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CD Review: Euneirophrenia

Simon Dobson
Featuring: Virtuosi GUS Band and various artists
DOBCD: 001
Total Playing Time: Approx 58 mins

This CD can be purchased at:

According to the poet Alfred Tennyson, 'dreams are true while they last - and do we not live in dreams?'

Wouldn't that be something to cherish: The ability to wake up in a state of euneirophrenia each day would make real life so much better.

Intoxicating bridge

Simon Dobson’s crowd-funded debut album captures the intoxicating bridge that links that hopeful, freshly awakened peaceful state of mind, with one that inevitably leads to a brazen dose of perditious reality ahead. 

He has done it with throat grabbing intensity: All that is missing is a foreword written by Carl Jung.

Heartfelt stuff

It is a recording of thought and thoughtfulness; emotions both of happiness and pain; of love lost and found again.  It is heartfelt stuff - raw and visceral at times, but always with an uplifting seam of optimism threaded through its darkest colours. 

The opening ‘Crystal’ fanfare is an invigorating Wilbyesque prelude - all eight parts played on trumpet by the composer, and which quickly leads into the thumping, double espresso wake-up brain-shot injection of ‘Clash’, with its malevolently dystopian hip-hop rap lyrics.  


Dobson’s skill and bold invention in blending different genres of music is fascinating to listen to as you wipe the cloying sleep from tired morning eyes. 

‘Pseudoscience’ is polished jazz funk fusion led with splendid facility by Thomas Gansch on trumpet (and there is quite a stella line up of musical talent on show throughout it must be said), while ‘Backlash’ has a dark, witty Latin groove that smolders with dramatic, pulsating possibilities - helped by cracking solo features by James and Thomas Fountain on trumpet and flugel. 


It is ‘Collar Up’ that chills the marrow though; a mournful, acidic piece of vocal yearning that combines Beach Boys close harmony with a heart as dark as any Joseph Conrad could conjure.

Virtuosi GUS provides an excellent counterpoint of intrigue with ‘Symphony of Colours’ - the reference here to the rare condition of Synesthesia (literally meaning ‘crossed’ or ‘together senses’) - which must be like waking up in a dreamworld coloured like a 'Rhubarb & Custard' children’s television cartoon.

However, it is a pity that despite the excellence of the playing on such a major work, the rather condensed recording ambience fails to allow it to blossom into kaleidoscopic glory - a point enhanced by the wonderful immediacy of ‘SynthOny’, with its industrial pulse and bowel rumbling bass line. 

Cold perfume

The added use of cello and saxophone gives an ethereal beauty to ‘Air’, which plays a beautiful trick of incomprehension on the mind - lingering like the last sniff of cold perfume off an old pillow case - before the closing anthem-like ‘Snow’, with its touches of Coldplay grandeur, brings altogether different emotions to the fore; an uplifting glimpse of future, happier real-life possibilities.

Tennyson may well have been right about dreams - and with this absorbing release, Dobson, let alone Carl Jung, understands them better than most.  

Iwan Fox 

Track Listing:

1. Crystal 
2. Clash
3. Syphony of Colours
4. Pseudoscience
5. Backlash
6. Collar Up
7. SynthOny
8. Air
9. Snow

Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Chamber Ensemble

Friday 23 February • Regent Hall. (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C 2DJ (opposite RESERVED) W1C 2DJ

The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Chirst Church Ilkley

Saturday 24 February • Christchurch,. The Grove,. Ilkley LS29 9LW

Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 24 February • All Saints Church Savile Road Elland HX5 0NH

Milton Keynes Brass - "Blow away those Winter Blues"

Saturday 24 February • The United Reformed Church. High Street. Newport Pagnell MK16 0FH

The Cobham Band -

Saturday 24 February • The Vera Fletcher Hall . 4 Embercourt Road. Thames Ditton. KT7 0LQ KT70LQ

Thundersley Brass Band

February 20 • Thundersley Brass, a Championship section band based in Benfleet, Essex are welcoming applicants for the following positions (seats negotiable)from April 2018:. Eb Bass. BBb Bass.

The Corsham Band

February 20 • Having now been promoted to the 2nd Section for the forthcoming Contest season, the band are now looking for an experienced Front Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team.

Waitakere Auckland Brass Band

February 20 • Ever fancied moving to New Zealand? Waitakere Auckland Brass is looking for players to join their ranks. Our friendly band meets twice a week at our Auckland band room. We have an exciting year ahead so get in touch and find out more.

Duncan A. Beckley

Conductor, adjudicator, band trainer and teacher