Klangriket & Sjors Mans - The Amsterdam Sessions EP
So we continue our journey across many different musical genres, and (even if I say so myself) I'm pretty pleased that we've managed to go from Post Metal to Neo Classical / in the space of just a few days. Today marks the release of a lovely set of short compositions by the Swedish / Dutch duo of Klangriket and Sjors Mans, entitled 'The Amsterdam Sessions', named somewhat unsurprisingly after collaborating in some sessions in Amsterdam.
We have featured Klangriket (Fabian Rosenberg) a couple of times recently, as he was the Swedish artist that we wrote about when he was included in the 'Sketches' collaboration (with his piece 'For they Who Had to Go'), and he is also part of the group 'Moni Kira' that we wrote about also. Sjors Mans is a multi-talented Dutch artist and composer who released an EP last year entitled 'Dauw', and already has an impressive collection of projects behind him in the film and sound design sphere. He was also part of the 'Sketches' project, and it was subsequent to this that he and 'Klangriket' met in Amsterdam for 4 days to write and work together, experimenting with different instruments and sounds, and resulting in 5 tracks.
The attraction to me in this music lies in the textures of sound they create. Of course I have zero knowledge in the technical aspects of this, but I've been listening to this for a few days through my Ipad thanks to an advance copy, and only subsequent to its release today have I been able to stream it around my house on my best music speakers. Suddenly the music has grown from being a pleasant collection of experimental tracks, to being a beautifully hand crafted 3 dimensional work of art. It opens with 'Vondelpark', and a flowing piano line that resonates into the tiniest corners of the room, accompanied by a collection of sounds that intertwine and slowly help the rhythms evolve, so that the music is constantly re-inventing itself. But my favourite track is undoubtedly 'Hamerstraat', again it is the sounds that intrigue me, I may be wrong but to my untrained ear it sounds like the mechanism of the piano is becoming part of the music and rhythms, and both the violin and cello parts are beautifully delivered.
'Prinsengracht' is a 7 minute ambient electronic track that I naturally feel less engaged with, but I like the way the track develops, builds in volume through to a climax, and then both slows and fades. 'Leidseplein' is led again by piano, and I love the precision of each note, I've found myself turning up the volume to '11' just to make sure I catch every sound and expression. I'm left thinking of Christian Gabel's '1900' project, simply because of the precision involved. The atmospheric 'Zeedijk' concludes the album, with a slightly darker feel, and a melancholy complex conclusion.
I used to caveat write-ups of music compositions like this by accepting that not everyone will like them, but actually I know now that almost every music lover has an appreciation of this style of music. It was interesting that when in 2016 we asked some of our favourite bands and artists what their Favourite Albums of the Year, almost everyone seemed to list Max Richter - and Icelandic artists such as Olafur Arnalds and Biggi Hilmarsson have continued to bridge the gap too. So I know that the Amsterdam Sessions will appeal to many of you, and I really hope you will find it as absorbing and rewarding as I have.