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Razen / Sheldon Siegel - Split (2010)




Split-lp of Belgium’s greatest free jazz combo and flamo-ethnic weirdos.

Sheldon Siegel - There are young, arrogant artists who think they will conquer the world from their studios in Belgium with their neo-realistic paintings and their hipster indie rock bands and matching uniforms. There are also other kinds of artists who translate the contemporary nihilistic climate to sharp pastiche and absurdist drawings. In that scene old patron saints are violated shamelessly by means of free improv. Gino Coomans (cello, music box), Erik Heestermans (drums, percussion) and Gerard Herman (sax, vocals, tapes) got together in the suburbs of Antwerp. With a shared love for free jazz and an aversion for taboos the trio explores the possibilities of combined action. They avoid the easy trap of maximum instrument volumes, and instead they reticently seek for a universe in which each musician can take their part at any point, or leave it to another. It is because of that particular attitude that Sheldon Siegel comes to amazingly honest instant compositions. Probably one of the most adventurous Belgian improv groups of the new decennium.

Razen - For a couple of years now Brecht Ameel (santoor, bouzouki, keys) and Bart Reekmans (percussion, brass) have been working on a repertoire in which etnic music and improvisation are the central concepts. Tired of the traditional guitar-bass-drums combination they decided to both choose an instrument they couldn’t play at all. They ended up with a heavily detuned santoor and some metal plates that served as a drum kit. In a deserted basement Razen make unusual instruments confront until they derail and make for a filmic sound trip in which Bohren & Der Club of Gore and Moondog meet. In Brussels the Balkans, the Scottish highlands and the Ethiopian savannah are only a stones throw away from each other. For this debut the duo asked Kim Delcour (bagpipe, chalumeau, sopranino, bass recorder) and Wouter Haest (duduk, shenai) to join in. The result is a Lynchian ecstasy in four episodes in which the spiritual sixties tradition, contemporary psychedelic fusion and historical ‘source music’ are the different approaches that subsequently merge into a ritualistic dream story. (kraak)

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