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

Luton Brass Band - Masterclass with David Daws

Wednesday 27 September • St Augustine's Church, Luton LU3 2JR

South Yorkshire Police -

Saturday 30 September • Sheffield Catherdral. Church Street. Sheffield. S1 1HA

Epping Forest Band - Thundersley Brass Band

Saturday 30 September • Salvation Army Hall, Hadleigh, Essex SS7 20F

Friary Brass Band - guest soloist Tom Smith

Saturday 30 September • Trinity Methodist Church. Brewery Road. Woking GU21 4LH

Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Saturday 30 September • Shirebrook Academy, Common Lane, Shirebrook. Derbyshire NG20 8QF

Ringwood and Burley Band

September 29 • Musical Director required for a friendly, non-contesting band. We take part at various local events and also present two concerts annually. Rehearsals are held weekly in Ringwood, Hampshire. There are vacancies for players to join us.

Harlow Brass Band

September 29 • Seeking a MUSICAL DIRECTOR - We are a friendly, non-contesting band who play to a good standard. We hold our own Spring and Christmas concerts and provide entertainment at various local events throughout the year.

East of England Co-op Band

September 27 • We are looking for an Eb or Bb bass player to fill a vacancy due to a player's relocation. We are a friendly and ambitious Championship section band who rehearse in Ipswich, Suffolk on a Monday evening. We have a healthy concert and contest diary.

Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.


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