No Ninja Am I is Sander van Munster. Under this title he has released several EPs. That makes it the more noticeable that there is about three years between the last one and We Share A Dream. Van Munster mostly works on his own, the exception will come by later.
The cover is intriguing, isn't it? We see the face of a man, his long hair floating around him in the water, like the tentacles of an octopus. The shape of the head? It could be an octopus with a human mask on, couldn't it? Is the person going under or is he comfortably swimming with his nose above the water? That message could be in the eyes. Now they are pretty wide open and looking down not forward. So what are we looking at? Interesting.
The cover art is by Coen Hamelink, who also plays the horns on this record. Adding a lot to the atmosphere of the opening song, 'Magnolia'. Which is the most exuberant song on the album. It starts so delicate though. Just Sander van Munster's voice and an acoustic guitar. The delicateness is attacked by a bunch of demons it seems. The dark, brooding electric guitar that comes in with totally unexpected notes that seem to have nothing to do with the song, yet totally fit. Enters Hamelink's trumpets, as they are double tracked, to add to the "joy". In the chorus it becomes clear that the title of the song has nothing to do with the tree (in bloom), but everything with that biblical scene from the movie. "Seatbelts on" is not a recommendation, it is mandatory. The only way to survive. The only way that it doesn't matter "if the frogs fall from the sky".
The single is 'Dance Dance'. A song that reminds me of the solo work of Maggie Brown's Marcel Hulst. Dreamy, beauty in abundance. The very clear electric guitar accompanies the voice, as soft as Art Garfunkel's through the very mellow, melancholy song. The song may be about dancing, the music has nothing to do with dancing except that most slow and intimate variation of dancing. A flügelhorn, harmonies and a piano adorn the solo performance. 'Dance Dance' is a song that makes me quiet, introspective and alone in a very positive way.
"Swimming On The Sea" No Ninja Am I sings. Now I have always said swimming in the sea. A subtle difference and I am inclined to follow the former version when I picture myself in the sea. Especially if I would not be on that first few meters on the beach. And picturing it like that it becomes quite scary. Nothing but water all around and I'm on top of it, trying to stay afloat. I once read that fishermen deliberately did not learn how to swim. Specifically for should that circumstance occur.
|Promo photo: Mirjam van der Most|
The last song is about a dream. The title song 'We Share A Dream'. I Am Oak enters my mind straight away listening to the song. Slow, full of atmosphere and dreamlike. Again a song that clocks in under two minutes. It is different from the other songs in its rhythm and texture. In an indirect way, more direct, a slow but staccato delivery. More demanding that the other songs that are introspective, looking inward. Taking the listeners into an inner world. Where 'We Share A Dream' locks the listener out. I may listen, but not join. No Ninja Am I closes ranks here, with however it shares this dream with. It's not me. That much is clear.
All together I have heard a beautiful EP, with some very fine, estranging and endearing songs, that deserve a wider audience. No Ninja Am I has delivered an EP that commands and deserves listening. And thank you. After listening to 'Another Sea' I did something straight away that I'd been putting off for a few days. Taken care of like the just another sea it was.
You can listen to and buy We Share A Dream here:
You can watch the video of 'Dance Dance' here: