Roel Meelkop

9 (Holes in the Head)

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Roel Meelkop's collection of electronic pieces follows very much in the Trente Oiseaux label tradition: very quiet pieces that avoid most kinds of traditional development, contenting themselves to present a few choice, sparse sounds. Most of the pieces here follow the same pattern of a quiet, drone-like background over which a series of sharply drawn events are scattered. The backgrounds vary significantly from piece to piece, and in appropriate listening environments, such as on headphones, present a tremendous amount of detail. On "(Pittoresk)," for example, the background is a barely controlled machine-like pulse, and on "Left What Where" it sounds like wind blowing slowly across a microphone. On a few pieces, such as "Bewegt, Bewogen Usw" and "Vergeten," the background becomes the piece, becoming accumulated in layers and slabs of sound. In a sparse environment like Meelkop's, the events become a focus of great attention. "(Pittoresk)" starts with small, electronic twinges that continue to reverberate until they combine with the pulsing background and explore into a single burst of feedback, the loudest point on the disc. Feedback also plays a significant role in "Espace Fermé," one of the most complex pieces here, where Meelkop produces a breathtaking sequence of low hums, rattles, and pops, making the listener think that the speakers have blown. A few pieces, such as "Voor Judi" and "Loch Im Kopf," have events that sound instrumental in origin, such as percussion or cello. Meelkop has been active in the European avant-garde scene since the mid-'80s, alone and in the groups Goem and THU20. This is his first solo release, although his Intransitive release, 6 (Mailcop Rules), presents a retrospective of earlier work.

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