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Voice Actor

Fake Sleep

    Words as mirrors in a framework of clatter shape the arches to Voice Actor’s pavilion. Surrounded by offerings of flowers, a construction is shown. The unusual compact scale conforms to tiny standards for intimate listening. All is half-height, so the visitor has to enter on hands and knees. From the verandah a crumbling, overgrown statue can be glimpsed, pointing at the pond nearby. The water is framed by a soundfence of endless space nobody can leap, a tree branch repetitively dips into it from above. Visitors can be seated on large rocks and have the surprising pleasure of hearing tear-stained but triumphant hearts sing.

    TRACK LISTING

    HHBYL
    Slush 77
    U Projected 2
    Daydream
    Let U Go
    Camden
    What It’s Worth
    Stand Tall
    Freefall
    False Glistening
    Minefields
    Exposed
    Closer
    Myself 2 Myself
    Shoulder Length
    Pelli

    'An exciting and vulnarable compilation of the world according to W.A.T., a dutch pop / wave band who was active in the early to mid 80's. For fans of VAZZ & Ruins.'

    What’s good comes fast. Two years after Ad van Meurs met Frank van den Nieuwenhof in the famous Happy End in Eindhoven, the first album of the World According To (W.A.T) was released.

    The foundation for "Defreeze", a six-track mini album, was laid in the living room of Ad and Ankie Keultjes, where Ad’s guitar riffs and screaming lap steel guitar formed a wonderful amalgam with the delayed Boss Dr. Rhythm and the arpeggios of the analogue Pro One synthesizer that was programmed by Ankie, who took care of most of the vocal parts. Frank’s melodic, bouncy bass lines bound it all together. Ad’s lyrics varied from abstract language puzzles like Ivanhoe and Vive la Vie to personal musings like Wax and Sangatte, which is actually a waltz. There were intense rehearsals where the band often lost track of time, creating a whole new repertoire somewhere between dance music and anarchistic punk wave. The more the groove repeated, the more you felt it. But in that groove melodies sometimes three-part choruses remained. The band was figuring out a style that didn’t exist at the time. "Defreeze", released in 1983, got great reviews because of its original and innovating sound. The band ended up playing the bigger venues and festivals like Music des Traverses at Reims and the first edition of the legendary Pandora’s Music Festival in 1983. A W.A.T concert was always exciting, with steaming energy, sturdy beats and synths, screaming guitars and outspoken lyrics, but vulnerable at the same time. And of course, there was the dancing. A W.A.T. concert was a rave avant la lettre.


    TRACK LISTING

    Love Suspect
    Famous
    Wax
    Defreeze
    Thin Blue Notes
    The Captain
    Thx
    Art Lovers
    Ivanhoo
    Hossa
    Sangatte
    Conspiracy In The Dark

    "Naive overlooked New Beat / New Age project from 1989"

    Sometimes in life, a certain incentive is needed to convert talent into productivity. As for the case of MKS, the enigmatic and musical disguise of Nicolas Aubard, it was a merely coincidental encounter at the end of the 80s that set the stone rolling. For Nico, it all began in his hometown of Saint-Quentin in Northern France. At a young age, he got obsessed with Japanese and American cartoon culture. Being a devoted collector of cartoon-related toys and widgets, he spent hours watching anime series on TV and creating scale models of science fiction and horror-related sceneries. Growing up in a musical household, young Nico took on stringent training in classical and jazz piano. But, frustrated with the fact of not being the technical virtuoso he wanted to be, he turned away from his training at the age of 16. “I had no choice, as I felt as if my creativity got limited by my piano. That’s when I got drawn into the world of synthesizers.” Not long after, Nico put together a home studio and started to experiment with ambience and sound-inserts. Despite years of experimentation and music making, all Nico’s productions stayed between the 4 walls of his modest home studio. Something that would change in 1988, when Nico bumped into Emmanuel “Manu” Prevost.

    “We met on a night out in Lille”, Nico recalls. “I usually just stood by the dj booth, as I wasn’t a good dancer. So instead of throwing shapes at the dancefloor, I started a conversation with the dj, who happened to be Manu. By the end of the night, I handed him a demo tape of the album I was wanting to do.” Propelled by good fate, a fruitful collab happened between Nico and this dj. For Manu, everything also fell in place: “At the time, I was looking for a composer to work on producing a new beat record. As a dj, I often crossed the Belgian border for gigs and this new style was in full explosion over there. I heard Nico’s songs and naively told him: “Let’s make an album”, without knowing how.” Despite the high hopes for the new alliance, the project turned out to be a shot in the dark. “I assumed Manu already had some experience, as he proposed to do the mastering himself. But funnily he only told me after the release of the record that it was his first time too. But you know, we managed.” Not willing to release under his own name, Nico came up with Musical Keyboard System, abbreviated as MKS. The alias was born and the journey ready to take off.

    The album finally released in September 1989. After the release, Nico went on a low-key promo tour together with Manu in Northern France. “We aired a video clip on FR3 for two songs, together with a short interview. In their studio, we created a scrimpy décor with some green plants to resemble the Vietnam jungle (as for the track Nam Revelation) and we shot the clip. Manu even lay down behind a screen operating the fog machine.” As a live act, MKS’ career was rather short-lived, with a first and final gig in the Theatre of Saint-Quentin a few months after the release. “In France, we would remain illustrious strangers. Yet in the meantime, our music got played on new age radios in the USA.” After the end of MKS, Nico moved to Paris and Manu took on his military duty. In the army, Manu met movie animator Jacques Rouxel (the man behind French cult series Les Shadoks) and got him in touch with Nico. The duo collaborated with Rouxel on some compositions, before they went their separate ways at last. Nico went on to pursue his childhood dream, as a pioneer in France for integrating 3D animations into classical cartoons. Manu in turn became a producer for feature films.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. The New Age Of House
    A2. Twilight Zone
    B1. Figure
    B2. The Dream
    B3. Nam Revelation

    Betty Arden / Saskia

    Funny Bells / Sloopy

      Stroom wish us a very merry Christmas in typically monchrome fashion, dipping into their endless supply of Dutch coldwave cassettes to bring us this seasonal 7" of experimental pop. On the A-side, Nosedrip nabs "Funny Bells", a Betty Arden contribution to the "Is That You Santa Claus? (Oscar's X-mas Carols Vol. 3)", a 1986 tape limited to 100. After an opening of, well, funny bells, Betty lays a melancholic guitar over a simple drum box, then tells her tale with rich multitracked vocals. Bedsit folk for the win!
      On the flip, the ace and odd "Sloopy" interlude from Saskia's 1983 cassette gets a first time on vinyl, drifting from crystalline ambient through DIY funk before settling into a wonky minimal wave ballad.

      TRACK LISTING

      A. Betty Arden - Funny Bells
      B. Saskia - Sloopy

      Susannah Stark

      Time Together (Hues & Intensities)

      Time together (hues and intensities) is the debut album by Susannah Stark. Susannah has been active as a visual artist for some time and in recent years started working with sound as a central element of her art installation works. At the same time, she began feeling drawn to music and voice as a creative medium. Coming from a family of musically minded people, from a young age she was exposed to a mix of rock, folk and pop music, fiddle and piano lessons. 
      These songs, formed out of vocal improvisation and exploration into different dimensions of softness in relation to the voice - a longstanding interest for the artist - focus on a heightened sensory experience of voice blended with keyboard synths, resonating trumpets, distorted percussion, guitar feedback, samples and field recordings. Composed between 2017 - 2020, these songs came to fruition over a period of time coinciding with an awakening spirituality in the artist. "Time Together" is an attempt at describing the beginning of a journey into self knowledge and spiritual awareness through music, creating something soothing and meditative that is also percussive and bass heavy to convey a diversity of spaces, places and emotional states navigated through voice and song.
      Album opener "Saturn" reflects bittersweetly on past romantic encounters whilst giving an indication of what’s to come, as the understanding of what it is to love broadens and deepens, birthing new realisations and anticipating change. Soft voices resonate at a frequency that can soothe and aid in healing, but also at times be deceptive when considered along with what is being said. This is explored in "Dear Beloved Friend", a track which arose out of research into the favouring of Scottish accents in telesales, and also in phone scams. At times however, softness is integral to survival, particularly when faced with the heaviness of a world in which ego is allowed to dominate, a theme in "Unnatural Wealth".
      "This Is For Us" responds to an ever changing living situation; impermanence, moments of dissonance, fragmentation and (re)connection with others, while "Remind You" is a timeless message of support and encouragement offered to a friend and younger sibling.
      "Can Of Worms" was inspired by the teaching of selfless action through meditation and yoga contained in the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture known in english as ‘the song of god’. Meanwhile the soundscape of "Reprise" was intended to evoke landscapes inhabited by early Christian mystics in the western isles of scotland. 

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Saturn
      A2. Dear Beloved Friend
      A3. Reprise
      A4. This Is For Us
      B1. Remind You
      B2. Can Of Worms
      B3. Unnatural Wealth

      Smalts / Human Flesh

      Periodiciteit / En De Stad

      "And the city opens up its streets to me again.Gloomy and damp, walled by wet surfaces, Which the pale glow Bouncing off a languishing moon. She shows me her reddish bars without any embarrassment, Where the sex yawns against the black decor."

      TRACK LISTING

      A. Periodiciteit
      B. En De Stad

      Maroma was there long before the Moors. The Moors were there long before man landed on the moon half a century ago. Drum machines meant you didn’t have to take Ginger Baker our for a drink. Life takes on sublime logic. In retrospect, everything takes on a new meaning from a different perspective. The past is the future. From Glasgow to Edinburgh to Andalucia. This music is about a small journey, an aural triptych of sounds.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Since Stroom's suitably poetic sales notes give little away, I'll fill in some blanks. The ace Belgian imprint team up with Forced Nostalgia to treat us to a great retrospective of Glaswegian wave duo Vazz, whose delicate and dreamy music drifted around Durutti Column ambience and Postcard indie to wonderful effect.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Breathe
      2. Cloud Over Maroma
      3. Lost Time
      4. Embers
      5. Flute Dance
      6. Kazimierz
      7. Cast Reflections
      8. Star Chamber
      9. Endless Road
      10. Mezquita (part 2)
      11. Birdsong For The Birds
      12. Want Of Anger
      13. Ritual

      Stroom's valentine special for 2019 sees the label excavate some lovely wave from Venice, Italy (1981-1984). Though the city may be best known for gondolas, the biennale and romantic getaways, it seems those canals spawned some vital contributions to Italy's vibrant underground pop scene in the 80s, not least the DIY sounds of Ruins. The collaborative project of Alessandro Pizzin and Piergiuseppe Ciranna, Ruins took inspiration from British post punk, US electro, the robots from Düsseldorf and the sleek new wave topping the international charts at the time. Opener "Elegant Shout" fuses crunchy electronics and grooving bass and guitar to create a bedroom pop beauty which could easily have made it onto MFM's "Uneven Paths" comp. "Alone" is a punchier affair, more obviously directed at the leftfield dancefloors with insistent synths and the kind of garbled chorus you get from no-wave. Cut a rug in your baggiest trousers with the early-Spandeau stylings of "You're Like A Cigarette", then go wild with the drunk in the jazz club weirdo post-punk of "Skeleton In Love". The flipside keeps the hits coming, be it the slow and sleazy "Fit Of Nerves", tropical pop bangers "Boys & Girls" and "Everybody Knows Me" or the whacked out white funk of "It's Not Too Grand". Long live Stroom and their endless knowledge of alternative wave greats.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Skinny ties, skew-wiff sounds and the weirdest, white funk around - sounds good to me. Sitting at the groovier end of the post punk/synth pop spectrum, "Occasional Visits" is a wavey masterpiece from Italy's 80s underground. Time to dance differently...

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Elegant Shout
      A2. Alone
      A3. You're Like A Cigarette
      A4. Skeleton In Love
      B1. Fit Of Nerves
      B2. Boys & Girls
      B3. Everybody Knows Me
      B4. It's Not Too Grand

      Following the releases of the vinyl compilation "Spring Break" and the maxi 12” compilation "Bardo for Pablo", Stroom conclude their Pablo's Eye trilogy with the typically diverse and utterly devastating "Dark Matter". "More than anything, Pablo’s Eye is a temporary atmosphere, like a taste or a dream…", well so say the sales notes, and if that's true, opener "Worship & Passion" is a Michelin starred appetizer, served at a restaraunt in purgatory. Celestial pads and poetic vocals seduce you with their heavenly charm, but that still doesn't shift the stainless steel anxiety that this could go the other way. "More Hestiant Than Before" seizes on this moment of uncertainty, applying the classic ambient combo of tremulous drone and stately strings but with an intensity far removed from your typical day spa. I'm a sucker for rhythm, and the rolling toms, propulsive bassline and ruthless breakbeat of "Different Observers" more than tickles my pickle, upping the energy before the moody and mystical ambience of "She Would Stand Alone" provides the party fear. Help arrives via the dramatic "He Closed His Eyes", an uplifting and esoteric composition adorned in hang drums and metallic textures, which strolls effortlessly into the paradisiac "When You Were Asleep", a triumphant combination of healing frequencies.
      On the flipside, "L.A. Desert" takes a diversion into the ethno-ambient terrain of Laurie Anderson's "Mister Hearbreak", before the rainsoaked "She Told Him The News" harnesses the noir of Blade Runner. "Tamil Nadu" is trip hop in henna, while "A Pagan Use" exploits your inherent vertigo to pull you into its tower of song. Sparse studio dubbing and cinematic tones show us out on "Out Of The Corner Of Her Eye" and "Loisada Dub", bringing this most excellent and esoteric trilogy to an end.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Stroom bring their Pablo's Eye trilogy to a triumphant close this week with the deep musica of "Dark Matter". Whether exploring straight up ambience, cinematic interlude or propulsive trip hop, Axel Libeert's outfit always maintain their signature sound. Pro-Tip - save a fortune on therapy and listen to "When You Were Asleep" once a day.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Worship & Passion
      A2. More Hesitant Than Before
      A3. Different Observers
      A4. She Would Stand Alone
      A5. He Closed His Eyes
      A6. When You Were Asleep
      B1. L.A. Desert
      B2. She Told Him The News
      B3. Tamil Nadu
      B4. A Pagan Use
      B5. Out Of The Corner Of Her Eye
      B6. Loisaida Dub

      Walter Verdin

      Voor Adeline

      Theater De Kreet was a short lived theatre collective that existed between 1979 and 1981. In that period the troupe presented just one performance, a musical called 'Adeline' which had a run of six shows during 1981.

      The members of Theater De Kreet were originally part of a bigger group called Grasgroen, which was founded by art history students from the Leuven University. The collective mainly focused on so called ‘animations’ in the public space. After a while, Grasgroen split into two different groups (theatre and performance), and Theater De Kreet came into existence. Its core members were Walter Verdin, Guy Dermul, Hilde Wils, Gaby Geysens and Nicole Boffin. Mainly using improvisatory methods, the collective started working on 'Adeline' in 1979. The premiere took place in October 1981 and was met with very mixed critical reviews. Walter Verdin was in charge of the music for 'Adeline'. Originally an art history and visual art student, Verdin was introduced to the Belgian music scene through his record sleeve and poster designs. Prior to the music for 'Adeline', he released a solo album and a 7” white man reggae project with Grasgroen ('Storingen' by Specimen & The Rizikoos). Later in his career, he had his biggest commercial success with Pas de deux, the band that represented Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest in Munich (1983). After the Pas de deux adventure, Verdin gave up on popular music and had a blooming career in video art, working on video concerts and installations and later on with renowned theatre and dance companies from all over the world.

      To write the soundtrack for 'Adeline', Verdin took to the studio of the Audiovisual Services of the KU Leuven, which was his audio and video laboratorium for around 20 years, and subsequently to the ICP Recording Studios in Brussels for post-production. Verdin & co. didn't compose behind a writing desk or a piano. Music for them meant playing - with an instrument, but also with non-traditional instruments. The spring of a desk lamp for instance, could be used to produce music too. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Stroom just don't slip up! The Belgian label keep us coming back with a wonderful collection of improvisational electronic grooves from Pas De Deux man Walter Verdin. Combining all your favourite bits of minimal wave, Balearic, synth funk and cosmic pop, the eight tracks on "Voor Adeline" are the kind of wonderful oddities that litter all the best mixtapes.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. De Zus Van Adeline
      2. Squeezin'
      3. Dreamin'
      4. Wavin'
      5. Lancement
      6. Vijf Tape Loops
      7. De Zus Van Adeline (Playback Mix)
      8. A Million Miles (Pas De Deux) 


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