(29 July 2001) The debut album by Dutch recording artist
Astrid van der Veen entitled Beautiful Red (2000) is
comprised of fifteen tracks written and arranged by the artist
when she was only 14 years old. Musical Discoveries' visitors
should be well-acquainted with Astrid from our interview with
the artist and a review of her collaboration work with Arjen
Anthony Lucassen on Ambeon's Fate of a Dreamer
and Ayreonauts Only
(review). The material
from Beautiful Red precedes both of these projects and
led Lucassen to work with Astrid on the Ambeon project.
A fantastic introduction to Astrid van der Veen's vocal prowess,
the tracks on Beautiful Red are predominantly ballads sung
with tremendous emotion and accompanied by simple piano arrangements.
Already acclaimed by the music press, Astrid has regularly been
compared to both Tori Amos and Kate Bush and it is easy to recognise
the similarity to both of these artist's early work in Astrid's
vocal delivery. Her classical training, power and range are
immediately evident in the album's title track where vocals soar
almost to the point of distortion.
The sweetness in Astrid's voice is evident in the vast number
of love songs found on the album. How such a young artist can
create such sensitive lyrics drawing on life long experiences
amazed the editorial staff at Musical Discoveries' headquarters.
An occasional multi-track adds depth and texture to several of
the numbers but the album is primarily comprised of solo vocal
excursionss exploring the artist's range accompanied by stark
Astrid's soaring vocals are perfectly offset by harpsichord-style
keyboards in "Reborn," one of the album's standouts. "Carosel" is
a happier song, evidenced by the prominence of the piano melody
in and multi-tracked vocals in the arrangement. "Soulmaster" is
incredibly melodic, with lusher vocal arrangements blending perfectly
with the piano accompaniment.
A significantly contrasting upbeat and pop-style track entitled
"I Guess" is more richly arranged with keyboards and drum machine
rounding out the sound. Astrid's range is tremendous; the chorus
has a real hook and multi-tracked vocals contribute significantly
to the overall accessibility of the song. The heartfelt "So Much
More," evocative "Open Hearted" and sensitive warmly delivered
"Yours" that closes the album further illustrate the incredible
power and range of this stunning vocalist.
The compact disc is currently pressed on CD-R and is accompanied
by artwork designed by Astrid's sister Linda. It is presently not
commercially available through regular online retailers. But
interested visitors can obtain the album directly from the artist
and contact her by visiting her
worth a journey, this debut from Astrid van der Veen should be
sought out as it is a must listen!