Kasper van Hoek
De Valse Wolfskwint En Andere Fabeldieren
Heilskabaal Records 2011
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De Valse Wolfskwint En Andere Fabeldieren is a selection of tracks previously released in the Frank CDr series.
The first 100 copies come in handmade digipak covers.
1: Oldenburg (download) 2: Ook Alleen 3: Met Jan 4: Ode Aan Oscar Vanille 5: Spoleto 6: . 7: Cinema Solubile
The Sound Projector by Ed Pinsent
Kasper Van Hoek sent us De Valse Wolfskwint en Andere Fabeldieren (HEILSKABAAL RECORDS HK019) in June this year. He has certainly advanced tremendously since he sent us the rather tentative Live at Extrapool in 2007, perhaps due to fact that he has recently completed his musical studies at the Frank Mohr Institute and earned his Masters degree in Interactive Media and Environments. This CD documents some of his activities during those fretful student years, when he was doing it in various parts of Groningen in the Netherlands, or at a music festival in Italy. He'll grab anything and everything he can get his hands on to make a fine electronic broth: microphones, mixing desk, keyboards and computers, but mostly uses his home-made stringed instrument which he hauls around in a wooden suitcase. If I'm reading that photo correctly, there seem to be knobs, dials and jackplugs built into the lid of this rugged monster, and if he isn't on the way to turning himself into a hybrid Keith Rowe / Florian Fricke / Harry Partch figure, then a Dutchman's trousers aren't as blue as they are. Sometimes performed with the help of fellow musicians Michael Dotolo, Hideki Kanno, Jan Klug and others, this is a very compelling collection of deep sounds performed with steady conviction and a determination to explore every corner of the aural labyrinths which Hoek is building for himself. Unfinished and vague in places, fer sure, but that is irrelevant when faced with such genuine thirst for experimentation. Only 100 copies pressed.
Chain D.L.K. by Steve Mecca
For those who aren't familiar with the artist, Kasper van Hoek from Groningen, the Netherlands, began his musical activities in 2003 making heavily processed field recordings. Over the course of some 25+ releases and 60+ performances featuring looped electronic music, noise, musique concrete and ambient he now creates his own blend of improvised electronic music played on his own custom-built string instruments. 'De Valse Wolfskwint En Andere Fabeldieren' is a compilation of tracks previously released on the CDr series "Frank 1" to "Frank 5". This album consists of tracks recorded during his time at the Frank Mohr Institute. The album includes studio recordings and cut-up field recordings but most tracks were recorded using his newly developed string instruments.
My initial impressions of this album were quite different than on the second listening. At first I found it uncomfortably noisy and quite abrasive...somewhat like being trapped in some insane machine shop. The second time around, it was a bit easier to digest, a fair portion of it anyway. The first track, 'Oldenburg,' is a difficult image to shake; a cacophony of industrial sounds that give the impression of an automated factory gone haywire. Things calm down considerably on 'Ook Alleen,' which is basically a rather placid drone piece with an ominous undercurrent. There are even parts where is sounds a little like a tambura, giving it a near meditative quality. 'Met Jan' is the longest piece on the album at 13:19 and it is a rather strange piece. It is mostly low-key drone, and somewhat subtle with a kind of moaning squeal and other incidental sonics of unknown origin; murky, surreal, melancholic. It merges nicely into 'Ode Aan Oscar Vanille' which continues the low-key atmos but grows in intensity and malevolence until explodes in a crescendo of panic which is sustained nearly til the end in its fearsome aftermath. 'Spoleto' gives the impression of a bizarre street scene on some dark wet night then takes the listener into very strange places that are just too difficult to describe. '.' (The track title is just a dot, or period) balances a droney looped noise with a few notes of plucked strings repeated in a pattern until another instrument sounding like (but probably not) a saxophone blows a sustained note in a similar tone. It sounds a bit mournful. This piece is rather quiet too, and other incidental instrumental elements also enter the picture. Seemed a bit too 'noodling' for my taste. Last track, 'Cinema Soluble' is a lot of string-scraping and squeals, and guitar-like dissonance. There is other clatter and uncomfortable sonic effluvia, and then a voice begins some kind of raving rant, drums begin a halting rhythm (sounding rather haphazard) and it just sounds'¦awful. I saw no point in this track at all. Merde!
There were some interesting things on 'De Valse Wolfskwint En Andere Fabeldieren' but overall, unless you really like avant-garde noise, you may be put off. Kasper's homemade electronic string instruments lend some depth and an arcane feel to his compositions, but I can't say I'm on board with it all.