “Pool of Tears” and “Wonderland”. There are also some more up tempo tracks on this release that I like: “Caccus Race” and “The Fish Footman and the Frog Footman”, it’s a pity that they both belong to the cluster of shorter tracks. The artwork that comes with this CD has been made by little girls between the age of three and eight years old. It’s simple but efficacious.