The Amnis Initiative (which aims to excite the imagination, stir emotions and stimulate the brain with evocative, yet soothing instrumental music) is a one-man project by Dennis Lodewijks, an Eindhoven-based musician and huge Vangelis fan whose album “Distant Dreams” is his full-length debut. “Distant Dreams” is a concept album that deals with the constant drive of man to discover in search of the unknown.
The contemporary instrumental and highly cinematic music shows clear influences of Vangelis, which especially comes to the surface in the use of the string/choir pads and the warm solo voices. The orchestral / symphonic “Maiden Voyage” is very well done, therafter the music more turns into the smooth new-age direction (“Land of the Rainbow”, “Native Passage”, “Lament of the Living”). Fortunately, “The Vision”, “Midnight Sanctuary”, “Sail the Cosmic Ocean” and “Long Distance” return to the Vangelis-realm.
Overall, the well-tempered music feels like a comfortable blanket, accessible and at times even romantic. But at times it also drifts too deep into easy-listening territory, which makes its intrinsic magic disappear immediately.
All in all, I personally would have preferred Mr Lodewijks had sticked more to the “Vangelis-formulae” on this well-produced album.