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Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra (x3) * Tsjinlûd

Dize

2016 has been a relatively quiet year for the Kleefstra Brothers Jan and Romke, the nucleus of many different projects involving ambient improv music and Frisian poetry. Until the end of the year, at least, when several releases appeared within one month. Followed shortly after that with their latest CD: Dize.
The four  releases were not meant to be released so close to each other but due to unforseen release schedule changes they did.
So – you can now start binging…

Dage    Desimber   Dize

KLEEFSTRA / BAKKER / KLEEFSTRA – DAGE / DESIMBER / DIZE

Two of the new releases are cassette (and digital download) releases with Anne Chris Bakkerknown from previous collaborations but also for his great solo albums Tussenlicht and Reminiscences. 

Dage, released on the Low-Point label, is the trio’s sixth collaborative release. It presents four tracks, including Widzjende Treast which some of you may recognise from last year’s Ambientblog Anniversary collection (it was this track that gave the anniversary mix its title).

Theirs is a familiar recipe by now: the track take their time to slowly build up from a quiet drone, accompanying Jan Kleefstra’s recitals in the Frisian language of the northern Dutch, a language only to be understood by the Frysians. Dreamlike, yet inevitably building up to a climax – an “ever-morphing musical backdrop, created by nothing more than the inventive use of bowed, looped and processed electric guitars”.

The two tracks on Desimber – another cassette release, this time released by Tombed Visions Records – have the same trance-inducing atmosphere. But with 36 and 26 minutes respectively, they take even more time to develop. The two tracks were recorded on a short tour in December 2015 (hence the name), and are a showcase of what a Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra may sound like. ‘May’, because they are always spontaneous improvisations and thus will sound different every time.

The physical (cassette) edition is housed in a remarkable, though also impractical to store double-sized case. The Tombed Vision Records site only offers the cassette release (including the download of course), but if you’re not a cassette type person the Kleefstra Bros Bandcamp page also offers a download-only version.

The third title of this  Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra trilogy is Dize (which translates to ‘Mist’), released as a CD by Midira Records.
Its content is simply summarized with the description “Frysian spoken words coated by a massive floating soundwall, made by two guitars.”

You probably don’t need more description than that, especially if you’re already familiar with their work or have listened to the two releases previously described.
There ís a small difference, however: the atmosphere is slightly darker than usual. Especially in the opening track De Holle As Asem and the album closer Moannegat – with its loud feedback climax.
They give this album a slightly more abrasive feel than usual. But apart from these moments, the album is as atmospheric (and misty) as ever.

Dize presents four tracks: two of them around the 8 minute mark, the other two even more unhurried with 12 and 14 minutes respectively.
This time, Jan Kleefstra‘s poems are printed on the CD-cover including the english translations.


Also on Spotify


Tsjinlûd

TSJINLÛD

Though the project unmistakably bears the characteristics of a Kleefstra-involved project, the history of the Tsjinlûd release is somewhat different, and has taken a long time to come to life.
It’s a CD presented in a hardcover book (or a book including a CD), featuring works by a collective of Frisian artists. The book contains poems, pictures, paintings and photographs in addition to the music and spoken poetry on the CD. But it’s not ‘just’ a lyric book: the poetry included in the book only partly overlaps that on the CD.

The Tsjinlûd collective project started in 2006, and has evolved into an impro- and soundcollective, combining soundscapes with poetry, spoken word and film. One of its resulting projects is the ongoing Klanklânskippen (‘Sound Landscapes’).

This self-released book includes poetry by Jan Kleefstra, Elmar Kuiper, Grytsje Schaaf, Remco Kuiper, photo’s by Romke Kleefstra, Anne-Chris Bakker, and pictures by Elmar Kuiper and Christiaan Kuitwaard. They all also contribute to the tracks on the CD, which were recorded early 2015. Compared to the KBK releases mentioned above, these tracks are somewhat more experimental, a bit more rough and unpolished.

The project is an uncompromising celebration of the Frisian culture: there are neither translations of the poems nor of the liner notes.
Those that don’t understand it, can only guess about the meaning of the words – though for those speaking Dutch it may help a bit to read the lyrics out loud to understand some fragments.

I can’t help but wonder if it is satisfying for the poets who wrote this to know that most listeners will not understand what they are talking about… I assume they prefer their words to be understood.
But on the other hand: nót understanding their words somehow adds to the magic of this music: its message still comes across.

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Kenneth Kirschner: Imperfect Forms

Imperfect Forms

“With electronic music, it’s hard NOT to create huge amounts of sound… and to me it’s often about taking things away” – Kenneth Kirschner

OK. Let’s try to find a way to begin here. Let’s start with Tokafi.
Tokafi 
is a Berlin-based website, curated by Tobias Fischerpresenting album, concert and movie reviews, as well as in-depth articles, interviews and label profiles. A wealth of information, and in fact a multi-media platform itself. Tobias Fischer also curated this very special project dedicated to the music of Kenneth Kirschner, called Imperfect Forms“.

But first, it might be interesting to take a look at Kenneth Kirschner‘s own website, because it will tell a lot about how he thinks about music and its distribution. It is a very minimalistic site, one white page only, featuring 143 links to music files (and an occasional app) you can download for free (in MP3 or FLAC format!).

“I’m not telling you to copy other things. I am telling you to pirate my music – because I think it’s important.”

All tracks are untitled – just their creation date is mentioned:
“The lack of explanatory material about his music is quite intentional. Kirschner wants listeners to focus on the end result and is uninterested in seducing them with detailed notes about his compositional process, because ‘if you don’t like what you’re hearing, the methods have already failed”.
(Quotes from “Pirate This Music”, by Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox 2013)

From this incredible wealth of electronic experimental music, the Tokafi project Kenneth Kirschner: Imperfect Forms” took shape. A project containing:

  • Three albums with a “Best of Selection” called “MM/DD/YY”.
    Part 1” 
    is compiled by Tobias Fischer, Part 2” and Part 3” are selected by Kenneth Kirschner himself. 
    (As I wrote before, all of there pieces can also be downloaded for free from Kirschner’s website, but this way the fairly priced compilations serve as a donation to the artist. In my opinion, any artists that gives away his music so open-handed deserves to be rewarded too!)
  • A 20-track, 4 hour remix compilation: Imperfect Forms – The Music of Kenneth Kirschner Remixed” – which was in fact the album that draw my attention in the first place.
    (More about this below)
  • A 180-page PDF e-bookalso offered as a free download .
    A book in the true sense: only text – there are no images or pictures to fill it. 180+ pages full of essays, interviews and analyses.
  • A compilation of videos, musical as well as documentary.
    There are music videos from the remixes by Sawako, Monty Adkins & Julio D’Escrivan, Joshue Ott (below) and Dmitry Gelfand & Evelina Domnitch.

     

  • and, to conclude, a software based indeteminate generative composition February 24, 2013” by Simon Cummings.
    (which unfortunately did not seem to work on my computer at the time of writing)

I guess that’ll be enough material to fill your coming Christmas holidays!!

The Imperfect Forms”  remix album features 20 tracks from different artists interpreting Kirschner’s work. The tracks are quite different in length (the total playing time of this album alone is over four hours – the shortest track being 3 minutes long, the longest 60 minutes), but also in style. There is minimalism, modern classical interpretations, abstract electronics, and long-form drone pieces by artists like Ambrose Field, Maps and Diagrams, Field Rotation, Orphax, Monty Adkins, Billy Gomberg, Shinkei, Dirk Serries, Stephen Vitiello, Steinbruchel and others.
A great and versatile introduction which invites you to further check out the works of Kenneth Kirschner.

By the way: it should be noted that the Imperfect Forms”  remix album is offered on a Name Your Price basis, which is of course in the spirit of Kenneth Kirschner’s own philopsophy.
But with a large-scale project like this, where so much content is offered for free, anyone with a warm musical heart should definitely consider a donation – to both Tokafi as well as Kenneth Kirschner himself!

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Machinefabriek – Machine Rooms

Machinerooms

Lóng before I ever related the sounds to a musical context, I was fascinated by industrial environmental drone hums.
I clearly remember staying with my grandparents as a child during school holidays, fascinated by the steady hum of giant propeller ventilators from a nearby storage building.
This impression has never left me, and I fondly think back to these summer holidays as the fundament of a lifelong addiction to drones of industrial (as well as any other) nature.

Knowing this background, it’s probably not hard to understand why a new release by Machinefabriek, called Machine Rooms“, released on the Keshhhh label (curated by Simon Scott, and mastered by Rafael Anton Irissari) got my immediate and full attention!

But that is simply not enough to introduce this incredible album.

These are not ‘just’ industrial drones – these are delicate homages to machines that are supporting our everyday life. And continue to do so, even when they are hidden away, put out of use and slowly deteriorating….

There’s an interesting background story behind this album:
The basic material was originally created for a single (one time only) location-specific event in an old deserted newspaper printer building in Amsterdam (now known as Trouw, one of Amsterdam’s nightlife hotspots), blending the sounds of the two deserted machinerooms in the basement with a (pre-recorded) piece called Kamermuziek.

The result, as said before, is not just a single drone but a delicately adventurous soundscape revealing lots of microscopic details of the surrounding, presented in the personal approach that Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt masters so very well.

Far too few people (only 8 at a time) were able to fully enjoy this installation. One of them was photographer Sanja Harris, who invited Rutger to a follow up recording.

 


Machine Room - Sanja Harris

 

Sanja and Rutger decided to follow up this project which lead to this impressive multimedia-release, featuring two 15 minute soundscapes by Machinefabriek, two additional remixes by Marcus Fisher and Steve Roden, as well as two movies and a beautiful set of photograph cards by Sanja Harris.

I know it is quite hard for us mortal people to keep up with Machinefabriek’s quality output, each of which deserves investigating.
With this combination of soundscapes and visuals, Machine Rooms” is even more special than all others.

Just check it!

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