Author: ANWOJ

the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance

IDEAL PRINCIPLE

ideal principle cover

Recorded two years and a half ago at the Sunny Side Inc. studio in Brussels, this free improvisation session brings together five musicians, all with their own specific technique and style of playing, but with one goal.  This is an album of pure introspective interaction.  Now available in pre-order from the mighty Raw Tonk Records label.
Check it out !

John Dikeman: tenor & alto saxophone
George Hadow: drums
Dirk Serries: electric guitar
Martina Verhoeven: double bass
Luis Vicente: trumpet

Advertisements

THE VOID OF EXPANSION in MEXICO

pre-sale eng 2

Mexico’ SUBSTRATA label will reissue THE VOID OF EXPANSION (Tomas Järmyr on drums & Dirk Serries on guitar) first album ‘Ashes And Blues’ (vinyl originally released in 2015 on A New Wave Of Jazz) on cd.  Pre-sales go online from July 27th on till August 10th.  Listen to the teaser on soundcloud and pre-order here.   Read the release page here.

 

YODOK III & FLONES/SANDERS/STRUGSTAD

Yodok-III_Moldejazz-2018_foto-Terje-Mosnes_nett
photo by Terje Mosnes

“Angrep. Tidligere i år hadde lyd/lys/danseforestillingen «As We Fade Out Into The Sweet Stream of Oblivion» premiere på Jazzfest Trondheim, og i går var det samarbeidspartner Moldejazz som presenterte Yodok III – Tomas Järmyr (trommer), Kristoffer Lo (tuba, flugabone), Dirk Serries, (el-gitar) – og danserne Mari Flønes, Ingeborg Dugstad Sanders og Mari Strugstad i Pekka Stokkes videoscenografi og Ingrid Skanke Høsøien lysdesign.
Med sine tunge droner, dundrende trommer og krasse lyseffekter fortonte «As We Fade Out Into The Sweet Stream of Oblivion» seg innledningsvis som et massivt angrep på sansene. Med Flønes/Sanders/Strugstads kropps- og bevegelsesuttrykte historieforestilling som ytterligere visuell informasjon, bød forestillingen på en til tider ganske så engasjerende vegg-til-vegg-henvendelse, og det hele skjedde i en dramaturgisk akselererende utvikling. Å kvalifisert vurdere koreografi og danseferdigheter ligger hinsides denne skrivers kompetanse, men uansett min tilkortkommenhet i så måte, oppfattet jeg totaluttrykket som «positivt urovekkende», og om det skulle oppstå tvil: Det er pent ment.” Jazz I Norge

photos by Ruben Olsen Lærk

“Introduksjonen til konserten med det norsk-belgiske bandet Yodok III med danserne Fløen/Sanders/Strugstad i Teatret Vårt torsdag ettermiddag ble like godt foretatt utenfor lokalet, i trappa inn til salen.

Og det var på mange måter like greit, for en introduksjon inne i salen ville ha forstyrret mye av lydeffektene som etter hvert preget denne utmerkede forestillingen.

For det var en forestilling, og ingen ren konsert. I tillegg ble det en orgie i lys, som vi aldri har sett maken til på Moldejazz eller andre jazzfestivaler man har frekventert. Det åpner med knallharde trommer fra Tomas Järmyr, og vi tenker at det ikke er tilfeldig at han har overtatt trommestolen i Motorpsycho. Gitaren til belgiske Dirk Serries kommer truende smygende. Røyken omslutter de tre danserne som ligger i en haug på gulvet, og jeg tenker:

DOMMEDAG!

De ligger på gulvet foran scenen sammen med fem sakkosekker, som de starter å rulle seg rundt med. Musikken bygger seg opp. Det er rock av heftigste merke, og jeg tenker at om Yodok III hadde spilt alene, ville de passet perfekt på Punkt-festivalen i Kristiansand.

Lysdesignet skifter hele tiden, og er tredimensjonal. Lysdesigneren Ingrid Skanke Høsøien lager en stemning med lyset som gjør opplevelsen av dommedag komplett. Men nusikken alene blir kanskje litt stillestående. Det er tung elektronika, med Järmyrs trommer som hovedelement. Kristoffer Los eufonium og tuba kommer inn og legger et enda dystrere skjær over det hele, og Serries gitar hyler.  Men så vokser musikken. Jeg føler det langt inn i ryggmargen. Og man kan føle at planeten blir inntatt av utenomjordiske vesener og en horde ufoer. Vi er inne i Motorpsycho-avdelingen, når de trøkker mest på, og vi bare venter på eksplosjonen. Danserne beveger seg rastløst rundt foran scenen og prøver nærmest å komme seg unna lysene fra ufoene. Kristoffer Los tuba sender ut et “viktig melding, lytt til radio”-signal. Og så smeller det, og verden går i knas.

Så blir det stille, men ikke lenge, men lenge nok til at vi som sitter “på utsiden” og betrakter dette scenariet får en mulighet til å trekke pusten.  Og plutselig kommer kavaleriet masjerende inn. Med Järmyrs trommemarsj får vi på mange måter et håp om at ikke alt har gått til helevete, og at det fremdeles finnes håp. En av danserne rører på seg, og reiser seg opp. Som var hun den eneste som hadde overlevd dommedag. Hun ser seg rundt, og ser at hun er alene, og danser vakkert rundt som på leting etter de andre, mulige jordboerne.

Etter hvert utvikler musikken seg igjen, de andre musikerne kommer inn, og musikken vokser. Det finnes et håp langt der framme. De to andre danserne “våkner” og starter å bevege seg sakte rundt mellom lyskjeglene. Og det er som ufoene har trukket seg tilbake. De fant vel ut at denne kloden ikke var veldig spennende.

Her er så underligt … Det er som om de har gjort poeten Sigbjørn Obstfelders ord til sine: “Jeg ser, jeg ser … Jeg er vist kommet på en feil klode!”

Musikken vokser enda en gang, og danserne griper fatt i hver sin saccosekk som de sveiver rundt for å fjerne røyken fra ruinene som hele tiden strømmer ut over dem. Og verdensfreden er nok en gang i ferd med å brytes. Saccosekkene veives heftigere og heftigere rundt, som om danserne drev med trening i innendørs sleggekast, og vi på første rad følte oss på ingen måte trygge.

Musikken bare vokser. Det blir heftigere og heftigere inne i de fantastiske lyskulissene vi har fått være en del av. Og vi tenker at vi får enda en dommedag. Men så roer det hele seg litt ned igjen, og vi glir sakte inn i slutten.  Man kan oppleve denne forestillingen på mange forskjellige måter. Men det er liten tvil om at mye handler om politikk. Enten den versjonen jeg har valgt, med invasjon fra rommet, eller man kan tenke seg at det er en atomkrig som bryter ut.  Og det er det som kanskje fascinerer mest med forestillingen. De fleste som var til stede har sin egen oppfattelse av hva man opplevde. Det er nesten som å lese en filmatisert bok, man danner seg sine egne bilder, og nesten alltid blir det en nedtur å se filmen. Her gikk vi rett inn i “filmen” som var skremmende, usigelig vakker, og tøffere enn Dovreekspressen i en vinterstorm.

En fantastisk opplevelse, hvor heftig elektronika (eller støyrelatert dronemusikk), kombinert med flott dans, gjorde opplevelsen fullkommen!” Fireflate

SALT PEANUTS reviews GARGOYLES

gargoyles

“Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries and British sax player have been collaborating with each other since 2014 on different experimental projects. First in an expanded version of the Dead Neanderthals, later in the Kodian Trio with drummer Andrew, and its off-shoot quartet with sax player John Dikeman, and throughout these years in other ad-hoc, free-improvisation meetings.  «Gargoyles» captures Serries and Webster first meeting as a duo, recorded in London on June 2017. «Gargoyles», like all Raw Tonk Records releases is a DIY project. Serries did the mixing and mastering and Webster designed the cryptic cover that does not surrender any details.  This recording features seventeen short spontaneous improvisations, the longest one clocks at 02:20 minutes. These concise improvisations offer urgent, restless and dense eruptions of rough and raw ideas. This format relies on the already strong and immediate rapport between Serries and Webster, allowing both of them to connect organically. The first, instant sonic impact lead their way, directing them to explore a spectrum of dynamics and sounds, from the noisy and chaotic ones to other, quiet and minimalist, without attaching themselves to any form, structure, strategy or sound.” Salt Peanuts

TEXTURA reviews EPITAPH

“Rumour has it that Epitaph is Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries’ final release of vintage ambient material—a shame if true because the double-CD set might well be the most perfectly realized collection by him in that style. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for ending a project on a high, one that leaves listeners regretting the absence of future installments. His reason for ending the project isn’t due to disenchantment, by the way; Serries simply wants to apply his energies towards, in his words, new sonic alliances.

He’s gone through a number of transitions during almost four decades of public music-making. In the early ‘80s, industrial-influenced recordings were issued under the Vidna Obmana moniker until he retired the moniker in 2005 and began issuing guitar drones under the Fear Falls Burning name. When that project ended in 2012, Serries continued releasing ambient guitar-oriented music as part of his Microphonics project before gravitating towards the free jazz stylings associated with his A New Wave Of Jazz label.

He exercises a remarkable degree of control in his shaping of the tracks, each of which was improvised live, Serries alone and using nothing more than a guitar and a handful of effects. In ten pieces totaling ninety minutes, tones rise and fall in waves-like formation, their poised, graceful unfurl administered with an exceptional degree of sensitivity to dynamics, volume, and tempo. Each is a slow-burning meditation that while sourced from guitar eschews the harshness the instrument is capable of generating, and it requires little effort to succumb to the considerable allure of a representative piece such as “The Nebulous Chords” when its majestic soar is so capable of elevating the listener to its non-earthbound heights.

The material shares certain properties with Fripp’s solo guitar soundscapes, specifically in how layers overlap and in doing so collectively form a lulling drift, but Serries’ sound is in no way imitative: whatever similarity there is is one rooted in general approach than sonority. Certainly there is a metallic quality to the billowing cathedrals he produces, but the effect is harmonious and smooth as opposed to atonal and abrasive. Differences between the pieces are subtle, so much so that the ten register more like variations on a theme instead of separate compositions. That’s hardly off-putting, however; if anything, it feels right that, with its parts fitting so seamlessly together, Epitaph should encourage the listener to experience the recording as a singular, summative statement.” Textura – Canada

THE TRILOGY reviewed

“Vidna Obmana è stata una storica formazione attiva a cavallo degli anni ‘80 e ‘90 del secolo scorso, orientata, nella prima fase della sua carriera, ad un genere che innestava nelle sue coordinate sonore atmosfere industrial e e richiami ad un’iconografia dark a profusione. Negli anni ‘90 la formazione, dietro cui si nascondeva il solo deus ex machina belga Dirk Serries, ha pubblicato tre album che viravano elegantemente nell’ambient più dark, dove le armonie venivano progressivamente ‘sfilacciate’ riducendo le strutture armoniche all’osso, con l’intento di creare ambienti lunari da percorrere con la mente. Ora questi album: ‘Passage in Beauty’ il primo, datato 1991, ‘Shadowing in Sorrow’, datato 1992 e Ending Mirage, datato 1993, da tempo reperibili a prezzi elevatissimi, a distanza di 25 anni ritornano in cd rimasterizzati dall’autore in un elegante box che nell’edizione limitata si presenta come una scatola di legno con contenuti inediti. Riascoltati ora rinnovano il biglietto con la promessa di un viaggio onirico in sequenza che invita l’ascoltatore a lasciare a riva le proprie ansie e paure per lasciarsi andare e “preferire il rumore del mare” di poche e ben allineate note. Per per chi ha smania di ripartire e per chi non è mai andato dove si perde il suono.” Kathodik – Italy

CHAIN DLK reviews THE TRILOGY

“5 stars ! After his initial release oriented towards industrial music, Dirk Serries began to define his perculiar vison of ambient music. This reissue collects the first three movements of this journey: “Passage in Beauty”, “Shadowing in Sorrow” and “Ending Mirage” which were long out of print. Even if they were already collected a single release, each one has a distinctive quality which made it a step in a process of discovering the art of Vidna Obmana.
The first one, “Passage in Beauty”, is centered upon “Awaken in Floating Colours” which is presented in three compositions and it’s the most drone centered and perhaps has the slower development even it’s the brighter of all three e.g., the resonances of a track like “Mood in Pears” doesn’t almost appear in the other chapters of this trilogy. “Shadowing in Sorrow” is a darker and sharper release starting with a track like “One Charming Delight” which immediately marks a change of direction towards a more drier sound even if the form is similar and this create a sense of blurring of the sound spectrum. “Ending Mirage” closes this trilogy with a process of rarefaction of sound which few similarities even with other Serries’ opus, so while the other chapter and especially the first where practically based on a fullness of the spectrum which enchanted the listener, this one begin to use silence as a pillar of his sound, so this was a true development of the form marked by the impressive dynamics of a track like “Luxurious Fragment (in Two Parts)” which requires a particular commitment of the listener to catch all the small nuances of the sound which border lowercase music which will be formalized years later.
This are true masterpieces which have written a piece of history of ambient music so it’s an essential release for those who haven’t this albums in their collection. Absolutely recommended. ” Chain D.L.K. – USA

Dark Entries reviews THE TRILOGY

“9 out of 10 rating !!

Dirk Serries is een man die in onze reviewsectie erg vaak de revue passeert. We leerden de man uiteraard kennen via het legendarische Vidna Obmana, waarvan onlangs bij Zoharum het terugblikkende ‘The Trilogy’ heruitgegeven werd.

Maar laat ons beginnen bij het begin…

De eerste releases onder de Vidna Obmana moniker verschenen halverwege de jaren 80 en werden gekenmerkt door zeer rauwe industrial geluiden. Bij het begin van het volgende decennium besloot Serries het roer om te gooien en zich te richten op rustgevende ambient klanken met subtiele ethnische ondertonen.

Een slimme zet, zo bleek, want met de eerste drie albums in deze nieuwe stijl (Passage In Beauty (1991), Shadowing In Sorrow (1992) en Ending Mirage (1993) werd zijn bekendheid er alleen maar groter op.

Het Amerikaanse label Relic bracht deze drie sleutelalbums in het werk van Vidna Obmana drie jaar later in een driedubbele cd box samen uit.

Exact hetzelfde dus als wat Zoharum, bijna 25 jaar na datum na het verschijnen van het laatste deel uit deze trilogie, heden ten dage doet.

Verrassend genoeg geen extra tracks, wat bij heruitgaves toch meestal het geval is. De enige extra is dat de nummers op deze nieuwe Trilogy versie een nieuwe grafische vormgeving kregen en het geluid door Series voor de gelegenheid opnieuw geremastered is.

Komt ook nog eens bij dat zowel de afzonderlijke albums die deze trilogie uitmaken, als de eerder verschenen verzamelbox lang onbeschikbaar waren, of indien wel te koop, hoge prijzen bereikte op veilingsites. Gelukkig denkt Zoharum dus ook aan uw portemonnee, en heeft er samen met Hybryds weer een paradepaard van eigen bodem bij.

Over Hybryds gesproken: op het afsluitende nummer (een vocal reprise van het nummer ‘Mellow At Heart’) van Ending Mirage (en dus ook van deze The Trilogy) horen we Yasnaïa (in die tijd actief aan de zijde van Magthea) nog eens haar schitterende zelve wezen.

U herinnert zich misschien ook nog de cd Soundtrack Voor Het Aquarium, die Vidna Obmana en Hybryds samen maakten, en die nonstop afgespeeld werd in het aquarium van de Antwerpse Zoo, begin jaren 90?

The Trilogy is goed voor meer dan 3 uur zeer rustgevende ambient, met lichte ethnische invloeden en hier en daar een ondertoon die niet van de nodige dreiging gespaard is gebleven, om het geheel opwindend te blijven houden, en dit verspreid over een totaal van 20 tracks.

Hoewel deze nummers uitblinken in wat wij als schoonheid bestempelen, zijn ze echter ontstaan door een gevoel van ontevredenheid…. Het hoe en waarom hiervan kan je netjes nalezen in de zeer uitgebreide liner notes die deze driedubbelaar vergezelen. Verder schrijft Tobias Fischer er ook over de ontmoeting tussen Serries en Magthea, Radio Centraal, en het feit dat Antwerpen in die periode een van Europa’s meest opwindende plekken was voor compromisloze elektronische muziek.” Dark Entries – Belgium

VITAL WEEKLY reviews

DIRK SERRIES – EPITAPH (2CD by Consouling Sounds)
DIRK SERRIES & COLIN WEBSTER – GARGOYLES (CD by Raw Tonk Records)

“While the title ‘Epitaph’ suggests something else, Dirk Serries says goodbye to ambient, but only for now. On the cover he writes that he has been producing ‘vintage ambient’ (his words) for thirty years and that was as Vidna Obmana when he used synthesizers, and with a guitar as Fear Falls Burning and later on under his given name, but it’s time to move on new challenges. Perhaps a bit odd, me think, that he says on the cover “Epitaph is therefore my finest collection of ambient pieces to date”.
The word ‘therefore’ seems a bit odd, and also to say this is the finest could mean the rest of his previous, vast output isn’t as good? Armed with a guitar and sound effects and playing it lived, going straight into the computer. Ten pieces, spanning some ninety minutes of music and Serries delivers what he can do so well, indeed for thirty years. Long sustaining pieces of guitar music, which could just as easily pass on as something played on a synthesizer. And sometimes it sounds indeed very much like a guitar indeed, such as in ‘Formations Of Grace’. Serries waves together long form tones and it moves glacier like around. Slow and massive. Is this the finest collection to date of his ambient
music? I find that very hard to say. Over the years I heard a lot of music by Vidna Obmana, even when it was still hard-core noise in the mid 80s, and also quite some Fear Falls Burning, yet not all of it, so who am I to tell if this is the finest? It is however a very solid work, with Serries knowing exactly what he does and he does that very well, but he has been delivering consistent high quality ambient for many years. He leaves (if he leaves at all, of course) ambient on a very high note.

So what is Serries going to do? That is a bit of a rhetorical question as we already know that since a couple of years he’s also into producing improvised music (see also Vital Weekly 1110 and 1101 for more work in that direction) and one of the persons he regularly plays with is Colin Webster, who handles alto and baritone saxophones. On June 11th 2017 the two of the met up in a studio in London and recorded the seventeen pieces on ‘Gargoyles’. That may sound like a lot of music, but it all happens within the space of twenty-seven minutes. The shortest is 1:01 and the longest 2:20; that is almost punk rock like, and while some of this is certainly chaotic and strange, I don’t think the two set out to create something wild necessarily. It is more about to create something full energy within a very limited time span. There is something Zen like about it. A controlled burst of energy if you will and once that is done, it is time for the next one. The level of control is also to be found within the use of the instruments. Both are recognizable as guitar (without many effects, I would think) and the saxophones,
but especially Serries doesn’t play his teacher ever told him (assuming he had a teacher of course).  Scratching, plucking and hitting, mainly on the fret board, while Webster plays mostly short notes, fierce and loud, or introspective and spacious. Everything is recorded in a very direct way, which makes that the music is very much in your face, but that is what makes this also quite enjoyable. This is overall an excellent improvisation duet.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands

THE TRILOGY reviewed

“Polish label Zoharum use a vast amount of their catalogue to re-issue old works next to releasing brand new music, which I think is a good thing. I won’t go into the argument that it would be better to just release new music all the time, as especially in the case of Vidna Obmana’s trilogy, works are concerned that I haven’t heard in a long time. So perhaps it is not that odd to start there. I knew (and met) Vidna Obmana’s Dirk Serries ever since his earliest days when he was one of the boys doing noise. For me it came as quite a shock when he turned all-ambient at the turn of the 80s. It was a slow process, which first manifested itself very defined on ‘Gathering In Frozen Beauty’. At least
that’s what I remember, but quickly lead to ‘Revealed By Composed Nature’ and then the three individual releases, which are now part of this box, being ‘Passage In Beauty’ (1991), Shadowing In Sorrow’ (1992) and ‘Ending Mirage’ (1993). These three albums belong very much together as one thing, sonically and musically and have been re-issued as a triple box by Relic in the mid-90s. Now Zoharum does it again and it brings back some of the delights I heard so long ago, while working in a record store. Maybe I reviewed some of these in the fanzine that is the predecessor of Vital Weekly,
but was too lazy to find evidence of that. Just over three hours of ambient music, the perfect soundtrack to a somewhat chilly spring day, especially for an early morning soundtrack, when there are very few cars around and the birds sing. Some of that chilly weather is reflected in the eerie, long sustaining tones of Vidna Obmana. On the first two albums they sound like stretched out and slowed arpeggio tones on digital synths that the noise boys couldn’t afford, but in a somewhat mid-range frequency range. On ‘Ending Mirage’ there is a bit more room for the low end of the sound. The very deep end
seems not yet to be part of it, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for an ambient household. This is music that should be played at a medium to low(-er) volume and given the opportunity to gentle fill your space; not loud, not soft, not immersive but present. Of the three works ‘Ending Mirage’ is the most matured one of this early ambient phase, allowing what seems to be field recordings and long fade-ins and fade-outs, making the pace slower and ever more spacier in approach. This is a most welcome re-issue.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands