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.
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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.
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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.
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No Man’s Valley from Horst in The Netherlands is the alt-rock quintet of Jasper (Vocals), Christian (Guitar / Backing Vocals), Rob (Bass / Backing Vocals), Ruud (Organ / Philicordia / Piano / Backing Vocals) and Ruud (Drums).
No Man’s Valley
There is an easy confidence to the music produced by No Man’s Valley, which is steeped in influences of decades ago, but they manage to give it a relevance to the 21st Century. Somewhat psychedelic blues textures billow around the room, but for me, what marks the sound as being of captivating interest is the contribution by (lets call him – Ruud 1) with the keys, that enable the quintet to flex considerable soaring flows to the core sound.
Tracks are given time to naturally develop without heading off on too obscure angles as No Man’s Valley allow themselves to explore the nuances of the compositions in openly spaced playing. Not a band to play when you are pushing up against the clock, but certainly worth unfolding when you have time at your disposal.
A somewhat appropriately named five track release …. And Four Other Songs is set to be launched in the 23rd March as a follow up to their 2012 release Mirror Image. In addition to the March release is a forthcoming new single – The Wolves Are Coming.
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La-Ventura, a rock band from Goes in The Netherlands is Carla van Huizen (Vocals), Mike Saffrie (Bass), Sascha Kondic ( Guitar) and Renzo van Poecke (Drums).
Voluptuous guitars soar across the room as La-Ventura add a heavy emphasis on melody to metal derived compositions. The out-fit has undergone significant change over the recent past and they have spent considerable time in creating a studio release, the ten track LP White Crow.
The music has a well structured sound to it, with instrumentation and vocal clearly defined, whilst simultaneously having the compact power-ball essential for the style. The overall effect is one that holds the attention of the audience as the complexities of chords and scintillating vocal enables La-Ventura to offer a sound that is both driven and luxuriant.
Undoubtedly the long period of gestation of White Crows resulted in a polished gemstone, it may seem somewhat churlish to perceive as a negativity the professionalism of the band in creating such a well produced finished product and I wouldn’t suggest you should let my need to hear some rough edges to hinder you from getting involved either with the release, or exploring more of La-Ventura.
It will be interesting to see what 2014 brings to the table.
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