site info


Radboud Mens * & 1605Munro * & Mathijs Kouw

Upper Partial Tones

Radboud Mens is a dutch composer and sound designer that seems to be operating somewhat below the radar. ‘Seems to’, because over time he has released an impressive body of work – solo releases as well as collaborations with artists like Stephan Mathieu, Janek Schaefer, voice artist Jaap Blonk, Michel Banabila and more recently with Matthijs Kouw.
His first album was released in 1999 and since then many interesting albums have appeared in a more or less steady flow. 2018 looks like an especially productive year, with the release of two solo albums, a collaboration with 1605Munro (and two successors of his drone work together with Matthijs Kouw). 

 

Upper Partial Tones

RADBOUD MENS – THREE PIECES FOR UPPER PARTIAL TONES

I’m afraid I was not sure what upper partial tones are, and there is no explanation on the release page on this albums background. So, usually that’s where Wikipedia comes to the rescue:
“An overtone is a partial (a “partial wave” or “constituent frequency”) that can be either a harmonic partial (a harmonic) other than the fundamental, or an inharmonic partial. A harmonic frequency is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency. An inharmonic frequency is a non-integer multiple of a fundamental frequency.”
OK. So I’ll probably have to read that article more closely later.
But for now: better let the music do the talking.

It’s easy to hear that this album is about but I could simply hear that this album was about composing with overtonesRadboud Mens opens the album with a relatively short – and very relaxed – Polyrhythmic Ambient Drone, which sets the mind for the two longer Pieces for Oboe and Electronics (in C and in G, respectively). In these pieces (23 and 32 minutes respectively), the true magic happens ‘above’ the drone created by the stretched oboe sample.
By carefully manipulating this ‘fundamental’ electronically, Mens creates a melody of floating overtones which become the true centerpiece of this music. When listened on speakers, it is as if these notes float through the listening space looking for their place in the room, its emphasis changing with every move of the listener’s head.
It may need some dedicated listening, but once it grabs you there’s magic in the air.


Radboud Mens - Ambiguity

RADBOUD MENS – THE AMBIGUITY OF AN APPARENTLY STATIC PHENOMENON

The Ambiguity Of An Apparently Static Phenomenon was originally released as a limited (100) cassette edition on No Rent Records, but can be downloaded for free from their Bandcamp page now since the cassette has sold out (a few signed copies are still available directly from Radboud Mens himself).
The No Rent Records Bandcamp page lazily mentions Side A and Side B as track names, but from Mens’ page we learn that there are different track titles: Sequence, Tongue, A Temporary State of Relative Positions and the three part title track.

The Ambiguity …investigates how ‘apparently static’ (drone) music can still be an interesting listen. In this case Radboud Mens is not primarily focusing on using overtones, but creates soundscapes using bass guitar, electronics, organ, synthesizer, a Granulator II sampler and electric guitar.
The question is what exactly is ‘ambigue’ about the ‘apparently static phenomenon’, because this is a very pleasant listening experience – at least for anyone who can appreciate ‘apparently static’ drone music.


 

Layers

RADBOUD MENS & 1605MUNRO – LAYERS

After this healthy dose of drones it can be good to return to somewhat more ‘down-to-earth’ music (with the emphasis on ‘somewhat’ of course).
This collaboration with 1605Munro sheds some light on a different aspect of Radboud Mens‘ music: ‘warm intelligent soundscapes that feel brilliantly open, thoughtful and oh so quiet. A contemplative and entertaining study in the art of skipping unnecessary notes.’ (Roel Kruize in the liner notes).

1605Munro is a somewhat weird-sounding alias of Andrés G. Jankowski – born in Buenos Aires, but ‘radicated’ in Berlin. And there’s a definite Berlin touch in this 10-track collection of electronic paintings, from  frivolous rhythmic tracks to dead-serious soundscapes. Each track treasuring an original Krautrocky touch – a slightly lighter touch perhaps than the drone-recordings, but adventurous in their own personal way!


Mens - Kouw - 3/4RADBOUD MENS & MATTHIJS KOUW – 3/4

If you want to dive even deeper into Radboud Mens‘ drone experiments: the collaboration with Matthijs Kouw (1, from 2017) gets no less than two follow-up editions: and 3/4 – the latter being a 2-CD album. Due to production complexities the release order got unintentionally mixed up: is now scheduled to be released early next year, while 3/4 is already available now.
Be prepared for the more extreme minimalist drones, Eliane Radigue style, with Radboud playing long magnetic strings and analog filters and Matthijs playing modulars.

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Dronezzzzzzzzzz

AS606

Lineeleh

ELEH & RICHARD CHARTIER – LINELEH I Also on Spotify, LINEELEH II Also on Spotify

Starting this drone edition with the two versions of Lineleh means we’re immediately diving deep into the most minimalist of drones. Richard Chartier and Eleh (personal information remains enigmatic, despite his/her impressive output… which was an inspiration for brainwashed as well as Noise Parkworked together in 2015 and 2016 to refine this drone celebrating their fascination for micro-nuances.

The micro-nuances best reveal themself with headphone listening, although quiet amplification is also recommended. This is deep listening material, not many people will listen to these long-form drone pieces with continued concentration. But that is not the issue: on ‘quiet amplification’ it is as ignorable as it is interesting – and isn’t that the original definition of ambient music? The kind of sounds that merge with the sounds of your own environment, altering the atmosphere to match with your own state of mind.

Lineleh is released in two separate versions: a 73 minute version and a 128 minute version. Though the first version would have fitted on a CD, both editions are digital-download only.

II is not simply a stretched version of Ithere’s a distinct difference in the two pieces – although they may use the same basic sound material.
is a drone piece in the truest, most minimal possible way, reminiscent of some of the work of Eliane Radigue.
II
 explores the micro-nuances, isolating some of its parts and zooming into it with microscopic detail.
In the first 30 minutes of II, there’s a faint yet distinctive whoop sound, something like the start of a loop sample, introducing a ‘rhythm’ to hold on to. A strange artefact, unusual to this kind of drone sounds, which does not seem to be present in the version. But when it finally disappears, the dive feels even deeper than before.

These two versions should definitely be regarded as pieces on one single album, even though they are available separately. It’s not either/or, but it’s a three-hour-and-twenty-one minute trip through “distinct floating durational interactions through slowly shifting waves.



Yann Novak Surroundings

YANN NOVAK – SURROUNDINGS

Also released on the Line Imprint label is this 29 minute dronescape by Yann Novakoriginally created as a sound performance for the Soundwave Biennal in San Francisco. Is is a symbiotic mixture of field recordings captured in the Golden Gate Park and synthesized sounds representing the architecture of the de Young Museum.

As expected, you can leave it up to Yann Novak to come up with a beautiful, “deep and meditative listening environment” that has the same effect as a revitalizing power nap: a 30 minute dive into eternity.


Radboud Mens En Matthijs Kouw

RADBOUD MENS & MATTHIJS KOUW – 1

The basic motto for this album is a quote from John Cage: “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”
This is especially true when listening to what we call drone music.
If you listen to drones at the wrong moment, for the wrong reasons, without the right mindset or intention, you might dismiss it as boring. And it may very well be boring – but it is intentionally so.
If you surrender yourself to the sound, immerse yourself it, can be receptive to its many details, it opens up a world of timeless wonders. Miraculous waves of sound interacting with your body, your location, your hearing, your perception.

Radboud Mens and Matthijs Kouw have previously worked together, exploring all kinds of experimental electronic music. Their collaboration for this album is the first of a two-part album, recorded live in the studio in December 2014. This edition presents two minimalistic electro-acoustic drones, created using software, recordings of acoustic instruments and a modular synth.
The tracks, each around 20 minutes, are effectively called “F” and “A”. The start of each piece is like adjusting to a tuning fork. Once you’re tuned to the basic sound you can simply wait for the variations to start happening.

The funny thing is: it never gets boring, not even after 2 x 20 minutes.
So, if you want to test Cage’s statement, you’ll have to put it on repeat!


David Fyans - Trübhand

DAVID FYANS – TRÜBHAND

David Fyans previously recorded as Erstlaub, but currently releases his work under his own name. The (German) title roughly translates to something like ‘cloudy hand’ –  a reminder of a period David (of Scottish origin) and his wife were living in Bad Zwischenahn, north Germany.
‘In exile at the time, as a result of untenable UK visa policy’.

“The absolute flatness of the area was further adding to my homesickness and feeling of isolation.”

The two tracks, called (Left Hand) and (Right Hand), were recorded as two separate live performances, using a relatively simple setup: a small case of eutorack modules, a mixer and a couple of guitar pedals. They re-create a foggy state of mind, “feelings of occluded emotion, dullness and slowness of mind…”

“At night, in the alien darkness, I would close my eyes and rend the landscape. I would summon great mountains, pulling up grassy slopes that gave way to jagged cliffs, dragging down the clouds to create negative space.”


Martijn Comes - Interrogation of the Crystalline Sublime

MARTIJN COMES – INTERROGATION OF THE CRYSTALLINE SUBLIME

Martijn Comes is a Dutch composer specialising in new media, sound design and electro-acoustic composition. His hour-long deep-drone piece Interrogation of the Crystalline Sublime was published on the spectacular Drone Cinema 2015 Raspberry Pi (!) release – the kind of gem every dronehead will probably dream of, but with a price tag only few can afford.

So it’s a good thing that the Moving Furniture label decided to reissue this piece in a 2-CD version (ánd digital download of course): CD1 containing the hour-long Interrogation by Martijn Comes, and CD2 containing 8 remixes of that piece by Scant Intone, Mitchell Akiyama, Zeno van den Broek, Alberto Boccardi, Haarvöl, Juan Antonio Nieto, Giulio Aldinucci and Orphax. 

Comes describes his work as ‘livingroom music’ (possibly distinguishing itself slightly from Erik Satie’s ‘Musique d’Ameublement’ (Furniture Music), which was meant to be played by live performers).
He set out to “write a piece that is equally meditative as it is harmonious and melodic, or at least it would hint at large subtle progressions of harmony, in a way that is magnetic to the imaginations, while the body remains in a  meditative, relaxing state.”
It’s an immersive drone, with hints of a shore in the background, that gradually grows intense and inescapable in its first half and then gradually recedes again.

It is not often that drone material like this gets remix treatments by different artists, so it’s interesting to hear what other artists do with sonic material like this.
Some of the remixers focus on the drone aspect, emphasizing different frequencies thus altering the overall feel. Others filter out artefacts (which can hardly be heard in the original), or add their own material to create abstract electro-acoustic compositions that hardly seem related to the original. Some focus on emotional aspects, others take a more analytic approach. Most of them venture into sonic extremes, thus losing some of the ‘livingroom’ aspect of the original.
But each one of these remixes sound completely different – like if they were original compositions in the first place.


Orphax Dream Sequence #3

ORPHAX – DREAM SEQUENCE #3

With the exception of Lineleh, all releases mentioned above are released on the Moving Furniture Records label, curated by Sietse van Erve alias OrphaxSo it’s only natural to include his own release here (which is not released on his own label but on Taâlem by the way).

Van Erve is a dedicated admirer of the music of Eliane Radigue and this shows in most of his music (as well as in a lot of the releases on his label).
Dream Sequence #3 is the third part (duh!) of a series of dreamy ambient drone pieces. Part 1 and Part 2 are available through Orphax‘s Bandcamp Shop.

Because of the limitations of the 3″ CD it is released on, it is relatively short (at least for a drone) with its 23 minutes. It’s the kind of drone that can isolate you from your surroundings (instead of enhancing it), which definitely helps to drift away into a short but refreshing dream.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.