To be found in Utrecht and Amsterdam in The Netherlands are Karindra Perrier (Vocal), Erik Brouwer (Keys), Jesse Buitenhuis (Guitar), Thijs van Gemert (Bass) and Thijs Bastiaans (Drums) who create the dark-rock sounds of Femme Vanille.
There is a disconsolate darkness which threads through the room as Femme Vanille take to the room. The despondent mood is woven with flecks of gold which shimmers through the material, giving the forlorn blanket a luxury in which the listener desires to be entrapped.
The quintet provide the audience with a sense of the dramatic, without it ever becoming a cartoon production as they have a firm grounding for the compositions and it is the expansiveness of the tracks which gives it its detail that holds the ear, rather than them becoming parodies of themselves.
The subtle flow of the music is punctuated by the expressive vocal which captures initial focus of attention, though the longer you listen to their music the more it blends and becomes part of the fabric of the output.
With releases and time behind them Femme Vanille have honed their craft and each iteration finds the quartet better able to deliver music that expresses their complex orchestration.
Toto Boroto is the lo-fi psychedelic project of Efrem Angela, born in Aruba in 1990 who moved to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2009. After some punk bands, he found himself a permanent place in the bands The Sasters and Nancy Acid. Under the name Gypsy Lemm, he created little projects and last year one of these projects popped out as Toto Boroto.
I discovered this band via the five track EP Lama which is available on bandcamp. Especially the second song Albino got my attention. It’s a typically lo-fi sound with some easy chords and riffs, but… there is chemistry in the air.
Toto Boroto creates simple songs with a special atmosphere. Like the last song Blue Sunday, it has a bluesy riff as an underlying driver, looping during the track. On top of that, there are these strange high diatonic sounds.
Shadowpeak from Utrecht in The Netherlands is the shoegaze quartet of Jordy van den Berg (Guitar / Vocal), Bram Custers (Drums / Vocals), Annelies van Bemmel (Synth / Vocals) and Terry Stooker (Bass).
Shadowpeak – Photo by Gerianne Meijer
Shadowpeak have a marked thixotropic sound as the music sheers into to flowing sounds that descend into the room from steely guitars which initially given the out-put a jagged composition. The anomalies of the quartet are what makes for an intriguing band as Shadowpeak explore the higher register of sounds in a manner which, for someone with tinnitus fill the ears, yet, within the forceful timbre, they are able to develop the underlying compositions, whilst despite a plethora of vocalists, the voices always remains submerged, featuring more as an harmonic accompaniment.
Given the style of the music, Shadowpeak are able to surprise the listener with the aggressive approach that catches you unprepared and the ears are left with ringing silence as tracks conclude.
A début six track eponymous EP, which is available on bandcamp, was released last month and the twenty three minutes provide the listener with plenty to think about.
O is the electro-ambient quintet of Levi, Kay, Jan, Ben and Yves who are divided between Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.
Wait until dusk or draw the curtains before taking a delve into O. The music trickles into the room like an emergent stream source on a peat bog, clear though almost indiscernible, yet to gather the momentum to form a raging river feeding the oceans and as you allow the music to develop in the ears so the immensity of this sound becomes apparent.
O ask nothing more of you than to approach the music with an open mind and time to spare whilst allowing yourself the space and setting to let the quintet do their thing, providing a mythical journey of sound and thinking for the brain. It is the fragility of the threads of compositions which the players have mastered to provide the listener with an ever evolving shape-shifting experience of discovery, that marks this out for recommendation.
The releases all attest to the organic fluidity of the creativity and the out-put is best listened to in an isolated contemplative space to allow the music to wash unhindered around the mind.
Equal Stones from Amsterdam in The Netherlands is an ambient drone vehicle for Amandus Schaap to work with sounds.
Underpinning the far reaching extended experimentalism lays an industrial heartland, which gives the material a fulcrum around which to pivot. Lengthy tracks draw the listener into the space as the compositions float slowly round the room in phrases of distortion. Not something to rush with a morning cup of coffee Equal Stones demands time of the audience.
The music progresses imperceptibly as the loops of sound slowly shift places in the sequence, giving the resulting output a mesmerizing resonance. Somewhat experimental in feel, due to the processes in creating the sounds, Equal Stones does not however leave the brain confused as the gentle progression allows the imagination plenty of time to come to terms with the resulting echoes and flickers.
A third LP by Equal Stones – Transgression – was released earlier this month through the Ukrainian label Hidden Vibes, a forty two minute – four track soundtrack for an evening watching factory lights from a far.