(Herbal)

The duo of Frans De Waard and Freek Kinkelaar, Beequeen belong to the bulky file of musical entities that I’ve been familiar with for many, many years – but only nominally. Believe it or not, your over-enthusiastic reviewer had never listened to their records before, although meeting the name on every mail order list of the last decade and a half. This reissue of a 1994 Staalplaat release fits perfectly in the ice-breaking experience, as inaugurating my acquaintance with the project by listening to an earlier-period outing is perhaps a good thing. Credited with “instruments, electronics, treatments, voices”, De Waard and Kinkelaar seem to know what they’re doing since the very beginning. What they actually do is eliciting outlandish kinds of resonance, generally from the vibration of one or more strings or single notes (i.e. the opening of “Six notes on blank tape”), while adding lots of oscillating high frequencies (“Rupert writes a rainbow” fuses the best of two worlds in that sense) and trance/ritual waste materials. You might often be tempted to call this record drone-based, yet it’s not exclusively that: the vu-meters indicating the level of abstractness point to the red area quite frequently, and there’s nothing that can be acceptably defined as monothematic or minimal, unless we want to consider enthralling looped segments as such (“The shore of leaves” being dazzling stuff indeed, somehow reminding yours truly of Zoviet France; the same goes for the percussive “V-time”). In essence, this album still sounds modern enough for us not to neglect it, leaving the door of the room of past experience ajar to get a glance at our memories. Even those about previously unheard music.

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