Posts from the Shows Category

Wie de optredens van Celer & Machinefabriek heeft gemist toen zij in maart van dit jaar zes Nederlandse plaatsen en Brussel aandeden, krijgt een tweede kans. In een oplage van 250 exemplaren is een set van acht ansichtkaarten en een ‘download bundle’ uitgebracht. Via een downloadcode krijg je toegang tot de opnamen van alle optredens. Zelf was ik bij het concert in Meet & Greet te Leiden. Een voormalige buurtwinkel waar de bezoekers en muzikanten in een grote huiskamer bijeen waren. Het mooie is dat elk optreden weer anders klinkt. Wie wat doet is moeilijk te zeggen, maar eigenlijk maakt dat niet uit als het resultaat zo harmonieus klinkt en tegelijkertijd vol verrassingen zit. Wat te denken bijvoorbeeld van een instructeur die uitlegt hoe je het beste op eland kunt jagen. Dat soort fragmenten zijn afkomstig van Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek). Hij weet de luisteraar altijd te boeien met onverwachte geluiden. Will Long (Celer) kende ik niet, maar zo te horen op zijn cd The everything and the nothing maakt hij orkestrale ambient afgewisseld met veldopnamen. Laat je niet afschrikken door het vooruitzicht om zeven concerten te beluisteren. Een concert duurt maximaal 35 minuten, dus dat is uitstekend te doen. Hopelijk zijn er nog enkele sets van greeting cards beschikbaar. Zoals de Engelsen zeggen: highly recommended.

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Tucked away in a corner of a residential area in The Hague is Studio Loos, a workspace, laboratory, and public presentation space for electroacoustic music, sound art, and audio art. Their monthly Ephémère series, curated by sound artist Marie Guilleray, features performances from a wide range of artists from across Europe and beyond, and has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best places to go to hear new music and sound art in The Netherlands. This month’s event also happened to be the first leg of a tour bringing together Celer and Machinefabriek with Kleefstra|Bakker|Kleefstra, with additional performances by Otso Lahdeoja and the trio Govaert/de Joode/Stadhouders.

First up were Kleefstra|Bakker|Kleefstra, whose new album “Griis” received a big Fluid thumbs-up recently. The guitars of Anne-Chris Bakker and Romke Kleefstra supplied a rolling, lonely sea on which Jan Kleefstra’s poetry could drift. Improvising off material from “Griis”, the trio spent the whole half-hour set teetering on the brink, the hum and throb of guitars never quite splintering into a Heckeresque wall of noise, the rising and falling of speech never quite breaking into song. Someone once defined meekness as ‘strength under perfect control’, and this is what Kleefstra|Bakker|Kleefstra’s performance had in spades. I could have listened to this beautiful tension for a lot longer.

Next up was guitarist, composer and music researcher Otso Lahdeoja with a piece he composed for augmented guitar. Lahdeoja managed to produce an impressive range of sounds from this instrument, yet the music itself seemed somewhat disorganised and lacking in structure. By contrast, I was riveted by the way Govaert, de Joode and Stadhouders’s take on intense, fast-paced improvised free jazz would coalesce into a sudden moment of fragile coherence and agreement, before melting once more into a frenzy. The level of concentration required to produce and maintain this rapidly shifting kaleidoscope of musicality seemed immense, as was the concentration required to listen to it. I’m not familiar enough with the genre to judge how well this acoustic trio of drums, bass and guitar compare with their peers, but I enjoyed trying to hack my own convoluted path through their musical undergrowth.

An added bonus of the evening’s debut live collaboration between Celer and Machinefabriek was the presence of Marco Douma, the video artist responsible for the two videos that accompany the duo’s recent 7-inch “Maastunnel/Mt. Mitake”. Douma’s work is often concerned with the moment in which an image at the outer limit of legibility passes over into abstractness. His slowly dissolving and reforming organic scenes kept me in a constant state of uncertainty regarding the nature of what I was seeing, and provided a perfect visual counterpart to the meeting of Celer’s distant warm glows with Machinefabriek’s clicks, crackles, and tones.

Tearing my eyes away from the video projection provided another image of the two musicians’ complementarity: Celer poised in stillness over his laptop, Machinefabriek hopping birdlike from fader to fader. Ephemerality and timelessness meets specificity, immediacy, and the substance of the actually there: what Walter Benjamin referred to as a dialectical image, and the rest of us call a photograph. A wonderful performance to round off a diverse and intriguing evening – The Hague is lucky to have such a platform for discovering exciting and adventurous new music.