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Souvenirs van de Woeste Grond

Souvenirs

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 souvenirsvandewoestegrond.nl for all the details and background stories to this remarkable project.

Also on Spotify

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Machinefabriek & Jan Kleefstra – Piiptsjilling

Ambientblog

Piiptsjilling

Just mentioning Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt’s releases could fill a blog on its own. In the high quantity of releases he’s able to maintain a very high quality standard, making it hard to pinpoint highlights in the continuous stream of new releases.
But there’s no doubt ‘Piiptsjilling’ belongs in the ‘Best of Machinefabriek’ list!

Piiptsjilling, by the way, is the name of a bird:Wintertaling, or Teal (Anas Crecca), in the Frysk language spoken in Friesland, northern Netherlands.

Rutger has never been afraid to experiment and to push his boundaries.
This particular release combines a musical landscape with seven west Frysian poems by Jan Kleefstra.

Mariska Baars (also known as Soccer Committee, and performing with Rutger on various occasions) joins in on guitar, and their combination with Romke Kleefstra (guitar) and of course Jan Kleefstra’s voice reciting the poems, results in a thrilling, breathtaking atmosphere.
The musical sound is basically very organic. There’s electronics involved but it’s mostly supportive, even when the guitar sounds dissolve into quiet drones.

Since only Frysians will understand Frysk, the poems are translated in Dutch as well as in English. But even when you do not understand a single word, the feeling is clear.
Piiptsjilling deserves to be heard by a wide audience, in and outside of Friesland (or Holland, for that matter).

Interesting fact:
this CD is released by Onomatopee (‘onomatopeia’ – the word describing it’s own sound). So probably piiptsjilling is the sound this little teal-bird makes. But since I live in a city and probably could not tell a teal from a pigeon, can someone else possibly confirm this?

Piiptsjilling can be ordered from www.machinefabriek.nu, or through boomkat, as well as through some more specialised record stores.
Maybe even some bookstores (to be ordered with ISBN #: 978-90-78454-16-8).
Please support these artists in any way you can.

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Wouter van Veldhoven – Ruststukken

Ambientblog

ruststukken

Wouter van Veldhoven ‘s Ruststukken is recently released on the new Belgian label ‘Slaapwel’.

Slaapwel means Sleep well. Label owner Wim Maesschalck tells us:
“I set out, looking for people that would be good at making mind-soothing songs. I ask them to write a sleep-inducing record, I listen to it, and when I fail to reach the end because I fell asleep, I release it as a musical record with whatever means are available to me.”
Well that’s a heart-warming concept to me!

But judging by Wouter Veldhoven’s first release on Slaapwel (‘Ruststukken’ meaning ‘Pieces to Rest’, or ‘Resting Pieces’) Wim must be a hard working and therefore tired man, because the music is far too interesting to simply fall asleep by.

Wouter van Veldhoven claims he’s making ‘dusty ambient’ using old analogue tools: taperecorders, acoustic instruments and an (analogue) computer. (A bit off track: but I thought all computers were digital?? Can someone explain what an analogue computer is? Apart from the abacus, of course). [*addition*: see below for details]

There’s a strong connection to the work of Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt (the two have worked together). This is evident on the first piece of the album: “Stoffig Stuk” which reworks Machinefabriek’s ‘Stofstuk’. (Click the player icon to hear it)

The longer second piece’s title  “Stukke Rust” may be roughly translated as  “Broken Quiet”.
“I can only describe it as if Yann Tiersen and William Basinski decided to record together.”, Wim states, and though this may give a clue to how it sounds, I think it fails to give a good description of the piece because there’s a certain “school of dutch ambient” here that neither Tiersen nor Basinki covers. The piece starts with a slight uneasiness, like a broken mechanical clockwork. But gradually, the quietness Wim refers  to crawls in. It’s safe to say that this music is as beautiful as the cover it it covered in.

This music might be described as acoustic electronics (NOT to be confused with electro-acoustic music). If this release sets the standard for future slaapwel releases, I will most certainly sleep well in the near future.

Thanks Wouter. Thanks Wim.

In a reaction, Wouter provided some more info about analogue computers, which existed long before digital computers and used manipulation of electical signals to perform calculations. In fact, all old synthesizers were analogue computers in this way. He’s using one of these to trigger his other devices. The synth has no oscillator so it’s not making a sound, so that’s an analogue computer too, in fact.

Here’s a nice example (click for full view):

analogue

Thanks to Wouter for this link.

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