dinsdag 21 maart 2017

Close Eyes To Exit. Klangstof

On 17 February Moss released its fifth album, 'Strike'. It happened that because of that (announced) release I found out that Moss' bass player Koen van der Wardt had left the band to pursue his own career and had already released an album called 'Close Eyes To Exit'. As good a reason as any to start listening.

What to expect? My guess was alternative/indie rock with a pop element, in other words not unlike Moss. What did I hear?

Klangstof basically is Van der Wardt who has been working on his demo's for years. After leaving Moss, as that ultimately is Marien Dorleijn's band, he worked with the two other Moss members at first, nearly splitting Moss in the process. Kruyning and Stam decided to return to the mothership, after which Van Der Wardt gathered his own musicians around him of which two come from Norway where he spent most of his teenage years.

Close Eyes To Exit starts with an instrumental called 'Doolhof'. A hum, atmospherics before more traditional sounds of a guitar enter. If anything the music can be called dreamy. A cymbal fades in, synths, a second guitar, drums. It is easy to imagine that all were already playing but the switches on the recording console were turned to zero. One after the other is turned up ever so slightly, towards a full release. No one holds back any longer. The beast is out of the cage, searching, loudly, for a way out of the "doolhof".

Is this representative for the rest of the album? No and a little yes. The dreamy quality remains, like in the singing of Koen van der Wardt. Soft voiced, not necessarily organic, but always modest is his voice of choice. As is the mood of most of this album. The music is quite minimal in large sections. 'Doolhof' in all his largesse is not exactly representative for the songs following it.

Electronics is a main part of the album. Either the sound or the atmosphere created by synthesizers. Underneath the sounds a fiery drum can be played, electric guitars are present for most of the time. Again that does not explain the whole album. There are enough songs that simply slide by. Soft of tone. Like Talking Heads without the punk, new wave and beats and Dandy Warhols without the drugs. Klangstof challenges its listeners regularly. Take 'Amansworld'. There is no common rhythm, the song jumps from one form to another. It has different melodies, yet it sort of explodes around a by then familiar theme, in whatever beat it has. I haven't a clue. The album holds pure beauty. Just listen to the instrumental parts of 'Sleaze'. 80s synths all over the place, like Soft Cell in its most beautiful song 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye'. (Its best song is 'Torch'.)

So to return to Moss. Where the bands meet is in the dreamy sequences. After that both take an opposite direction. Moss aims for the perfect indie rock song. Klangstof is experimenting a lot more and that can result both in a 'Amansworld' or in a 'We Are Your Receiver', which has a chorus to lick my ears for. Earlicking good. That is not Klangstof's standard though. Concluding I have to say that I still do not really know what to make of the album. I'm hearing some great music and also hear things that I simply have a hard time interpreting. It may well be that it simply takes more time to get familiar with. The question remains whether I will make the time to do so. "I'm not ready with 'Kid A', I told a friend soon after its release, but never got around to play it again. There's simply too much music for that sort of investment. Time will tell, folks.

P.S. In the meantime I've listened again and 'Sleaze' pushed itself forward a lot harder. So who knows?


You can listen to 'We Are Your Receiver' here:


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