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Souvenirs van de Woeste Grond


Souvenirs van de Woeste Grond (roughly translates as “Souvenirs from the Wasteland”) is a part of a landscape-inspired art project inspired by the Dutch province “Overijssel”.

“In this project two artists (Heidi Linck and Hans Jungerius) collected stories about the countryside landscape in order to save them from obscurity. In the second phase of the project eight different artists make a souvenir based on the collected stories.”

This particular album (available as digital download or limited edition CD released by the adventurous Esc.Rec label), is one of those ‘souvenirs’!

Thematically – ánd musically – there’s a clear relation to Herfsttonen, a 2010 release dedicated to a village (Okkenbroek) in about the same part of Holland.

For Souvenirs van de Woeste Grond, label curator Harco Rutgers invited artists to create a composition based on the stories collected by Heidi Linck about Losser and it’s surroundings.

With the exception of Gareth Davis (presenting “Stone” – the longest track with the darkest atmosphere of this album), all artists are Dutch: Gluid (“Sound” without the first vowel: “Sund”), Machinefabriek, Wouter van Veldhoven, Reinier van Houdt and Weerthof have taken the stories and sounds of the Losser surroundings as the starting points of their compositions.

Taken away from the cultural context of this particular project, their rather abstract yet also ‘natural’ soundcapes still stand firm and deserve to be widely heard outside Overijssel (and Holland) too!
Wherever you may live, I guess there will always be some (disappearing and almost forgotten) wasteland stories that these tracks could be the perfect soundtrack to.

By the way: If you can read Dutch, check for all the details and background stories to this remarkable project.

Also on Spotify

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Gluid – Metamorphosis; Arpatle – The Day After


Can this be a coincidence?

In the same week I have received two new albums with a remarkable resemblance: both are from Dutch artists, both have a bright ‘lightweight’, almost ‘poppy’, feeling yet are experimental in their creative use of sound samples. Also, both are defying contemporary genres. They’re not ambient, not too experimental, not strictly electronic, not improvised, but definitely not ‘mainstream pop’ either.

Could it be we’re defining a new genre here?


The Metamorphosis refers to Franz Kafka’s classic Die Verwandlung’. This music was originally written for a theatre production based on Kafka’s 1915 novel.
Gluid (dutch for sound but missing the first vowel) is Bram van den Oever, and this is his fourth release. Musically, it is not unlike his remarkable 2007 release Binnensuis (dutch for ‘home interior’, but missing a consonant), describing a woman’s neurotic compulsive behaviour in a way too close for comfort – but this itme without the spoken word.
There’s a thematic resemblance between these two releases, an undeniable uncomfortable aspect to the seemingly lightweight music. Always something underneath hiding; things are never just what they seem to be.
The Metamorphosis EP is not released in physicial format, it can be downloaded for free! But please consider to donate to support the artist and his label Esc.Rec (pronounced like Ass-Crack – neither vowel nor consonent missing here).

Gluid -Faulty Narcosis


Patrick ‘Arpatle’ Bossink (from Utrecht, Holland) has his new album released through Dublin-based Psychonavigation Records. Like Gluid’s album, “The Day After” also defies the usual genre classifications. It is described as ‘found sound with dub techniques’, but I doubt that description fully fits the album’s music.
It has a nice ‘airiness’ distinguishing it from many other contemporary releases, and links experimentalism, creative sound-searching to an accessible poppy (though not ‘mainstream’) sound worth checking out.

Arpatle – Headache

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Various Artists – Herfsttonen


As the musical part of the “Landtonen” festival in november 2009, “Herfsttonen(Autumn Sounds) celebrated the local district of “Okkenbroek“, near Deventer (in Holland).

This may sound as if it is interesting to local citizens only.
Not true! – That would mean the large part of the world would miss this great project!

The three compositions presented here are very different from each other, but they are linked by the theme, and by the environmental sounds of Okkenbroek. This album deserves to be heard out of the local context, too, because it is dedicated to preserving the kind of rural life that may disappear all too quickly.

Some sound samples include people speaking in the dutch northern dialect, but even if you don’t understand a word of what they say you’ll understand they achieve heavy tasks by working together closely, by not losing their humour…but you’ll also get a glimpse of some of their fears, too. (In the beginning of the Gluid track there’s a woman asking “Er is toch niks ernstigs gebeurd, valt nog mee hè?” (“It’s nothing serious, I hope? Is it?)

Paul de Jong‘s “Okkenblues” introduces Okkenbroek (“Groot hè?” – Big, isn’t it?) with a striking violin-cello-guitar composition Greg Haines – style. The middle part of it has a beautiful musical effect: it’s like the music slowly dozing off while the image of citizens accomplishing a heavy task becomes sharper slowly (they’re obviously putting something in place, maybe the big vase especially created for this Landtonen festival). When the work is done, the music kicks back in to return to the beautiful theme.

MiaMia is a poet combining her work with soundscapes and video projections. She walks through the Okkenbroek landscape as if in a dream (“We always tend to forget our dreams // There’s always the morning coming inbetween” ). Her murmuring voice in the soundscape turns Okkenbroek into a haunting abstract landscape.

…Which is quite different from the view presented by Gluid, a project by Bram van den Oever accompanied by Cello and Vibraphone for this occasion. This track starts with some dark undertones, but definitely ends optimistic and lighthearted. If comparisions are needed: this reminded me of some of the impressive music coming over from Iceland (like Mùm, Sigur Ross or Amina)

Unfortunately, the album is only slightly over 32 minutes long. But it’s enough to leave you with the feeling you have been to a peaceful place vaguely familiar. And you will probably not forget about your visit to Okkenbroek.

So here’s my advice to foreign visitors: next time, forget about Amsterdam’s Red Light District and take some time to visit Okkenbroek and its surroundings.
And if you’re not coming over to Holland, just visit Esc.Rec Records to a grab a copy of this album – which may prove to be one of the most adventurous dutch releases this year!

Okkenbroek - church

Okkenbroek – Short Walk

Note: this track only features some fragment from the three parts of Herfsttonen.
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