Herfsttonen

by Various Artists

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about

The festival ‘Herfsttonen in Okkenbroek’ on November 15, 2009 was the conclusion of the ‘Landtonen’ project. Several performances took place in and around the village of Okkenbroek. It was a good day.

Artists, musicians and composers were invited to create new works inspired by this small village and its rural surroundings. Their musical impressions were then performed live on different special locations in and around Okkenbroek.

Esc.rec. was commisioned to come up with some interesting and suitable musicians/composers for the Herfsttonen festival and happily did just that. But once this great line-up was succesfully achieved, it felt like a shame to let these unique compositions fade away after their one day of glory in Okkenbroek. That’s why I decided to try and make a release out of it all, in order to save this music from oblivion.

And now, thanks to the artists, here it is.

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Review by Stephen Fruitman for Sonomu:
Thank goodness for country bumpkins with keen vision and broad horizons.

Okkenbroek is a hamlet somewhere in the middle of the Netherlands which sponsored an arts festival and, with the help of Esc Rec, commissioned a trio of out-of-towners to each come up with a piece of music inspired by its rural setting.

Cellist Paul de Jong plundered the tape archives of certain Herr Holterbroek and created a scrapbook of oral history and local colour which reputedly moved residents in attendance to tears. His marvellous chamber piece opens with de Jong bending the strings of his instrument to make it sound like a pedal steel guitar, fully justifying the name ”Okkenblues” for an otherwise uplifting experience.

Multimedia artist MiaMia created a soundtrack out of a trek in the woods called ”The Branches and the Frog” to back her dreamlike recitation; ”I reminded myself not to get lost…I secretly wanted to get lost.”

Gluid, the only artist with whose fine solo recordings this reviewer is in fact familiar, accompanies a cellist and vibraphonist by orchestrating samples of local birdsong, barnyard creatures and town conversation into a sound quilt as colourful as a tulip farm. As it unfolds, ”101009 (Hellige Ding´n)” turns into a real toe-tapper, too.

For one brief moment, Okkenbroek was truly a European Capital of Culture.

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Review by Theo Ploeg in OOR:
De mooiste dingen gebeuren uit het zicht. In Okkenbroek bijvoorbeeld, een dorpje tussen Deventer en de Sallandse Heuvelrug. Tenminste, voor de liefhebber van experimentele muziek. Dat bewijst Herfsttonen, een festival dat de afsluiting vormt van het vorig jaar georganiseerde project Landtonen. Deze geluidsregistratie daarvan is eerder een afscheid van de zomer dan op en top herfst.

Paul de Jong van The Books, Gluid en MiaMia spelen alledrie met het verstilde platteland en dompelen de luisteraar onder in een wereld waarin rust, harmonie en eenheid centraal staan. Doen ze prachtig. De Jongs blues is er een van berusting, een lofzang op het trage leven. De kerkklokken op de achtergrond, de teksten die uit langvervolgen tijden lijken te komen, het getsjilp van vogels. Het is zalvend, maar ook een tikje verstikkend. Muziekdichteres MiaMia zoekt in haar soundscape eerder de harmonie op dan de verontrusting. Het resultaat is als een perfect afscheid van de zomer: de loomheid overheerst nog, al proef je dat er onheil aan zit te komen. Van dat onheil wil Gluid niets weten. Evenals Groninger Kettel blinkt hij hier – samen met Lois van Dries (cello) en René de Wilde (vibrafoon) uit in een naïeve maar prachtige sessie waarin veldopnames en experimentele klanken perfect samenvallen. In deze Herfsttonen is Okkenbroek een dorp om van te houden.

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Review by rm in Gonzo Circus Magazine:
Diep in Overijssel vond in November 2009 het festival ‘Herfsttonen in Okkenbroek’ plaats. Diverse artiesten maakten nieuw werk, geïnspireerd op het kleine plaatsje en zijn landelijke omgeving, en voerden het op verschillende locaties in Okkenbroek uit. Dit doet misschien wat wenkbrauwen sceptisch fronsen – en inderdaad is ook de cdtitel clichématig – maar toch, waarom zou een spannend festival alleen in een grootstedelijke omgeving geïnspireerd en gerealiseerd kunnen zijn? De cd ‘Herfsttonen’ bevat drie composities, elk een collage van muziek en oude dan wel recente geluidsopnamen. Paul de Jong brengt een blues in Nederlandse sferen, met een combinatie van een lome (slide-)gitaar, cello, vogelgeluiden, stemmen en klanken van het boerenerf. Aangenaam, maar niet geheel verassend. Spannender wordt het bij MiaMia, die een voorgedragen gedicht combineert met tinkelende, aanzwellende en wegstervende elektronica en field recordings uit de omgeving. Ook Bram van den Oever, oftewel Gluid, gebruikt field recordings en verbindt die aan kalme melodieën van een cello en een vibrafoon. De samples van dierengeluiden gaan over in een ritme, en daarmee wordt zijn bijdrage nog een swingende afsluiter. ‘Herfsttonen’ is een degelijike, goed geproduceerde cd, sympathiek, aangenaam, maar – helaas – zonder grote verassingenen scherpe randjes. Of is dat juist de rurale rust? Verzorgde verpakking trouwens.

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Review on Ambientblog:
As the musical part of the "Landtonen" festival in november 2009, "Herfsttonen" (Autumn Sounds) celebrated the local district of "Okkenbroek", near Deventer (in Holland).

This may sound as if it is interesting to local citizens only.
Not true! - That would mean the large part of the world would miss this great project!

The three compositions presented here are very different from each other, but they are linked by the theme, and by the environmental sounds of Okkenbroek. This album deserves to be heard out of the local context, too, because it is dedicated to preserving the kind of rural life that may disappear all too quickly.

Some sound samples include people speaking in the dutch northern dialect, but even if you don't understand a word of what they say you'll understand they achieve heavy tasks by working together closely, by not losing their humour...but you'll also get a glimpse of some of their fears, too. (In the beginning of the Gluid track there's a woman asking "Er is toch niks ernstigs gebeurd, valt nog mee hè?" ("It's nothing serious, I hope? Is it?)

Paul de Jong's "Okkenblues" introduces Okkenbroek ("Groot hè?" - Big, isn't it?) with a striking violin-cello-guitar composition Greg Haines - style. The middle part of it has a beautiful musical effect: it's like the music slowly dozing off while the image of citizens accomplishing a heavy task becomes sharper slowly (they're obviously putting something in place, maybe the big vase especially created for this Landtonen festival). When the work is done, the music kicks back in to return to the beautiful theme.

MiaMia is a poet combining her work with soundscapes and video projections. She walks through the Okkenbroek landscape as if in a dream ("We always tend to forget our dreams // There's always the morning coming inbetween" ). Her murmuring voice in the soundscape turns Okkenbroek into a haunting abstract landscape.

...Which is quite different from the view presented by Gluid, a project byBram van den Oever accompanied by Cello and Vibraphone for this occasion. This track starts with some dark undertones, but definitely ends optimistic and lighthearted. If comparisions are needed: this reminded me of some of the impressive music coming over from Iceland (like Mùm, Sigur Ross or Amina).

Unfortunately, the album is only slightly over 32 minutes long. But it's enough to leave you with the feeling you have been to a peaceful place vaguely familiar. And you will probably not forget about your visit to Okkenbroek.

So here's my advice to foreign visitors: next time, forget about Amsterdam'sRed Light District and take some time to visit Okkenbroek and its surroundings.  And if you're not coming over to Holland, just visit Esc.rec. to a grab a copy of this album - which may prove to be one of the most adventurous dutch releases this year!

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Review by FdW in Vital Weekly:
Somewhere in The Netherlands there is a place called Okkenbroek, of which I never heard. The have a festival called ‘Landtonen’ (tones of the land) and asked Esc.Rec to invite a bunch of musicians to come up with a piece of music especially for this festival, keeping in mind the rural aspect of the village. Paul de Jong, the cello player of whom we haven’t heard much lately, but was once in the mighty The Books, has a melancholic piece of music, with a soaring piece of music on the cello, spoken word and computer manipulations. Carefully constructed and actually very beautiful. It moved some in the audience to tears, which is understandable. Mia Mia, of whom I never heard, created a video and we get the soundtrack here for it. Also a mellow piece of music, but more gentle, more musical. Floating like a leaf in the wind, with some vibraphone like tones, dark strings in the background, like autumn clouds on an otherwise sunny day. Far, far away influenced by dance music I guess, with very gentle beats lurking in the background. Gluid, being Bram van den Oever, has a real vibraphone player and a real cello player, while playing himself samples of field recordings (birds of course and more local talk). Here is where we get the closest to real dance music. Perhaps intended to be a bit folk dance like, in which the whole village cheerfully attends. Three lengthy pieces, three times spot on. Okkenbroek can be proud of the achievement!

credits

released April 5, 2010

Track 3: Composed, arranged and produced by Bram van den Oever, some arrangements by René de Wilde. Cello: Lois van Driel. Vibraphone: René de Wilde. All other: Bram van den Oever. Mix and master: René de Wilde

Design and photography by Harco Rutgers

Special thanks go out to Josien in ‘t Hof and Kim Vijfhuize at Kunstenlab for making the Herfsttonen festival a succes. Without the festival, this release wouldn’t exist.

Herfsttonen is part of Landtonen, a project by Kunstenlab in collaboration with event association Okkenbroek as a part of ’Kunst in Salland’. Landtonen is financed by the European Union ELFPO (Leader+), the Municipality of Deventer, the Province of Overijssel, Woonstichting DeMarken and foundation Kulturhus.

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Esc.rec. Deventer

Esc.rec. is a small, critically acclaimed record label for adventurous music, founded in 2004 by Harco Rutgers in Deventer, NL.

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