Spectrum - An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music

Review by Kathy Parsons

Original review posted at

Spectrum: An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music

Hennie Bekker

2011 / Abbeywood Records

1.2 hours

Spectrum: An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music is a celebration and retrospective of Hennie Bekker’s very impressive multi-award-winning career. With more than sixty albums to his credit and over a thousand works he has either composed, arranged, or contributed to, Spectrum includes fourteen tracks from eleven of Bekker’s most memorable and best-selling albums from the past twenty years. This album stays within the new age/world/ambient parameters, but it is easy to see why Bekker’s artistry suits a very broad range of musical genres. 

Born and raised in Zambia near the Congo border, the young Bekker was captivated by the sounds of the African wilderness, the haunting harmonies of tribal chanting, and the rhythmic dialog of drummers communicating between mining camps at dusk. He began playing music at an early age and performed with various bands around southern Africa before settling in Johannesburg and becoming established in the music industry there. He relocated to Canada in 1987 and worked with Dan Gibson on the first fourteen Solitudes - Exploring Nature With Music series. He also composed, arranged, and produced many solo albums, all of which are on his own Abbeywood Records label. He also did a lot of innovative techno work as part of the band BKS, producing a number of progressive hits popular with the contemporary club scene; the BKS album Astroplane earned the 1997 Juno Award for Best Dance Recording. 

Spectrum opens with “Spring Rain,” a gentle, carefree piece that features keyboards and strings. “The Heart of Africa” begins with the sounds of African wildlife before a catchy rhythm ignites the music. The playful nature of this piece reminds me of Ray Lynch, and it’s impossible to keep the feet still while the music dances and swirls with delight. “Bahia Nights” has an exotic, mystical quality that soothes with graceful movement and a beautiful melody. “Urban Trance” can send you on a wonderful flight of fancy with its gentle rhythm and dreamy quality. “Amani (Peace)” returns us to Africa, the call of the jungle, and a message of peace. “Alone In a Dream” moves us even deeper into a state of tranquility with piano, strings and keyboard washes. If you aren’t there already, “Elusive Sensation” will melt away any tension or stress you might be experiencing - gorgeous! “Entranced” moves into the ambient realm, dreamy and ethereal. “Always There” is a lovely melodic piano and strings piece (plus keyboard washes) intended for romance - an elegant and eloquent slow dance. “Silent Embrace” ends the collection softly and tenderly, eliciting contentment and a deep sigh. Good stuff, Mr. Bekker!

Spectrum is an enchanting work of art and an excellent introduction to Hennie Bekker’s world of music; Bekker’s many fans will be thrilled with this compilation of highlights from his lengthy career. It is available, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!

Kathy Parsons