by Jan Daelman, Dirk Serries, Thijs Troch

  • Deluxe Edition Double Cassette Release
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Both cassette comes house in a double sized case. All tapes a pro dubbed. Side A and B dubbed on Cream White shells. Sides C and D dubbed onto Clear Prison shells. The 2 panel inlay has been printed on 300gsm recycled paper and also comes with an insert printed on 300gsm recycled paper.

    Includes unlimited streaming of DAELMAN/SERRIES/TROCH via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Dirk Serries swift return to the label has been commissioned precisely because it shows a unique and fascinating journey in the genesis of a trio. Through a series of recordings, firstly in duos, Serries and his companions begin to craft their musical relationship with one another, developing a language of expression and interaction fundamental in informing how they eventually behave as a trio. All 3 musicians met during an improvised session at the Citadelic Festival in 2015, having previously played in a quintet formation in the drone collective Residuum Free Unit. The music on this double cassette release is, however, markedly different. Dirk’s first sparring partner is saxophonist Jan Daelman, mangling his horn with a ferocious series of barks, squeals and wounded minor-pentatonic riffing that could be mistaken for the sax’s dying gasps. Serrie’s parries and jousts against the raging horn, bending and scraping his strings into a scree-ing dissonance, pointillistic in its throaty, detuned savagery. It’s exhaustive and exhilarating at the same time, easy to make the assumption that by the tracks end, both players were drenched in sweat and viscera. It’s the continual aural beating of the first side that really enhances the strange, eldritch beauty of Dirk’s following duo with Pianist Thijs Troch. This whole side creaks with a detectable malice, Troch’s prepared piano thudding out whispers of notes and clunks of deep resonant shadows which Serries mirrors uncannily with percussive guitar. The rare moments they link together melodically shower the darkness with a glittering, bewitching beauty. Recorded live at jazzclub De Singer, the trio side is comparatively the most introspective and harmonic of the groups works, as if the process of refining their sound had reached the apex at this performance. Daelman here switches to a flute and baby violin and ushers in many of the dramatic set pieces throughout the set. Utterly cinematic, the music blossoms into an automatic film score, deeply spacious and haunted by a wondrous atmosphere that calls to mind Toru Takemitsu’s coldest cinema work. The final side, Serries revives his Fears Falls Burning moniker to create a wholly new piece from these triptych of recordings, one that curdles with a gaseous and ghostly menace and whose subtle rise in intensity reflects the journey of the trio, albeit reconfigured into a an electroacoustic sound painting. These four sides detail how relationships within music develop, how sound is sculpted and refined over time and shows a unique perspective on Dirk Serries re-emergence a prominent figure in the European free music scene, creating some of his most refined and delicate work to date with two young players whom we a sure to hear much more from.

"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."

- Paul Margree, We Need No Swords

"How can you negotiate the spectrum between abstract ambient music, sonic searches and sound sculpting and free-improvisation? Three Belgian musicians – guitarist Dirk Serries, known from his work with the trio YODOK III and his monikers as ambient pioneers, Vidna Obmana and Fear Falls Burning; reeds player Jan Daelman and pianist Thijs Troch, member of the groups Keenroh and Jukwaa – attempt to offer few answers to this dilemma. These musicians met during an improvised session at the London Citadelic Festival in 2015, and later worked in different configurations, in a studio in Anderlecht and live in the De Singer club in Rijkevorsel. Their experimental adventures are captured on a limited-edition double-cassette release.

«A» features Serries and Daelman alternating between the tenor sax and baby violin. This is an urgent and raging session. Both Serries and Daelman sound in a combative mode, wrestling with each other, attempting to surrender each other, unconditionally, maybe even both, with a massive torrent of thorny, dissonant attacks, flowing with a reckless abandon. Towards its end, suddenly «A» morphs into a meditative drone. Then Daelman picks the flute and Serries offers a serene ambient soundscape. «B» matches Serries with Troch’s prepared piano for a sparse and suggestive improvisation. Both musicians mirror the bare, resonant-percussive gestures of each other, patiently enriching and intensifying their eccentric palette with more mutated and distorted sounds and a tougher interplay.

The first live improvisation and only one of the whole trio, «C», enjoys the already established rapport. It offers a more reserved, refined, even harmonic atmosphere. Daelman flute cements the breathy, meditative tone of this piece where fragmented and delicate sounds float slowly and gently throughout the club space. On the last improvisation, «D», Serries revives his Fears Falls Burning persona and creates a subtle, ambient cinematic soundscape. This piece is charged with the intensity and urgency of a spontaneous improvisation and and constantly disturbed dissonant and noisy sounds."
- Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts


released October 31, 2016


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Tombed Visions Records Manchester, UK

Tombed Visions is a Manchester based cassette label specialising in sound art, ambient music, experimental electronics and improvisation and aims to showcase the fringes of contemporary independent music. All releases are limited edition and packaged with care, combining a love of graphic design, photography, typography with the wondrous sounds released. ... more

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