Wim Mertens

At Home, Not at Home

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The label of the A-side of this 12" EP reads "ideal play at 45 rpm." At the suggested speed, the nearly eight-minute "At Home" has an unsettling tension, as if it's playing slightly too fast, which is undoubtedly intentional. (At 33 rpm, some of the instruments sound slightly out of tune, but the reduced speed gives an almost elegiac, Steve Reich-like quality to the piece.) Aside from this somewhat manic quality, "At Home" is a typical piece of Wim Mertens' Belgian post-minimalism, with Peter Gordon's full-throated free jazz-influenced tenor sax jousting with Mertens' Bill Evans-like piano fills on top of the pulsating overdubbed violins and violas of Frans Vos and a fusiony rhythm section. The equally lengthy B-side, "Not at Home," is a more peculiar affair that doesn't sound much like Mertens' usual work at all. Although Mertens wrote the piece by himself, co-producer Gordon's influence is all over "Not at Home," in the rubbery electric bass that underpins the track, the rattling Latin percussion, the sonar-like synthesizer pings, and Mertens' wordless tape-manipulated vocals. "Not at Home" sounds like nothing so much as an outtake by Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra, and while the combination of Gordon and Mertens' styles is unexpected, the resulting tension makes this one of the more interesting and aggressive releases of Mertens' career. Like all of Wim Mertens' early recordings, At Home, Not at Home was originally released under the group name Soft Verdict.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 7:44 SpotifyAmazon
2 7:30 SpotifyAmazon
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