Meet the Bensons – ten estranged relatives living separate lives across the globe. Like all families, they can’t seem to manage with or without each other, being miles apart, but sharing their deepest feelings through the occasional postcard.
To refresh your memory, ANDERSON is an indie-pop duo from The Netherlands, consisting of Bas van Nienes and Jeroen van der Werken. Their debut album we radio anderson was released by Dutch label VOLKOREN (16 Horsepower, at the close of every day) in 2005. A mix of singer/songwriter-pop and fizzy electronics, the album drew rave reviews from the music press, not just in Holland, but throughout Europe, and even in Japan, where it was released by Thistime Records. Successful tours followed through western Europe, the USA, and Japan.
at the close of every day
AT THE CLOSE OF EVERY DAY
following eight intense years, tens of (international) tours with bands like 16 horsepower and karate, five exclusively packaged albums, a live cd and dvd recorded at brussels’ ab club and a vinyl ep, the sabbatical announced itself, signifying that the time for other business had come: axel continued his studies to become a physician, got a job, bought a home and chose to spend more time on his family. also minco felt the need to focus his attention elsewhere, as his solo career began gathering steam. he has become a soundtrack composer, while also his recent solo albums hamden and reservoirs have gone far from unnoticed.
while the sabbatical was only intended to last a year, the end of 2012 was in fact the first opportunity the duo found for a retrospective. this was precisely ten years after their debut zalig zijn de armen van geest was released – receiving positive acclaim worldwide and establishing the duo as one of the archetypes of what is now known as indie-rock or post-rock, together with bands such as pedro the lion, low and damien jurado. it’s 2013 now, and at the close of every day is back with fresh produce, entitled monsters – an album with fifteen of their best, previously unreleased and hard sought after songs.
the new night music
on this new record, at the close of every day is again facing its paradoxes. a new album, yet containing earlier work – perhaps their best so far and yet misleadingly titled monsters? a winter record released in spring? the abstract underwater photography was made by the renowned japanese photographer fukuma umi and yet fits this raw, earthly record. and that’s only the outside.
the true paradoxes reside on the inside of singer/drummer minco eggersman’s universe, into which the listener receives an awkwardly intimate view. thematically, monsters is characterized by retrospection and acquiescence to the future, despite the uncertainties of the present. monsters stands out specifically because of the ever-present and much-acclaimed coherence in at the close of every day’s work.
the urgency of zalig zijn the armen van geest resurfaces, while the warm copper akin to if you spoke to me breathe timelessness. from de geluiden van weleer we recognize the bare, rudimentary pop (on ‘t hellend vlak, featuring spinvis), balanced with the roots influences of september grass in the sound of someone watching me version with 16 horsepower’s david eugene edwards. all of this wraps up in the spirit of ‘the new night music’ – the term often used to describe axel and minco’s music, as becomes clear in the acoustic fingerpicking of hallways as well as in dear friends kettel’s remix of zalig zijn de armen van geest.
in passing, monsters refers to all older albums of at the close of every day, still it’s a full new album of its own, aided by the wonderful photography to provoke a tranquil kind of euphoria. thanks to work that was not released before (carnivore, monsters and two doe maar covers is dit alles and pa), and work that was only available through several european and american compilations (high school lovers usa, again i need to break your heart and under the milky way), this album is the perfect final chord to ten years of at the close of every day. still, this is not the end of a career, but rather the perfect way for a new generation to get to know the band, and for loyal fans to complete their collection.
atcoed in days gone by
in 2002, atcoed made their debut zalig zijn de armen van geest, which was received well worldwide and was released in seven different versions (from usa to norway and from the uk to switzerland). the band received a cult status with the 2004 album the silja symphony, released in europe, japan and israel, which was named album of the year by vpro’s 3voor12 (the first 3voor12 award). in the same year, at the close of every day presented their live cd/dvd the sound of someone watching me (registered live at brussels’ ab club during their european tour with 16 horsepower, and featuring david eugene edwards on guitar on the song september grass). in addition, singer/drummer minco released his first solo album the wagon fair during the same year.
the fully dutch language hymnal de geluiden van weleer, received very well in the netherlands and Belgium, was released in October, 2005. at the close of 2007, remix album leaves you puzzled appeared, on which friends from the electronica world such as styrofoam, solex and donato wharton carefully deconstructed and reassembled a number of selected songs from previous albums. finally, in 2008, to worldwide acclaim, the duo released their wonderfully titled troostprijs, expressing very succinctly the ‘consolation prize’ that at the close of every day offers its listeners.
Brown Feather Sparrow
Brown Feather Sparrow was formed around singer-songwriter Lydia van Maurik-Wever in 1999. In ten years they recorded three albums which were very well received by the Dutch and international press. On top of that, many songs of the band were used for Dutch TV-programmes like 'Netwerk', 'Nova' and 'Zembla'. Brown Feather Sparrow performed many shows in The Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. They conquered the hearts of many dedicated, quiet music fans. Their songs are like short stories, beautifully told, sometimes fragile like a baby, sometimes strong like an angry storm. ' Brave' was their last album as a band. In the fall of 2010 they will complete their career with one last (Christmas) album, working together with more than twenty befriended musicians.
Charles Frail is an Amsterdam-based singer of suites and serenades. As a youngster, it was old rock & roll that was luring at his soul. After years of pleading, his mother finally gave in and promised to give him an electric guitar. But on one condition: in exchange for the electric guitar he would have to be able to perform ten songs on a 'hopf filigrana', an acoustic guitar that had been a heirloom of some sort. Frail soon fell in love with this instrument, the electric guitar was anon forgotten. Withal, he came to realize that he was unable to sing given songs without altering them unrecognizably; that writing his own songs came easier to him than performing songs of others. He would later dedicate his first work to his mother (the self-released EP "My Mother the Great") as an offering of gratitude.
With ‘My Mother the Great’ Charles Frail performed in most of the renowned concert venues in the Netherlands: Paradiso (small and main hall), De Melkweg, Patronaat, Hedon, 013, Effenaar, Vera; as a support act for Architecture in Helsinki, Micah P. Hinson (‘endearing performance’, VPRO 3voor12), Joan as Police Woman and Daniel Johnston (!). For VPRO 3voor12 he did showcases at Noorderslag/Eurosonic (as part of the Amsterdam Songwriters Guild), Motel Mozaique, he was Hollandse Nieuwe (monthly Dutch promising artist), was a guest for the 3voor12.tv (broadcast on Dutch national television) as up and coming artist for 2008 and represented ‘folk’ for 3voor12’s music icons project. He did a series of living room concerts in Belgium, one time opening for Josh T. Pearson, toured in Norway twice where he was announced as: “en stemme fra en annen verden” (a voice from another world).
On his contribution to the Amsterdam Songwriters Guild compilation, folkforum wrote: ‘the most remarkable is perhaps Charles Frail … Intriguing, fragile, intimate and someone to watch’. On the final song of ‘My Mother the Great’ Kindamuzik wrote: ‘He’s got better things for you’ is the last song of the record. A folktraditional that Frail found on Harry Smith’s Anthology of Folk. In this impressive song Frail’s vocals reach unprecedented fragile heights’.
Frail took his time to work on his debut record and ended up writing three full-length works. He shuns song structures used by most contemporary songwriters in his compositions and instead tries to make every record a single work in its own right. This arduous task that most would shy away from in his hands becomes a lucid approach towards song making in his hands.
Charles Frail’s presents now ‘Morning, it Breathes’. This record is the first part of a triptych of which ‘Mirror River’ and ‘City Fire’ form the subsequent parts.
On ‘Morning, it Breathes” Frail tries to capture the tranquil dynamics of dawn, the interplay of slumber and sleep, the strange ways a dream can take when you wake up and fall back asleep over and over again. The morning world - that, as if draped in a cloak of sleep, is never seen by so many - on this record is emblematic of all that gives birth, rejuvenates and redeems.
The first 500 copies of ‘Morning, it Breathes’ are entirely handmade by Charles Frail. He bought a sewing machine and a hundred meters of cheesecloth, asked the lady who owned the sewing machine shop to teach him the ropes and ended up making a work of art that in its authenticity beautifully befits his music. All in all, a wonderful acquisition to the already versatile VOLKOREN company!
At the start of the new millennium, Axel Kabboord and Minco Eggersman from at the close of every day were recording their second album the silja symphony in René de Vries’ studio in Amsterdam. Taking a break, the three started toying with some electronic sounds and, before they knew it, came up with the ambient track ‘alive in ‘45’. Dubbing their one day project ‘HILLMADELOW’, they decided to release the track on the first edition of compilation series The Pet Series (feat a.o. Spinvis, the innocence mission, Serena Maneesh, at the close of every day, Scout Niblett, Rosie Thomas). Some great reactions came in, but the guys were too busy with other projects to take HILLMADELOW to a next level.
Enter guitarist Pierre Maulini from the populair band M83 and A Red Season Shade, another French band whose record Minco and René were producing a few years later. When he heard hillmadelow, he was immediately excited and shared some of his own ideas he’d been recording on his laptop. With Axel too busy to rejoin the project, Pierre took his place and became hillmadelows guitarist and lead singer. The trio came up with enough ideas for a complete album, and started recording in Renés studio. To complete the enchanting sound they had in mind, the guys called in their friend Alice ten Brinke, (ex- Ponoka), to add some angelic vocals to the mix.
In the meantime HILLMADELOW had its debut with the irresistibly atmospheric ‘we make flowers out of plastic bags’ in Japan (This Time Records) and the response has been great so far.
Take the title literally if you want: fusing all kinds of ‘plastic’ sounds – samples, synths, electronics – the band has created a record that lives and breathes. Varying from catchy popsongs like ‘camouflage’ to soothing soundscapes like ‘misunderstood!’, it works like a soundtrack to a movie playing in your head.
In june of 2011 volkoren records presents ‚Keep The Times‘, the debut album of the young german artist Jonas David.
The material for ‚Keep The Times‘ took shape during an intense two week period in which Jonas David experienced intense and cinematic dreams. Upon waking up, the plot had escaped him; however, the melodies and soundscapes remained crystal clear, ready to record.
This way of creating something that has seemed to flourish deep inside a stirred soul was not new to Jonas. Every now and then a little black notebook gets flooded within minutes with complete songs. It seems that Jonas‘ subconscious is diges- ting everything into encapsulated parcels. And as soon as they are tied up strong enough, they come out.
This german boasts an exceptional voice, which seems to be very versatile. Moving from a studier clear voice like Glen Hansard or Damien Rice to Justin Vernon‘s mellow and sometimes sharp falsetto, his voice seems able to change within se- conds. Always carried by beautifully mellow harmonics, his voice transports temper very honest and sensitive.
‚Keep The Times‘ sounds the way it came about. It‘s an intensely passionate liste- ning experience, resembling more a soundtrack than a pop album, all the while wa- shing up powerful and timeless songs onto the shore of your mind. On stage Jonas David relives his cinematic dreams and puts himself back into the feelings he had when he wrote. Should you come to listen, be warned – you‘re in for the journey.
Mariecke takes you along into her world with a voice that has been praised in several reviews since she was fourteen; a voice in a million. The songs are not full of big words and exaggerated emotions. No, they are indeed the little stories that often go unnoticed in daily life. The songs are apparently from another time - the 70s influences are unequivocal.
'Through my eyes' has become a grown-up singer-songwriter album that will surely not look unbecoming on the shelves of the record store next to albums of Gillian Welch, Rosie Thomas and Lisa Hannigan.
Quotes of people who used to work with Mariecke:
"Mariecke Borger writes warm, catchy and narrative songs. The songs which seem simple at first hearing always get a surprising twist which ensures the listener doesn't want to miss a moment."
"The first time I heard Mariecke sing it was as if I was nailed to the ground. She was sixteen years old and sang all those compositions of her own of which you'd swear you'd known them for years. From that moment I have been following her and whenever I hear her, goosebumps or even tears are never far away."
"A voice in a million... Absolutely beautiful, you come across such a voice only a few times in your life."
Minco Eggersman takes his time and creates space for a melancholic 80’s record.
Minco Eggersman presents what will be his fifth solo-album RESERVOIRS under the guise of ME – where ‘solo’ is relative, considering the musical journey Eggersman has made over the last few years, and which has landed him in a filmic niche all of his own.
RESERVOIRS takes its point of departure in ME’s more filmic work, but also unabatedly hints at the late 80’s, and could well figure in a stray episode of Twin Peaks. The typical, synthetic sounds of the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer, the electric chorus (bass) guitars and the Hammond melt together with the many acoustic instruments in a beautiful reverb unique for the reservoir in which ME recorded this album.
ME’s youth hero Lothar Kosse found some time – while recording in Nashville with Genesis/John Mayer drummer Nir Z. - to add some subtle guitar parts. To complete the picture, audio guru Eelco Grimm of Grimm Audio offered to master RESERVOIRS after listening to Hamden.
Thematically, RESERVOIRS is about illusions, estrangement, dreams, nightmares and memories. The atmosphere of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series (one of ME’s favorites) is always close by, with the angelic voice of Mariecke Borger – who fills in more and more leads - starring as ME’s own Julee Cruise.
When most record labels try to make the cheapest products possible, ME comes with his most beautiful limited edition ever which does honor to the highest quality of audio. RESERVOIRS takes its time and creates its own space. RESERVOIRS forges the depth of introspection and the wideness of a gaze into the open into a work of art, that does not wear off by the rust of time, but rather finds its shape. A record that shares itself with its listeners, and that its listeners can become part of.
A new rainbow shines above the Fatherland.
One might call it a luxury problem. Bas van Nienes had travelled all over the world over the years, together with his musical companion Jeroen van der Werken (the other half of their electro-pop duo Anderson). Tokyo, Berlin, Los Angeles and Stockholm: been there. The hippest clubs and festivals, radio and TV shows: done that. Loads of new friends and acquaintances: bought the T-shirt.
After the intensity of touring ? seemingly endless flights, hours and hours of driving, surviving on fast-food and sushi, adrenaline days, sleepless nights ? the trip would end where Bas had started it: at home.
As a tribute to his Fatherland, Bas put together an album full of sublime miniature pop songs.
The result 'Het land dat ooit vol eerbied zong' was released in February 2012 and received only positive reviews in the Dutch and Flemish press.
Since Bas' love for electronic music didn't disappear, he decided to ask a wide range of national and international artists to re-arrange the colors of his debut album. Now a new rainbow shines above the Fatherland.
Kleurplaat will be released on September 17th by VOLKOREN/PIAS. It contains 13 remixes in all colors of the rainbow, ranging from fresh-green and candy-pink (THE BELLS, FINDEL, JESUS AND THE CHRISTIANS) ranging from bright-purple (DAVID DOUGLAS, Eliakim ), dancefloor-red (Constanze & JORGE LOVE TECHNIQUE, TIMO Rozendal), ocher-yellow (DUFVAN), ocean-blue (MACHINEFABRIEK, CLOUD HOPPER GIZ) and grass-green (NAEPOLITAN SOUNDS) to chocolate-brown (Kettel).
Sunny and modest, but also rough-edged and rather lonely. That's how you might describe Ponoka, the small farming town in Alberta, Canada, where singer/songwriter Rick de Gier grew up. It's also how you might describe the music of his band with the same name. Eels, Pavement, Sparklehorse, Bright Eyes: those are the references that pop up in reviews, which so far have been unanimously favorable, often raving. While debut album Hindsight (2007) is mostly a solo effort, successor Built to Fly (2009) presents a well-oiled six-piece band in action. According to leading newspaper De Volkskrant, Ponoka, really joins the front ranks of the Dutch rock scene, with this last record, but more ambitious steps are up ahead: in 2011 the band is set to release a twenty-track companion piece to a novel. But more about that later.
Sarah Lois is Wijtze Valkema (1983), a country & folk guitarist / singer. His personal understanding of music started when he heard the Carter Family. Music ought to be played at the end of the day, sitting on a quilt blanket by the fireplace. Songs ought to sound like they come straight from the fields of Tennessee. For instance the songs A.P. Carter picked up in the villages, and later on recorded with his family. Or songs that are inspired by the icons of country music: the aforementioned Carter Family but also Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash.
On the cover of Sarah Lois’ debut album Pleasant Travels is a picture of a hundred year-old quilt blanket. This quilt was made in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, not far from the home of Maybelle Carter in Old Hickory Lake. Small scraps of old feed sacks, stitched together by hand, form a large pattern of stars. Each piece of fabric seems to be telling a story, just like the songs on Pleasant Travels: small themes, minimally arranged, unpretentious lyrics, vocals without studio tricks. But if you combine these elements, their sum is bigger than their separate parts. The quilt of Sarah Lois.
SEA and AIR
On the commercial climax of the genres „Singer/Songwriter“ and „Indie“ the big question is: What´s next?
A Greek folklore dancer who had to sing secretly when she was a kid and a German composer who can´t read music?
A harpsichordist with fear of flying and a guitarist who is scared of the sea?
Or a bassist who plays her instrument with her feet and a drummer who would´ve rather stayed in his punk band?
SEA+AIR is all of this.
Inspired by the melodic beauty of J. S. Bach´s baroque, the deep and experimental epoch of German 70´s music such as Popol Vuh and the big architecture of stadium rock like The Scorpions, the still simple songwriting of SEA+AIR always finds back to catchy but striking hymns that a country at the sea like Greece develops and spreads since centuries.
Since October 2011, the duo is currently be on world tour for 500 gigs in two years.
Live they both play up to five instruments at the same time which makes a band and sounds from tape unnecessary.
SEA + AIR have toured as support for artists like Sufjan Stevens, White Stripes, Jose Gonzalez, The Flaming Lips, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Woven Hand, John Grant and The Divine Comedy.
Sometimes, just sometimes, music echoes our emotions perfectly well. Under the spell of some sublime song, we’re transported to times long ago and places long forgotten. This is a rare experience – but this is exactly what happens when listening to SILMUS.
In 2010, SILMUS – a composer/musician from the North of the Netherlands – started experimenting with music in a small setting: just him, his guitar, some effects, and a loft to record in. He was searching for new ways to make sense, music-wise; he looked for new modes of expressing emotions. Parenthood made him experience the wonders of life intensely: the bliss, thankfulness and astonishment – sensations hitherto unknown, waiting to be explored, waiting to take on form.
When Minco Eggersman – musician, producer and co-owner of the intimate VOLKOREN-label – was asked by SILMUS to listen to his songs, he offered to help him take his music to the next level. SILMUS began re-recording his songs alone, at home, e-mailed them to Minco who filled in the gaps and did some A&R and further arrangements. By e-mailing their ideas back and forth, the final versions of these songs started taking shape. Finally, Minco combined their ideas and mixed them together with Jan Borger, whom Minco recorded his albums HAMDEN and RESERVOIRS with, into what now have become the record – indeed, a unique approach. The two musicians still haven’t met each other in real life, even after writing and recording their music via e-mail for almost two years..
Nevertheless, these songs sound ever so organic and pure. They have found
their way onto SILMUS’ special debut album OSTARA. Listen to the heartbeat of SILMUS’ baby boy in the title track: its steady rhythm lingers and lures the listener into a world in which the wonders of life have taken shape sublimely. Sometimes echoing works of Brian Eno, Harold Budd, ME’s HAMDEN and Sigur Rós, SILMUS’ estranging atmospheres and quiet, subtle movements will trigger memories of those days long by, when we were happy without even noticing.
SILMUS’ instrumental songs are sheer melancholy, nostalgia and awe, like water and air in all its forms: mist, sea, cloud, sky, drizzle, waterfall… (see the artwork for the beautiful Icelandic-photography by Jan Borger). These are songs which need to be experienced by all of the senses; then they become the perfect soundtracks for those most cherished memories.
Sometimes, just sometimes, it all works out.