Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stefan Christoff / Post Mortem "Waasland"
Old Bicycle Records OBR 031




Another split tape, this time from Stefan Christoff and Post Mortem. Though unmarked as to A/B, the tape was wound to play Christoff's side first so in it went. The first cut, "fenetres sonores" immediately garnered my interest. Nice effects and a near melody made this somber piece deserving of the premier track status it received. It was followed by a organ dominated piece appropriately titled "organ rhythms under the rain" which flows nicely coming out of the initial selection. Church organ sounds with just a touch of abstractness, and again, a hint of a melody.

The remaining four selections were more of the same, though not to imply this all sounds alike. Christoff knows structure or feels it inherently and is conscious of not overdoing anything while still allowing for enough of a theme to provide a glimpse at his aural vision. Sadly, there was no contact information for this artist, but the credits indicate it was recorded between 2013-2015 in Montreal.

Post Mortem is the brainchild of Jan Kees Helms, and was recorded in 2015. This side initiates with what could be a river flowing albeit rapidly, then quickly you hear garbled voices and a repetitive squeaky sound (crickets?) which again is layered with a number of natural sounds, all the while building toward something.

Like the previous side, the composer has a great feel for not taking a good idea too far. The piece keeps moving with a vast array of abstractions and is further textured by a softly played piano adding to the intrigue. The interesting use of a nature soundscape intertwined with minimal electronica makes for an enjoyable sonic journey and though the track, entitled "Soundsources",  is lengthy, it never sounds dull or monotonous.

The experimental path is a difficult one to follow successfully. With little or no restrictions, artists can-and often do-throw in way too much baggage. I'm happy to say that this tape is a splendid exception. Everything here seems necessary and the music created by these two artists is both challenging and comfortable to listen to. Extra marks for a very creative housing for the cassette itself. Good stuff here.



-Bob Zilli

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