Wouter van Veldhoven – Ruststukken


Wouter van Veldhoven ‘s Ruststukken is recently released on the new Belgian label ‘Slaapwel’.

Slaapwel means Sleep well. Label owner Wim Maesschalck tells us:
“I set out, looking for people that would be good at making mind-soothing songs. I ask them to write a sleep-inducing record, I listen to it, and when I fail to reach the end because I fell asleep, I release it as a musical record with whatever means are available to me.”
Well that’s a heart-warming concept to me!

But judging by Wouter Veldhoven’s first release on Slaapwel (‘Ruststukken’ meaning ‘Pieces to Rest’, or ‘Resting Pieces’) Wim must be a hard working and therefore tired man, because the music is far too interesting to simply fall asleep by.

Wouter van Veldhoven claims he’s making ‘dusty ambient’ using old analogue tools: taperecorders, acoustic instruments and an (analogue) computer. (A bit off track: but I thought all computers were digital?? Can someone explain what an analogue computer is? Apart from the abacus, of course). [*addition*: see below for details]

There’s a strong connection to the work of Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt (the two have worked together). This is evident on the first piece of the album: “Stoffig Stuk” which reworks Machinefabriek’s ‘Stofstuk’. (Click the player icon to hear it)

The longer second piece’s title  “Stukke Rust” may be roughly translated as  “Broken Quiet”.
“I can only describe it as if Yann Tiersen and William Basinski decided to record together.”, Wim states, and though this may give a clue to how it sounds, I think it fails to give a good description of the piece because there’s a certain “school of dutch ambient” here that neither Tiersen nor Basinki covers. The piece starts with a slight uneasiness, like a broken mechanical clockwork. But gradually, the quietness Wim refers  to crawls in. It’s safe to say that this music is as beautiful as the cover it it covered in.

This music might be described as acoustic electronics (NOT to be confused with electro-acoustic music). If this release sets the standard for future slaapwel releases, I will most certainly sleep well in the near future.

Thanks Wouter. Thanks Wim.

In a reaction, Wouter provided some more info about analogue computers, which existed long before digital computers and used manipulation of electical signals to perform calculations. In fact, all old synthesizers were analogue computers in this way. He’s using one of these to trigger his other devices. The synth has no oscillator so it’s not making a sound, so that’s an analogue computer too, in fact.

Here’s a nice example (click for full view):


Thanks to Wouter for this link.

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