NOW AVAILABLE AT LABEL.EXPERIMEDIA.NET
On their second full-length, supergroup Piiptsjilling set out to both deepen and roughen up the pastoral and peaceful sound of their 2008 debut release. A coherent unit formed by guitar & poetry duo Jan and Romke Kleefstra as well as Machinefabriek's Rutger Zuydervelt and Soccer Committee's Mariska Baars, the band delineate increasingly dark lyrical textures resonating with nocturnal atmospheres and tactile sound-operations on guitar, pedals and various looping devices. Building on patient and immersive improvisations and working with both sonorous drones and ghostly micronoises, "Wurdskrieme", which translates to "Cry of Words", moves at a dream-pace, substituting linear logic with a brushwood of metaphors and emotional abstractions. The underlying feeling of a subcutaneous tension is further accentuated by Jan Kleefstra's expressionist poetry delivered in the language of his native Friesland, a province in the far North of the Netherlands. Contrasting serene soundscapes like opener "Unkrud" with more tranquil moments featuring acoustic instrumentation ("Wurch"), the result spans up a sonic space that not only represents an evolution from their earlier work, but also takes them far beyond traditional categories and conventions.
1 Unkrûd (Ill weeds)
2 Tsjustere leaten (Sombre shoots)
3 Sangerjende wyn (Lilting wind)
4 Utsakke bui
5 Wurch ljocht (Tired light)
6 Ferware (Worn down)
Words by Jan Kleefstra
Music by Mariska Baars, Romke Kleefstra and Rutger Zuydervelt
Recorded at Studio Landscape, March 6/7, 2010, by Jan Switters and Koos van der Velde
Mixed and edited by Rutger Zuydervelt
Mastered by Taylor Deupree
Translations by Willem Groenewegen
Piiptsjilling is a quartet consisting of Jan Kleefstra, Romke Kleefstra, Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt. The band name (pronounced 'peep-chilling') is Frisian, the language of Jan Kleefstra's poems that are accompanied by the improvisation skills of the other three musicians on guitars and vocals. In 2008 they released their well-received first album,simply called 'Piiptsjilling'. File under: drones, improvisation, spoken word.
Jan and Romke Kleefstra have been performing together for years. Since the release of the first Piiptsjilling album they have collaborated with Gareth Davis, Greg Haines, Danny Saul, Peter Broderick, Sytze Pruiksma and others, live and in the studio. In 2009 they combined forces with guitarist Anne Chris Bakker and recorded 'Wink', released by Apollolaan, as Kleefstra | Bakker | Kleefstra. An ominous, dreamy soundscape with experimental guitars and spoken word.
Mariska baars is best known for her solo career as Soccer Committee. Her latest solo album was released by Morc Records and showcases Mariska at her most intimate and minimal. It's folk music stripped down to the core, giving every sparse word and note an incredible importance. This is also evident on the new Piiptsjilling recordings, where on some tracks her wordless vocals become an instrument that is just as important as the guitars. At other moments, Mariska's guitar fuses flawlessly with Romke's patterns to deliver a steady counterpart for Rutger Zuydervelt's drones.
Rutger Zuydervelt is steadily building on a career as Machinefabriek, releasing albums on labels like Type, 12K, Dekorder, Root Strata and Low Point. The guitar is the major sound source, processed through various effects, its sound is injected with snippets of radio static, a memorecorder and a sampler, his soundscapes form a perfect combination with the music of the other members of Piiptsjilling. Rutger and Mariska released the highly anticipated Drawn album on Digitalis in 2008, which was followed by a remix version, with reworkings by Reiko Kudo, Taylor Deupree, Xela, Lawrence English, Stefan Németh, Nate Wooley and many more.
Put these four people together, whether it's in the studio or for a live performance, and the results are more then the sum of its parts. Working highly intuitively, the quartet patiently moves through stretches of melancholic dreamscapes, varying between abstract minimalism and dense drones. Their first album was released by the Dutch label Onomatopee, but this time their ambitions go further afield. Two days of recording culminated in two albums that are now looking for a safe, inspiring home, preferably in Japan or the UK. Despite the unintelligible Frisian language, the abstract language formed when combined with the music is universal.
Wurdskrieme is one of two new releases from Piiptsjilling, a quartet that is formed of Jan and Romke Kleefstra, Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt. The name Piiptsjilling (pronounced 'peep-chilling') is Frisian; a language which Jan Kleefstra uses for the poetry he reads to accompany the improvised sonic worlds that the remaining three members create with guitars, effects, loopers and the voice...
In March 2010 the band took to an intensive 2-day improvised recording session with the goal of creating nothing more than beautiful, challenging music. The session resulted in two-and-a-half hours of material which was mixed and edited into two separate albums. Did they succeed with their simple goal? Yes. Yes they did.
Piiptsjilling's first album, self-titled and released in 2008, was a fairly post-rock induced affair with weeping guitars and suppressed desperation by the bucket-load. This time around, the post-rock influence has disappeared and the guitars, at times, are used as a percussion instrument in a prepared- style a la Keith Rowe on tracks such as the graciously atmospheric Sangerjende wyn and Utsakke bui.
As Wurdskrieme unfolds, one thing that is noticeable is that the poetry seamlessly becomes one with the atmospheres created by the band. Becoming part of the soundscape rather than clumsily resting on top. At times in their debut the voice seemed to act as a controlling factor, regulating the sound and almost giving it permission to start, stop and evolve. No doubt an interesting discovery; but this could all too easily pull the listener out of their sound induced coma.
The album is full-to-the-brim with the usual electroacoustic ambient loveliness; guitars, drones, the voice, field recordings, blips and glitches help to create an album with somewhat of a bi-polar disease; sometimes thickly laden and sometimes sparsely scattered with tiny sounds. It really is a feast for the ears that doesn't do much wrong in its near on 40 minute run time.
Even though this is essentially an improvised body of work – except for the mixing of course – it really doesn't sound so. Every movement really does seem carefully orchestrated from start to finish. Wurch ljocht is a good example; as the track fills with layer upon layer of sound everything ceases in the final seconds to allow a three-note cadence to shine through. Of course something like this could oh-so-easily be done in the mixing stage, but it's nice to think that there was at least a glimmer of planned performance behind this improvisational body of work.
Ferware is the album highlight and shows the band at their most in-sync on the record. The track rolls along serenely, and what starts as a beautiful thing soon sinks into ominous nightmare territory where Jan's poetry awaits to lull the listener into a vulnerable state of wonder.
Piiptsjilling have managed to create a wonderfully coherent album with Wurdskrieme that no doubt manages to hold the listener's attention for the duration – something that their debut struggled with slightly at certain points. They've also successfully created an improvisation set that sounds orchestrated; it truly sounds as if each performer listened intently to what the others were creating which oftentimes is the downfall of most improvisation troops.
Keep an eye out for Wurdskrieme; released later this year on Experimedia. - Review by Simon James French for Fluid Radio
Lately i'm detecting a growing movement toward the combination of spoken poetry with ambient or experimental music, particularly amongst the netlabels and creative commons artists distributing free music in these genres on the web. Artists such as Alicia Merz birds of passage Benjamin Dauer and Michelle Seaman (see Pollinators and Recent Works sets) benjamindauer and Antye Greie (solo and with Laub) http://www.poemproducer.com/haus.php are just a few of the artists I have come across and many more are sure to follow.
Happily the mainstream independent labels now seem to be recognising this interesting new cross fertilisation between poetry and music and releases are starting to appear. Piiptsjilling are a quartet from the Netherlands consisting of the brothers Jan and Romke Kleefstra, Mariska Baars (who plays solo as Soccer Committee) and Rutger Zuydervelt (better known as Machinefabriek). Wurdskrieme (meaning “Cry of Words”) is their second album and was recorded in March 2010 during an improvised recording session.
The music is distinctly electro-acoustic with Romke Kleefstra and Mariska Baars playing effects laden guitar and Jan Kleefstra performing the poetry readings while Rutger processes and layers the sounds to create a rich mix of shifting drones, textures and deftly mixed electronic noises. On the opening track, Unkrud, Mariska provides vocal tones that blend with the backing drones while Jan's Frisian poetry lends an almost melancholic feel that fits perfectly with the gently pulsing drones, interspersed with electronic static and glitch sounds.
The other tracks on the album follow a similar pattern with the short poetry readings generally joining the mix about half way through as if Jan is biding his time to let the music develop to a point where he feels immersed enough to let the words flow into the soundscape that swells around him.
The whole concept works brilliantly and although the live recording has been subsequentluy edited and mixed you still feel as though you are listening to a live performance.
I hope more artists collaborate in this way and that we get to hear the product of their creative inspiration via the independant labels. This is an exciting new vein to be mined in the ambient and experimental genres and we have barely scratched the surface yet.
Experimedia, one of our favorite record label/distros in the entire universe, has an insane new record up for preorder. ”Wurdskrieme” is the second full album from the Piiptsjilling supergroup, consisting of guitar & poetry duo Jan and Romke Kleefstra as well as Machinefabriek’s Rutger Zuydervelt and Soccer Committee’s Mariska Baars. The music is dark and intense, occasionally interwoven with Jan Kleefstra’s poetry, delivered in the native language of their northern Netherlands province. The LP is pressed on 180 gram vinyl, comes packaged in sleeves and labels with metallic ink, has an edition of 500, includes an instant download, and costs $16. Visit Experimedia.net.