The music takes the listener on a spiritually-infused journey that challenges your aesthetic preconceptions about the boundaries of musical style.

Dreams & Visions

Dennis Hendricksen

Golden Flame Records

10 tracks / 70:00


You’re really onto something when they’ve got to create a new genre to fit your music. Dennis Hendricksen’s Dreams & Visions is that kind of music. It’s ambient but it has way too much you want to pay attention to to really call it ambient music. It’s jazz but it doesn’t swing – at least not consistently. Sort-of modern classical? A little folk? World music? Rock? ‘All of the above’ would be the correct answer, as incongruous as that may seem. Oh – and it’s also meditative and quite spiritual…

Even though some of the categories that Dreams & Visions fits into would normally seem to cancel each other out (rock and meditative?) Hendricksen’s seventy minute opus manages to shift gears effortlessly even within the confines of a single composition, from psalm-like pastoral passages to fiery book of Revelation vortexes. I chose my analogies carefully, since the subtext behind the music does indeed span Genesis to Revelation, taking the listener on a spiritually-infused journey that challenges your aesthetic preconceptions about the boundaries of musical style. Middle Eastern rhythms rub shoulders with tastefully shredded electric guitar riffs, flutes flutter and sing melodically against pulsing tribal beats, sounds of distant thunder and rain precede searing violin passages that live somewhere between the gypsy jazz of Stephane Grappelli and the low-down groove of Don “Sugarcane” Harris. 

The format of the musical journey is broken into three sets of Dream, Vision, and Hiatus followed by a final ‘solo’ Dream with prophetic overtones – a trinity of trinities, so to speak, followed by a hopeful looking forward. Whether or not the numerology was intentional is anyone’s guess, but for those who see a Biblical perfection in the number seven – well, the album is 70 minutes long – 70:00 (a seven followed by a trinity of zeros). Each extended section ends with a shorter “Hiatus,” which serves as a musical equivalent to the Selah of the Psalms – an opportunity to pause and reflect….

Hendricksen, who not only co-produced (along with Mark Schmidt), but wrote or co-wrote all of the music, plays keyboards, loops, electric guitar, bass, sax, udu, theremin, button accordion, and apparently anything that was within reach. He’s surrounded by some extraordinary musicians, among them no less than Hugh Marsh on violin, Akira Murotani on trumpet, David Hunter on didgeridoo, Nevin Eggum on electric guitar, Paul Sartison on fretless bass, Martin Zinger on drums, M. Nadeem Naz on tabla, Bob Howey on clarinet and bass clarinet, Jennifer Klippenstein on flute, and a variety of other contributors. 

The generous packaging includes a booklet of text, paintings, photos and design elements that contribute to the experience of the music. Poetry, song lyrics, and quotations from the likes of C S Lewis help to bring a sense of the mystical to the listening experience, which is unequivocally Christian in orientation. And what a breath of fresh air this very spiritual musical experience is. Freed from the shackles of commercial restraints, not locked into the limitations of ‘Christian radio,’ and with no connecting cord to the ‘praise and worship’ industry, the largely wordless Dreams & Visions communicates to the soul and makes inroads to the spirit by connecting to that creator-part given to us by our Creator, who speaks not just in words but in dreams and visions.

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-Bert Saraco