Dauw from Belgium are the kind of label to base yourselves off of if you were thinking of starting your own. They are also the type to get very envious of because of the quality of their releases, the artists they work with and their almost instant selling out of their releases. Here are two of their most recent (and mostly sold out) albums from The Humble Bee & Benoît Pioulard and Jogging House.
Both The Humble Bee and Benoît Pioulard have appeared on the label before with The Humble Bee going back to 2014’s “Instruction Booklet N. 1232” while Pioulard joined up three years later with “Slow Spark, Soft Spoke”. The two have also released more music via the label as well as participating in the collaborations releases with Eilean Rec “Dialog Tapes I and II” without collaborating together, something that has now been rectified.
“Both artists hold a very special place in the history of the label. The Humble Bee was already present from the very beginning and, in hindsight, definitely has put an important mark on the musical aesthetics we’ve been developing throughout the years. On the other hand, we crossed paths with Benoît Pioulard several years ago through our ongoing Living Room Concert Series in which he offered one of the most magical evenings to date. Given their mutual love for the tape medium and melancholic compositions, we only had to connect the dots as we were pretty sure that some magic was up in the air.It goes without saying that we were uttermost happy when they both accepted our invitation to work on a collab album. Even though we didn’t know where their efforts would end, it already felt like a victory that we, as a label, were able to link these artists. Above all, the art of curating can be considered as an essential feature of running a label but for us it is also the most wonderful part about it. Linking artists to each other, like we also did in our Dialog Tapes or Illuminine Reworks series, even goes a step further as it makes new connections, pushes boundaries and ultimately can result in an unexpected enrichment of the musical field.”
This album is firmly ensconced in the ambient style of washed sepia tones that can be interpreted by the listener as memories, dreams or something that lies in the state between asleep and awake. There are muted tones which blend into each other offering up a mystery as to their origin or meaning, resulting in some way similar to that of a lava lamp with the sounds joining each other, changing shape and re-configuring back to their essence. Instrumentation such as piano is used sparingly with an emphasis more on the overall sound than highlighting a certain instrument. Movements in the hauntilogical sphere happen with “Grey Confetti” which static covering the collection of looped material and long form drones while evolves into a more dissonant sounding track.
There is no reference to what each artist brings to the table which in a way is hard to discern exactly what is going on, but then removes the guesswork of thinking which sound source is the origin of which sound. There are times like in the case of “Per” where it feels like the music is cut from vinyl samples which are then layered and positioned into a hypnotic fashion. The beauty of the album lies in the fact that you are not hearing music that is all too similar. The shimmering guitar tones and field recording of the opener, “Honesty” are quite different to the final piece “Folly” which is synth laden ambience of the purest and proggiest order. These days artists can easy lock into a theme or mood for an album which can either bore or nullify just what it is that they are trying to achieve. With this album, although the pieces are using a similar template, they have their own individual touches and characteristics which makes for a more compelling listen as you won’t suffer from listener fatigue.
This LP has sold out at label before release date, but there were to be 100 white vinyl copies via Boomkat which may still be available from release date. Otherwise this highly enjoyable album, which I am looking at delving into more is available via Digital.
As part of the special edition of the album a split 7″ lathe limited to 30 copies was included. This 7″ (again, long gone) featured a solo track from each artist, which in ways is similar to the album, but both tracks have their own character. The Humble Bee’s “Or Just After” has a melancholic core of it lo fi home spun acoustic ambience which fits in with parts of the album and with its’ distant, almost covered in detritus like recording, it certainly has a nostalgic component as it feels your are uncovering a recording from a hundred years ago that is disintegrating in front of your ears. There is a fragility, but also a melodic core to the piece that adds to its somewhat bittersweet emotions. Pioulard on the other hand with “Coalescence” while sharing a similarly lo-fi sound, feels more like a choral ambient/drone piece with long form drones which are being affected by the environment. Much like the flip side of a record, this piece takes a different emotional direction moving more it a space of hope mixed with a slight touch of introspection. The interesting thing about these two pieces is that you hear their distinct personalities and then you cast your mind back to the album and you see how and why both artists work together so well in collaboration. Hopefully this will not be the last time we hear from them together.
The tracks will be available digitally on December 12 and are an essential part to compare and compliment the above album.
Jogging House is a German artist and label owner with the Seil Records label being his outlet for his music and those like Paperbark, r beny , Hainbach and others. He joins Dauw for another one word title album.
“The Frankfurt-based Jogging House is a relatively new name in the scene of minimal electronic music. However, within a short period of only 2 years (he has been active under the Jogging House name since 2011) he was able to attract substantial attention from the (modular) synth community with numerous video’s in which he portrayed his music with a central focus on the instruments being used. The culmination of these endeavours were presented in the form of several well -received releases on his own Seil Records imprint.
“The only way I know how, is to not overthink things, but trying to be as free as possible and doing what feels right. Thus, the eight tracks that make up When were recorded in single takes (straight to cassette), opening room for improvisation and detours.”
I am curious as to the origin of the pieces and their chronology as the mood of the album changes as the it moves through the pieces. The opening two pieces “Traverse” and “Stairs” are positively upbeat, albeit with a wistful mood with the latter track. From this point Jogging House moves through more minimal and dark “Current” with it’s gentleness that carries a very slight underlying menace, then onto the tinkering mad professor behind the synth meets vague vaporwave sounds. A track like the album’s finale , “There” almost tests the listener with its barely there before it retreats opening, before rewarding the listener with a retro inspired synth-bass line that takes the track and amplifies it’s intensity. The lazy comparison would be a’la Stranger Things, but Jogging House continues the musical teasing what has gone on in the album before where you are expecting things to eventuate and instead the artist reigns it back.
Jogging House labels himself a naive synthesist which I guess you can interpret your own way. Is he being tongue in cheek or actually admitting that he is not sure of what he is doing? I would lean towards the former as sounds to me that he definitely has an idea of what he is doing, but with an intention to both explore his instrument and to also be led by the process of experimentation and seeing and working with whatever comes out.
“When” is available on limited cassette and Digital.