Spectrum - An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music

Review by RJ Lannan

Original review posted at

TImeless Trekker

I have been listening to New Age music since 1975. Oh, I know it started much earlier than that, but that is the year I caught up. I started writing in 1999. Still, I have never heard of Hennie Bekker. I am certain that he has never heard of me either, so we start on even ground. After listening to his latest compilation album, Spectrum - An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music, I wish I had started listening to him long ago. Actually, without knowing it, I have heard of Mr. Bekker as he is noted for his appearances on Dan Gibson's Solitude series of recordings, a mainstay in the genre earlier on. Today, New Age music artist Hennie Bekker has a substantial biography of successes and if I listed them all, I would have no room for the review. Suffice it to say he has garnered every conceivable award on the planet at one time or another that fifty plus albums can receive, and deservedly so. 

Spring Rain, from the album of the same title, captures the gray skies and the approaching warmth. The raindrops cover the leaves like transparent, liquid crystals and magnify the promise of verdant growth. The music says, "check back tomorrow to see what you can see".

The Heart of Africa is one of Hennie's signature tunes about his homeland and an inspiration for the album Temba. The sounds of the jungle lets us know that there is a lot of life out there, some hidden, some not so much. The driving beat is the heart of the wilderness coming alive in his music.

It may be a bit ironic that I wrote about Stormy Sunday on a stormy Sunday. Taken from his Summer Breezerecording it notes how Mother Nature can surprise and delight you. The thunder, the lightning and the constant rush of the wind reminded me that in life there are always challenges to be met and overcome. The power of Hennie's song, with a Kitaro sort of feeling, reminded me that there is strength within to do the task. This tune quickly became a favorite.

From the eponymous album, Amani (Peace), certainly lives up to its name and is typical Bekker fair for which he has become famous. The album is from his well liked 5 disc set African Tapestries series. The song along with eleven others is a testament to the strength and courage that is common in Africa. Some of us have just not seen it yet, but it is there in very smile, every heartbeat and every soul. 

One of the most definitive New Age songs on the list is Elusive Sensation (From the Spa Album). It is a very relaxing piece with that drifting quality to it that is so sought after in the genre. It actually slows the pulse and gives the spirit time to breath. Another favorite.

Sands of Time had a sort of thrumming beat to it and an inorganic chorus that let me know about the passing of time. I don not judge time by the season anymore, but it does not hurt to be reminded to make the most of it.

Finally, the ethereal tune Silent Embrace completed the album. Slow and soothing, this piece had an intricate composition, but a simple message. Peace is not often seen, but it can be experienced.

Bekker's themes all seem to suggest peace both from within and from without. For more than four decades he has captured the spirit of the genre in all its myriad forms and has done it successfully. With Hennie Bekker's music playing, you do not have to travel far to find what you are seeking.

Rating: Very Good

- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 12/2/2011