Month: February 2017


Last year MARTINA VERHOEVEN on double bass and guitarist DIRK SERRIES played the outdoors CITADELIC festival in Ghent (Belgium) on June 5th 2016.  Nachtstück Records (Portugal) just released this live document as a digital download.  Listen and purchase this live improvisation here.





This heavy-hitting quartet comprises four long-term sparring partners on the European improvised music scene. The quartet first played together in 2015 at Café Oto, and this set was released as their debut album.  The quartet followed this up in 2016 with their double LP ‘Apparitions’ on the New Wave of Jazz label.  This time they played the VORTEX JAZZ CLUB with special guest Alan Wilkinson.   Photography by Steven Cropper for Transient Life.


“Es ist dieses Cover, das einen abschreckt.
Ein zerfallener Häuserblock, von dem der Putz bröckelt.
Doch trotzdem erhebt er sich Richtung Himmel.
Das Schwarz-Weiß-Foto verstärkt diesen Eindruck noch.
Doch schaut man ganz genau hin, verbirgt sich hinter diesem Bild des Zerfalls, gerade des Motivs wegen, etwas Besonderes, gar Faszinierendes. Man kann nicht genau beschreiben, was es ist, aber man spürt, dass es da ist!
Ganz genauso verhält es sich mit der Musik auf „Microphonics XXVI-XXX Resolution Heart“ von DIRK SERRIES, der unter unserer Seite für sein skandinavisches Band-Projekt YODOK III bereits in den höchsten Tönen gelobt wurde. Besonders der „atmosphärisch und postrock-phänomenalen Klangwelten“ wegen, die er gemeinsam mit einem schwedischen und einem norwegischen Musiker schuf.
Aber auch solistisch versteht Serries zu überzeugen, der schon als Support von MONO live Beachtliches an seinem Instrument leistete.

Nun also sein nur als LP plus bzw. oder Download erhältliches Solo-Album „Microphonics XXVI-XXX Resolution Heart“…
„This is the end. Play louder.“
Beide Sätze kann man, recht versteckt und sehr klein, auf der Rückseite der LP lesen – und man sollte sich daran halten. Serries Instrumentals – eingespielt mit E-Gitarre, E-Violine, Fender Rhodes und analogen sowie digitalen Effekten – müssen laut gespielt werden, dann entfalten sie genau die Atmosphäre, die nötig ist, um sich in dem Klangkosmos des Belgiers fallen zu lassen, ohne dabei den Eindruck zu haben, es würde in den gut 40 Minuten Spielzeit der LP zu wenig passieren.

Dieses Album lebt zuerst von der Stille, dann von langsam schwebenden, sich immer mehr erhebenden Harmonien und jeder Menge Loops, die stark vermuten lassen, dass der belgische Gitarrist und Klangzauberer bei ROBERT FRIPP zur Schule gegangen sein muss, da er die Frippertronics wie aus dem FF beherrscht und ganz ähnliche Soundscapes wie der große Meister (mit und ohne BRIAN ENO) zaubert. Serries scheint für Belgien das zu sein, was GERD WEYHING für Deutschland ist – denn beide erschaffen mit ihrem Instrument und dem entsprechenden technischen Equipment „Ambient Progressive Soundscapes“, die wie aus einer anderen Welt klingen – oder eben genauso wie „Epiphany And Isolution“, womit Serries seine beeindruckende LP über die Schönheit langsamer, aber nicht langatmiger Musik eröffnet. Das knapp 15 Minuten lange „The Deprivation Of Heart“ schließt dann in ganz ähnlicher Form und Rhythmik mit dem längsten Instrumentalstück das Album ab.
Danach werden wir dann auch den abschließenden kryptischen Satz – ein Zitat von LAO-TZU (chinesischer Philosoph aus dem 6. Jahrhundert vor Christi) – auf der LP-Rückseite noch etwas besser verstehen: „Sie bewegen sich in völliger Leere und lassen nur den Geist schlängeln.“ Das klingt meditativ – und die Musik von DIRK SERRIES ist die ideale Untermalung dazu.

FAZIT: Wenn an einem „Thursday Afternoon“ BRIAN ENO auf die LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN von ROBERT FRIPP trifft, damit sie gemeinsam den „Evening Star“ aufgehen lassen, dann steigt er garantiert direkt über der hochinteressanten Bruchbude (des Covers) von „Microphonics XXVI-XXX Resolution Heart“ des Belgiers DIRK SERRIES auf.” – Germany


“8/10. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally reviewing what was essentially one of many releases from Belgian electronic/atmosphere artist, Dirk Serries. When this record released, around three or four others released with it and judging from the numbering here, this is part of a set. From a brief observation, this is the final piece in that set and I recommend checking out the others first, in order to get the full experience. I can’t comment on the other pieces as I don’t recall ever hearing them, but I can of course give an observation of this piece and why it is a must for fans of atmospheric and electronic music. While the four tracks here mostly seem to be a bit foreboding in title (I Communicate Silence, Deprivation Of Heart) the album as a whole is quite uplifting. It sounds like the sort of amorphous winds that one might expect from another dimension, possibly an astral world of sorts. The album cover itself is quite droll though, making one feel like they might be in for a desolate, urban experience with two sullen looking concrete structures and a pale sky just above them.

Even so, I’m certainly not getting anything harsh or negative within “I Communicate Silence.” It rather feels like meditation music, marking the record a great piece to play when you’re trying to wind down after a long day’s activities. Perhaps said material would work on a night time drive through the countryside, in which moving the steering wheel itself becomes an almost minimal action as you’re encapsulated by a blanket of stars and the subtle melodies by which such a travel almost feels non-mechanically aided. Resolution Heart is indeed the kind of music we play when we’re looking to put behind all of the political chaos of recent times and focus on the significance of life, while we still have it. It is an album that makes you thankful that you are among those in the world who can hear pleasant and calming sounds on a daily basis.

Though merely made up of a slew of synths, most people will not turn such an experience away due to it’s therapeutic nature. I most commonly review heavy metal albums, but if you do find this kind of record to be something to your taste and are a metal fan as well, then that to me is a plus. Some may not realize why I don’t just review one sort of music, and that is because I’m a fan of quite literally everything. The atmosphere here is rather subdued amidst it’s twinkles, but it feels like holding your head underneath a stream of clean, flowing water. If you enjoy this album, please check out the brother and sister albums that released alongside it. I’m sure that if you give it a chance, you’ll find something in it. ” The Grim Tower

DST TRIO on Tombed Visions

“Free improvisation’s commitment to constant reinvention from the ground up is a both a blessing and a curse. Done well, this protean restless is a source of liberation for performer and listener alike. But when it is unsuccessful, the approach can seem rigid, a set of rote gestures repeated ad-nauseum, never taking flight. The line between transcendence and failure is often micron-thin; indeed, sometimes it’s not even a line at all, more a shifting field that’s too easy to get caught in. Constant vigilance is a necessity.

This, perhaps, explains the strategy adopted by Dirk Serries for his compelling set of improvisations with saxophonist Jan Daelman and pianist Thijs Troch. Serries is relatively new to the world of free improvisation, but he has a venerable background in carefully-produced ambient electronica, and his considered approach to creating new works has, undoubtedly, informed the way he’s put together this release. Rather than getting everyone together in a room and recording the results, Serries curated an evolving lineup of two duos (Daelman/Serries, then Serries/Troch), a trio and then, finally, a reworking of what’s gone before into a longform electroacoustic exploration. Each configuration gets a whole side of tape to play with, allowing for some serious sonic investigation and a satisfyingly diverse experience all round.

The guitar-sax inferno that is Daelman and Serries tips us headfirst into the action, with a scorching duo set recorded in Anderlecht. Daelman’s playing is brassy and atonal, laying down squealing, overblown riffs like a volcano disgorging flaming rocks while Serries sprays out barbed wire fuzz that is just as incendiary. It’s uncompromising, open-ended stuff, not so much communication as furious embrace, the two grappling each other with pugilistic glee, at least for the first two-thirds. The final section takes the heat off slightly, Daelman wheezing and kvetching like a goose with a burst lung, his ragged breaths giving way to Serries’ metallic scrapes – it’s entirely possible he’s emptied an entire cutlery drawer onto his instrument and is desperately searching for a missing cake fork, such is the tinny clatter that he achieves.

The teaspoons and steak knives have been well and truly cleared away by the time pianist Thijs Troch arrives for his shift. This is a differently flavoured dish, its three-act structure indebted to classic free improv modes. The duo circle each other warily at first, Troch’s prepared piano alternating dampened thuds and avian plinks, while Serries lurks in the background, content with visceral, wince-inducing scratches. Though not as high-octane as the Serries-Daelman exchange it’s hectic enough, but for my money the brooding lull halfway through is more rewarding, the eerie creeks floating free from their creators in a dark lagoon of space. Apart from a brief flurry of spiky dissonance, this is the path taken for the rest of the session, Serries coaxing arco-like clouds of whine from his guitar before Troch is drawn, finally, into an extended foray that balances melodrama with lyricism.

When the trio finally get together, what could have been an explosive collision turns into a case study for restraint. Serries occupies the early minutes, rubbing the guitar as if he’s polishing His Lordship’s horse brasses, and Troch’s piano interventions, though sparing, are never less than well-judged. Daelman, meanwhile, is on flute and occasional baby violin, a decision which also pays off in spades. His woody, questing flute licks take the trio deep into the magic forest, like the luxurious vibrations of Herbie Mann’s Stone Flute recreated by the New London Silence crew. The trio’s bed of scrapes and hisses requires only the most basic nod to melody to recast the whole monochrome scene in colour, and the breezy flute-piano interlude two-thirds of the way through feels as if the warmth of the sun has finally penetrated the woody canopy.

To be honest, any of these three meetings would have been worth the price of admission. I’ve seen full-price CDs containing less invention, not to mention shorter runtimes. But the icing on the cake is Serries’ cold-blooded sculpting of these sessions into a new 20-minute piece. For free improv purists, this may be sacrilege – after all, to treat these documents as mere sound-sources to be processed and manipulated is to violate that communal engagement and interpersonal communication fundamental to this form of musicking. And, if you think that, there may not be much I can do to dissuade you. But I would urge doubters to rein in their skepticism and listen to this marvellous slice of abrasive meditation, its icy space traversed by a series of melancholic, droning chords and punctured by bursts of white-noise fuzz.

That the original duo and trio performances are unrecognizable should be taken as read, but, in addition, Serries has transformed each of the individual contributions into something completely different, too. You’d be hard-pushed to pick out saxophone or piano from this shifting canvas of overlapping tones, and even the distorted burps of guitar, while retaining their essential identifying characteristics, have an abstracted, glitching quality, as if their source code has been subtly tampered with. The result is a proper music of the cosmos – freezing cold, pitch-black and starkly beautiful.” Weneednoswords – UK