THE [LAW-RAH] COLLECTIVE – INNOVATION
If you check the biography page on their website The [Law-Rah] Collective looks like a collective indeed, but basically it is a duo consisting of Martijn Pieck and Bauke van der Wal. The rest of the collective are occasional contributors and friends.
The (Utrecht-based) duo has released music ever since 2000, exploring the many facets of drone and experimental electronic soundscapes.
Nót the sleep-inducing kind of drones, by the way: the soundscapes can be quite noisy. At times Innovation (which, this time, is recorded as a duo) sounds like environmental recordings made on immense industrial plant.
Truth is that there are no environmental recordings involved at all. “All of the sound sculpting was done with modular synthesis. All sounds have been created from scratch, which was long trajectory of pulling and patching cables and intensive listening until the sound was what it needed to be.”
In this creative process, Pieck and Van Der Wal wanted to step away from the compositional habits they had developed in their 25 years of working together.
Hence the title of the album: Innovation.
“The workflow of creation was considerably different than any other album by the [law-rah] collective.”
The result is a set of ‘massive drones, or if you prefer noisy soundscapes, not intended for your average background listening sessions’. But it is not the ‘noise-for noise-sake’ kind of noise that some ‘power-ambient’ presents: these are soundscapes that open up a fascinating virtual world with ‘sounds all over the frequency spectrum’.
TRANSTILLA – TRANSTILLA I
Another duo performing under a new name: Transtilla is Anne-Chris Bakker and Romke Kleefstra. They have worked together in various combinations, such as Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and Tsjinlûd.
Romke Kleefstra will probably be familiar with anyone familiar with Piiptsjilling and/or The Alvaret Ensemble (among many other occasional formations). Anne-Chris Bakker has also released some beautiful solo albums, one of them together with Andrew Heath.
Live performances involving these two are often introspective ambient/improv sets with quiet moments that, at times, can also turn into more noisy and harsh
It was this noisy aspect of their music that the duo wanted to explore, a sound ‘somewhat more expressive and experimental, but still dark and with this constant underlying tension.’
Like the Innovation album mentioned above, this does not result in ear-splitting physical power-ambient noise, but in soundscapes that are noisy in their own way yet at the same time subtly restrained.
The Transtilla I debut album, released on Opa Loka Records, presents three long tracks (10-15 minutes along with two shorter ones. The additional I in the album title suggests there is probably more where that came from, so this probably won’t be the last of their explorations.