Actual Fantasy

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Actual Fantasy
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy.jpg
Studio album by Ayreon
Released 23 October 1996
Recorded Early - July 1996, The Electric Castle Studio
Genre Progressive metal
Length 1:05:44
Label Transmission
Producer Arjen Lucassen
Ayreon chronology
The Final Experiment
Actual Fantasy
Into the Electric Castle
Arjen Anthony Lucassen chronology
The Final Experiment
Actual Fantasy
Strange Hobby

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.[1]

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.[1]

Actual Fantasy: Revisited[edit]

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.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Arjen Anthony Lucassen

No. Title Length
1. "Actual Fantasy"   1:33
2. "Abbey of Synn"   9:34
3. "The Stranger from Within"   7:40
4. "Computer Eyes"   7:27
5. "Beyond the Last Horizon"   7:35
6. "Farside of the World"   6:20
7. "Back on Planet Earth"   7:04
8. "Forevermore"   7:16
1998 reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
9. "The Dawn of Man"   7:32
10. "The Stranger from Within (Single Version)"   3:38


"The Stranger From Within"
Single by Ayreon
from the album Actual Fantasy
Released 1996
Genre Progressive metal
Length 19:40
Label Transmission Records
Producer(s) Arjen Lucassen
Ayreon singles chronology
"Sail Away to Avalon"
"The Stranger From Within"
"Temple of the Cat"

"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.

Track listing[edit]

  1. The Stranger From Within [single version] - 3:39
  2. The Dawn of Man - 7:32
  3. The Stranger from Within [album version] - 7:39


Drums were provided by a computerized set of drums.


  • Okkie Huysdens – 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

Actual Fantasy: Revisited[edit]


  • Arranged & Produced By Arjen Anthony Lucassen
  • Recorded, Engineered & Mixed By A. A. Lucassen & Oscar Holleman

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ayreon Chronology
  2. ^ a b c Actual Fantasy album page

External links[edit]