| 23 October 1996|
23 October 1996
Arjen Anthony Lucassen
| 1996, The Electric Castle Studio|
Into the Electric Castle
Progressive metal, Experimental rock
Ayreon albums, Progressive metal albums
Actual Fantasy is an album released in 1996 by Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen A. Lucassen and is the second album of his Ayreon project. It is the only Ayreon release that does not feature a single overarching story concept, but instead draws on science fiction and fantasy films for inspiration, as well as stories written by Arjen himself.
In 2004, Arjen moved to a new record label, InsideOut Germany. With this move came re-issues of all previous Ayreon releases, including Actual Fantasy. The re-issue came with a bonus DVD featuring a 5.1 remix of the entire original album, a video clip for "The Stranger from Within," and a video featurette showing the 2004 recordings of drums, bass, and guitar for the remix.
After remixing "Star Child" from his Star One album Space Metal in pro logic, and "Day 11: Love" from The Human Equation in 5.1, Arjen was very motivated and excited about making an entire album in 5.1. With a switch in record companies to InsideOut, there came a reprinting of all previous Ayreon albums; this proved an attractive opportunity to promote Actual Fantasy, the lowest-selling and most often overlooked Ayreon recording.
Originally, Actual Fantasy was recorded with a digital drum computer. Arjen had for some time wondered what the tracks would sound like with a real drummer, and as his collaborations with Gorefest drummer Ed Warby became more consistent over the years, the exciting yet intimidating idea developed. To remix the album in 5.1, certain sections had to be re-recorded, as they were lost in the subsequent eight years - this made the idea of using drums for the entire album an increasingly viable option.
The original intention with the album was to make it entirely electronic, which fit the themes found in the songs well. However, after discussing it with Ed, Arjen decided he would be remiss not to utilize Ed's abilities, and did re-record the drum section. Interestingly, when the album was first released in 1996, prior to Ed's association with Arjen, Ed commented to people he knew that he felt the record should have utilized real drums.
All tracks written by Arjen Anthony Lucassen.
"The Stranger from Within" was released as the second single by Ayreon in 1996. It features as B-sides "Dawn of Man", another song from Actual Fantasy, and the album version of the song, which is 4 minutes longer than the single.
Arjen Lucassen - Vocals, guitar, Bass, Keyboard, Synthesizer.
Edward Reekers - Vocals
Okkie Huijsdens - Vocals
Robert Soeterboek - Vocals
Cleem Determeijer - Keyboard
Rene Merkelbach - Keyboard
- The Stranger From Within [single version] - 3:39
- The Dawn of Man - 7:32
- The Stranger from Within [album version] - 7:39
Drums were provided by a computerized set of drums.Okkie Huijsdens – vocals
Edward Reekers – vocals
Robert Soeterboek (Cotton Soeterboek Band) – vocals
Cleem Determeijer – synth solo on tracks 3 and 4; orchestral and string arrangements on tracks 1, 3, 7, and 8
Rene Merkelbach – Hammond, synth solo on track 2
Floortje Schilt – violin
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – all other instruments
David Bachwitz – 'little boy' on track 1
Kiki Holleman – 'baby' on track 8
Ed Warby (Gorefest) – drums
Peter Vink – bass guitar
Ewa Albering – flute
Astrid van der Veen – vocal sample on "Back on Planet Earth"
Arranged & Produced By Arjen Anthony Lucassen
Recorded, Engineered & Mixed By A. A. Lucassen & Oscar Holleman
1Actual Fantasy1:33Actual Fantasy Wikipedia
2Abbey of Synn9:35
3The Stranger From Within7:40