TDW is the abbreviation for a talented Dutch musician called Tom de Wit. Besides being a musician he runs his own record company/musical syndicate and he has his own recording facility as well. Together with a string of mostly unknown, yet very talented musicians he recorded a concept album, entitled Scrapbook. I’m in the dark what that concept is all about, but let’s see what the fuzz is all about.
The whole approach of this project by Tom de Wit reminds me a lot of Arjen Lucassen and Ayreon, however the latter is mostly inspired by prog from the sixties and seventies. Tim draws his inspiration from current bands like Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Tool, Meshuggah, Dream Theater and Symphony X. This gives Scrapbook a fresh modern angle.
The music is as varied as the title of this album would suggest. The variety of influences from all the instrumentalists involved works very well within the context of Scrapbook. What I especially like is the tasteful integration of electronic effects with the metal parts. This works very well on songs like King Of Lies, She’s Gone, Voided Eyes and Connection Interrupted.
Tom de Wit is also a gifted song writer. I find the album’s three longest compositions, namely A Drive Till The End, The Fine Art Of Perseverance and And All That Stands Will Remain Part II especially captivating. He’s also responsible for the majority of the vocals. He isn’t a vocal acrobat like Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain Of Salvation) or a powerhouse singer like Russell Allen (Symphony X), but he knows how to walk the middle road between Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Andy Latimer (Camel).
Tom also proves his versatility in the recording and mixing department. Scrapbook has a very decent production, but I feel the guitar parts could have used a more punishing sound, since it’s a very important element in the overall sound.
Scrapbook by TDW/Tom de Wit is one of the freshest and most exciting progressive records I’ve heard in quite some time. With a more powerful and professional production it should be able to carve a decent niche within the progressive community. When Arjen Lucassen decides to call it quits some day, then Tom de Wit and his TDW project will be a worthy successor.
written by Raymond Westland