Pick-Up - Loop End
Plinkity Plonk 023
LP only - Limited edition of 150 copies
Martin Luiten and Frans de Waard are both from Nijmegen and both
part of the same musical 'scene' - if there is such a thing.
They played together in 2003 when their bands Girlfriends and
Beequeen played a collaborative concert, and the two met on the
sunday afternoon improvisation concerts. Yet its not been until
this year that they decided to work together, Martin on guitar
and electronics and Frans picking the sound up with his laptop.
Extremely fruitful sessions were held, and resulted in one LP
to be released soon by Important Records and this LP, released
by Plinkity Plonk. Five pieces of repeating guitars, swirling
electronics and the finest drones. Laptop blues? Call it what
you like. Sit back and relax.
This LP is available for 19 euros including worldwide shipping.
You can pay with paypal. Send an e-mail to order
listen to excerpt
PICK UP - LOOP END (LP by Plinkity Plonk))
Frans de Waard's fascination with that most popular of instruments
the guitar is well-known. In the 90s he used the guitar as sole
source of sound in his project Shifts. This despite the fact
that De Waard couldn't play the guitar in a traditional way to
save his life. Shifts was therefore all about guitar-treatments.
This resulted in a couple of albums, some really good (Trees/Leaves),
some not that good (Pangea). After the demise (or should that
be possible demise as De Waard leaves his Shifts-options open)
of Shifts, De Waard has now formed another guitar-outfit. This
one is called Pick Up (the name for the elements - copper wound
spools - on the electric guitar, which transfer the vibration
of the strings into sound). However, in Pick Up it is not De
Waard who plays the guitar, he is responsible for the computer
treatments of the sound, which is what he does best. The guitar
itself is played by guitarist extraordinaire Martijn Luiten,
who is an accomplished guitarist of the Japanese Makaboto/Haino-school,
not afraid to improvise and make a structured noise. So what
does the combination of these two spirits sound like? The album
Loose End features 5 tracks. Side one starts with 'Row', a one-note
droney opener with subtle treatments that gradually become more
prominent. 'Cone' is quite different as here the guitar playing
is more recognizable, loose tones are picked and string-scraping
sounds can be heard. The open nature of the track allows the
music to breathe more than the opening track. Side two hits off
with 'Portal', which is my favorite track. We are treated to
gated guitar chord playing, subtle and friendly. 'Assignment'
is next. Easily the noisiest track of the album, but somehow
also relaxed enough not to raise the pulse too much. The end
fade is rather abrupt, which is one of the things I don't like.
Closing track 'Loop Ends' (not the title track of course, that
should have been 'Loop End') is another favorite. Here Luiten
plays the E-bow, a wonderful but difficult to play properly device
that creates long, droney sounds on the guitar, combined with
gentle finger picking, this is a fine ending of a fine album.
Packed between two grey carton bits and with only the image of
a package of guitar strings on the front (cleverly altered of
course to read the title and the catalogue number), the package
is as downbeat and minimal as the music. Personally (and knowing
Frans de Waard's love of DIY minimalism) that is fine with me,
but somehow a splash more spendour in the packaging would have
been a bonus. The music does deserve that. Loose End is one of
those albums that is destined to sell out its 160 copies without
any problem and then fade into obscurity. Until one day, when
it will be re-discovered as a classic and you will tear your
hair out for not buying a copy when you had the chance. (FK)