Koen Holtkamp Koen HoltkampGravity / Bees
THRILL JOCKEY (THRILL254, LP” + digital)
Like every Mountains release –the duo Koen Holtkamp forms alongside Brendon Anderegg–, this vinyl is an ecstatic experience, an immersion in sound: two long pieces that need to be taken in with patience, the utmost concentration on the slight changes that vary, subtly and dramatically, the development of the music until the listener finds himself buried in drones and sounds of naturalist or spectral origin, depending on the moment. Famous for their adaptation of field recordings to a strategy of repetitive recording, Holtkamp’s music could be a metaphor for the cycles of life, the passing of time or the changing of the seasons, as they go from coldness to warmth, or vice versa with a pause and perseverance that can only be found in moving bodies but always impeccable. Then there are the titles: “Gravity”, effectively, is a composition that drags you to its centre and leaves you standing before the speakers with your mouth wide open, while “Bees” is a fragment of elasticity that is almost cosmic, starting from the sound of bees on the roof of a building in downtown Philadelphia.
Originally composed onstage in Brighton (on 6th April 2008), “Gravity” is an extended edit of a drones and meek sounds jammed under an e-bow guitar that fuses classic American minimalism worthy of the genuine Mountains sound –oriented more towards the acoustic and not so much towards the electric and noisy, with a touch of folk–, as if suddenly Terry Riley had entered the scene. “Bees”, on the other hand, shies away from pleasant and highly hypnotic feelings of the A-side and covers the other side of the vinyl with sharp guitars, lots of layers of cutting feedback and constantly increasing tension that explodes in a final segment of joy, within the logic of conventional post-rock. Holtkamp is experimenting on “Gravity / Bees”, looking for new resources in order to refrain from standing still. And although it’s not his perfect record, he finds what he’s looking for: the answer to the question of where to go next.