Joep Beving & Maarten Vos

Vision Of Contentment

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Acclaimed pianist Joep Beving and cellist Maarten Vos share their first collaborative album, vision of contentment, via Nils Frahm’s LEITER label. It follows work together on 2019’s Henosis, Beving’s third album, which came about after the two musicians shared a bill in Amsterdam in 2018. Mixed by Frahm at LEITER studio in the German capital’s famed Funkhaus complex, the LP contains eight brand new compositions and is available on vinyl as well as via all digital platforms.

While Beving’s never recorded an entire album with another artist before, Vos has regularly engaged in such activities, sharing credits with artists such as Julianna Barwick, Nicolas Godin (AIR) and Alex Smoke. For Beving, it was a natural step to take, and arguably overdue. “Doing an album from scratch as a joint project was something Maarten and I wanted to try for a while now,” he says. “When my deal came to an end, we saw an opportunity to start making music. I’m always trying to create small worlds for the listener to temporarily live in. Working with Maarten and Nils has helped immensely in achieving this. Maarten is a sculptor of sound and Nils is, well...the master of sound!”

Most of vision of contentment was written and recorded during July, 2023, after Beving and Vos unpacked their gear – recording equipment, various synths, a cello – to join the upright piano awaiting them in de berenpan, a shed hidden away in the forest outside Bilthoven, a small village in the Dutch province of Utrecht. The friends had already spent time together in Beving’s Amsterdam studio as well as Vos’ Funkhaus setup, sessions from which two further album tracks are taken, but their week in the countryside would prove particularly fruitful, if for uncomfortably poignant reasons. Out of their sometimes-sombre work emerged a universal eulogy to what the pianist calls “Finding comfort in the acceptance of the inevitable,” but the album represents far more than this. It’s also an astonishing personal tribute to Mark Brounen, their friend and, in Beving’s case, manager.

Vos considers the haunting sounds of vision of contentment “a sonic landscape that encourages imaginative exploration”, and the duo talk of Morten Feldman as a musical guide, and Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto as ‘mentors’. Beving, meanwhile, says he intends to leave listeners with a simple sense of love, adding that he hopes it will also enable “a search for harmony and understanding” that also delivers “a big fuck you to fascists and fear!”

Transitions are a theme on vision of contentment, not least because, by the time Beving and Vos had settled down in the woods, their friend Brounen had been fighting cancer for three years. And yet, if his imminent ‘passing over’ cast a shadow upon proceedings, it’s wasn’t exclusively a cause for sadness. “The central theme here is the ‘Blue Hour’, the twilight,” Beving explains. “Transitioning from one state to the other, but also embracing the darkness. Mark had shown a remarkable way of dealing with his disease and impending end. He was at peace with his destiny.”

As touching an achievement as The Durutti Column’s A Paean to Wilson, Vini Reilly’s salute to his own manager and Factory Records’ boss Anthony Wilson, vision of contentment may be stylistically very different, but it’s similarly cathartic, spiritually awakening and ultimately full of love.


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