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Jeroen Diepenmaat (& Friends) * Derek Piotr (& Friends)

Derek Piotr

Off Track


Esc.Rec (best pronounced loud) is a highly conceptual label. A ‘platform for adventurous music’, where many releases take the form of a cross-media art project – sometimes even in editions of ONE (in which case the price reflects its status of an art object instead of a simple CD-release).

Tak, a Jeroen Diepenmaat project released earlier this year, is a great example: different vinyl releases (Deuter, greek folk music, Mormon Tabernacle Choir) recorded when played with wooden (bamboo and reed) ‘needles’ that slowly damage the original records and thus produce a deteriorating repetitive pattern. That, in itself is conceptual enough, but on top of that the recordings of this art installation was offered as a USB stick fitted in a branch (with an additional 4 hour bonus track). Try storing thát somewhere in your vinyl or CD collection!!

Off Track – a new Jeroen Diepenmaat and Esc.Rec project – is part of a 4CD-collection of (four) soundwalks that were conducted by Jeroen Diepenmaat in and around Keizersrande, just outside Deventer (NL). Walks were organised in different seasons (march, june, october 2017, and january 2018), and a composition from the location-recordings was created in real-time. The lucky few attending the soundwalks received a recording of it afterwards. These four walks are now collected in this limited-edition (74) handmade box. Each of the CD’s titled with the date of the soundwalk: 26032017, 25062017, 29102017 and 28012018.

As you’d expect, these are purely environmental recordings, documenting the Keizersrande area in Holland (sometimes also demonstrating that it is hard to find a spot in Holland where you can nót hear human impact).

But this  collection gets a completely different dimension from the additional bonus compilation download called Off Track (not on CD and – unfortunately – not available separately), on which the soundwalk recordings are used to create remixes by different artists. Artists include some more or less familiar names such as Machinefabriek, Francisco López, Teleferick, Gluid, BMB con., podL, Michael Ridge, Nlus, Vehikel and Staplerfahrer, and Les Horribles Travailleur contributing 4 tracks, one for each different walk.

By re-arranging and filtering the source material and adding electronics, the new tracks become an alternate reality of electro-acoustic sounds. Changing the original recordings in this way teaches us never to take any environmental sound for granted. It also guarantees that you will probably hear something completely different the next time you’ll visit Keizersrande, near Deventer.


Derek PiotrDEREK PIOTR – UNDERLINED  Also on Spotify

Poland born Derek Piotr has released music since 2011, his work primarily focused on the voice (he has been intern to Meredith Monk). Which does not necessarily mean the voice is recognisable as such, of course: it is merely the source with which the electro-acoustic music is created.
On this album, tracks from various previous albums (Agora, Tempatempat, Drono, Airing, Forest People) are remixed by artists from Richard Chartier’s Line label.

Underlined opens with a remix of Value System by Piotr himself, followed by re-works created by giants of the genre like Simon Whetham, Stephan Mathieu (delivering a 20 minute version of Wash), Pinkcourtesyphone, Steinbrüchel, Steve Roden, AGF and France Jobin.

In most tracks, you’ll have to dig deep to retrace the original (vocal) sources in these remixes: “though Piotr often warps the human voice into unrecognizable terrain, at the hands and desks of certain producers, the artist’s voice loses even more of its discernable quality.”

The album slowly but inevitably increases in intensity: from the almost inaudible deep sounds from the opener and Simon Whetham‘s Bhadrakali to the pulse-driven closing track by France Jobin.
This entrancing collection demonstrates why these artists (and the Line label itself) represent the cream of the crop of electronic experimental music.

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Akira Rabelais – The Little Glass (+Spelle… reissue)

The Little Glass

And suddenly, without any warning, there’s good news from the ever-enigmatic Akira Rabelais:
His entire back-catalogue is now available on Bandcamp – which is good news because most of these title were unavailable for a long time now.
And at the same time a new album is released: The Little Glass (available in digital as well as in physical format).

More news on the re-issues below, but let’s start with the new release first.

The Little Glass is a 5-part (2CD) album presenting collaborative pieces created with Harold Budd It’s not the first time they worked together: Rabelais’ 70 minutes remix of As Long As I Can Hold My Breath was included on Budd’s Avalon Sutra cd (2004).
The first 4 pieces on CD1 all focus on the sound of the grand piano and Budd’s distinctive playing – with lots (lots!) of room for the spaces in between. Opening with a very short (19 seconds) fragment, the second part immediately alters your perception of time stretching up to 42 minutes. The remaining two pieces are relatively short with their 7 and 10 minutes.
The entire second CD is filled with the Part V (70 minutes), which presents a mirrorred sound palette: no longer the piano is up front, it is hidden somewhere in the background, triggering light, bell-like synth sounds that create a peaceful atmosphere of generative eternity.
(Christmas seems to be the perfect time for this release, but this doesn’t mean you can’t play it at other times of the year)

As usual, there’s not much information about the creative process involved, apart that both Rabelais and Budd play the piano.
The sections sound as if they were (partly) improvised, with parts and fragments later edited edited and re-shuffled, sometimes using random algorithms, and adding extra breathing space between the notes. In Part II  especially, you can hear (if you listen closely) the software choosing fragments and thus generating cuts in the prolonged background reverb.
This is intentional, of course – I assume that Rabelais‘ self-developed Argeïphontes Lyre software is the third artists here (if you like a challenge: just try to find some background information on this A.L. software on his website).

“I just let it take me along to wherever it needs to go. It’s really is like having a garden growing…letting the weeds take over and do what they want.. ”
(Akira Rabelais about his Argeïphontes Lyre software)

The result is a strange, ethereal kind of music that is neither 100% human nor strictly artificial. It is both, at the same time.
You won’t be able to hum along, because there’s no recognisable melody – and yet it feels remotely familiar.
The kind of music you can ‘set and forget’ and play in the background for a very long time.


SPELLEWAUERYNSHERDE (Re-release + radio show)
Ever since I first heard this release from 2004 (on David Sylvian‘s Samadhisound Label) it has been on my all-time favourite list. (It was, in fact, one of the earliest favourites mentioned on this blog).

Akira Rabelais’ re-workings of 1960/70 Ampex tapes with found voices from Icelandic a capella lament songs may be somewhat too haunting for some: it’s ‘as if a voice coming from the middles ages haunts you in your deepest sleep’.

This album became somewhat of a cult classic but remained unknown to many.
That is why I am very pleased that Rabelais decided to make it available as a digital download: if you missed it before, here’s your chance to catch up!

In 2005, Trans>Parent Radiation (a sublabel of Bremsstrahlung) released a compilation called Spellewauerynsherde, Interpretations Various & Sundry  with Spelle-remixes by artists like Christian Fennesz, Kit Clayton, Taylor Deupree, Stephan Mathieu and more.

Some of these tracks were included in the Spelle radiobroadcast I compiled for a dutch radio program (Supplement, NPS/VPRO, 4FM) in 2006.
This radioshow also included some (still unreleased!!) fragments submitted by Akira Rabelais especially for this occasion.
This is the tracklist:

  • 1559 W. Cunningham Cosmogr. Glasse 125, Within which drawn another Circle, a finger breadth distant (*)
  • 1390 Glower Conf. II 20, I can nought thanne unethes spelle that I wende altherbest have rad (*)
  • 1440 Promp. Parv. 518/20, Wawyn, or waueryn, yn a myry totyr, oscillo (*)
  • 1559 W. Cunningham Cosmogr. Glasse 125, Within which drawn another Circle, a finger breadth distant (*)
  • I8U – 1570-1 in Willis & Clark Cambridge (1886) III. 594, For vppyng ye Swannes and wynteryng them..xxiijs. (**)
  • Steve Roden – 1480 Robt. Devyll 32, Hys mother gave hym to the feende of hell In the houre of hys fyrst contemplacyon (**)
  • Kit Clayton – 1250 Owl & Night. 314, Ich singe..Mid fulle dreme and lude stefne (**)
  • 1483 Caxton Golden Leg. 208b/2, He put not away the wodeness of his fleshwith a shrede or shelle (*)
  • 1671 Milton Samson 1122, Add thy spear, a weaveers beam, and seven-times-folded-shield (*)
  • 1559 W. Cunningham Cosmogr. Glasse 125, Within which drawn another Circle, a finger breadth distant (*)
  • (throughout:) Intermission Tracks 12,50,27,76,70, 21,14,34,6 (***)

(*) – from Spellewauerynsherde, Samadhisound, 2004
(**) – from Spellewauerynsherde, Interpretations Various & Sundry, Trans>Parent Radiation, 2005
(***) – unreleased fragments, from Akira Rabelais private collection

On occasion of the renewed availability of Spellewauerynsherde (and with special permission by Akira), you can play this radio show below.
(The program has a short introduction in dutch, presented by Hans Mantel, and also contains short interview fragments. Note: the links mentioned are no longer active).

Akira Rabelais a.o. – Spellewauerynsherde 4FM Radio Special, 2006

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Bruno Sanfilippo; Lucho Ripley; Lucy Claire; Christina Vantzou; Ulises Conti



Also on Spotify

Classically trained musician and composer Bruno Sanfilippo (Spain) presents a beautiful romantic and somewhat melancholic set of modern classical compositions for piano, violin (Pere Bardagi) and violincello (Manuel del Fresno).
“With the fragility and beauty of some Arvo Pärt compositions and a high cinematic touch, “ClarOscuro” brings the perfect soundtrack for an imaginary movie.”



Also on Spotify

With a title like that you’d expect some raging metal, but of course it wouldn’t be mentioned here if it was. On his debut, Lucho Ripley (who is also from Spain) presents some lush guitar tunes, “packed with thoughtful chord progressions and gorgeous reverb tails.”
The immersive guitar sounds (somewhat comparable to that of Robin Guthrie) and relaxing tunes are a perfect accompaniment for summer twilight moments.

Collaborations 1


Also on Spotify

This 5-track EP (almost 30 minutes) from contemporary classical composer Lucy Claire is based around two tracks: “Stille” (with vocals by Alev Lenz) and “Somnus”.
They are presented in their original orchestral form (piano, strings, guitar and voice) as well as remixed by Message to Bears, worriedaboutsatan and Bruised Skies – each offering quite a different view on the original material.

No 2 Remixes

Another fascinating (and equally short) set of remixes is offered by Christina Vantzou. Four tracks from her recent album No. 2 (“Sister”, “VHS”, “The Magic of the Autodidact” and “Brain Fog”), remixed – sometimes beyond recognition – by Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Loscil, Ken Camden and John Also Bennett, respectively. Definitely a valuable edition to the No. 2” album!

Ulises Conti


Also on Spotify

From Argentina comes Ulises Conti, presenting his album with the lengthy title “Los Griegos Creían Que Las Estrellas Eran Pequeños Agujeros Por Donde Los Dioses Escuchaban A Los Hombres” (“The Greeks believed that the stars were small holes whereby the Gods listened to Men”).
The track titles are considerably shorter: each is named by a letter of the alfabet. 27 (27? – the “Ñ” is an extra letter) relatively short sketches with a remarkable array of different styles.
The Gods (and you) are welcomed by a choir arrangement that deserves a performance by a real choir (instead of a sampled one), and from there Conti switches from cinematic styles to jazz arrangements and modern classical themes (with the piano as the main instrument), interspersed with some gritty electronics and field recordings.
A caleidoscopic musical vision.


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Pleq – Ballet Mechanic + Good Night 2


Ballet Mechanic

According to Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz from Warsaw, Poland)Ballet Mechanic”  is “his most personal, abstract and intellectual work to date, never to be repeated.

Ballet Mechaniccontains six tracks, over 70 minutes in total, “inviting the listener to travel through crackle, screech, squeak, sizzle and subtle drones”. 

Some of the tracks have a natural feel, like if it was created from field recordings instead of electronic sources. Other tracks  sound like distant machines humming while doing their work. 
All kinds of subtle shifts are happening in the immersive sound spectrum, but you’ll only become aware if you submerge yourself in the sound. The overall atmosphere is very calm and relaxing.

“The Harvest”, the closing track of the album, takes the concept of minimalist distant machine drone into the extreme, combining its length (over 27 minutes) with a progression that is hardly noticeable.  Although different in concept, this will probably especially appeal to fans of William Basinski‘s music.

Pleq – First to Fall (promo video)

One of the tracks on Ballet Mechanic”  -“Good Night (Glitch Remix)”  – also featured on last year’s 4-track EP “Good Night” (released on Basses Frequences ) with additional remixes by Pjusk, Offthesky and Philippe Lamy. 

As the title suggests, Good Night 2” presents additional remixes of the same track. It also includes the original (non-glitch) version of “Good Night”.    

Good Night 2 cover

Unfortunately for the non-japanese, at present this album is only distributed from Tokyo, Japan. To make things complex, this album comes in two different versions: the CD version (released by Progressive Form) contains two tracks not on the download version, and the download version has four additional four versions that are not included on the CD. 

The basic “Good Night” track is fairly minimalistic: just a few repeating piano chords slowly played over a glitchy background hiss.
It’s interesting to hear what different artists come up with when working from such sparse material. Some focus on the melancholy mood of the piano chords, others enhance the distorted electronic background effect. Remarkably, most remixed are only half the length of the original track.

Different as they are, together the mixes become a well-balanced album, not unlike a reggae showcase album (where the same riddim background is used to feature different singers). 

Some of the remixers are familiar, like Konntinent, Seque, Porzellan, Yui Onodera, Pawn, Strom Noir.
But the less familiar names (unless of course names like con_cetta, Lauki, Hajimneinoue, Go-qualia, Fuji, Haruki, Flica, Marihiko Hara mean anything to you) also deliver equally interesting remixes.

The end result is a remarkable album – A Good Night, indeed!

Pleq – Good Night – Porzellan Remix

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